View Full Version : Taste Memory

02-10-2007, 14:07
In a different thread Tim commented that his taste memory is undependable, in particular when comparing a tasting experience at the gazebo to one at home. (Of course it is, Tim! Isn't it true what they say, that everything tastes better at the gazebo? :grin: Note that I must rely on hearsay.)

I'd like to hear others' experience in this regard.

Often I will be unable to find anything on my shelf that appeals to me. Consequently, I may drink no liquor for two weeks or more. When I resume, I may find that it takes a few sessions before I enjoy it again. OTOH, sometimes it tastes so good that I drink more than normal, say three or four glasses.

Last night I felt the need to ingest some alcohol for medicinal purposes. As I scanned my shelf, I had a hard time making a choice. I finally settled on WT 101, thinking there was no point in going to the top shelf when I had no specific craving.

I poured myself a double. It went down so easily, I poured another of the same size. I made it last much longer, and it was enjoyable to the last sip.

All of that is remarkable because in spite of my devotion to the WT line, sometimes it's a little overwhelming to my taste buds.

Please share your taste-memory experiences.

Yours truly,
Dave Morefield

02-10-2007, 14:10
My taste memory is about 11 minutes so I gotta keep drinkin to keep remembering what it tasted like. :bigeyes:
Joe :usflag:

02-10-2007, 14:32
Could this be a problem similar to the people who get satellite tv only to complain that there's nothing on?:rolleyes:

I'm not sure of the cause of this, it could be that too many choices makes one too picky and therefore nothing is appealing, or it could be that you lock up due to overload, thereby causing you to not want any of the choices available to you.

But if I remember Tim's case correctly, he enjoyed his pour more, in what would definitely be considered an overload situation, according to the above theories. In this case, I would think that the richness of the experience and the enjoyment of the surroundings and company heightened his sensory response to the drink in a way that cannot be recreated at home (well, at least not without having a whole bunch of people visit:toast:)

02-10-2007, 16:55
My taste memory is along the lines of mental tasting notes, in the sense that even if I don't actually make any notes, I remember things in the terms I would have used if I wrote them down. That isn't always the case, as there are some sensations I can't effectively describe, but I remember them when I taste them again and, at least sometimes, remember where and when I last tasted them.

Those memories can last for years but not indefinitely. I can't really remember how anything tasted to me, say, 20 years ago. Ten years ago, maybe.

The subject of "taste memory" always brings to mind Proust and Walker Percy's comment in his essay about bourbon that, "Bourbon does for me what the piece of cake did for Proust.”

02-11-2007, 13:36
I agree with Chuck about not remembering exactly how things tasted to me 20 years ago, but I do think I associate taste a great deal with emotional or important moments/events. As such, when I taste bourbon, childhood meals or events, great and/or terrible flavors from past food-tastings, or even psychological taste memories (such as tasting metal or smelling burnt rubber during various traumas) make themselves known.

Good call on the Percy quote, Chuck. The Moviegoer and The Second Coming are favorites, as is the nonfiction. He wasn't always "on," but when he was, few could touch Walker Percy.

02-11-2007, 14:46
Don't know too much about taste memory exactly. Not the finer points I guess. I will say that a particular drink taste slightly different depending on the circumstances.

For instance, beer seems to taste so much better if your team is winning and you have good company. Seriously though, I get much different tastes depending on numerous variables such as what I've recently ate, how many cigarettes I've smoked etc.

It is very possible that the tastes are quite better at the gazebo with good friends and conversation boosting the experience.


02-13-2007, 16:19
Smells are powerfully memory triggers. So much of what we taste is actually due to our sense of smell its not surprising foods and beverages are associated with memories fond or otherwise.

The smell of hot grease when used to cook French fries/onion rings or the smell of fried potatoes and onions cooking when smelled from outside the house especially on a cool crisp evening reminds me of my childhood. Mom would soon be hollering: super is ready.

When I'm in the mood to reminisce the smell/taste of Jack Daniel's reminds me of some of the wild and eventfully times I had in my late adolescence and early 20's.

we probably all know someone who has gotten so sick off a particular spirit they have developed a lifelong "taste aversion" to it. Distilled spirits seem to be especially susceptible to this phenomenon resulting from their abuse.

02-13-2007, 17:28
we probably all know someone who has gotten so sick off a particular spirit they have developed a lifelong "taste aversion" to it. Distilled spirits seem to be especially susceptible to this phenomenon resulting from their abuse.

For me it was Laird's Applejack. Been 30 years and still can't drink it to this day.
Joe :usflag:

02-13-2007, 17:49
For me it was Laird's Applejack. Been 30 years and still can't drink it to this day.
Joe :usflag:

Southern Comfort for me, can't stand it 40 years later!
Should make this a seperate thread, it would be interesting if a clear winner emerges. Tom V

02-13-2007, 18:34
ILLfarmboy wrote:

"we probably all know someone who has gotten so sick off a particular spirit they have developed a lifelong "taste aversion" to it. Distilled spirits seem to be especially susceptible to this phenomenon resulting from their abuse."

For me, Captain Morgan Spiced Rum. To this day, just looking at the label makes my face turn green, two decades after youthful indiscretion left me huggin' the procelain princess proclaiming "never again" :puke:

02-13-2007, 18:54
In my case, it would have to be none other then Heileman's Old Style beer. Back in my misspent youth, a night of swilling it, followed by a morning at the porcelain altar, convinced me that I'd rather not drink it - never mind that I like a good beer now and then.

02-13-2007, 18:55
I can be counted in the anti-Southern Comfort group also. Though this past Christmas I tried some with their Eggnog product and it wasn't terrible....but not anywhere near my homemade Nog!

02-13-2007, 19:00
I honestly believe this never happened to me. I have had my days (many years ago) of morning after, but it wasn't due to a surfeit of a specific drink, or if it was, it didn't put me off it. :). I guess the one drink I remember not liking the after-effects of (I'll go that far) was sangria. I gargled this like countless other students at university in Montreal in the 1970's. It seemed like such a cool, ageless Spanish drink we were lucky to encounter in the cosmopolitan Crescent Street area downtown. Except, I read the other day, it was invented at an exposition of some kind in about 1962! Instant nostalgia. :)


02-13-2007, 19:26
For me it was Southern Comfort too, but I had to get over it when I began to work on the brand.

The key event was New Years Eve 1973-74. I drank a fifth of SC, then switched to champagne. Oh -- My -- God!!!

02-13-2007, 21:16
Southern Comfort, mid June 1987. I didn't even get drunk of the stuff before I got sick. Embarrassed myself in font of a girl I had had a crush on since the 8th grade. Not a fond memory! I swore off sticky sweet liqueurs then and there.

02-14-2007, 12:52
Hmmmm, I had a suspicion Southern Comfort was going to garner a lot of mentions here! Admittedly it was my first brutal hangover, but I've had my share since and there's just something special about an SC morning after! It just sort of oozes that sweet SC Bouquet out of every pore in your body, yep, unforgetable for sure! Tom V

02-14-2007, 13:59
Tequila was my nemesis for over 30 years, ever since, well...(shudder)...

Anyway, my better half likes Marguerita's. To me, tequila has a very distinctive smell, which my wife could never understand. Maybe its a result of that night. My curiosity got the better of me a couple of years ago and I took a sip. Eventually, it kind of grew on me, so when we're out for Mexican food I'll enjoy a Marguerita or two - but please don't come near me with lime slices and salt while I'm having one!