Altoids are a brand of mints. The brand was created by the London-based Smith & Company in the 1780s, and became part of the Callard & Bowser company in the 19th century. Their advertising slogan is "The Original Celebrated Curiously Strong Mints", referring to the high concentration of peppermint oil used in the original flavour lozenge. The name "Altoids" is derived from the Latin “alt” and the Greek “oids” ; the mints were originally conceived as a lozenge intended to relieve intestinal discomfort.
Altoids mints are available in five flavours: peppermint, wintergreen, spearmint, cinnamon and Arctic strawberry. "Sugar-Free Smalls", tiny square mints sweetened with sorbitol and sucralose, are also available in peppermint, wintergreen, and cinnamon. In 2007, dark chocolate-dipped mints were introduced in three flavours: peppermint, cinnamon and ginger and in 2008, dark chocolate-dipped mints were introduced in crème de menthe. The chocolate-dipped varieties were discontinued in 2010. Also historically made but no longer available were liquorice, cool honey, and ginger and crème de menthe varieties. Circa early 2011, Altoids altered the ingredients of their Wintergreen mints, adding blue food colouring. Altoid mints other than those labelled "sugar-free smalls" contain gelatin.
Sour hard sweets in round tins were introduced in 2004 but were discontinued in 2010 due to low sales. Flavours included raspberry, citrus, apple, tangerine, and mango. Limited edition passion fruit sours were also released around Valentine's Day in 2005 in a larger 2.3 oz tin instead of the standard 1.76 oz sours tins that had been released up until then.
The sugar-free chewing gum, introduced in 2003, was made in the United States. Flavours include peppermint, cinnamon, spearmint, wintergreen and two sour flavours, cherry and apple. The gum has not been seen in stock in US stores since January 2010 and has been discontinued.
In 2003, breath strips in peppermint and cinnamon flavours were introduced. They were discontinued.
In 2014, Eclipse Mints, another Wrigley product, were re-branded as Altoids Arctic, with the tin remaining identical save for labelling. The re-branded mints were released in only Peppermint, Wintergreen, and Strawberry, doing away with the wider varieties of Eclipse such as Cinnamon, Winterfrost and several other flavors, as well as the chewables. As before, each tin contains 1.2 oz, or about 50 mints.
The distinctive tins in which Altoids mints are packaged are often reused for other purposes. They have long been used as containers for household items like paper clips, coins, sewing materials and other small items. The tins are sometimes used to house electronics projects. BeagleBone, a single-board computer made by Texas Instruments, is deliberately shaped with rounded corners to fit inside the tin. A Retrocomputing hobbyist computer, the RCA 1802-based Membership Card microcomputer kit, is designed to fit in an Altoids tin, and CMoy pocket headphone amplifiers often use the containers as an enclosure. Altoids tins have also been popular with outdoor enthusiasts for many years as first-aid or mini survival kit containers. A name for these kits is Bug-Out Altoids Tins, or BOATs.