Dear Topps: Your bubblegum still sucks (2010 Topps Heritage)
For a company whose reputation was initially built on the success of its bubblegum, Topps really has failed to build on its empire in recent years, especially as it pertains to its candy inserted in Topps Heritage products.
I’ve already written my review of the Topps Heritage baseball card set (LINK), but I did not mention anything about the gum, which to me is an important piece (no pun intended) to the line’s success.
Don’t get me wrong, I did not pay $4 for a pack of cards to get the gum; that is old school thinking. But for a company known for its iconic Bazooka Gum, Topps has managed to make the worst-tasting gum ever.
This year’s gum is a slight improvement on last years, which for the record was the absolute worst thing I have tasted since someone slipped me a piece of ginger candy 20 years ago.
As a kid I ripped open plenty of Topps baseball and Garbage Pale Kids packs and chewed my way through hundreds of sticks. The gum was quality. It was sweet and the flavor was awesome; you could chew it for hours.
The taste of the gum released in recent years doesn’t even come close to the original stuff. In 2009, I described the gum as tasting like squid ink … that is if I actually knew what that tasted like. This year, the gum is almost the same, with a slightly less harsh effect — which is an improvement. It’s almost like Topps added an ingredient to take the edge off. I’ve never chewed Nicorette, but I’m guessing this is what that stuff tastes like. Blah!
To make matters worse, the quality of the actual gum is poor. The sticks are brittle in the packs (see image above) and there is no softness when chewing. In fact, the gum almost seems to dissolve in your mouth — which some may call authentic because if you’ve ever eaten a piece of 10- to 20-year old gum from the original packs, this is exactly what happens.
So please, Topps, when you sit down to make your 2011 Topps Heritage set, I implore you to bring back the original gum recipe. For some people, ripping open a pack of cards and chewing the gum while thumbing through the cardboard icons is part of the experience. As it is now, the gum is damn near deadly … it leaves a bitter taste in your mouth.