REVIEW: Wrigley’s Extra Seasonal Edition and Trident Layers Limited Edition Pumpkin Spice Gums

Wrigley's Extra Seasonal Edition Pumpkin Spice Gum and Trident Layers Limited Edition Pumpkin Spice Gum

In the land of guar gum and sucralose, where the pumpkins and gourds lie…

Two brands.
Many layers.
One flavor to rule them all.

Yes, it’s Pumpkin Spice Season, and, in the legion of opportunities to build up your pumpkin spice endurance, Extra and Trident are throwing themselves in the sumo circle to see which can make the product with just enough squash, just enough cinnamon, just enough grit, to transform a dessert of caramelized orange vegetables into a new and potentially terrifying medium.

Wrigley's Extra Seasonal Edition Pumpkin Spice Gum and Trident Layers Limited Edition Pumpkin Spice Gum Trident-Extra face-off

With enough tire tread marks to wrap around a Ford F-150, the Extra pieces serve up a classic, slim look. The Layers, on the other hand, are the prodigy of pudgy, 3-dimensional nubbins, the Tetris blocks of a former life, if you will.

Wrigley's Extra Seasonal Edition Pumpkin Spice Gum and Trident Layers Limited Edition Pumpkin Spice Gum Trident Tetris!

And, much like Tetris blocks, there is no pumpkin in either gum. No pumpkin at all. But a chewer still gets many of the sensations that a pumpkin-spiced treat might bring (sweetness, warmth, cinnamon spice). The Extra smooshes the sugar-and-spice sweetness in one bite, with an emphasis on the sweet coming together to taste something like a strongly cinnamon-spiced sugar cookie (or, more accurately, a cinnamon-spiced Juicy Fruit).

There aren’t any squash notes, but there is a strong emphasis on caramelized sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, and fruity clove. It’s hyper-sweet and the spice fills me with Christmas optimism, and, as we all know, it’s so easy to accomplish stuff when filled with Christmas optimism. I even cleaned my house thanks to Extra gum.

Wrigley's Extra Seasonal Edition Pumpkin Spice Gum and Trident Layers Limited Edition Pumpkin Spice Gum This clean house is brought to you by Extra gum

On the other end of the spectrum is the Trident, which has all the looks and smells of a Yankee Candle store in October, combining the familiar spices of cinnamon and nutmeg with a hint of sweetness. I have my hopes up, but as I start to chew…

Remember that scene in Return of the Jedi? Where Jabba’s henchmen are sucked into the maw of a gaping sandpit, wherein they are chewed and ddigested? That is how I felt while chewing the Trident: it starts off super sweet, but then eeks out into an amalgamation of popcorn, plastic, Halls cough drops, and those name-brand white jelly beans.

The spice is equivalent to gnawing on a basket of potpourri and, in a mere 47 seconds (47 SECONDS!), the gum got tough as the girders of Scottish gentlemen. Unless you have recently lost your sense of taste or have a particular nostalgia for gnawing on Goodyear Tires baked in a vat nutmeg, I’d recommend putting your pumpkin pie money elsewhere.

The Extra on the other hand? It had a solid 3-5 minute run before losing flavor, and even then, it had a soft chew and spice that stayed. Is it the sorbital? The soy lechithin? The Acesulfame-K? I dunno, but I do know that Acesulfame-K is almost as fun to say as “Stoichiometric ratio” or, “nuclear binary fission.” Thankfully, Acesulfame is not as intense or damaging to your internal organs as nuclear binary fission. Yay for not chewing nuclear radiation!

Wrigley's Extra Seasonal Edition Pumpkin Spice Gum and Trident Layers Limited Edition Pumpkin Spice Gum The winner and grand champion

When I was 8 years old, I decided I’d be a Detroit Lions quarterback. As a 4.5-foot, 65-pound human who couldn’t get past the third rung on the climbing rope, I knew this was unlikely, but certainly not impossible, so I tried anyway.

Similarly, the concept of creating a gum that mimics pumpkin pie is far-reaching, but not ludicrous, and Extra did a respectable job here. While neither match the pie experience to the “–nth” degree, Extra takes a notable lead over Trident with its longer chew time and greater sense of roundedness in flavor, but just know that, like a 4.5-foot, 65-pound 8-year-old pretending to be an NFL quarterback, it still can’t quite replace the real thing.

(Nutrition Facts – Extra – less than 5 calorie, 0 calories from fat, 0 grams of fat, 0 milligrams of sodium, 2 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of sugar, 2 grams of sugar alcohol, and 0 grams of protein. Trident – 5 calories, 0 calories from fat, 0 grams of fat, 0 milligrams of sodium, 2 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of sugar, 2 grams of sugar alcohol, and 0 grams of protein.)

Item: Wrigley’s Extra Seasonal Edition Pumpkin Spice Gum
Purchased Price: $1.39
Size: 1 pack/15 pieces
Purchased at: Walgreens
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Fruity clove. Nice vanilla balance. Lasts for about 3-5 minutes. Christmas optimism. Detroit Lions.
Cons: No pumpkin in ingredients. Not as aesthetically pleasing as the Trident. After 3-5 minutes, gets rubbery. Nuclear radiation.

Item: Trident Layers Limited Edition Pumpkin Spice Gum
Purchased Price: $2.80
Size: 3 packs (14 pieces each)
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 3 out of 10
Pros: Pretty to look at. Tetris. Girders of Scottish gentlemen. Reason to talk about Return of the Jedi.
Cons: No pumpkin in ingredients. Like chewing a mix of cinnamon-spiced plastic, popcorn, and stale jellybeans. Gets tough after 47-seconds. Being chewed by a sandpit.

REVIEW: Wrigley’s Extra Dessert Delights Cinnamon Roll Gum

Wrigley's Extra Dessert Delights Cinnamon Roll Gum

Remember that time you went to the mall and passed the Cinnabon sample tray? The one with the Dixie Cups? And the warm, goopy Minibons? And you took a sample? Then you took another? Then you took 10 more? Then you got dismissed for exceeding your sample limit? (“There’s a sample limit???”) Then you stomped away? And came back 15 minutes later with a fake mustache? And presumed a new identity while shoveling more Minibons down as you made a convincing argument to the fifteen-year-old employee that your voice was undergoing great strain after reconstructive surgery?

Like that time Charlie Buckets drank the Fizzy Lifting Drinks and nearly got shredded by a giant fan, it seemed like a good idea at the time. And, perhaps, for that one moment, when you got a bite of the half-baked middle, the cinnamon butter goo, the crunchity glaze, it was worth it because let us remember: this is not just any hunk of bread. This is a cinnamon roll: a warm, messy blob of cinnamon-sugar gloopity gloop and enough confectioner’s sugar to make The League of Evil Dentists cheer for all the money they’ll make filling your cavities. And yet, for each roll you have, there’s only so much chewing before it’s gone, having been chomped by your molars into the dark oblivion that is digestion. So what’s a cinnamon bun addict to do with such conundrums and deep-cut cravings?

Wrigley's Extra Dessert Delights Cinnamon Roll Gum Looking at that dashing piece of taupe

One gum. To cure them all.

As I learned from Yosemite Sam, power comes in many sizes, be it in an 19-inch-tall cowboy with a booshily beard and anger management issues or a 2-inch strip of taupe gum, and, indeed, this particular piece of Cinnamon Roll gum reinforces this lesson. The chew here starts out a little tough, then softens out for a good 17-20 minutes before gamboling into rubber tire territory.

But it’s a very tasty tire.

If this flavor were a superhero, it would be a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle in a tutu. It starts off with a cooling, hyper sweetness (the tutu), then swipes at you from the shadows (like a Ninja Turtle) with a backdrop of… is that toasted caramel?? Yes, yes it is! Why, I dare say there’s even a little nuttiness as if there were a hint of toasted pecans in there.

The cinnamon doesn’t hit it out too heavily, coming in as a warm afterthought rather than a spicy kick, but that’s the genius. It allows the warm, zingy, slightly fruity/vanilla-y hints of the caramel and cinnamon to remind you of the doughy sensation you sought in the Cinnabon originals while the cooling effects of aspartame mimic that cooling sensation brought on by a caramel-sugar glaze. Nice attention to detail, Extra.

While lacking the fresh-baked, poofy texture of the true baked good, the end result here does come out tasting modestly like a cinnamon roll (but more like a caramel sticky bun) with a gentle warmth, slight sweetness, and joyous aroma all in a portable resealable cardboard square.

In a world in which Cinnabon prices are going up, all my baking pans are dirtied, and I am too lazy to pull out the Dawn Dish Soap (even if it does have aloe vera for silky smooth skin…), it’s nice to know that I can fill my cinnamon roll addiction without fear of having to take on new identities at the Cinnabon sample tray (I’m running out of disguises…). Is it deception that makes it tastes more like a caramel roll than a cinnamon roll? Perhaps, but it sure is a tasty, tasty deception.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 piece – 5 calories, 0 calories from fat, 0 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 0 milligrams of sodium, 2 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of dietary fiber, 0 grams of sugar, 2 grams of sugar alcohol, and 0 grams of protein.)

Item: Wrigley’s Extra Dessert Delights Cinnamon Roll Gum
Purchased Price: $1.19
Size: 1 pack/15 pieces
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Soft chew. Sweet toasted caramel flavor. Hint of pecan flavor. Hyper sweetness from aspartame mimics glaze. Portable. Tasty deception. Ninja Turtles in tutus. Justifies procrastination of washing dishes.
Cons: Not a warm, poofy pastry. Could use more cinnamon. Some may feel betrayed that it tastes more like a caramel sticky bun than cinnamon roll. Desperate attempts to procure free Cinnabons. Cowboys with anger management issues. Being shredded by a giant fan. The League of Evil Dentists.

REVIEW: Hubba Bubba Hawaiian Punch Bubble Gum

Wrigley's Hubba Bubba Hawaiian Punch Bubble Gum

Oh, Walgreens, can you forgive me?

Sometimes I forget about you. Despite your stale sushi, your overpriced aisles of Degree deodorant, you mitigate your pitfalls by offering a “Make your own Slushie” machine available 24 hours a day and providing me with batteries and Snuggies before hurricanes. Indeed, Walgreens, I am in debt to you.

And today, on the cusp of summer, my debt racks up as you have taken your greatness one step further by giving me a brand new gum.

Wrigley's Hubba Bubba Hawaiian Punch Bubble Gum Unwrapped

Ahh, artificial fruit punch flavoring. How do I love thee? Let me count the ways…no no, never mind. There are far too many ways. Having unwrapped my first cube of this Hawaiian Punch imitator, I’m greeted with a dashing little nub that smells of fruit punch, summer camp, and days by the pool, where I glugged enough Hawaiian Punch to make my belly burst (Why does chlorine make artificial fruit punch taste so good? A neurological connection? A molecular link between chlorine and sucrose? Me + Sugar=Duh?)

I go in for the chew and, BLAM-O, I’m smacked 1952-comic-book style with a concentrated Hawaiian Punch flavor. It starts out with a distinct sweet/tart cherry/berry flavor with a hint of bitterness from Red 40. That teensy bitterness gets mitigated with a pineapple tang and a hint of orange and apple that swings in at the end, all making for a rounded Hawaiian Punch experience without the need of a cup holder or threat of spillage on to those white fluffy towels you just pulled out of the dryer (Because everyone drinks Hawaiian Punch in the laundry room?).

It’s not natural fruit punch by any means, but when did Hawaiian Punch promise real fruit juice? That’d be like asking a Wooly Mammoth to construct a warehouse of IKEA furniture, and that’s just not fair: Wooly Mammoths don’t have opposable thumbs.

Wrigley's Hubba Bubba Hawaiian Punch Bubble Gum Sucrose+red dye=yum

There’s an episode of Dexter’s Lab where Dexter, boy genius, makes himself expandably stretchy by smooshing his molecules with those of chewing gum (season 2, episode 19 for those following along). I imagine he used this gum. Like most Hubba Bubba specimens chewed in the past, each cube starts out small and then expands in your mouth, becoming a sticky, stretchy, tacky tangle. It isn’t until 12 minutes later, when the flavor’s far gone and you’ve gnawed it into a soft, flavorless glob of gum base, that you realize just what an experience it was. This is the stuff of bubble World Records, the terrifying goo that sticks to the bottom of shoes and stretches for miles. This is Bubble Gum. (Notice capital letters. Serious stuff.)

In a world of hyper-vigilant dentists and grumpity orthodontists putting braces on every human with a mouth and a molar, sugar mavens are oft deprived of a tasty, sugar-filled gum to chew their days away, so it’s refreshing to find a gum that’s tasty, good for bubbles, and, by Georgey-Porgy, filled with real, refined sugar. Hubba Bubba is amending said conundrum. With a pleasant chew, sugary grit, and enough artificial red dye to repair the New Jersey freeway, Hubba Bubba’s taken the taste of summer and smooshed it into a little 1×1 inch cube. If that’s not a summer miracle, I don’t know what is.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 piece – 25 calories, 0 calories from fat, 0 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 0 milligrams of sodium, 5 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of dietary fiber, 5 grams of sugar, and 0 grams of protein.)

Item: Hubba Bubba Hawaiian Punch Bubble Gum
Purchased Price: $1.39
Size: 1 pack/5 pieces
Purchased at: Walgreens
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Concentrated artificial fruit punch flavor. Soft n’ stretchy. Mysteriously seems to expand in one’s mouth. Real sugar defying angry dentists. 24-hour Slushie machines. Reasons to watch re-runs of Dexter’s Lab.
Cons: Not for those with a distaste for artificial fruit punch flavor. Sugar in gum may cause cavities. Some may be sensitive to bitterness of red dye flavor. Grumpity orthodontists. Wooly Mammoths don’t have opposable thumbs. The repairs of the New Jersey freeway. Realizing said freeway will never be repaired. Never.

REVIEW: Stride Sour Patch Kids Gum (Lime and Redberry)

Stride Sour Patch Kids Gum

Over the years, I’ve collected questions for the Sour Patch Kids: What makes a Sour Patch Kid? How do you become so perfectly sour, then sweet? Must you always come in gummy form? Why do you all look like oblong gingerbread men? Are you there, Sour Patch? It’s me, Margaret.

Despite the many unknowns they present, I love those little Sour Patches, munching their gummy innards down until my mouth is raw and I’m left clutching my stomach in sheer, unadulterated sweet/sour bliss. Until recently, I could only enjoy this Sour Patch sensation in gummy form, its sour-sugary grit flitting away in the 15 seconds it takes to dissolve. Way too short. Give me your sour! Your sweet! Put it all in a glycerin gum base! Well, it looks like Sour Patch did just that, cobbling together two new gum flavors that recently struck their territory at my local Target.

The gum has the typical dimension of a piece of regular Stride, which is about the length of a large paperclip. They strike their cubist pose in a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle green and what can only be a super intelligent shade of neon red. Seeing as I admire super intelligent inanimate objects, let’s start with the Redberry, shall we?

Stride Sour Patch Kids Gum Super Intelligent Shade of Red

Sourness brings out my primal competitor. You eat one Warhead. I’ll eat 5. You down 4 Cry Babies. I’ll take 10. A box of Lemonheads is nothing for my resilient tongue. Knowing that Sour Patch Kids are usually medium on the scale of sourness, I went in hoping for a mellow, but still sparky sour experience, but, alas, came out disappointed. Perhaps there’s a sparky jolt of citric acid somewhere in there, but, overall, these pieces feel about as mild as a jellybean, but how does it deliver on the fruit end of things?

While I can’t confirm it, I hypothesize this Redberry is the closest we’ll ever come to a snozberry: there’s a strong kick of maraschino cherry zing, a little sweetness of strawberry, and an echo of raspberry tartness at the tail end. It’s unashamedly “red” flavor with a slightly metallic aftertaste, but, on the whole, it tasted like Cherry ICEE concentrate. A good first showing. If you ever wished cherry Life Savers and strawberry Starbursts had a tectonic collision, this is the gum for you.

Stride Sour Patch Kids Gum Ninja Turtle Green

Avoiding the trend to mutate green-colored candies into green apple flavor (lookin’ at you, Skittles), Sour Patch left their green lime-flavored and, for better or worse, the little citrus fruit is given its due, starting with a peculiar “household cleaner” flavor that is so often found in limes. It’s shockingly astringent at first before mellowing out into a tangy, but still somewhat bitter citrus profile. The bitterness got the best of me. I tried to keep chewing to see if it might open up into lime’s more sugary qualities, but, alas, the household cleaner taste took over and it ended up tasting like gnawing on a Pledge-soaked rubber tire.

However, not all is lost! One of the many joys involved in Sour Patch consumption is combining the gummy flavors together, which got me thinking: what would happen if I combined the two flavors of gum TOGETHER?

Struck by an acute case of Curiosity, I did just that.

Stride Sour Patch Kids Gum The power of their flavors combine!

Chewed together, the flavor’s about as crazy as a 3rd grade diorama, starting off with a shock of bitter sourness from the lime that lasts for a good two minutes until it mellows into a zingy maraschino-cherry with a hint of citrus. Together, they seem to balance one another out, whistling a tune that tastes quite similar to Sonic’s Cherry Limeade if your soda maker tossed in some extra bitter limes.

Fortunately, the flavor and soft chew of Stride lasts for a good 22 minutes of jaw entertainment so you can chew on your Cherry Limeade for an entire episode of Parks and Recreation if you want. Not bad. Not bad at all.

History is marked with times in which inspiration translates into a new and altogether unique phenomenon: floppy disks inspired USB drives. Hamlet inspired The Lion King. Popcorn inspired popcorn ice cream. And now Sour Patch gummies have become chewy, slightly sour gum.

While a bit too bitter and not as puckeringly sour as one could hope, Stride’s Sour Patch Kids gum delivers an okay showing. Their fruit flavor profiles are spot on, if a little too strong, and they’re even sugar-free, which is great if you have plaque concerns, braces, or are looking to expand your intake of sucralose. I don’t necessarily seeing myself buying them again, but if you like strong cherry flavors, the Redberry’s worth the try. The lime is a little too household cleaner-y for me, but, hey, if that’s your thing, no judgments. You ask me, it’s still better than green apple Skittles. Not that I’m holding a grudge or anything.*

*I’m definitely holding a grudge.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 piece – less than 5 calories, 0 calories from fat, 0 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 0 milligrams of sodium, 1 gram of carbohydrates, 0 gram of dietary fiber, 0 grams of sugars, and 0 grams of protein.)

Item: Stride Sour Patch Kids Gum (Lime and Redberry)
Purchased Price: 99 cents each (on sale)
Size: 1 pack/16 pieces
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 2 out of 10 (Lime)
Rating: 5 out of 10 (Redberry)
Pros: Redberry tastes like Cherry ICEE concentrate. Lime eventually takes on more citrus juiciness. Together, they taste like a Cherry Limeade. Sugar-free. Chew time lasts for full half-hour TV show. 3rd grade dioramas.
Cons: Bitter metallic aftertaste. Sourness is mild. Lime started off tasting like a Pledge-soaked rubber tire. My grudge against green apple Skittles. Overused reference to Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret.

REVIEW: Wrigley’s 5 Focus Gum (Peppermint & Spearmint)

Wrigley's 5 Focus (Peppermint & Spearmint)

If I was a gamer, playing Call of Duty in multiplayer mode with a bunch of foul-mouthed teenagers who also spew a lot of racist slurs, I wouldn’t need to chew on Wrigley’s 5 Focus Gum to concentrate. I’d just use the rage I feel towards those ignorant little cocks and direct it towards the game.

Or, if I was a programmer writing code for my own photo sharing website or iPhone game, I wouldn’t need “An Eye-Opening” peppermint or spearmint gum to get me to stay on track. All I need to maintain my attention is a Photoshopped desktop image of me in a hot tub filled with money and women to remind me of all the money and women I’ll have when I become a millionaire from my website that allows visitors to upload captioned pictures of manatees or my iPhone game called Cut the Fruit with Angry Friends.

So how does Wrigley’s 5 Focus Gum help one focus?

It does so with what I would usually consider a distraction — an intense burst of mint. Well, maybe “intense” is too strong of a word. While it almost cleared my sinuses and made my mouth feel like I was sucking on a can of menthol shaving cream, my oral cavity has been mintspanked harder by the much more curiously stronger Altoid.

The mint burst from the gum lasts for about 30 seconds and lingers at an above average intensity for about two minutes. After that, the gum becomes regular peppermint and spearmint gum. The cooling sensation does hang around in the mouth for 15-20 minutes, so if you’re planning to make out with someone, that is your time frame.

But does Wrigley’s 5 Focus Gum help one focus?

Yes, but not for the reason you think. There are studies out there that show chewing on any gum helps with concentration. So you could chew on a piece of Fruit Stripe gum and then spit it out 15 seconds later when the flavor runs out. Or you could chew on any of the other Wrigley’s 5 Gum flavors that aren’t named Focus to help you focus.

Wrigley's 5 Focus (Peppermint & Spearmint) Closeup

But, as I mentioned earlier, I feel the burst of mint is more of a distraction. Well, for me it is. I don’t know if I’m the only person who does this, but whenever I pop something into my mouth that’s minty and clears my sinuses, I like to breathe through my nose in order to feel the cooling sensation. I’m more focused on that than whatever task might be in front of me.

Overall, I can’t help but think that Wrigley’s 5 Focus Gum, which comes in pellet form, is pretty much just Wrigley’s Eclipse Gum in a black resealable pouch. Sure, it’ll help freshen my breath and it may help me concentrate, but if I was a blogger who ran a semi-popular junk food site, I think a deadline and some caffeine would do a better job at helping me keep focus.

(Nutrition Facts – 2 pieces – 5 calories, 0 grams of fat, 0 milligrams of sodium, 2 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of sugar, 2 grams of sugar alcohol, and 0 grams of protein.)

Item: Wrigley’s 5 Focus Gum (Peppermint & Spearmint)
Purchased Price: $1.89
Size: 15 pieces
Purchased at: Safeway
Rating: 5 out of 10 (Peppermint)
Rating: 5 out of 10 (Spearmint)
Pros: Freshens breath. Lingering mint. Cool black resealable pouch. Getting rich from an iPhone game. Chewing gum can help with concentration. Getting rich from a popular manatee meme website. Fruit Stripe gum for 15 seconds.
Cons: Intense minty burst feels more like a distraction. Not nearly as intense as Altoids. Gimmicky. It seems like they took Eclipse gum and put it in pouches. Gamers who spew racist slurs. Fruit Stripe gum after 15 seconds.