Appears in
On Food and Cooking

By Harold McGee

Published 2004

  • About

Hyssop is an ambiguous name. It is sometimes applied to a kind of plant mentioned in the Bible and much used in the Middle East, a cluster of species characterized by the penetrating quality of true oregano (see below). Hyssop proper, Hyssopus officinalis, is a milder-mannered European herb with fresh-spicy and camphor notes. It was enjoyed in ancient Rome but is now more commonly used in Thai and Vietnamese cooking. Hyssop contributes to the flavors of several alcohols, including Pernod, Ricard, and Chartreuse.