I can’t really pinpoint why, but when I’m at work, I chew gum all day. I originally attributed it as an alternative to smoking (my mother quit years of tobacco abuse cold turkey by substituting gum, so this is probably where I got the idea), but I don’t smoke all that much, and only get cravings to do so on the rare occasions I drink heavily. So in other words, whether I chew gum or not, the thought of smoking rarely crosses my mind.
This introduction was not meant to reveal my occasional smoking and drinking habits, but rather to explain that chewing gum is actually a pretty big part of my life. I always make sure I have some on hand to bring with me to work, and on the rare occasions I forget, I feel naked. My brand of choice is generally Wrigley’s Doublemint, but every once in a while I like to try something new, so that my main choice doesn’t get old, and in the off chance I might be missing something that’s even better. So on a recent trip to Aldi, I picked up a three-pack of their Arctic Mint Chewing Gum to see what it was all about. Some direct notes on the experience follow:
1-5 seconds: I crack into the piece and start to chew. The flavor is pretty strong and tastes pretty good.
6-15 seconds: Whoa! Mint overload! Now, the flavor has crossed the boundary into bitter; all of a sudden, this experience has turned not-so-enjoyable.
15-30 seconds: The flavor once again dies down to roughly what it was around the first five seconds. The lingering effects of the mint burst are still contained in the mouth, and it results in a “just brushed” kind of feeling. This can come in handy when you’ve just downed a tuna sandwich, or ate a whole onion.
31 seconds to 30 minutes: The flavor gradually starts to lose its power, and also tends to become more “medicine-y” as it wears on. Generally around the 30-minute mark, it’s time to spit it out and replace it with a new piece.
As you can see, it’s definitely a strong piece of gum, but something isn’t quite right with the flavor. Even once it dies down, it’s still more bitter than anything, and the fact it reminds me of medicine definitely isn’t a good thing. The one positive about its strength is that there is no doubt it will cover up the flavor to anything you’ve eaten, so it couldn’t hurt to pop one of these in before a date, or another situation where you don’t want to run the risk of offending someone with foul-smelling breath. The “fresh mouth” feeling also lasts a little while after you spit it out, which is another plus.
But I’m a little disappointed that its flavor runs out so quick. Although thirty minutes seems like a decent length of time, I’m a marathon-chewer, and can get over an hour with the same piece of gum in other brands. In fact, it seems like just about all ‘major brands’ of gum these days have much longer-lasting flavor, making this gum almost obsolete. And in what can only be chalked up as a matter of personal preference, I always tear pieces of ‘stick gum’ in half, thus effectively doubling the amount of gum and flavor (I tend to get two hours of chew time per stick of Doublemint in this manner). But since the Excitemint brand only offers “chiclet” style gum, in which the pieces are fairly small to begin with, doing so is rather impossible.
Overall: 6/10. Did you just down a tuna sandwich and need to cover up your breath fast? This gum definitely has you covered, but at the expense of flavor, which comes off as a little too “medicine-y” and bitter. The lingering “fresh breath” aftertaste also lasts a bit longer than most other gum brands, and makes you feel like it’s still working even after it’s been spit out. But for a casual chewer like me, this gum is just too intense to chew on a daily basis, and the flavor runs out much quicker than most other brands.