Is there a word to describe the flavor common to anise, licorice, and fennel? It tastes kind of sweet, but has a "bite".
Edit: here it is described as "licoricelike": http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/aniseed
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It only takes a minute to sign up.Sign up to join this community
Kenneth T. Farrell describes the aroma and flavor of fennel seed in his book Spices, Condiments and Seasonings:
The odor of the essential oil has been characterized as being aromatic, pleasantly fresh, warm, spicy, aniselike, slightly camphoraceous, changing to a heavier camphoraceous note when dried out, leaving an anetholic back note. The flavor has also been described as being warm, spicy, aniselike, aromatic, green, herbaceous, initially bitter, then sweet, with a fresh, slightly bitter, aftertaste.
The term piquant captures the commonality of those specific descriptions:
1 Having a pleasantly sharp taste or appetizing flavour:
Some people enjoy the piquant flavor of anise, while others do not.
The term aromatic seems to evoke connotations of the bittersweet aroma, which has great impact on the bittersweet flavor:
1 Having a pleasant and distinctive smell:
1 (Of food or drink) sweet with a bitter aftertaste: