There are a number of ways to extract the active ingredient propolis, from the sticky, resinous substance that is removed from the beehive. The type of extraction process used can and usually does add to the odor of the finished propolis capsules.
Alcohol, or food grade ethanol is often used in the process. The extractant is fully evaporated during the process but can leave behind a fairly distinct odor. The odor is less prominent once the propolis is capsulated but it can still be quite noticeable.
Recently we’ve changed the extraction process for our propolis and the odor level has increased a little. We’re in the process of countering this by using a much finer mesh to grind it into a powder, which helps release some of the odor during the grind.
The finished propolis capsules have a fairly acrid flavor and a lightly pungent odor, not unpleasant, but certainly not something you’d want to take for flavor alone!
Our next batch of Total Bee Plus, coming through in October, will have a much lighter odor and a sightly different color. The color has changed as we’ve ground the black propolis into a much finer powder, so when mixed with the white royal jelly, the white honey powder and the yellow bee pollen, the resultant color is a greyish tan.