Friday, January 6, 2012

Vortex: A Chewing Gum Retrospective by Neal Starbird

Vortex is a chewing gum in the 5 line from Wrigley. It is promoted as a "juicy green apple." The first two words are appropriate, but probably more on their own than together. The "apple" is a bit of a stretch. I should say here that I'm not a gum man, so take this for what it's worth. I would say that this gum should be avoided, except that I have found myself encouraging friends and colleagues to try it to great satisfaction, so perhaps you should as well.
The effect of Vortex is fascinating. First there is a flood of fake green apple flavor. Unfortunately, it is sweet like crap wine instead of being in any way tart. I have to admire the folks at Wrigley for being able to squeeze so much flavor into the gum. The flavor of most sugar free gums fades pretty quickly leaving you with a chew toy to gnaw on for a while (did I mention I'm not a gum man?). However, the cloying fauxpple flavor of Vortex just seems infinite with but one minor change. About 10-20 seconds after chewing begins, the original taste moves somewhat to the upstage so that you can receive a full frontal assault of spearmint. You can still definitely taste the lead-off flavor, though, because the spearmint camps out mostly in your nasal cavity while the fauxpple pummels your soft palate.
You probably are thinking "sounds pretty gross, but I'm sure I could get used to it after awhile." That's what I thought too. I believe that is what everyone has thought that I have seen try this product. It's on their faces when they first lift the stick to their lips. "These others are little bitches. I'm the only real man in this room." And then you see the expected look of annoyance at the suitable-only-for-young-children fake apple flavor, and then the tell-tale discomfort as the spearmint gas starts pumping in their sinuses. Then the grimaces as they come to realize the full, discordant cacophony at play in their passageways. They try to tough it out for a few seconds, desperately believing the assault will wane or they will become acclimated to the effects. Finally the panic as they surrender and head for a trash can, or fumble for the original wrapper, desperate to get rid of it and aghast that it could possibly have been released to the public.
After some deliberation, we decided to go with a different gum for this production.

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