Or tannin. Scientists note that resin, or tannin, gives figs their characteristic figgy flavor. As with wine somewhat as with figs: “As a characteristic of wine, tannin adds both bitterness and astringency as well as complexity.” The primary taste of ripe figs is sweetness, sometimes extreme sweetness: sugar sweet, honey sweet, or berry jam sweet. Secondary tastes of figs may be citric in nature or resinous, tannic. The more resinous, the more “fig” tasting. Curiously, ripe figs may have very few resinous notes and can taste more like combinations of berries, sugars, and other fruits.
The more one moves from dark to light in figs, the less resinous bite and tannic complexity seems to occur, though there emerge other kinds of complexity that may be more acidic, fruity, or spicy.
Certain figs are more figgy, resinous, than others, and a few cultivars – the “Bordeaux” types in particular, Resin Berry – may have more resinous taste, or aftertaste, than most. In some figs, sheer sweetness overpowers any resin taste, while in other figs the flavors seem simply light and resin-free, as with many acidic and punch berry figs and the agave flavor in particular.
While the resin flavor or tannic flavor of figs is pronounced in the resin berry figs, it may be more noticeable in the plain sugar figs, due to little or no masking flavors.