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New2Whiskey
06-20-2008, 07:36
You appreciate bourbon? How bout appreciating our sense of taste?

TONGUE
- Tongue - as well as other parts of mouth and throat includes clusters of skin cells called taste buds.
- Each bud contains up to hundred receptor cells (which detects sweet, sour, bitter salty)

But, as we know, taste involves more than mouth.

NOSE (5 million odor receptors)
- Allow you to detect some 10,000 unique odors - which of course play a vital role in tasting process.

Bottom Line - 75% of what we call taste is actually result of what we smell.

spun_cookie
06-20-2008, 12:48
I have spent the last hour looking for an article I read months ago on taste, but I did not find it.... too much info on the net.

The gist is that humans have a range of taste as such:

~10%of folks have a the ability to taste everything (or near everything)
~50-60% of folks can only taste around a third (30-40%) of things
~40% of folks can taste 60-70% of things

Now my numbers are off at some level, but the general story that very few have the ability to taste all that is out there is accurate and the majority of folks cannot taste the complexities in wine, bourbon etc.

Now it would be my guess that there is a very high percentage of the "can taste a lot" group is on this site. It is most likely what has driven so many of us to the level of obsession for this wonderful nectar...

CorvallisCracker
06-20-2008, 13:07
Now it would be my guess that there is a very high percentage of the "can taste a lot" group is on this site. It is most likely what has driven so many of us to the level of obsession for this wonderful nectar...

Probably so. Also among wine lovers.

They've already demonstrated that the ability to smell TCA contaminated wine is genetic. Some of us can pick up the distinctive "wet cardboard" smell, and to others the wine just smells "dull".

I read an article a while back (think it was in Natural History magazine, though it might have been Food and Wine) that proposed that because a keen sense of smell no longer has much survival value, it's being gradually lost by the human population. The time may come, many generations from now when some fine old port or spirit is unearthed, and though still drinkable will elicit the question "what was the big deal?" from those who try it.

spun_cookie
06-20-2008, 13:14
So true... it is fun sitting with a big group tasting wine and have everyone talk about what they can and cannot taste...

I envy those folks that cannot taste the difference between Nickel and Nickel and Carlo Rossi (or MM and PVW 20 yr)... they are saving a fortune :D

rich68
07-27-2008, 11:56
This is an interesting thread. For some strange reason my sense of taste with whisky/bourbon seems to come and go. This affects every type of whiskey I've tried so far - e.g. scotch blends, single malts, Jim Beam White/Black.

Some days it tastes absolutely delicious and on other days I get no benefit from it at all. In fact, I would say the bad days outnumber the good ones and I can't work out why. It's the same whether it's hot, cold, or if I've eaten anything beforehand or not. I've tried using my sense of smell, drinking it neat first, then with a few splashes of water ... I can't pin it down.

Does anyone have any ideas?

Cheers
Richard

Gillman
07-27-2008, 12:22
Interesting point and this has happened to me too, except in my case it is the days whiskey tastes off that are in the minority. :)

I suspect it is due to our body chemistry, what we ate that day or drank (I know coffee puts off any whiskey I drink after for at least an hour), and our variable emotional state. When in an agitated state of mind for example I usually can't focus on whiskey, I don't "get" it. BUt this will be different with each person, each person reacts differently to it I think.

Gary

Stu
07-27-2008, 13:22
This is an interesting thread. For some strange reason my sense of taste with whisky/bourbon seems to come and go. This affects every type of whiskey I've tried so far - e.g. scotch blends, single malts, Jim Beam White/Black.

Some days it tastes absolutely delicious and on other days I get no benefit from it at all. In fact, I would say the bad days outnumber the good ones and I can't work out why. It's the same whether it's hot, cold, or if I've eaten anything beforehand or not. I've tried using my sense of smell, drinking it neat first, then with a few splashes of water ... I can't pin it down.

Does anyone have any ideas?

Cheers
Richard

If I do a lot of hard physical labor on a hot day, or if I smoke too many cigars during the day, my taste seems to be off that night. There have been a few other occasions, but too infrequent to consider.

ratcheer
07-27-2008, 14:42
In the past decade or so, they have decided that there is a fifth taste that can be detected by the tongue. They call it "umami" (I hate that name). It is supposedly based in "glutamates" and is the taste imparted by Accent, the "flavor enhancer". It is also said to be imparted by parmesan cheese. The best common-language description I have heard for umami is "savory".

I am no expert on this, I am just repeating what I read in a magazine article a few years ago. Some Japanese researcher has been making these claims for decades, but it was apparently accepted generally sometime within the past 15 or 20 years or so.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Umami

Tim