Wrigley’s 5 gum showed up out of nowhere in 2007, and has quickly become a fixture on convenience store candy racks. The party kicked off with peppermint Cobalt and spearmint Rain. After that, a wealth of other flavours popped up, mostly derivatives of standard gum flavours, from cinnamon (Flare) to bubblegum (Zing).
The reason for 5’s success is simple enough: It does what other gums do, but it does it better. The flavour is intense, it doesn’t fade quickly, and it holds up to a lot of chewing without falling apart. Plus, the packaging is compact and easy to slip into a bag (or purse) without spilling all over.
The new “React” flavours – there’s a mint one and a fruit one – are, if you can grasp this, derivatives of pre-existing 5 gum flavours. The fruit React is a combo of Elixir (berry) and Lush (tropical) that leans toward berry, and the mint React is mostly Solstice (a glorified wintermint), with a touch of Cobalt (a really good, juicy peppermint).
React mint is like a more intense Solstice without the initial warming sensation. It tingles in your mouth like toothpaste, neutralizing any lingering lunch breath as you chew. The initial flavour is very strong, but the gum retains some taste as you keep chewing.
There are gummy little flavour crystals in there, messing with the texture. Maybe I’m crazy, but I also keep tasting a tiny amount of coconut somewhere in there. Tanning lotion coconut, not coconut-coconut.
All in all, it’s an impressive gum. It’s wintermint, taken to extremes. I like it more than Solstice, but not quite as much as Cobalt, which doesn’t leave my taste buds numb after chewing a single piece.
RATINGS AND DETAILS
Cost: About $2 per pack of 15 sticks.
Value for cash money: Great. Each piece lasts a long time, and one piece is enough to thoroughly freshen your breath. Unless you just ate a whole raw onion.
Availability: Everywhere I go, there it is.
Nutrition?: Only 5 (how about that) calories per stick. It’s loaded with artificial sweeteners, so if you’re not cool with that, steer clear.
Vegetarian friendly?: Contains gelatin, so nope.
Pro tip: Once you open the pack, take the first piece from the middle section. It’ll make the pack easier to close.
Extra points for presentation: The gum is black, as are the shimmering glossy/matte wrappers. It’s a badass sugar-free gum, the kind of thing a dentist wearing a leather jacket would give you.
The verdict: Nothing new, but still very good. When I’m not in the mood for Cobalt 5, it’s a good alternative.