Friday, February 25, 2011

Juicy Fruit Juicy Secret

Flavor: I'm on to you, Wrigley's. I know this gum, and your "Juicy Secret" is about to be blown wide open. This is no Juicy Fruit. It's not even from the same planet as Juicy Fruit. This is Extra Fruit Sensations Berry Pearadise. Is it any coincidence that Extra's website no longer lists that flavor? I think not. Oh, Wrigley's. Perhaps this little stunt will fool gum amateurs, but true gum enthusiasts will not be swayed by your ruse. We know what's going on. That said, I was always a lover of Berry Pearadise. The tang at first bite awakens the taste buds and fills your mouth with juicy goodness. You can taste the berry and the pear quite vividly. However, after the first few chomps, the flavor fades to generic aspartame-berry.

Texture: At first, okay, but this gum is way sticky. Don't try to blow any bubbles with this one or you'll be scraping a gooey film off your lips for the better part of an hour. The longer you chew, the less cohesive this gum becomes. I've only gone 10 minutes or so, but I think this might be one of those gums that turns into plasma balls and stimulates my gag reflex, as is common with other Extra Fruit Sensations flavors.

Presentation: Come ON, Wrigley's! There might as well be a giant "S" on the front. Not only do you blatantly rip off the gum itself, but you ripped off Stride's Mega Mystery packaging concept, too. I can just see the marketing meeting, "What should the packaging be like?" "Well, Stride's mystery flavor is rainbow colors and question marks." "So shall ours be, then!" Really, Wrigley's? Really?

Overall: If I'd had the foresight to review Berry Pearadise before it went the way of Original Bubble, this gum would have gotten a far higher review. But since it's a total rip-off in every way imaginable, I'm going to go ahead and declare massive fail on this one.

Rating: o (one gumball)

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Trident Vitality Vigorate

Flavor: The "burst of citrus and strawberry with vitamin C" here tastes an awful lot like the rainbow to me. The flavor at first is reminiscent of orange Skittles, in a good way, but is as fleeting as the goo inside the pellet. There is a nice cooling sensation that lasts throughout the whole chew, and the flavor is pleasant enough for a while, but it's nothing that Orbit Citrusmint hasn't done before (and better).

Texture: The first bite is a lot like a Skittle texture-wise as well, one that's been sitting out in the sun for a few minutes and is nice and soft inside. But after the crunch is gone, it's all mush. It falls apart as you chew, which to me is one of the worst qualities in a gum. Not everyone wants a firm gum, and it's refreshing to see variety in textures that appeal to different preferences. "Crumbly," however, is not a characteristic of gum at all. In fact, it's the opposite of what a gum should be.

Presentation: Shannon discussed the misleading health claims that Trident is employing with this new line of gum in her review of Trident Vitality Awaken. Sure, there are maybe some traces of vitamin C here, but you shouldn't be supplementing a good old fashioned orange with this a pack of Vigorate. I secretly expected a little burst of energy when I chewed my first piece, but it did little to quell the three o'clock work doldrums. The pack is clean and well designed, and I do actually like the aesthetic of the flap that clicks when you close it, even if it doesn't actually do anything.

Overall: If you're in the market for a mid-afternoon boost of vitamin C to get you through the day, don't bother with Vitality. Have an orange, some tomato salad, or a handful of strawberries (dipped in chocolate if you're feeling particularly droopy). If you're looking for a sweet post-meal treat to replace that bag of Skittles you've been eyeing in the vending machine since breakfast, then go ahead and stash a pack in your desk drawer. It's ok.

Rating: ooo (three gumballs)

Thursday, February 10, 2011

mentos Red Fruit & Lime

This review is sponsored by our friends at mentos!

Flavor: I think it's hysterical that Mentos went with the term "Red Fruit." That really takes some accountability away, huh? The package features raspberries, strawberries and... cranberries? Sure, they're red! Let's throw some cranberries in there! I'm sure they would have included cherries, Macintosh Apples, pomegranates and perhaps even tomatoes as well, but they were running out of room on the bottle. Humor aside, this is really nice. It's a sweet fruit (I'd probably call it more strawberry than anything) with a nice little burst of lime at the outset that's not too overwhelming at all. Really good.

Texture: We start off with a familiar crunch: Oh yes, this is a mento. But instead of the gritty, grainy sugar filling, we're surprized with a fantastically textured gum. Starts out nice and soft and stays that way. With extended chewing it does get a slight bit waxy-feeling, but in a good way, if you can imagine that. Doesn't stick to the teeth, no squeak to be heard.

Presentation: As I've mentioned before in my review of mentos Pure Fresh Wintergreen, I love the little plastic tubes that mentos gum comes in. The graphics on this particular flavor are fine, nothing spectacular aside from the abundance of "red fruits."

Overall: I love this gum. I've been holding onto these last two pieces for a couple weeks now, waiting for my chance to review it. It's a nice sweet treat that's easy on the teeth and taste buds. By far my favorite from the mentos line, perhaps my favorite pellet gum, in general. Two thumbs way up from this Gum Girl.

Rating: ooooo (five gumballs)

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Wrigley's 5 Vortex

Flavor: vortex [ˈvɔːtɛks] n 1. (Physics / General Physics) a whirling mass or rotary motion in a liquid, gas, flame, etc., such as the spiralling movement of water around a whirlpool
2. any activity, situation, or way of life regarded as irresistibly engulfing. Um... guys? This gum is sour apple. I mean, I suppose the initial overwhelming flavor burst and permeating odor of this gum can be considered "irresistibly engulfing" (if you're into that sort of thing), but what the heck does it have to do with apples? Frankly, I'm getting a little tired of this whole 5 enterprise. At first, it was interesting, the flavors were sort of mysterious and fun, but now it seems like they're really stretching it. Call an apple an apple, man. Hubba Bubba would.

Texture: 5 always has a pretty good texture. But as long as the texture lasts, the flavor dissipates and you're left with this sort of cold blob floating around in your mouth making your breath stink. I've never really been a fan of green apple though, admittedly, so others might disagree on this point... but since elementary school, I've thought that green apple flavor gives you stank-breath.

Presentation: I just want to take a moment to talk about the new trend in gum to print all of the important nutritious information on the plastic outer covering of the packs of gum, which is removed upon consumption. In many cases this can be a problem-- what if you want to take a minute to look at the chemicals you're compulsively inserting into your mouth? Of course, most people refer to the nutrition labels only when purchasing a product, but I've found that on more than one occasion I've been faced with a predicament-- a vegetarian friend or one who's keeping Kosher will ask if my gum contains gelatin and I'll be unable to answer with confidence without running out to buy a fresh pack. I understand the aesthetic appeal of the clean "fashion pack" that's becoming so popular these days, but I think there's a value to including the information right where you can see it any time-- the Surgeon's General Warning on a pack of cigarettes, after all, is on the pack itself, not the plastic outer shell. Regardless, on this particular package, even the flavor itself is eliminated once the outer shell is removed. But then... the smell is so pungent that I doubt you'll ever be referring to the pack to tell you the whole room stinks like sour apple.

Overall: Elch. This is a successful sugar-free sour apple, but I can't imagine a set of adult taste buds out there that could endure this kind of experience. I don't think the funky red and green explosion stripes are enough on the packaging here-- I suggest Wrigley get some bubble letters on this pack, slap a sunglasses-wearing cartoon apple dude on there, and sell this stuff on the playground, where it belongs.

Rating: oo (two gumballs)

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Stride Spark Kinetic Mint

Flavor: The first few times I chewed Stride Spark Kinetic Mint I was really impressed, but the more pieces I chomp upon, the scarier this gum becomes. Not only is the gum infused with vitamins, it also seems to be infused with a blend of spices, or chemicals, or some other weird substance that causes the mint to have a "peppery" feel to it. It's reminiscent of the "electric" sensation I felt with Wrigley's 5 Prism. I find that if I leave the gum in one place for too long, I start to feel a weird tingling sensation that quickly turns to burning. Maybe that's the "spark" that Stride is going for with this, but it's really quite unsettling. That being said, it's an adequate mint that does freshen the breath.

Texture: Aside from the aforementioned burning sensation, the texture of this gum is really fantastic. No complaints from first chew to wad disposal, it's pliable and has some meatiness to it.

Presentation: Cute, I suppose. Nothing about the packaging really calls out to me. It's a standard Stride wallet pack featuring the recognizable "S" logo on a semi-shiny silver background with some "electric" graphics. Seems like a wasted opportunity to do something really cool, graphically.

Overall: The package claims that "Vitamins B6 and B12 help release energy in the body." That's a nice enough claim, and all... but really? What does that even mean? There's not even any indication on the pack how much of these vitamins the gum contains. With the rush of health-infusion gums hitting the market as of late, I really think that these manufacturers need to go above and beyond to stand out from the rest of the pack. Now don't get me wrong, it's a fun chew and I certainly don't hate it, but after the whole "Shift" episode, they really needed to step out of the gate with something phenomenal, and this isn't it. At least it's not as bad as Trident Vitality.

Rating: ooo (three gumballs)