Cherry Flavor


Maraschino Cherry

Brightly Colored Fruit

“When their seeds are ready for transport, plants summon mammals with the strong scents and tastes of ripe fruit” (Michael Pollan, Cooked). Anyone who has had a cherry tree decimated by birds knows this. Animals cannot resist brightly colored, sweet, aromatic fruits. Mother nature has made fruit impossible to resist because she needs animals to spread seeds.

Flavor scientists study mother nature and do their best to mimic her appeal. Our goal is to keep consumers happy and supply good tasting food. We study the aromatics naturally present in fruits as a guide for flavor development.


I have created plenty of cherry flavors, but none were close to what mother nature has designed.  My cherry flavors have been benzaldehyde based, because that is what the American palette desires. Europeans, however, find Benzaldehyde, FEMA #2127 tastes like almond paste (marzipan) and not like cherry.

Hawthorn Note

In the book Flavor Creation, John Wright suggests a “hawthorn note” for cherry flavor with a European profile.  I describe hawthorne note as creamy, vanilla like, sweet and slightly fruity, reminiscent of the medicine for an upset stomach, Maalox.  Aromatics used to achieve this hawthorne note include:

Cherry Flavor

Most Americans do not like cherry candies and drinks to taste like the medicine Maalox.  We like cherry flavors to taste like candy.  “Jolly Rancher” cherry is a favorite profile:

Starting point for a “Jolly Rancher” cherry flavor (used much less than 1% in food/beverage):

  • Benzaldehyde~50%
  • Anisaldehyde or Tolyl aldehyde ~10-15%
  • Elthyl maltol ~5%
  • Acetic Acid ~5%
  • Anisyl acetate ~5%
  • iso Amyl butyrate~5%
  • Ethyl heptoate an Ethyl nonanaoate ~5%
  • Methyl 2 octynoate ~1%

Starting point for candy cherry flavor (used much less than 1% in food/beverage):

  • Benzaldehyde ~85%
  • Vanillin~5%
  • Heliotropin~5%
  • Amyl acetate and Amyl butyrate ~5%
  • Ethyl acetate and Ethyl butyrate ~5%

For those of you who prefer authentic cherries, I highly recommend the delicately flavored Rainer cherries which are sweeter than the red Bing cherries. You can find them in the stores May-July in Western Washington. Besides tasting good, fresh cherries they supply the nutrition our bodies need.


Cherries in Washington State

Cherries in Washington State





  1. Martin Baldan says:

    Hi, Susie!

    I was looking forward to this post. Very informative, as usual. I’ll try to get hold of these aroma chemicals for my little shop. Usually I have to wait for my supplier to have them at good prices, because the quantities I buy are so small.

    So far, I was taking information on cherry flavor from this source:

    “Characterization of the aroma-active
    compounds in five sweet cherry cultivars
    grown in Yantai (China)”

    Shu Yang Sun, a * Wen Guang Jiang b and Yu Ping Zhao

    And the resulting list of EU-approved flavoring substances (Flavis nº, CAS nº, EU-official English name) was as follows:

    01.001; 138-86-3; Limonene
    02.004; 71-36-3; Butan-1-ol
    02.005; 111-27-3; Hexan-1-ol
    02.006; 111-87-5; Octan-1-ol
    02.010; 100-51-6; Benzyl alcohol
    02.013; 78-70-6; Linalool
    02.015; 89-78-1; Menthol
    02.019; 60-12-8; 2-Phenylethan-1-ol
    02.020; 2305-21-7; Hex-2-en-1-ol
    02.023; 3391-86-4; Oct-1-en-3-ol
    02.056; 928-96-1; Hex-3(cis)-en-1-ol
    02.064; 98-85-1; 1-Phenylethan-1-ol
    05.001; 75-07-0; Acetaldehyde
    05.004; 78-84-2; 2-Methylpropanal
    05.006; 590-86-3; 3-Methylbutanal
    05.008; 66-25-1; Hexanal
    05.009; 124-13-0; Octanal
    05.010; 112-31-2; Decanal
    05.013; 100-52-7; Benzaldehyde
    05.025; 124-19-6; Nonanal
    05.030; 122-78-1; Phenylacetaldehyde
    05.058; 557-48-2; Nona-2(trans),6(cis)-dienal
    05.073; 6728-26-3; Hex-2(trans)-enal
    05.075; 6789-80-6; Hex-3(cis)-enal
    05.150; 18829-55-5; Hept-2(trans)-enal
    05.190; 2548-87-0; trans-2-Octenal
    05.194; 5910-87-2; tr-2, tr-4-Nonadienal
    07.015; 110-93-0; 6-Methylhept-5-en-2-one
    07.123; 3796-70-1; Geranylacetone
    08.002; 64-19-7; Acetic acid
    08.008; 503-74-2; 3-Methylbutyric acid
    08.009; 142-62-1; Hexanoic acid
    08.010; 124-07-2; Octanoic acid
    09.001; 141-78-6; Ethyl acetate
    09.039; 105-54-4; Ethyl butyrate
    09.060; 123-66-0; Ethyl hexanoate
    09.394; 2497-18-9; E-Hex-2-enyl acetate
    09.749; 119-36-8; Methyl salicylate
    13.059; 3777-69-3; 2-Pentylfuran

    Of course, your list is a much better starting point.

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