Saturday, September 13, 2008
Clorets XP Original Mint
There is a lot of gum on the Japanese market and I've sampled a bit of it. On the whole, I'm not a big gum chewer as I value my teeth and I don't have bad breath. I know the latter is true because I occasionally verify this fact with my husband when I get paranoid.
A few years ago, a Xylitol craze started in Japan and a plethora of candies and gum were marketed loudly trumpeting the showcase ingredient. Xylitol is a sweetener which reduces plaque on teeth. The Clorets XP sugarless gum, of course, contains Xylitol in addition to a slew of other chemicals including aspartame and maltitol. Maltitol is an artificial sweetener renowned for its ability to move bowels. You don't want to chew too much gum or consume too much candy with it or you'll be enjoying some Ex-lax moments. Aspartame is sold in the U.S. as "Equal" sweetener and can cause headaches or other issues with some people. All in all, this gum is quite the cocktail of sweeteners and artificial ingredients.
This particular gum was being given away free around Shinjuku and my husband was handed a sample pack with two pieces. The center is your usual bit of chewy gum and the outside is a shiny candy shell. If you give it a hard sniff, you get a vague whiff of mint. If you bite into it, you get an overpowering and extremely medicine-like influx of spearmint flavor. For the first minute or so, it is extremely unpleasantly powerful on the tongue and the minty vapors go write up your nasal passages and flare into your nose.
After about a minute of chewing, it mellows out to a less nasty taste but is still very strong. It takes at least 20 minutes before the flavor noticably fades. One of the little pictures on the paper attached to the sample packet shows people saying it's "long lasting". This is definitely true. The flavor in this gum lasts much longer than any gum I've ever chewed in my life. I guess that the "benefit" of the overpowering start is that it lasts a long time.
This long-lasting flavor is supposedly the result of "flavor encapsulation". The leaflet with the sample says there is 2.5 times more mint flavor in this version of Clorets XP than the original version. This is a claim I actually believe after biting into a piece for the first time. The ad also mentions that there is a contest in which 30 gifts worth 2,000 yen each will be given away at various locations around Tokyo as part of the campaign. Oddly, it also recommends you visit YouTube and type in the word "Clorets" in Japanese (クロレッツ). Are Japanese people really likely to go look up a commercial on YouTube?
I would never buy this gum because it's all a bit too much for me and I'm no fan of spearmint or gum. However, if you can't brush your teeth or are worried about your breath after a spicy meal, this gum would definitely go a long way toward helping you not offend the people around you. I know there are several people I encounter regularly who I'd dearly love to encourage to use of this gum.