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Bold and Unique: What Does Black Licorice Taste Like?

People’s opinions on black licorice are divided.

People who have an acquired taste don’t mind enjoying it on occasion.

But those who don’t like it hate it to the core.

Black licorice is not as rare as you might think.

They are a mainstay in the United States and the United Kingdom.

But you will find several variations everywhere, from sweet to salty, across Europe.

As we can see, it’s a divided opinion with black licorice.

You either love it or hate it. But what about those who have never tasted it?

So, what does black licorice taste like, exactly? That is what we are here to address today.

Keep reading to find out.

What is Black Licorice?

Black licorice is a black-colored candy made from the root extract of Glycyrrhiza glabra.

You will recognize this sweet from its distinct curly or “ropey” shape.

And who can forget that dark black color that looks almost like tar?

The primary ingredients of black licorice are root extract, sugar, and a binding agent.

Gelatin, starch, and flour are usually used as binding agents.

Black licorice also uses sugar varieties like condensed milk, molasses, corn syrup, etc.

Other confectioneries use black licorice as a flavoring agent.

You will find hints of licorice in treats like jellybeans.

Black licorice is available in several variations across the globe.

American candy brand Twizzlers are household names.

The UK is also known for its “liquorice allsorts”.

The taste of black licorice is not restricted to sweetness alone.

There are Northern European versions that are salty because of the presence of ammonium chloride.

What Does Black Licorice Taste Like?

Black licorice is technically a candy but tastes nothing like regular candy.

It tastes sweet and woody, and we will also get hints of sour and bitter flavors.

This is due to the presence of glycyrrhizin, the sweetener we get from the licorice plant.

Glycyrrhizin tastes similar to artificial sweeteners like saccharin.

When people talk about the taste of black licorice, they are immediately drawn to two things.

And that is anise and fennel.

Anise comes from the same plant family as celery, fennel, and parsley.

And although anise and licorice are from different plant species, they taste very similar.

Fennel is another plant that shares similarities in taste with licorice.

Black licorice also tastes like root beer, but the former has a stronger flavor.

It is also like cinnamon due to its “woody” flavor.

Altogether, it has a mix of sweet, floral, woody, and hints of bitter flavors.

Despite the likeness, commercial black licorice and natural licorice root are pretty different.

The flavors we get from candies are nothing like the real thing.

Manufacturers use additives like aniseed oil in black licorice, which gives it a strong flavor.

Plus, it is not easy to obtain the pure root extract due to its high cost.

But wait. There is more. Some black licorice variations also taste salty.

You will find them in the Nordic regions of Europe, where everyone loves them.

With this variant, we get a mix of sweet, bitter, and salty flavors.

But it moves more towards the salty side due to the presence of ammonium chloride.

Why Do So Many People Dislike the Taste of Licorice?

The dislike for black licorice is nothing new.

Most kids and young people are not particularly fond of the curly black candy.

Do you want proof? Here it is.

The National Confectioners Association conducted a survey where only 3% voted licorice as a favorite childhood treat.

It is also the least favorite Halloween candy.

Plus, black licorice ranks lower than other disliked sweet treats like Chiclets.

Experts believe that people dislike black licorice because of its glycyrrhizin content.

This natural sweetness can be overpowering for some.

Thus, they refuse a second bite. Some researchers also believe that liking or disliking licorice is inborn.

We can train our taste buds to like or dislike certain foods.

But when it comes to our sense of smell, we have a different approach.

Every person has a unique taste buds.

And the genes that determine our taste very differently.

When people say they dislike the flavor of black licorice, they are referring to the intense flavor.

Some people might have disliked consuming food or medicine with licorice flavors in the past.

This could be the reason why they reject black licorice.

Their sense of smell triggers that unpleasant experience.

However, most adults do not have a problem with black licorice.

In fact, they can be very addictive if you like their taste.


So, that’s all about the taste of black licorice in brief.

It is a blend of sweet, sour, bitter, and salty.

What is your opinion? Do you like or dislike it? If you haven’t tasted it, would you?

All things aside, if you want to give black licorice a try, eat it occasionally.

See how your taste buds respond to the taste.

And if you like it, you’re one in a million.

However, we suggest you not get addicted.

Black licorice can cause severe problems if you eat it more than you should.

You do not want your new addiction to be your last.

What Does Black Licorice Taste Like? Does It Taste Good?

Andrew Gray
Wondering what black licorice tastes like and if it's enjoyable? Let's explore its flavor profile and whether it's considered appetizing.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Food Taste
Servings 1 Serving


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