The first of these reviews were written by SeleneTan, who likes peppermint and dislikes wintergreen because she thinks it tastes like toothpaste, most of the reviews are for the peppermint variety. She also mostly abstains from caffeine; chocolate is the one exception.
These are a fairly popular mint, and come in two minty varieties - Peppermint and Wintergreen, as well as other non-mints, like Cinnamon and Ginger and various citrus flavours. The mints are a "soft" type; they're kind of crumbly and don't break into candy shrapnel if you decide to chew them. Also, the boxes tend to have lots of powder when you first open them. They're available in most grocery stores, by the checkout counter. They're round, about 1 cm in diameter. Altoids (the mint and cinnamon and ginger types) come in rectangular tins tall enough to hold "normal" d20s.
Altoids are fairly strong, and have a sweet, slightly bitter flavour. The bitterness is more obvious if you've had 4 or so of them in a row, or together. Unfortunately, they lose their potency somewhat quickly, especially in humid climates, leaving you with a vaguely minty piece of caked sugar.
Altoids contain no aspartame.
Platt's "Free Stuff" bags have samples of these sometimes. Their texture is smoother and harder than Altoids; they don't crumble nearly as much. There are both mini-Icebreakers (maybe 0.5 cm diameter?), full-size Icebreakers (Altoids size, about ), and Icebreakers gum. They have both peppermint and either wintergreen or spearmint varieties. (There are blue and green containers, SeleneTan never buys the green ones so she doesn't remember which type they are.) Full-size Icebreakers come in round plastic containers with a double-hinged lid, so that you can open up either one entire half of the lid, or a small outlet on the other side. The free sample miniature Icebreakers come in flat plastic dispensers that let you "fold" open a corner to let out one at a time. The full-size containers are also big enough for dice. You can get Icebreakers in most grocery stores.
Icebreakers are fairly strong, and have a sweet and slightly tangy flavour. They can leave a bitter aftertaste if you have too many of them. They lose their potency less quickly than Altoids. (This refers to the not-gum varieties.)
Icebreakers contain aspartame.
This is the Trader Joe's house-brand Altoids-alike mint. Straight out of the tin, they look like Altoids, except with a smooth, shiny surface instead of a powdery/crumbly one, but with time, they crumble as well. They're circular, slightly smaller than Altoids. They come in circular tins that aren't *quite* tall enough to fit dice. (Curses!) You can, obviously, get these at Trader Joe's.
Venus de Minto are wonderfully strong mints. They aren't that strong at first, but they grow on you. They're sweet and slightly bitter. Maybe I should leave off the "sweet" descriptor and just specify non-sweetmints... They're a bit sweeter than Altoids.
Venus de Minto contains no aspartame.
Ricola makes both candy and cough drops. This review concerns the candy. Ricola are hard candies of the type that are slightly transparent and leave very sharp candy shrapnel if you crunch them. They come in cans; the small (250 gram) ones are about 10 cm? tall and 5 cm? in diameter; the big cans are, er, bigger. At the moment, SeleneTan imports/smuggles in Ricola candy from the Philippines. The mints are irregular rectangular prisms maybe 1.2x1x0?.8 cm. It varies.
Ricola are mild mints that have a lasting mint taste. They have a caramel-y flavour with a somewhat vanilla/marshmallow-like touch. They're fairly soothing, and they have about a dozen other herbs mixed in for good measure (and flavor).
Ricola (candy) contains no aspartame. Ricola the cough drop contains some weird non-aspartame sugar substitute that means the cases get warning labels.
Velamints don't seem to make pure mints; rather they make chocolate mints and vanilla mints. These come in Altoids-like tins that are again too short to hold dice. They're similar in consistency to Altoids and Venus de Minto, possibly more like the Altoids but with a smoother outer coat. The chocolate mints have more of a matte finish, while the vanilla mints have a glossier finish. In the Claremont area at least, you can get them at Trader Joe's. They're about the size of Altoids, but square.
Velamints are exceedingly mild mints and are mostly sweet. Chocolate mints have a mild flavour similar to hot chocolate. Vanilla mints are mostly just sweet, although they smell very strongly of vanilla.
These mints come with a slip of paper in the tin describing how well they slide around on your tongue, thanks to their unique square-with-octagonal-sides shape. O_o
Velamints contain aspartame.
These are white chocolate tidbits with peppermint oil mixed in; they're balls about 1 cm in diameter. Oh, and they have a small slash of dark chocolate in the center, which you can't taste that much. You can get them at Trader Joe's. They come in hinged cardboard boxes kind-of like the Altoid tins, except cardboard.
These are actually really strong mints. They taste like exactly what they are - white chocolate with mint oil. There's a slight bitter taste, probably from the peppermint. SeleneTan doesn't have much experience with white chocolate, so she can't say much.
Ultra Chocolate Mints contain no aspartame.
Certs look like fat pills. They come in small cardboard dispensers. They claim to have Retsin in the middle, for fresher breath. There are peppermint and non-peppermint varieties. (Again, it's "those green boxes".) They're maybe 1 cm long? They're hard but not shrapnel-making, and rather smooth at first, but rough later. You can get these at some grocery stores.
Certs are only moderately strong. (SeleneTan would say "weak!") The retsin gives them a bitter flavour at the end. It's been a while since she had these...
SeleneTan can't remember if these have aspartame or not. She'd guess that they do.
There are a gazillion types of tic tac. Most look like miniature pills. The "regular mint" (probably peppermint) kind are white; there are also green ones. Actually, Certs are probably meant to be like giant tic tacs. They come in little clear plastic dispensers. You can find these in most grocery stores.
Tic Tacs are not that strong if you have only 1 at a time. They're much nicer if you have at least 2. They have a marshmallow/rootbeer-ish flavour.
SeleneTan has seen Tic Tacs both with and without aspartame, so she is confused.
SeleneTan got her hands on these in a grocery in Hong Kong. They look like normal Tic Tacs, but the container is translucent dark blue plastic instead of clear. (And, of course, they say "Extra Strong".) They, well, look like Tic Tacs (see above if you've already forgotten).
Tic Tacs Extra Strong are the first time I've ever noticed the "pepper" part of "peppermint". I've never had a mint that was actually spicy before, but these are. They're quite strong, slightly bitter, and not very sweet.
Tic Tacs Extra Strong contain no caffeine, and I'm too lazy to check if they contain aspartame. Probably not, since they're 2 1/2 Calories.
Smint are small, triangular mints, of about the same consistency as Icebreakers. (Small like the mini-Icebreakers.) They come in really neat plastic dispensers; the 8-gram ones have you push the top down to make a mint come out the bottom, and the pen-size ones have you rotate the end open. Like Ricola candy, SeleneTan gets hers from the Philippines. Smint have several varietes; there's peppermint, x-tra fresh peppermint, spearmint, x-tra fresh spearmint, and a bunch of non-mint things, like berry-flavoured citrus drops.
Smint are wonderfully strong, especially for their size. Mostly they taste like strong mint, with enough sweet that they're not terribly better. SeleneTan finished her last Smints a while ago, so she can't remember exactly what they tasted like.
Smints contain aspartame.
People from Sandia gave tins of these out during interviews when they stopped by for the 2003 National Labs Night. They are like very tiny, smooth Altoids (about 1/3 the size). Like Altoids, they also come in a metal tin with a cool-looking Sandia logo printed on it. They are not as strong and slightly more sweet than Altoids.
AlexUtter finds them highly amusing, and hypothesizes that there must be a team of SandiaPeople working round the clock in a top-secret lab to find the optimal recipe for mints. Because good mints are key to national defense...or something. The mint lab is probably what TheOtherInvisibleHand is really keeping in Area51?.
SeleneTan thinks that the Sandia mints are fairly strong, but have a chemical-y first taste that goes away later.
Official Sandia (tm) Mints contain aspartame.
The mint of choice for the caffeine addict, with 15mg of caffeine per mint. These come in an Altoid-style box with a jazzy black-and-white pattern and a picture of a penguin on it. They're shaped sort of like...ellipsoid UFOs. Lozenge-like. They are of a slightly harder consistency than altoids.
They're not very sweet, of moderate mint-flavor strength, and somewhat bitter (because of the caffeine.) They also come in cinnamon (quite strong and tasty), chocolate (less so), and decaf (sweeter than the others because of the lack of caffeine bitterness).
They contain aspartame.
Another brand of caffeinated mint, this one with 25mg of caffeine each, somewhat more upscale with a price to match. Coolest box ever, made of some kind of rubberized black plastic, about 4 by 7 centimeters, with (for some reason) a mirror set into the inside of the lid. The mints themselves are tiny, maybe half a centimeter across, and ThinkGeek? says they're meant to be consumed sublingually--that is, slipped underneath the toungue until they dissolve. This actually works pretty well.
The mints are mildly minty, rather sweet, and have a stronger caffeine bitterness than Penguins. No aspartame.
I think I've seen these called "Starlight Mints" in groceries. They're the mints you can get by the cashier at Platt. They're maybe half an inch in diameter, and white with red swirls. They're hard, shrapnel-y mints. They come in little clear plastic candy wrappers that don't unwrap very well. The best way I've found to get at them is to unroll the ends and then try to "squirt" the mint out.
The mints are sweet and somewhat mild.
I think they're made with sugar rather than aspartame, but I don't actually know.
I've only seen these at Trader Joe's. They look like less crumbly Altoids stamped with a leaf emblem. They come in a thin, flat-but-slightly-rounded, metal container. It slides open. You might be able to fit miniature dice in there, but it's doubtful.
Hint Mints start out only slightly sweet and slightly more bitter than Altoids, and not very strong. They get stronger later, though.
Hint Mints contain no aspartame or caffeine.
These are usually sold as lozenges in drugstores, in various flavours. They've been sighted in the Philippines and Hong Kong, and are originally British. The most interesting ones are "Original Extra Strong" and "Extra Strong Mint". They're flattish ovals, maybe a centimeter long. They come in paper packets; the packets are sometimes in cardboard boxes.
The Original Extra Strong mints really are strong, and only slightly sweet. They're rather bitter, and have a little of a bite to them. This probably comes from the Capsicum tincture. The Extra Strong Mint ones ironically seem less strong, although they're also less bitter.
The Original and Mint flavours contain neither aspartame nor caffeine. There are other flavours which use artificial sweeteners.
Myntz bill themselves as "Dentist Recommended" because they are sugar-free and "mouth acid neutralizing". They're available from Trader Joe's. They come in Altoids-like containers that can fit dice. They're circular, smooth, and have little dimples. They have a texture resembling that of Icebreakers. The "Wintermynt Blast" variety (not sure if there are others) are white with a few blue-green specks.
Wintermynt Blast Myntz taste a bit like toothpaste since they're that kind of mint. They're not very sweet, but not very bitter, either. They're fairly strong.
Myntz do not contain aspartame or caffeine. They do contain sorbitol and Potassium Bicarbonate. (The latter, being an alkaline compound, is probably the source of the "mouth acid neutralizing" feature.)
More to come later...