‘I don’t think this is meant to be candy.’

'I don't think this is meant to be candy.'
'I don't think this is meant to be candy.'
Photo: Wikipedia

We tried more of that curiously awful Scandinavian candy in the office yesterday. Tricia and Mike suffered through one Lakrisal wafer apiece.

Tricia said: “It’s like you scraped soy sauce off the bottom of your pan after you burned it, and formed it into a lozenge, and stuck it into your mouth.”

Mike: “I don’t think this is meant to be candy.”

But it is candy, this combination of sugar, licorice and ammonium chloride. Now we want to understand why the flavor is famously so tough for so many people. Our first inquiries yielded a few leads from you folks, for which we are grateful.

@John wrote:

Well, this is just a guess, but Ammonium Chloride is produced in nature by volcanos. it is also in that white powdery stuff left over when you burn charcoal. It used in explosives, fireworks, cough syrup and household cleaners.

So, yeah, it takes like drain cleaner.

@Pretzelogic in Philly, PA, wrote:

Only a further guess, but I’m pretty sure that ammonia, while not an inherent component of urine, isproduced by the bacterial breakdown of urine. So the scent of that ingredient would be reminiscent, e.g. of aging cat pee… (not that I let my little buddies’ litter box go long enough to know from personal experience).

@TodoInTX wrote:

I am no food scientist or biologist but, my theory is that the ammonium chloride, being an electrolyte, enhances the piezoelectric reactions on the taste buds turning up their sensitivity. The enhanced sensitivity make the tastes buds signal bitter, sour, salty and sweet taste all at once with the combination of the former crowding out signals for sweet.

Our food science quest for the secret of Lakrisal continues. If you’ve got ideas and/or links, please hit the comments. Thank you.


Rachel Maddow Show Lakrisal

'I don't think this is meant to be candy.'