Sen-Sen & the taste of nostalgia

July 19, 2015

2015-03-15 13.03.10
I found this squirreled away in a box a few months ago and it brought back so many memories. So very many.  Are you familiar with Sen-Sen?

It was the 1950s version of Altoids or Tic Tacs, a tiny little square of breath cologne with a distinctive licorice taste.  Well, I THOUGHT it was an 1950s invention, but it’s really been around since the late 1800s. I had no idea that it was invented and marketed by T.B. Dunn & Co. in my home town of Rochester, NY.  T.B. Dunn was a perfume company, so Sen-Sen was marketed as a breath perfume, to cover up evidence of drinking or cigarette smoking.


The teeny black squares came in little paper envelopes or cardboard boxes, at first. The plastic packaging in my photo came a lot later.

My father always smelled of Sen-Sen and I have a better appreciation for it now, than I did back in the day. That’s because it was discontinued in 2013 and not on the market at all. I suppose it’s gone now because it smelled like old people. Still, I wish I could buy some, just to taste nostalgia.

Here’s the thing about nostalgia–it’s felt with our senses first.

So today I’m wondering, what’s the taste of nostalgia from your youth?

20 comments on “Sen-Sen & the taste of nostalgia
  1. Ryder Ziebarth says:

    I remember sen-sen, too. Along the same lines, Dad always kept Sucrets in his glove compartment, which my brother and I loved to swipe.

    But my favorite flavor was barbequed flavored Charles Chips, which they no longer make in the big yellow tin( only plain that I can find) and treacle toffee, that my uncle Carl would bring me from England, or I could buy here, from Callard and Browsers.

  2. I think I remember that more by name than actually ever seeing it! It’s amazing that it lasted more than 200 years!

  3. Sandy Nelson says:

    My Grandmother loved Blackjack gum. Is was that black licorice flavored gum that I pretended to like.

    Another, still available I think, are Slo-Poke’s. Huge bars of chocolate caramel on a stick. God, I loved those bars growing up. I would piggyback a ride with my dad to the drugstore with hopes he would buy me one. Sure enough, he rarely disappointed me.

  4. Laurel Regan says:

    Oh! Thank you for the reminder! We used to buy Sen-Sen when we were kids, and back then it came in little foil envelopes. Fun memory. 🙂

  5. Brenda Homandberg says:

    Oh yes I remember Sen-Sen. I also remember my grandmother always had cloret gum on her dresser. Or maybe it was called Clorets.

  6. Janie Emaus says:

    Mild Duds and Good & Plenty!

  7. My Mom would try to describe Sen Sen to me and wish she could carry some in her handbag. And then one day, when helping someone pack their home, she was presented with a couple of little boxes of Sen Sen. I loved it too and probably polished off quite a bit of her precious stuff. Now she carries tic tacs! 😉

  8. Michael Shultz says:

    Necco wafers & fizzies giggles. I liked to dissolve the fizzies in my mouth and i remember how they would stain your mouth and toung .and cherry shoestring licorice for a penny a piece at the little candy store on the way home from school back in 1964

  9. It makes you wonder why it’s gone. Could be like Coke a long time ago made with cocaine. Maybe it wasn’t so healthy. But I like the packaging.

  10. Jennifer says:

    I never heard of SenSen although my husband says that Billy Joel even sang about them in Keeping the Faith.

  11. Laurie Stone says:

    Don’t remember it, but what cool, retro boxes!

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