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

Written by | January 21, 2014

Topics: 2 Rating, 5 Rating, Gum, Stride

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.

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

Written by | August 22, 2013

Topics: 5 Rating, Gum, Wrigley

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.

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REVIEW: Extra Dessert Delights Raspberry Vanilla Cupcake Gum

Written by | May 8, 2013

Topics: 6 Rating, Extra, Gum

Extra Dessert Delights Raspberry Vanilla Cupcake Gum

The time my dad gave me a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle costume, I marveled at my plastic mask and thought, Whoa! I’m really a kick-butt, justice-fighting transmuted turtle! Four and a half minutes later, as the tight, thigh-hugging spandex of the costume cut off my circulation, it struck me: Where would I train? How could I keep it from mom? Would I be able to speak in turtle? How would I fight crime in spandex?!

Yes, dear readers, it was here, at the cusp of my 4-year-old birthday, that I recognized just how many elements there are to juggle as a hunchbacked reptile whose sole aim in life is to stop crime from a major metropolitan sewer system.

In a similar fashion, there are lots of elements one must juggle when dealing with a raspberry cupcake: fluffy cake, floofy icing, [oftentimes] gooey jelly insides, and, every now and then, some coconut flakes are all flyin’ everywhere. If cakes had monikers, the raspberry cupcake would be called Goofball Magoo: it’s kinda awkward and, at the same time, a bit ingenious.

However, if you’re running all about, those mini cakes prove themselves tough to transport and downright hazardous to those pants you just washed. Luckily, Extra noticed that there’s a hole in the bucket of the world for people who wanted a less chaotic raspberry vanilla cupcake experience and they’re now offering said flavor to their ever-expanding line of Dessert Delights Gum and I’m one eager human to jump on the bandwagon to see how it is.

Extra Dessert Delights Raspberry Vanilla Cupcake Gum 2

I already appreciate this gum. Just look at that unassuming aluminum wrapper, that trademark cornstarch dust. Classic.

Before I even chew, I gotta say that Wrigley’s did a swell job mimicking the raspberry-vanilla scent. The stick has a tart, artificial raspberry aroma that heightens into a straight-up sweet smell with a hint of… is that vanilla pudding powder? Sure smells like it.

Much like other forms of fruity gum, the smell of these chewy wedges permeates anything within a 2-foot radius. Depending on where you stow your 15 pieces, this could work for or against you. If you want your apartment to smell good, it could replace your Febreze air freshener. However, if you put said gum beside your tuna salad sandwich for lunch, you may have disaster on your hands. Please, avoid disaster.

The flavor of the gum itself is mild, sweet, and slightly tart, like a raspberries ‘n crème candy in chewy form: cool, sweet vanilla comes at the forefront while the raspberry comes in on the tail end and serves as the main highlight. The artificial-ness of the raspberry is there, but in a pleasant, floral way, leaning almost to the edge of a raspberry Fruit Loops without being too sweet, although it got a little overwhelming and even a little bitter as I came to the end of my brief chewing venture.

And it’s a brief venture, indeed. In a similar style to its Dessert Delight cousins, this stick of gum fails to sustain its flavor for long. After 3 sticks, I clocked it at an average of 6 minutes and 43 seconds before the flavor faded and, not 2 more minutes later, it turned into a Goodyear tire. Not exactly stunning, but not the worst I’ve had either.

The aftertaste lingers for a bit, which is something I could’ve lived without, but it was at least 97.6 percent better than morning breath.

Extra Dessert Delights Raspberry Vanilla Cupcake Gum 3

Like most sugarfree gum, there’s no nutritional harm or hindrance here. Aspartame and sucralose combine their powers to form a mighty low five-calorie chewy plank. Unfortunately, there’s no vitamin C in artificial raspberries, so you’re losing that in the switch from raspberry cupcake to gum. Fortunately, I have no fear of scurvy.

Life is full of little surprises. Like finding a twenty-dollar bill in the dryer. Or getting a double batch of Twix at the vending machine. Or learning that your pet frog can tap dance. While not as cool as a cavorting amphibian, I’d say this gum counts as a happy surprise. I had fairly low expectations of this gum and was pleased to find it’s no fuss, comes in an easy-to-close package, and makes my breath a little happier. While not something I’ll buy too often, it’s a pretty good stick of something fruity to gnaw on.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 stick – 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, 0 milligrams of potassium, 2 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of dietary fiber, 0 grams of sugars, 2 grams of sugar alcohol, and 0 grams of protein.)

Other Extra Dessert Delights Raspberry Vanilla Cupcake reviews:
Gum Connoisseur
Sometimes Foodie

Item: Extra Dessert Delights Raspberry Vanilla Cupcake Gum
Purchased Price: 99 cents
Size: 15 sticks
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: Subtle Fruit Loops raspberry-ness. Vanilla tastes like Jell-O pudding. Classic aluminum wrapper. Only 5 calories. 96.7 percent better than morning breath. Goofball Magoo. Finding 20 bucks in the dryer.
Cons: Not a cupcake. Raspberry flavor can linger too long. Turns into a chewy tire after about 8 minutes and 43 seconds. Artificial raspberries don’t have vitamin C. The complexities of being an anthropomorphic hunchbacked reptile.

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REVIEW: Extra Dessert Delights Lemon Square Gum

Written by | February 19, 2013

Topics: 7 Rating, Extra, Gum

Extra Dessert Delights Lemon Square Gum,jpg

I’m starting to believe Extra Gum has ambitions to expand their Dessert Delights collection to include every single dessert ever made. This, of course, would result in thousands of different gum flavors, resulting in Extra having to open Walmart-sized stores filled with nothing but sugarfree gum sticks. I can’t decide if that would be awesome or a sign of impending dystopia.

If such a Gumopolis existed, I believe their new Lemon Square flavor would be found in the “Bake Sale” aisle, because lemon squares just seem like one of those items that show up between the homemade brownies and cupcakes at bake sales, with all the moms standing behind the table pretending like they’re not secretly competing to see who will buy the most of whose sugary treats.

I feel like the only other place you’ll commonly find lemon bars are at potlucks, possibly sitting next to a suspiciously empty dish of lutefisk. Lutefisk does not fit in with my vision of a Dessert Delights megastore, however. Not unless you consider lutefisk a dessert, in which case, I am terrified of you.

Please don’t take these remarks as disparaging to the lemon square; if you’ve never had one before, it’s kind of like a lemon meringue pie minus the meringue – flaky crust with a slightly tart lemon custard and usually a good sprinkling of confectioner’s sugar on top. I love the sour tartness of lemons and the consistency of custard, so lemon squares are right up my alley.

On their website, Extra describes their gum as “Refreshingly sweet and tart to the tongue, Lemon Square is the go-anywhere twist on the delicious dessert classic.”

While this gets the point across nicely, I thought I’d spice things up and make my own marketing pitch for it:

“Have you been craving a lemony dessert, but aren’t allowed within 500 feet of a school and thus can’t attend a bake sale? Is that blinking box strapped to your ankle preventing you from going to your local bakery? If so, you’re in luck with Extra Dessert Delights Lemon Square Gum! Our gum captures the taste of this classic homemade treat without you having to endure the glares of the entire PTA.”

I think it gets the point across rather nicely. Give me a call, Wrigley; I’ll work for spec.

Extra Dessert Delights Lemon Square Gum Closeup,jpg

So, how does this gum stand up to its real-life counterpart?

Well, gum ain’t ice cream, so it’s kinda hard to throw in some crust-flavored swirls or lemon custard like Ben & Jerry’s would. That said, I thought Extra did a pretty bang-up job on their Lemon Squares. As promised, the gum smells and tastes both sweet and tart, but strikes a nice balance between the two. The sweetness doesn’t drown out the lemon flavor, and the tartness doesn’t leave your cheeks puckered. Like a well-made lemon square, the citrus flavor shines without being overwhelming.

Unfortunately, Lemon Square Extra falls victim to a common gum phenomenon – it had great flavor at first, but that faded quickly, leaving me with a gum that tasted like aspartame and the faintest hint of lemon. Quietly ignoring the fact that I have too much time on my hands, I popped a stick in my mouth and set the stopwatch on my phone – it took exactly 2 minutes and 38 seconds for this gum to turn from “yum” to “blah”.

Extra Dessert Delights Lemon Square Gum could have gone wrong several ways – too tart, too sugary-tasting, too similar to chewing lemon zest – but it struck a nice balance between sweet and citrus. I’m not a big fan of fruit-flavored gum, but this one struck all the right notes and pleased my palate. Until 2:38, when it went from pleasantly-flavored to a bad aftertaste. I would have preferred if it had just faded into tasting like nothing, but thus is the curse of sugarfree gum. You enjoy it, that enjoyment turns into boredom, and you spit it out. Or stick it under something. Or swallow it, where it will then stay in your stomach for seven years. Hey, I’m not going to judge your gum-disposal preferences.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 stick – 5 calories, 0 grams of fat, 0 milligrams of sodium, 2 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of sugar and 0 grams of protein.)

Other Extra Dessert Delights Lemon Square Gum reviews:
TV and Gum Are Awesome
Snack Love
The Mind of a Big Cat

Item: Extra Dessert Delights Lemon Square Gum
Purchased Price: 99 cents
Size: 15 sticks/pack
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Nice balance of sweet and tart. Gumopolis. Mild yet refreshing lemon flavor. Gum lasting seven years in your stomach is a myth.
Cons: Good flavor only lasts two minutes and 38 seconds. Obscure King of the Hill lutefisk references. Aspartame aftertaste. People who stick their ABC gum under things.

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REVIEW: Stride iD Spearmint Gum

Written by | October 8, 2012

Topics: 6 Rating, Gum, Stride

Stride iD Spearmint

Superego. Ego. Id.

According to the haunting wisps of memory remaining from that Psych. 101 class, a punk named Sigmund Freud proposed that these were the three basic levels of consciousness. The ego and superego were said to be little filters for our subconscious, making logical boundaries around impulses and memories, which is dandy if you want to live a safe, secure life, but, really, where’s the fun in logic?

That’s where the id comes in. The id is like the Elmo that walks around Times Square: it doesn’t make much sense, but it doesn’t have to. That’s why we love it. Theoretically, it exists solely on the drive of spontaneity, impulse, and creativity, and, now Stride’s encouraging us to dance about with that kooky subconscious through “iD,” a gum aimed to encourage folks to embrace their identity. Curious of how this might be achieved through a piece of gum, I sought it out.

First off, this packaging harkens recognition. The container itself is ever-so-slightly thinner than regular Stride gum, which gives it that “We just upgraded your iPod” feel. Despite this trim-n-slim package, you still get the same whopping 14 pieces of gum you would in regular Stride.

Stride iD Spearmint Dancers

And just look at that post-unwrapped cover. It makes me wanna embrace my identity. If a two-dimensional man with a fuzzy hat on his head can embrace his creativity, why shouldn’t I? It made me laugh, and, in a world filled with bats and taxes and canned green beans, more laughter is not only called for, but much needed. Supposedly, each package is equipped with a different little work of art, all depicting equally peculiar, quirky scenarios, so laugh on, gum-chewers.

And, just when you think they’ve thrown in every bit of packaging confetti possible, they throw in a pair of magnets.

Yes, folks, magnets.

Stride on Refrigerator!

This means you could stick your pack of gum to your refrigerator (and I know you’ve always wanted to do that…). But what these magnets do best is keep your little 14 sticks nice and snug as a bug in a rug, snapping the package shut so your gum stays buckled in for the long haul. It baffles me in both its simplicity and its brilliance. I call forth a Nobel Prize nomination for the individual responsible for this.

Stride iD Spearmint Closeup

Upon opening a piece, it seems even the gum embraces its own identity as each piece is equipped with a swirly little design to flash about in its big debut.

Having been predisposed to all of this packaging brilliance, my hopes stood on the Mount Kilimanjaro of peaks with anticipatory delight for the chewing to come, so I unwrapped my minty rectangle and gave it a try and…well…

Meh.

It started off with a spearmint fling, and then traversed into a peculiar fruity realm that didn’t suit well for my taste buds. No doubt, the flavor lasted for a long time, but the tropical aftertaste didn’t sit well with me. I tried everything to like it.

Chewing it walking.

Chewing it upside-down.

Chewing it before I brushed my teeth.

Chewing it after I brushed my teeth.

I even chewed it while doing deep-breathing yoga exercises in which I visualized myself enjoying the gum, but, alas, I couldn’t get past that peculiar aftertaste.

Then, I read the ingredient list and there it was:

Partially Hydrogenated Coconut Oil.

(Cue the tuba: Bwa, bwa, bwaaaa)

They say the sound of a crumbling heart is soft and slow, and I swear I heard my own shoved into the mortar and pestle as I read that line. While I don’t see it being particularly necessary, I didn’t mind the, “partially hydrogenated,” part too much. No doubt some of my sturdy lifetime favorites involve it (Pop Tarts, Oreos, Pillsbury biscuits, etc.), but I must confess I’m not aboard the coconut-flavored train. I suspect this may be the very culprit foiling my taste buds.

While I didn’t particularly dig the taste tunes played by this Stride, I appreciate what’s going on with the gum as a whole. It’s got a soft chew, lasts for a good 10-15 minutes, and has the coolest packaging this side of Jupiter.

Plus, at the end of the day, my taste buds are driven by my impulses, which are part of my id. In this, I felt this gum accomplished what it set out to do: celebrate the creative elements of the id, and that, to me, calls forth an above-average rating for the new gum.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 piece – less than 5 calories, 0 grams of fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 0 milligrams of sodium, 1 gram of carbohydrates, 1 gram of sugar alcohol, and less than 0 grams of protein.)

Other Stride iD Spearmint Gum reviews:
Gum Connoisseur

Item: Stride iD Spearmint Gum
Purchased Price: $1.29
Size: 14 pieces
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: Long chewing time. Strong flavor. Swirly designs. Magnets. Laughter. Mount Kilimanjaro. Elmo in Times Square. Tubas.
Cons: Not the best if you don’t like coconut. Partially hydrogenated oil. Haunting memories of Psych. 101. Canned green beans.

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