Saturday, September 29, 2012


My wife does this thing where she gets companies to send her little product samples for free and she sends them reviews of those products. However, since she doesn't know how to write, I actually write the reviews. Today she handed me a box of Ice Breakers Duo mints for me to review. I'm actually pretty happy with what I wrote, so I figured I'd share it here as well...

I don't like mints. It's important that I preface with that statement so you can understand where I'm coming from here. It's not that I'm against the concept of mints nor do I harbor any manner of grudge against them for some past transgressions. Mints didn't tease me in grammar school. They didn't rear-end my car on the highway. I'm just not a fan of mint in general. Even when served in the form of ice cream with chocolate chips or when delivered to my front door in cookie form by a young girl raising money for her "den." (On both occasions the inclusion of chocolate is a noble gesture, but I'm afraid it remained overpowered by the mint.)

I simply find the flavor of mint aesthetically displeasing. The air of minty freshness it releases chokes me.

So you can imagine my reaction upon receipt of a box of mints in the post. Is there an opposite to elation? Apathy, perhaps? Needless to say, I wasn't interested in trying some new mints. My wife assured me, however, that these mints were somehow different. They were in some way "fruity, not minty." First of all, if that's the case then they're not in fact "mints." They're... "fruits"? No, clearly not. That name has been taken. Something else, perhaps.

But the package clearly says "mints" upon it. The term is downplayed, to be certain, found just beneath the phrase "sugar free" (which also doesn't instill much confidence in me, truth be told). The packaging is also clearly of the "mints" variety. A small plastic cylinder, blue and white primarily, with various ice-inspired designs to convey a feeling of coldness... All features one would expect from mints. But central to the label and more prominent than the word "mint" was the word "strawberry."

Surely, said I, surely that is some gimmicky apparatus. Let me see then what thereat is and this mystery explore. Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore. Tis a mint and nothing more.

I'll be honest with you, or at least as honest as I can be in anonymous internet written form. It's good. I dare say it's not a mint at all. It's a fruit. (No, that name's been taken. The product clearly needs better marketing. We should brainstorm product names on the back of a pub napkin someday.) Well, it's half-fruit. The other half is auspiciously referred to as "cool." Therein lies the marketing, I suppose. It's not a mint, it's a "cool." At least in part.

The overall sensation providing the aftertaste from the entire experience isn't quite as overpowering, quite as curiously strong as competing products may provide. While I can't speak for the majority of the population in this matter, I can attest to my own appreciation of this. It doesn't fully cleanse the palette, but it does provide flavor. As any after-dinner... non-mint... should. And I don't want my palette cleansed. That is to say, I don't want to choke on a cloud of "coolness" while it overpowers the remnants of a perfectly good meal that I would like to continue to enjoy.

In the span of writing this, I've eaten several more of these non-mints. The packaging has two openings, one labeled "to share" which is small and allows only a single non-mint to escape upon shaking and the other labeled "not to share" which opens half of the lid and allows the owner to greedily finger about the contents and take as many as one likes. Be assured that only the latter opening is needed. Though the poetic reference of the option is neither unnoticed nor unappreciated.

For the past couple of years the center console of my car has more often than not been equipped with a particular brand of gum. It's a very good gum. But it is still gum, which inevitably means that it must be disposed of when one is finished with it. This is never a pleasant or dignified process, no matter how discretely executed. I'd have replaced this small portion of my life with mints long ago, were it not for the small detail that mints are vile and unpleasant things. Non-mints, however, may indeed succeed in breaking into the niche market that is the center console of my car. All that remains is to find these at the checkout aisle as conveniently located as my chosen brand of gum so that these can instead be purchased with as much convenience. Then the transition from gum would be complete.

I still don't like mints. Non-mints, however, are thoroughly enjoyable.