Due to popular demand and the fact that we love trying weird foods and candies, The A.V. Club will now regularly feature "Taste Tests." Feel free to suggest disgusting and/or delicious new edibles for future installments: E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A curious dichotomy has taken over the mint industry: People either want tongue-searingly powerful peppermints (à la Altoids and its similarly potent imitators) or "mints" that don't really taste like mints. Remember the good ol' days of Certs with the mysterious power of Retsin?
Well, they're gone, grandpa. Retsin has been usurped by the likes of sorbitol, magnesium stearate, and a bunch of weird ingredients and flavors you wouldn't normally associate with fresh breath. At the forefront of "designer breath mints" (their term) is Oral Fixation, which makes nine flavors of mint available in sleek, thin, brushed-metal tins. The cool design of the tins is every bit as important as the mints, according to the "Our Story" section of Oral Fixation's site. (The two dudes who started it are even in a band together.)
Oral Fixation sent The A.V. Club a tin of each flavor for a taste test: Mimosa Mint (orange mint); Antioximints (green tea); Jasmints (herbal jasmine); Fabulous Fruit (tropical fruit); 7 Deadly Cinnamon (hot cinnamon); Night Light (caffeinated chai mint); Mojito Mint (lime mint); Classical Peppermint (strong peppermint); and Spare Mint (spearmint). Except for Night Light, all are sugar-free. The A.V. Club decided to focus on the more creative mint flavors.
Taste: They obviously vary, but there were recurring themes: 1) They didn't really taste like what they advertised (exceptions: Mojito Mint and 7 Deadly Cinnamon), and 2) The flavors were generally subtle (except for Mojito Mint–a staff favorite–7 Deadly Cinnamon, and Night Light). Aside from 7 Deadly Cinnamon, Night Light, and Fabulous Fruit, all had at least traces of minty refreshment in them, so Oral Fixation avoids the mints-that-don't-taste-like-mint trap.
— "It's mild. Are you supposed to eat a whole container at once?"
— "Don't eat it after the mojito, because you really can't taste it."
— "It's like nothingness."
— "It's like a Rob Reiner mint. I guess it says something if all the ones that taste good are drinks."
— "It's very mild, only a slightest hint of flavor or mint, but it's surprisingly nice and smooth."
— "You notice these things have 'fix' printed on them? Like, short for 'Fixations' but also meaning 'you're getting your fix,' or more specifically, 'Yes, officer, these are tabs of some sort of illegal drug and you should take me in now'?"
— "These are pretty good. They have a very subtle flowery flavor. This isn't going to freshen your breath unless you have the mildest bad breath in the world, but they taste pleasant in a barely detectable way."
7 Deadly Cinnamon
— "It's like hard Big Red, a hardened stick of gum. Do not bite into it–then it tastes like VO5 shampoo."
— "A nice strong cinnamon, but not at the Altoid level. It doesn't have the cutting flavor of an Altoid, but it's a lot smoother."
— "Pretty standard hot-cinnamon-gum flavor. I think here you're just paying for the packaging, since it tastes about like everything else on the market."
— "It's going to take half a dozen jasmine mints to make the burning go away and make my mouth taste like nothing again."
— "It's not especially minty, nor that refreshing, but tasty enough I've had much worse in my mouth."
— "It's just cinnamon. It doesn't taste like chai."
— "The name's got more bite than the mint. It's the palate-cleanser."
— "This is like Big Red as well, but I like this one better."
— "I taste the chai, but it still has a cinnamon flavor. It's kinda gross. I can't finish this." [Spits it into garbage.] "The taste stays in your mouth forever."
— "Yup, that tastes like chai tea, all right. Was the world crying out for chai-flavored mints?"
— "This tastes like eating half a teaspoon of chai mix probably would. I leave it up to you whether that's a good or bad thing."
— "It's like an Altoid without the tongue-stinging bite. I like it a lot."
— "Yeah, the mojito's good. It's the kind of mint you could get away with at an AA meeting. It's the Michael Mann mint."
— "Oh, this is definitely the strongest flavored one. It really tastes like a mint leaf; it's not that fake-mint taste."
— "It's kinda strong in its way–bolder than the others with a distinct minty flavor."
— "Again with the booze name, but no booze. Where's the Johnny Walker Whiskey mint? These taste like a really standard mint. Sort of generic unless you bite into it, and then you get a chilly Altoid rush."
— "I'm not tasting much at all. It's a sweet flavor, but I don't taste any fruit. I like the packages, though."
— "This tastes like Fruity Pebbles."
— "Yabba-dabba don't."
— "Tastes exactly like pink Smarties, but they've got a little more texture and tensile strength. They don't immediately disintegrate in your mouth into tooth-coating sweet powder."
— "Not bad. Fruity and sweet at the same time."
— "I taste neither mimosa nor mint. None of these taste like the flavors they're advertising."
— "It's mild. I don't see the mimosa or jasmine tackling that coffee odor. This is like a make-out mint, because it's not overpowering. But if you didn't brush your teeth that morning, it's not going to save you."
— "It tastes like Flintstones vitamins or Smarties."
— "It kinda has a baby-wipes flavor. Jelly Belly makes a baby-wipes jellybean, and it tastes like this."
— "Orange Smarties. Are we positive these aren't cheap candies in expensive packaging?"
— "I prefer my mimosas to involve breakfast and booze, not sugar and a vague-ish orange flavor."
Where to get them: oralfix.com