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
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."
Toni Morrison references them in her novel The Bluest Eye.
Robert Kroetsch references them in his novel Gone Indian.
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" in his novel All The King's Men.
W. Somerset Maugham mentions them in his novel Of Human Bondage.
Christopher Bram references them in his 1988 novel Hold Tight.
John Sandford references them in his novel Mortal Prey.
Laura Childs references them in her novel Death by Darjeeling.
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."
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"
- Mosley, Walter, A Red Death, in The Walter Mosley Omnibus (London: Picador, 1996): 220.
- "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."
- "I could smell Vitalis on his slicked-back hair and Sen-Sen on his breath."
- I Married a Communist"
- , Robert Penn. All The King's Men. Forward by Joseph Blotner. 1946. San Diego: Harvest, 1996. 73.
- (Ya Got) Trouble" lyrics