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Sen-Sen Package

Sen-Sen was a type of breath freshener originally marketed as a "breath perfume" in the late nineteenth century by the T. B. Dunn Company, then produced by F&F Foods, and discontinued in July 2013. Sen-Sen bore a strong resemblance to Vigroids, a liquorice sweet made by Ernest Jackson & Company Ltd.

Sen-sen was available in small packets or cardboard boxes. Similar to a matchbox of the time, an inner box slid out from a cardboard sleeve revealing a small hole from which the tiny Sen-sen squares would fall when the box was shaken.

Sen-sen's ingredients were licorice, gum arabic, maltodextrin, sugar, and natural and artificial flavors.

Mentions in popular culture[edit]

Sen-Sen's distinctive strong scent, its nostalgic association with earlier time periods (particularly the 1930s through the 1950s), and its frequent use in covering up the odoriferous evidence of perceived vices such as drinking and cigarette smoking has led to many references in multiple forms of media.


Amiri Baraka references them in his short story "The Man Who Sold Pictures of God."

Michael Chabon references them in his novel The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay.

Toni Morrison references them in her novel The Bluest Eye.

Robert Kroetsch references them in his novel Gone Indian.

Zora Neale Hurston references them in her novel Their Eyes Were Watching God.

IRS Agent Reginald Lawrence partakes of these mints in Walter Mosley's second Easy Rawlins novel, A Red Death (1991).[1]

John D. Fitzgerald references them in his novel The Great Brain.

Betty Smith references them in her novel A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.[2]

Robert Asprin has a character called "The Sen Sen Ante Kid" in his novel Little Myth Marker. The character plays Dragon Poker and always starts the game by adding a Sen Sen to the ante.[3]

Stephen King references them in his novel 11/22/63[4] as well as in his novella The Library Policeman.

Philip Roth references them in his novel I Married a Communist[5]

Ray Bradbury references them in his novel Death is a Lonely Business.

Robert Penn Warren references a character named Sen-Sen Puckett "who chewed Sen-Sen to keep his breath sweet" . Character Marvin Frey is described as having "...breath sweetly flavored with Sen-Sen and red-eye"[6] in his novel All The King's Men.

Phillip K. Dick references them in his novel Ubik.

W. Somerset Maugham mentions them in his novel Of Human Bondage.

John Steinbeck references them in the novel The Wayward Bus.

Thomas Harris references them in the novel The Silence of the Lambs. "... she felt the ache of his whole yellow-smiling Sen-Sen lonesome life..."

Christopher Bram references them in his 1988 novel Hold Tight.

Chuck Palahniuk references them in his 2011 novel Damned.

Margaret Laurence references them in her novel A Bird in the House.

Mordecai Richler mentions them in his novel The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz.

John Sandford references them in his novel Mortal Prey.

Laura Childs references them in her novel Death by Darjeeling.


Lanford Wilson references them in his play Talley's Folly.

They are also referenced in Tennessee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire.

Eugene O'Neill references them in his play A Moon for the Misbegotten: "Dutch Maisie--her professional name--had no make-up on, and was dressed in black, and had eaten a pound of Sen-Sen to kill the gin on her breath."


They are referenced in the song "Ya Got Trouble" from the 1957 musical comedy The Music Man as a way to cover up the smell of cigarettes.[7]

Billy Joel references them in his song, "Keeping the Faith": "...took a fresh pack of Luckies and a mint called Sen-Sen". See Keeping the Faith (song).


Referenced in an episode of King of Queens. Arthur asks Carrie to pick up a pack, and she replies "Okay, I have no idea what that is".

Also referenced in the Season 5 episode of Northern Exposure, "Fish Story". Joel's Rabbi offers him a Sen-Sen before ingesting a few himself.

Referenced in the M*A*S*H Season 6 finale, "Major Topper." While administering placebo pills to patients, Colonel Potter encounters a soldier who says he can't swallow pills and that he "chokes on Sen-Sen."

Referenced in the Beverly Hillbillies Season 3, Episode 20, "Jed's Temptation". Granny is trying to discourage Jed from dating a beautiful city woman. She tells Jethro and Elly Mae "Remember him the way he is now. The next time you see him he'll be dressed like a city sport. He'll be wearing pointy yellow shoes with spats, bell bottom pants and a flashy blazer, carrying a gold-topped cane and chewing Sen-Sen"


A purchase of Sen-Sen becomes a minor plot point in Paper Moon" (1973).[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Mosley, Walter, A Red Death, in The Walter Mosley Omnibus (London: Picador, 1996): 220.
  2. ^ "Hildy had brassy blond hair, wore a garnet-colored chiffon bow around her neck, chewed sen-sen, knew all the latest songs and was a good dancer."
  3. ^
  4. ^ "I could smell Vitalis on his slicked-back hair and Sen-Sen on his breath."
  5. ^ I Married a Communist"
  6. ^ , Robert Penn. All The King's Men. Forward by Joseph Blotner. 1946. San Diego: Harvest, 1996. 73.
  7. ^ (Ya Got) Trouble" lyrics
  8. ^