about a year ago, i started searching for a new toothpaste. my ol' standby (tom's of maine cinnamint) had been retired, and i was kind of heartbroken, and i had to start from scratch. i tried a few that were "just okay" and honestly at this point i can't remember what they were anymore. i know we used JASON orange-cinnamon-mint nutrismile for awhile, and liked it, but after a few tubes i felt like it wasn't really as "fresh" as i like my toothpaste to be, and i didn't always feel squeaky-clean after brushing. i'm sure this is more my own issues than anything to do with the actual toothpaste; it's probably just a preference or something i'm used to or whatever, but i decided to start experimenting again. i believe i tried the cinnamon-mint powersmile, and i honestly can't remember anything about it, so it must have been one of those "just okay" tubes.
at some point i switched from JASON over to nature's gate, because my co-op was having a huge sale on them, and i picked up a tube of their cool mint gel. it was a blend of spearmint and peppermint, which i thought would be great, but really i thought it was almost overly strong, and decided to try something else when we finished that tube. for reasons completely unknown to me, i decided to give the creme de anise a shot. maybe it was the box's promise of "deliciously fresh breath," or maybe it was the pretty star-shaped anise on the front, i don't know. my grandpa always loved anise candies, and i loved them as a kid because i loved him, so maybe that's what did it. anyhow, i brought the weird toothpaste home half-expecting to hate it, but i actually loved it! my husband was a little more skeptical, but eventually came around (mostly).
the weirdest part is that i absolutely cannot stand black licorice; i think it's disgusting. i always sort of equated black licorice with anise in my mind, with the weird exception of anise candies (i know this makes literally no sense whatsoever), and i still compartmentalize them in my head. i did some wikipedia-perusing, and apparently there are some similarities/connections among licorice, anise, and fennel… which is another thing i've always hated. so how the heck do i come off loving anise toothpaste but hating black licorice and fennel? it's a mystery.
to make things more complicated, i should share that the entire basis of my fennel-hate is rooted in my mom's penchant for putting whole fennel seeds in lasagna when i was growing up. barf, i hated when i bit into one of those seeds. but! when we were on the vegan cruise last month (right in the midst of my new love affair with anise toothpaste), i had the opportunity to try a bowl of fennel soup. guess what? i really liked it! it tasted kind of like celery to me. this whole thing just keeps getting weirder, i know.
the only thing i can figure is that i'm one of those people who picks up on subtle differences in flavor, so anise = tasty while black licorice = disgusting, and fennel seeds are the devil while fennel soup is actually kind of nice. i can't explain myself, i can just talk up the weird anise toothpaste and tell you it's my new favorite.