What Flavor Is Juicy Fruit Gum?

Tim Boyle/Getty Images
Tim Boyle/Getty Images

We’ve all chewed Juicy Fruit gum at some point, enjoying the sweetness for about 20 seconds before it completely dissipates and turns into a rubbery wad devoid of all flavor.

But what exactly is that distinctively delicious flavor that briefly tickles our taste buds? Wrigley has kept the secret ingredient under wraps for decades; a wrapper from 1946 describes the unique taste as “a fascinating artificial flavor.”

One fan allegedly emailed the company in 2002 and got this response:

“I'm afraid we can't be very specific because, for competitive reasons, we consider our Juicy Fruit flavoring formula to be a trade secret. I can, however, tell you that the mixture of fruit flavors in Juicy Fruit is comprised of predominately lemon, orange, pineapple, and banana notes.”

Despite the company’s response, some people think the gum tastes less like common citrus and banana, and more like an exotic fruit called jackfruit; it even has a similar aroma. However, this probably isn’t the case because, as Today I Found Out points out, there don’t seem to be any records of Wrigley ever importing the fruit or its juice.

Instead of actual fruit or even fruit extracts, some chemists believe that the gum smells like jackfruit because they both contain a chemical called isoamyl acetate. Isoamyl acetate, sometimes referred to as banana oil or essence of pear, is a common ingredient in bubble gum, and some fruits produce it naturally as they ripen.

When Juicy Fruit first appeared on store shelves back in 1893, isoamyl acetate was most commonly produced by whiskey distilleries as a byproduct—and at the time, Illinois, also home to Wrigley, produced more than 18 million gallons of the hard stuff every year. Smells Like Science speculates that Wrigley purchased isoamyl acetate from local distilleries until a synthetic process became available some years later.

Much like the Colonel's 11 secret herbs and spices, or Coke's "7x" flavoring, we may never know what, exactly, is in Juicy Fruit gum. But there is one thing we do know: it's delicious—for 20 seconds.

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Celebrate the Holidays With the 2020 Harry Potter Funko Pop Advent Calendar

Funko
Funko

Though the main book series and movie franchise are long over, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter remains in the spotlight as one of the most popular properties in pop-culture. The folks at Funko definitely know this, and every year the company releases a new Advent calendar based on the popular series so fans can count down to the holidays with their favorite characters.

Right now, you can pre-order the 2020 edition of Funko's popular Harry Potter Advent calendar, and if you do it through Amazon, you'll even get it on sale for 33 percent off, bringing the price down from $60 to just $40.

Funko Pop!/Amazon

Over the course of the holiday season, the Advent calendar allows you to count down the days until Christmas, starting on December 1, by opening one of the tiny, numbered doors on the appropriate day. Each door is filled with a surprise Pocket Pop! figurine—but outside of the trio of Harry, Hermione, and Ron, the company isn't revealing who you'll be getting just yet.

Calendars will start shipping on October 15, but if you want a head start, go to Amazon to pre-order yours at a discount.

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Paqui Tortilla Chips, the World's Spiciest Chip, Is Sold One to a Customer

Paqui
Paqui

If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to get pepper-sprayed directly in your mouth, Paqui Chips has something you can’t afford to miss. Following the success of their Carolina Reaper Madness One Chip Challenges in 2016, 2017, and 2019, the company is re-releasing the sadistic snack for 2020. Continuing their part-marketing gimmick, part-public safety effort, the Reaper chip won’t be sold in bags. You just get one chip.

That’s because Paqui dusts its chips with the Carolina Reaper Pepper, which is largely considered the world’s hottest pepper, and this year will also include a bit of Scorpion Pepper and Sichuan Peppercorns, just to give it some extra kick. To drive home the point of how hot this chip is—it’s really, extremely, punishingly hot—the chip is sold in a tiny, coffin-shaped box.

Peppers like the Carolina Reaper are loaded with capsaicin, a compound that triggers messages of heat and pain and fiery consumption; your body can respond by vomiting or having shortness of breath. While eating the chip is not the same as consuming the bare, whole pepper, it’s still going to be a very uncomfortable experience. For a profanity-filled example, you can check out this video from a previous year's #OneChipChallenge:

While the chip, which retails for $6.99, has only been sold on Paqui’s website in past years, this year it will be available at select retail stores across the country, including 7-Eleven and Kroger. The chip will hit shelves on September 22 (just beware that they sell out quickly).

The company also encourages pepper aficionados to upload photos or videos of their attempts to finish the chip using the hashtag #OneChipChallenge. If it becomes too much, try eating yogurt, honey, or milk to dampen the effects.

This story has been updated for 2020.