SNACK CRATE CANADA: Thrills Chewing Gum

This is the first review in a one-off bonus series covering the items in a Snack Crate subscription box, which found its way to my parent's mailbox. For more details on this, check out the introductory post.

The packaging of Thrills chewing gum, complete with the "It still tastes like soap!" slogan
"It still tastes like soap!" is the slogan?! Count me in!

This is a Canadian chiclet gum that, at quick glance, looks like any other pack of chiclet gum (although it's in some very thin packaging compared to most American brands). What really got me excited, though, was the gum's insane tagline which, as you can clearly see, is “It still tastes like soap!” Wait...what? Why would a company actually proudly tout that their product tastes like complete shit? My wife had to dig in first, but tapped out before she could even put the piece in her mouth, her face contorted in a frozen state of disgust after literally just biting down on it. “Oh my God, it's awful!” she declared, before continuing: “It tastes like old lady perfume that's been soaking on a cotton pad!”

After her rotten experience, she looked up the gum online, and discovered that the company that manufactures this (previously O-Pee-Chee, but now none other than the Tootsie Roll Company of Canada thanks to Nestle's acquisition of them in the late 1980's) originally intended this to taste like rosewater. However, when consumers immediately starting comparing the flavor of this to soap, they didn't decide to drop it, or go back to the drawing board to reformulate it; rather, they rolled with the negative publicity, slapping the “It still tastes like soap!” slogan on the packaging, while apparently continuing to manufacture it using the same exact recipe. There's just something about that decision that's both refreshingly brilliant, and completely stupid; still, they must sell enough of it to keep it going after all these years, even if it is almost entirely derived from curiosity seekers looking to see what chewing on a soap bar might taste like. (NOTE: I've had enough experience chewing on soap bars as a kid to know that this gum is highly preferred; maybe that's why I didn't find it so gross, haha.)

These are the kind of moments that most people would shy away from, but I gotta be honest: I was only more excited to see what it was about. Without hesitation, I shoved the whole mangled, tooth-marked piece of gum in my mouth, and was immediately met with a very perfumey taste, not unlike my wife's succinct, all-too-accurate description. However, I didn't find it revolting so much as...fascinating. While the taste does hit strong notes of perfume, it thankfully omits the disgusting “straight alcohol” taste of actual sprayables (we've all ingested some at some point or another, I'm sure), which just leaves a flowery, sweet taste. Again, it's not something I would consider “good”, but it's not as bad as chugging a bottle of actual perfume, or even as bad as taking a bite of soap, as the packaging would have you believe.

It starts off pretty strong, but by the three-minute mark, either my tastebuds had gotten more acclimated to the weirdness, or the flavor strength had completely dipped down to more manageable levels, as it just became a lightly-sweetened, though still bizarre, mess. Around the ten-minute mark, the flavor was gone entirely, which was a rather succinct, disappointing end to the experience. I would never seek this out to buy online (thanks to shipping costs), but I'd probably pick up a pack if I ever saw one in person, if for no other reason than to share it with everyone I know. Hell, whether you actually like the taste, or see it as a complete failure, I gotta give it points for at least being completely different in a sea of cringe-inducing familiarity.

And that deserves at least some kind of credit...right?

RATING: 5.5/10. The flavor isn't as gross as the packaging would have you believe (at least, to me; my wife had a totally different opinion), but it's also not very good; regardless, the gum's most egregious offense is the rather weak 10-minute chew time, before the flavor essentially disappears. Still, worth trying as a curiosity.