Orbit Mist

As promised yesterday (I rearranged things to publish this review two days early; yesterday’s post originally promised the gum review for Friday), I’ve got a new gum review for y’all courtesy of a generous box of free samples from Wrigley. By the way, they called me the wrong name in the form email they sent me, which I found amusing.

Orbit Mist is a new line from Orbit that’s distinguished by its inclusion of “micro-bursts”, which give you a hydrating sensation when the gum is chewed. I’ve never before wished that my chewing gum could be more hydrating, but it seems like a nice enough touch. Orbit Mist currently comes in three flavors, Mango Surf, Watermelon Spring, and Peppermint Spray.


I thought Mango Surf was an interesting flavor choice for a product launch, as it’s not a conventional flavor of gum or candy. The gum is the familiar little rectangle shape that all Orbit gum has, but it’s visibly flecked with the “micro-bursts”. In this case, it’s orange on orange. I appreciated the little design touch of the circles on the wrapper – very mod.

The “micro-bursts” add an initial crunch when you first chew the gum. And I don’t know how they work, but they work. They make the gum incredibly juicy for the first minute or so of chewing, after which the gum mellows into a soft, lightly flavored chew. The mango flavor is pretty impressively authentic at first – they captured that uniquely seedy flavor of mango, especially that of the flesh nearest to the pit- an even as it fades, a light fruity sweetness is maintained for a good chunk of time.


Watermelon Spring is green gum flecked with red “micro-bursts”. It’s surprisingly sour to start. Nothing too intensely puckery, but enough to make you notice. The juicy sourness quickly gives way to a pretty standard artificial watermelon flavor, like that of a watermelon Jolly Rancher. Again, the flavor holds up well enough and lingers as a mellow sweetness.


I started with the two fruit flavored gums, so I was interested as to how the juiciness, expected from fruits, would translate to a peppermint flavor. It’s anticlimactically totally okay and not at all weird.  I did find the “micro-bursts” to be extra crunchy/poppy in this, but it could have been my imagination. The peppermint is freshly minty with just a tinge of sweetness to the finish, and it’s that slight sweetness that lingers in the gum after most of the mint flavor is gone.

All in all, I’m a fan of the “micro-bursts”. Contrary to what Conde Nast Portfolio will tell you, I’m not actually a gum addict, and I gave most of my extra packs away. If I were a gum addict, these would get a higher rating because they’re good, as far as gum goes. I think the fruit ones are worth an OM, while the peppermint gets an O because it’s hard to make peppermint gum exciting. In fact, the Peppermint Spray was about as exciting as peppermint gum can get. I’m hoping that Orbit continues to expand the Mist line to more flavors, especially citrus fruit flavors.

Junior Mints Deluxe

In addition to sponsoring a giveaway, the folks at Tootsie Roll sent me free samples of two of their newer products for a review. Today, we’ll cover the Junior Mints Deluxe or, as I liked to oxymoronically refer to them, giant Junior Mints. A friend joked that they could be called Senior Mints, but those have actually already been made (they were just like Junior Mints but bigger).

The composition of Junior Mints Deluxe is similar to that of Junior Mints, “creamy mints coated in pure dark chocolate.” The Deluxe version, however, was like Junior Mints on steroids: much larger and differently shaped. Junior Mints are ellipsoid shaped (think M&Ms) while Junior Mints Deluxe are dome-shaped molded truffles (think cherry cordials). I appreciate the extra touch of the JM stamp on the top.

Each Junior Mints Deluxe was individually foil-wrapped, so they look like a fancier treat than their more poppable, theater candy counterparts. They’re nice enough for setting out in a candy dish or for casual company. I’m not exactly sure, as I don’t have regular Junior Mints handy for comparison purposes, but I’m pretty sure the dark chocolate shell of the Junior Mints Deluxe is a higher quality chocolate than that of Junior Mints. It’s glossy, well-tempered, and carries a nice snap.

That dark chocolate, however, is pretty overwhelmed by the mint filling. The mint to chocolate ratio of the Junior Mints Deluxe is completely different from regular Junior Mints. In the Deluxe version it’s more of a MINT!!!! to chocolate ratio. I didn’t mind the extra minty flavor because I enjoyed the refreshment, but it may not be for everyone.

The texture of the filling is interesting, as it’s stiff, yet slightly flowy. It held its peaks, but if I left it sitting around for an hour, it would’ve probably oozed everywhere. The texture was also overwhelming in contrast to the snap of the dark chocolate shell, and that was the ratio imbalance that I took issue with. I didn’t mind the extra mintiness, but the extra gooey I could’ve done without.

Overall, a pretty good product that was quickly snapped up by my friends. I’d give it an OM. I won’t go out and buy more for myself anytime soon, but I’ll happily finish the few that I have left. You can check out Cybele’s Candy Blog take on them here.

Paynes Poppets – Mint and Toffee

Poppets are a UK treats that I came across while I was in Cambridge. I’ve seen them in Mint, Toffee and Raisin but didn’t buy the latter as I don’t really like chocolate covered raisins. The Poppets boxes have strangely eye-catching packaging with random remarks on the back. For example, here’s the front of their Mint box:

Okay, gnome, with a fishing pole. Kinda weird. Gets weirder on the back: “Dad always wondered where the fish had disappeared to… Aaahh bless, it must be his age!” The Toffee box has a pail full of sand and with a shovel inside, and the back says, “He still finds sand in his ears… Amazing as it was 3 years ago that we buried him on the beach!” Both boxes end with the tagline, “Remember when?”

Enough about the packaging; how do they taste?

The mint Poppets are a so-so dark chocolate coating around a mildy minty fondant center. The pieces were pseudo-spherical, in that they were round but irregularly shaped. They were slightly refreshing, and that combined with their poppability earns them an OM.

Toffee Poppets are similarly sized and shaped. Unlike the mint Poppets, the toffee ones have a mild milk chocolate coating. The caramel inside is hard and sticky and is pretty good at working its way into your teeth. It starts off super firm, then warms and softens. I liked them. They were like sophisticated Milk Duds, as the caramel had nice dark tones to it. Another OM.

So overall, the Poppets fared decently well. They’re worth an impulse buy at the counter, if you happen to be in the country where they’re sold.

Dove Promises – Dark Chocolate and Dark Chocolate Mint Flavored Caramel

Today’s review is of two Dove chocolates with names that are each a mouthful: Dove’s Silky Smooth Dark Chocolate Promises and Dark Chocolate Mint Flavored Caramel Promises. Dove Promises are individually foil-wrapped squares with a “Promise” written on the inside of the foil, sort of a fortune cookie-type gimmick. Mine came from Candy Yum Yum’s Dove Chocolate Giveaway. First up, the Silky Smooth Dark Chocolate Promises.

I used to have fond memories of Dove chocolates being wonderfully creamy and smooth – silky, in fact. Sadly, the package that I received from Dove contained old, bloomed chocolate, and the bloom really adversely affected the texture. My “silky smooth” Promises were dry and brittle. I know I didn’t pay for the chocolate, and beggars can’t be choosers, but you’d think Dove would try a little harder if they’re giving away chocolate as a promotion.

The Promises are at least nicely sized for chocolate tasting. You can pop the whole thing in your mouth and let it melt on your tongue, or you can chomp it up in two bites. Because mine had bloomed, it didn’t melt very well, so I wasn’t really able to get a nice tongue-coating tasting melt. It tasted mostly of cocoa with a slightly sweet finish. An O.

My Dark Chocolate Mint Flavored Caramel Promises were also bloomed. Sigh. In their case, however, the bloom can’t bear all the blame for the negative review. Why make caramel mint flavored? And then why cover all that weirdness in chocolate? That combination just didn’t work for me. The mint wasn’t very strong, and it was just odd when combined with the sweet caramel. To top it all off, the whole thing left an unpleasant aftertaste. Another O. You can read Cybele’s similar take on them here.

My favorite part about the chocolates were the Promises. I happened to get two rather salacious ones in my tasting: “Naughty can be nice” and “Temptation is fun… giving in is even better.” Dove should gather all of their slightly scandalous Promises and market them for Valentine’s Day or something. If there was a way to tell what the Promises were before you unwrapped them, I could’ve used those chocolates to pick up boys. Then again, the chocolates weren’t that great, so maybe not.

Fox Echo Mint

I picked this up at Sainsbury’s in Cambridge after I read Terry’s review of it on The Chocolate Review, and I wasn’t sorry. I bought them in a pack of six and brought them home to give out as “I remembered you while I was abroad!” gifts. The big six-pack contained six individually wrapped bars, all in posh matte wrappers with an eye-catching black, green, and silver design.

They are billed as “temptingly smooth mint chocolate with a crunchy biscuit base.” Basically, they’re a chocolate cookie base topped with aerated mint chocolate, all covered with milk chocolate. Each bar is imprinted with Fox’s Echo on the top.

The bar has a super strong mint smell, but it doesn’t taste as piercingly minty as its scent would suggest. Think more muted mint chocolate chip ice cream than Altoids or toothpaste. The chocolate cookie base was super crisp, almost a little too crunchy for my taste. The aerated mint chocolate melted creamily and mingled well with the chocolate coating and cookie base. Overall, I felt the bar was a little too sweet. It’s pretty small, and I only ate it about a third at a time. An OM if I were still in England and could buy more.

Ghirardelli Intense Dark Assortment

As I readied to write this post, I discovered that I’ve never formally reviewed any Ghirardelli chocolates on this blog, though I’ve eaten lots of Ghirardelli chocolates in my life. To remedy that, here’s a review of their Intense Dark Assortment.

First up, the Mint Bliss, a 60% cacao. It had a great snap and a creamy and smooth melt. There was just enough mint to make its presence known but not so much that it overwhelmed. And it was a nicely genuine mint flavor, not too toothpastey.  The mint did, however, mostly cover any nuance to the chocolate, but I was okay with that.

The other 60% in the collection was Espresso Escape, dark chocolate with finely ground espresso beans. So finely ground, in fact, that they didn’t affect the texture of the bar at all. I expected dark chocolate with a nice coffee finish. Instead, the chocolate was much more bitter than I thought it would be, and I loved it. It was like eating a dark chocolate espresso bean in smooth chocolate bar form.

Last but not least was a 72% pure chocolate billed as Twilight Delight. It had a dry but smooth melt without any creaminess with a lovely sweet finish.

Overall, I’d give this assortment an OMG, with the Mint and the Espresso as my favorites. Ghirardelli does a great job of making delicious chocolate at affordable prices. And Ghirardelli Square in San Francisco is fun if you ever have the chance to visit – their ice cream sundaes with Ghirardelli chocolate sauce are decadent and divine.

Baskin Robbins Soft Candy

What’s your favorite ice cream flavor? I’m hard pressed to choose just one (I’m a horribly indecisive person), but for me, mint chocolate chip is definitely up there. I used to hate it when the dining halls would put out pistachio ice cream because it was always a dead ringer for Andes mint chocolate chip. I would happily start to scoop myself a dish, only to discover that, blech, it was pistachio. Thus, when Baskin Robbins offered to send me samples of some of their latest candies, I was happy to see that they included a package mint chocolate chip soft candy.


The mint chocolate chip soft candy came individually wrapped in a pink foil bag in a cardboard, movie candy-like box. I could smell the mintiness through the silver wrapper. The candies were shaped in little rectangular blocks, slightly smaller than Hi-Chew blocks. Volume-wise, I’d guesstimate them to be about the same as Starbursts. The wrappers were slick with grease when I picked them up, and unwrapping them revealed the shiny, greasy, unnaturally green Baskin Robbins candy within. The greasiness was off-putting, and the color was slightly alarming, but in retrospect, mint chocolate chip ice cream is also pretty unnaturally colored.

The candy had a soft, non-sticky, vaguely grainy chew. I think the greasiness strongly contributed to the non-sticky factor. Taste-wise, the candy was quite minty and fake chocolatey. I thought it did a great job of capturing mint chocolate chip ice cream, since the chocolate chips in the ice cream are chilled and in such small pieces that they don’t quite taste like normal chocolate does. Despite the greasiness, I rather liked these guys. I’ll never stick them in my pocket or purse for fear of leaving a grease stain, and I’m not compulsively polishing them off, but I think I’ll keep the rest of the box for myself. If they weren’t so greasy, I’d give them an OM, but because they are, they get an O.


In addition to mint chocolate chip, I also got a box of very berry strawberry soft candy. Though the boxes were the same size on the outside, the strawberry one was heavier and had more candies inside(my mint chocolate chip box was only 2 oz, unlike the 3.1 oz box in the professional PR photos from Baskin Robbins). I guess the strawberry ones are cheaper to make, somehow.

The strawberry candies were the same size, had the same texture, and were just as slick with grease as the mint chocolate chip ones. They also had a much stronger smell (of artificial strawberry rather than of mint, of course) that was immediately perceptible upon opening the bag. And they tasted like they smelled – of super sweet, super artificially fruity strawberry ice cream. I don’t really like strawberry ice cream, so I was pretty ambivalent about the Baskin Robbins candy version, and they get an O.

Elsewhere in the candyblogosphere, Monica tried these and their sugar-free counterparts at CandyAddict, and Cybele tasted the mint chocolate chip.

Nestle Munchies and After Eight

Nestle Munchies and After 8’s are UK treats that are similar to more well-known and more widely available candies. The ones I bought are unique because they’re cube shaped and come in a roll/log, making them more portable and convenient. They’re great for sharing, for portion control, for stretching out your snacking by forcing you to slow down, and for saving for later.

Munchies are pretty much just like Twix; they’re cookie (biscuit) and caramel all covered in milk chocolate, though in the Munchies the division between the two is vertical rather than horizontal. I thought the Munchies actually surpassed Twix because the Munchies are easily poppable. There’s nothing exceptionally special about any of the ingredients in the Munchies, but then again, there’s nothing that special about the quality of what goes in a Twix either. It’s the perfect combination of salty/sweet/textures that makes Twix so great. I give Munchies an OM. They’re cheap, inelegant, and tasty, and I wish they were available in the U.S.

After Eight mints come in many sizes; the cubes, on the outside, are extremely similar in appearance to the Munchies. See for yourself:

Basically identical on the surface (same ridges, same grain/bloom showing the poor quality of the chocolate), except that After Eights are dark chocolate instead of milk. They’re filled with a creamy, minty fondant thing. Basically, they’re like conveniently sized York Peppermint Patties, only not as refreshingly minty, so I only give them an O. Also like the Munchies, nothing special, but still pretty good.

Crispy Cat Candy Bars

Crispy Cat bills itself as “the first candy bar made with organic ingredients” and currently comes in three flavors: mint coconut, toasted almond, and roasted peanut.I was lucky enough to get a free sample of each for review purposes. The Crispy Cat candy bars boast an impressive list of credentials; in addition to containing 70% organic ingredients, they’re dairy free, gluten free, non gmo, without preservatives, vegan, and kosher.

These arrived on a warm day, and my New Haven apartment doesn’t have air conditioning, so I stuck them in the fridge to keep them from melting. On the wrapper, a little cartoon version of Joel Schantz, the owner, exhorts you to “Try ’em cold!” so I tried the Toasted Almond straight out of the fridge. It was super dense in its chilled state, and when hardened, the almond bits and crispy rice lost some of their nutty flavor. I liked it better when I let it warm up to room temperature, where it became softer and more pliable (though the texture of the bar also became a bit grittier). Then the rice crisps’ flavor became more noticeable and appreciable. In both temperature states, the thin chocolate layer wasn’t much to crow about.

The Roasted Peanut was quite similar to the Toasted Almond. I first tried it at room temperature. The nuttiness of the peanuts really came through, so I buy the roasted moniker. Here the chocolate layer was more present – I think the bar was less high than the almond version, which may have made for a higher chocolate to filling ratio – and left a slightly too sweet finish. The press release I received claimed that the Roasted Peanut and Toasted Almond tasted similar to Snickers. When the bars are at room temperature, I would disagree with that, as the Crispy Cats lack caramel, which is a big part of Snickers. But when I stuck the Roasted Peanut in the fridge, it became more Snickers-like. Or at least more chilled-Snickers-like. The rice crisps lost their airiness and somehow took on a surprising resemblance to rock-hard caramel in both texture and flavor. A glance through the ingredients showed that organic molasses was a rice crisp ingredient, which solves that mystery.


I liked the Mint Coconut Crispy Cat much better than its two counterparts. That same press release said that it would be reminiscent of a Girl Scout Thin Mint. Again, I disagree, but this time I’m going to do Crispy Cat one better. The Mint Coconut is like the love child of a Thin Mint and a Caramel Delight. The mint and coconut flavors were both light, yet just present enough, at least on the first bite. After that first bite, when the taste buds are a bit inured to the flavors, the successive bites are less exciting, but still pretty good. This bar was soft and melted at room temperature while the other two held firm, probably because all the coconut in this bar gave it a rather frighteningly high saturated fat count (9 g, 45% of your RDA). I chose to eat this at the rate of about a bite a day in an attempt to spread out the saturated fat splurge.

As candy bars, these don’t quite fit the bill, for they contain such a thin layer of chocolate and are so chock full of wholesome that they make me think of energy bars or meal replacement bars (though these days, the distinction between those and candy bars can be hazy; usually it’s the meal replacement bars that are too much like candy bars to be healthy). I’d consider chomping one of these in place of my usual Clif Bar. As a candy bar, the two nut varieties gets an O while the Mint Coconut gets an OM.

Crispy Cat’s mantra of “sustainability, health, and wellness” is clearly defined in their product, and they make a sweet splurge that’s not as bad for you, or for the earth, as traditional candy bars.

Chocolate Mints Roundup

Chocolate and mint is a classically delicious combination. I bet the Girl Scouts owe their continued existence to the continued financial support of Thin Mint sales. I’ve already reviewed quite a few chocolate and mint candies on the site. Here are three more.

Hershey’s Mint Truffle Kisses

Yet another variety of Kiss from Hershey’s (excellent photos of the lineup here), this time a molded chocolate shell with a mint truffle filling. The mint filling was soft and only lightly minty. There’s not much of a mint finish, but it’s there. I’d prefer more mintiness, so an O.

Andes Mints

In my mind, Andes mints are the classic chocolate mint. As a kid, the shiny foil wrappers made them seem super fancy, and the mints within were such a treat. Now that I’ve revisited them as an older candy eater, I was surprised at how light the mintiness was. I guess it seemed stronger while I was a kid. They were duskier than the Mint Truffle Kisses and had a crisp snap. An O.

Zachary’s Thick Mints

I’d never heard of Zachary Thick Mints until I stole this one from my friend’s I-banking gift basket. The wrapper says it’s “real chocolate and cool, creamy peppermint.” It’s quite similar to a York Peppermint Patty, only smaller and thicker.

The mint paste inside was thick and only minty in the finish. I also found it rather salty. An O, as it’s too weak in mintiness for my sake.

Basically, all three of these chocolate/mint combinations were too tepid for my taste. Give me richer chocolate and more powerful mint flavors, and then we’ll talk.