Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Ice Breakers Ice Cubes, Raspberry Sorbet

The Ice Breakers Ice Cubes package has a nice flip top design that stayed closed in my handbag for over a week. In fact, the entire box is still in very good shape--no dents, no wear, and the foil printing is still shiny.

The box contains 10 pieces of cube shaped gum--white with red dots that I assume are "flavor crystals" of some sort. It looks nice.

The sugar-free raspberry sorbet flavor has a nice tartness that's not too sweet. One cube is just a tad too small. The biggest problem is that the flavor runs out after 10 minutes or less, making Chompers very sad.

rating: 3 chomps; price: $$

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Dentyne Fire Spicy Cinnamon

Unlike their Arctic Chill "flavor," Spicy Cinnamon is a delightfully chewable gum that will not mess with your brain by giving you visions of fossil fuel-drilling aliens. Typical adult premium gum package with the same not-quite-big-enough piece, but the flava is nice--a not too sweet warm cinnamon that almost tingles like Cinnaburst did, back in the day. A good substitute for Flare in a pinch.

price: $; rating: 3 chomps; other: sugar free

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Trident Wild Blueberry Twist

I thought the Denytyne Arctic Ice was bad, but this one has it beat. Trident Wild Blueberry Twist, packed in the economical 18-piece paper and foil short-pack, not only tastes bad but stunk up my Faux-ki-doki with overwhelming fake berry cloying sweetness. Reviews from others ranged from, "I'd rather chew ear wax," to "That gum is evil." Yet another must-to-avoid.

price: $; rating: 0 chomps

Dentyne Ice: Arctic Chill

This Dentyne Ice flavor, packed in the short-end opened box and blister pack, is among the worst gums I've ever chewed. Like all Dentyne Ice gums, one piece is too small, but two is too expensive. But even one piece is too much. It tastes like Vick's Vapo-rub mixed with a vinyl by-product. There was some undertaste that reminded me of the black-oil aliens from X-Files. Avoid at all costs.

price: $; rating: 0 chomps; other: sugar free

Monday, April 28, 2008

Starbucks After Coffee Chewing Gum, Cinnamon

The Starbucks After Coffee Chewing Gum is sold at the counter at Starbucks Coffee stores in their own little POP display. It comes in a variety of flavors, and is packaged in an oblong tin with a flip top on the short side. The tin, and the retro-referencing type makes this vaguely similar to the Altoids gum.

The gum itself is candy-coated rectangles, white speckled with red. The candy coating breaks away after 2 or three chews, opening up to a slightly hard gum that takes a few more chews to soften. The most surprising thing about Starbucks Cinnamon is the fruit burst that first appears when you get to the gum. The cinnamon comes after. It's a hot cinnamon, but mixed with the fruit it seems a little less strong than the stronger cinnamon gums. The fruit flavor dissolves after a few minutes, but it leaves a sweet aftertaste that mixes nicely with the cinnamon.

I personally didn't love this gum, but I offered it around and everyone else thought it was great. I don't know if it's more effective than other gums at getting rid of coffee breath, but at only 25 cents more that I paid for Orbit, it's definitely worth the price.

price: $$; rating: 3 chomps

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Trident White Cinnamon Tingle

Trident White Cinnamon Tingle is an acceptable cinnamon gum, and its mid-market, no-nonsense approach is emphasized by the packaging: 12 rectangular pieces of coated gum in a foil and plastic blister pack, wrapped in a tabbed cardboard sleeve. It's an "adult" gum, meaning its over a buck for 12 small pieces.

The white coating has a nice mouth feel that quickly dissolves after the first few chews. The flavor is serviceable. It does have a tiny sugary tingle. The cinnamon has more of a cold sting than a hot one, which makes it more similar to old-school cinnamon gums like Big Red and Cinnaburst. The most unfortunate problem with Trident White is the size--you really need two pieces to feel like you're actually chewing anything substantial.

review: 2.5 chomps, price: $$

Friday, April 4, 2008

5 Flare Gum

5 Gum is a designer gum produced by Wrigley's, named after its alleged appeal to the five senses. They went all out with the packaging--the box is a sturdy but thin card stock with a matte finish and spot gloss, mostly black with a few accents of color. It has an emboss over the large "5" that adorns the front. There is a swanky little tab to keep the box closed. The package is a squat rectangle, almost square, and opens from the short end, even though the "cover" is designed in landscape format. It's a pretty sophisticated package for gum.

As soon as I opened the tabbed cellowrap of the stylish Flare package, the air became redolent with the spicy smell of sugary hot cinnamon. The gum is a full sized stick, wrapped in red foil embossed with the 5 logo. The stick bent easily without breaking. The first few chews are a little tough, and not too flavorful, but as the gum softens it released a nice sweet heat.

The package contains 15 pieces of full sized gum, making it a bargain in the adult chewing gum market.

3.5 chomps, $, other: sugar free

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Altoids Cinnamon Gum

Altoids, owned and distributed by Wrigley in the US, added gum to their popular line of "curiously strong" tinned mints in 2003. Like Orbit, Altoids has British connections. The mint was created by Smith & Co. in the late 1700s, and then became part of Callard & Bowser in the 19th century. Altoids have remained an obscure, old-timey brand in the UK, but have enjoyed success as an export, especially in the US.

The Altoids gum comes in a cute tin, smaller than the full-size mint tin, but larger than the "Smalls" mini-mint tin. Unlike Altoids mints, the gum does not contain gelatin, making it suitable for people who don't eat meat. That's great. I hate meat in my candy. The gum is packed by weight, meaning each tin holds "about 20 pieces." The number you get will be a surprise.

The gum is cute. It's round and candy-coated and looks like a big red m+m. On first bite through the shell you get quite a wow. It has a hot cinnamon taste with the right amount of sugar. It's probably the hottest cinnamon gum you can buy in a regular store. Despite the candy shell, the texture is soft and chewy. It keeps the flavor for about 30 minutes. The only problem with this gum is that one piece is a little too small for an adult mouth.

When you're finished with the gum, you can make the tin into a holder for your moo cards, or any number of other neat little projects.

Review: 3.75 chomps, $$.

Orbit Cinnamint Gum

Orbit gum is not the newcomer it appears to be. Its status as a British import is emphasized by the smart TV commercials featuring British actress Vanessa Branch, but Wrigley's Orbit was actually first introduced in America in 1944. It was discontinued in 1946, and then retooled and reintroduced as Wrigley's first sugar-free gum in 1977 in both the US and UK. For reasons unknown to me, Orbit was replaced by Extra in America, but it stayed on as Wrigley's UK sugar-free gum. It was again reintroduced in the US in 2001 in its current sugar-free, premium package form. UK Orbit continues to be sold in traditional chewing gum sticks, and the US package design has only recently been released in the UK.

The Orbit premium pack design takes the form of other mid-priced US gums. The package is a flat rectangular gloss coated box with a closure tab, holding 14 pieces of short, stocky, paper-wrapped gum in two rows of seven.

The first problem with Orbit is the protective cellowrap. It doesn't have an easy-open tab, and took me an entire block before I was able to get it open. Perhaps Wrigley thinks only women with longish nails are chewing Orbit.

No, actually the first problem with Orbit is the price. At a bodega on 7th Ave in Chelsea, Orbit costs a whopping $1.75.

The gum itself was a little too hard. Perhaps this is the fault of the paper wrapping. Other gums in this package style have foil wrapping. The gum in this box of Orbit had the consistency of slightly stale Bubbleyum--no yield, no satisfying melt. It remained a bit too chewy throughout the 30 minute chew.

I chose Orbit Cinnamint because cinnamon is my preferred gum flavor, and I hadn't tried it before. As a cinnamon gum, it's not successful. The cinnamon flavor was so light that it seemed like a specter. The mint was a wintergreen type mint flavor, and was also pretty light. The gum was not overly sweet, which is probably one of the nicer things I can say about it. It was not especially refreshing, nor did it in any way make my mouth feel "clean," like the commercials insinuate.

The cinnamon flavor evaporated pretty quickly, but the mint flavor remained throughout the chew. I eventually chucked it, not because it had lost flavor, but out of ennui.

Overall, Orbit Cinnamint is pretty substandard. I give it 2 chomps.

review: 2 chomps; price: $$

Monday, March 24, 2008

Welcome to Gumshoe, the chewing gum review blog

Gum fulfills so many needs--sating hunger, freshening your breath, relieving tension. On a good day, a piece of gum will transport you to a better time and place, a long summer afternoon at the public pool, a crisp Halloween night tallying up candy with friends at the playground, the day your grandma showed you how to make a bubble. Sometimes a gum will be nothing but disappointment--a mint too sugary, a cinnamon not snappy enough.

At Gumshoe, we hope to open a dialog about chewing gum--what we all like and dislike about different gums.

On some unknown schedule, we will review a chewing gum, looking at it for taste, texture, size, packaging and price. Maybe some other things. This is a work in progress.