Licorice (Pure and Natural)
This product is one of the most important of the
nonfruity flavor materials from nature. One of the more practical reasons as to
why licorice finds no use in perfumery is the physical reason that all licorice
preparations are water-soluble; they are not alcohol- or oil-soluble.
Licorice or, more correctly, Licorice Extract is produced from the rhizomes and roots of Glycyrrhiza Glabra, a leguminous plant. There are two main varieties of this plant: the Typica which is known commercially as “Spanish licorice”, and the Glandfllfera which is generally called “Russian licorice”. The former comes from Spain and Italy, the latter from Turkey, U.S. S. R. and the countries around Asia Minor towards India Licorice Extract is black and brittle, and has a sweet, mild odor somewhat different from that of the botanical starting material (the aqueous extract is often evaporated over an open fire and some caramellization of the extract may occur). Licorice extract has a very sweet taste, and a rich, “rootlike”, slight iy spicy -caramellic body of flavor. It leaves a faintly scratching feeling in the back of the mouth, and it is used in medicine for its mildly expectorant effect. The sweetness of Licorice is due to an acid, Glycyrrbizin, which is about 50 times as sweet as saccharose (household sugar). Glycyrrhizin is present in the root combined to ammonia. Unfortunately, the commercially available qualities of glycyrrhizin will color any aqueous solution in which they are used, strongly brown. Outside of medicine, licorice extract finds its major application in the candy industry, as a masking agent for bitter flavors and, to a minor extent, in the breweries where certain kinds of beer (porter, bass, etc.) are colored and at the same time flavored with licorice extract . The bitter herb extracts in the beer are masked by the licorice sweetness and flavor. Another effect enjoyed by the breweries is that Licorice Extract produces a very stable foam in carbonated beverages. (For this effect, licorice extract is also used in fire extinguishers). The tobacco industry uses tremendous amounts of licorice, particularly for pipe and chewing tobacco. It is worthwhile remembering that licorice extracts can not be used for flavoring in acid media. The Glycyrrhizin is inactivated as a sweetener by acids. This is a serious drawback since the masking of a bitter flavor is usually obtained by introducing a sour (acid) taste.