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Thread: Taste Memory

  1. #1
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    Taste Memory

    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? 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
    Yours truly,
    Dave Morefield

    Dog Lover, Euphonium Player, Campfire Guitarist, Marksman,

  2. #2
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    Re: Taste Memory

    My taste memory is about 11 minutes so I gotta keep drinkin to keep remembering what it tasted like.
    Joe
    Colonel Joseph B. "Bourbon Joe" Koch

    "Bourbon.....It's cheaper than therapy!!"

  3. #3
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    Re: Taste Memory

    Could this be a problem similar to the people who get satellite tv only to complain that there's nothing on?

    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)
    2010 Bourbonian of the Year

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    I'm no Pappyophile

  4. #4
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    Re: Taste Memory

    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.”

  5. #5
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    Re: Taste Memory

    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.

  6. #6
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    Re: Taste Memory

    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.

    Chris

  7. #7
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    Re: Taste Memory

    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.

  8. #8
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    Re: Taste Memory

    Quote Originally Posted by ILLfarmboy View Post
    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
    Colonel Joseph B. "Bourbon Joe" Koch

    "Bourbon.....It's cheaper than therapy!!"

  9. #9
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    Re: Taste Memory

    Quote Originally Posted by BourbonJoe View Post
    For me it was Laird's Applejack. Been 30 years and still can't drink it to this day.
    Joe
    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

  10. #10
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    Re: Taste Memory

    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"
    Last edited by full_proof; 02-13-2007 at 17:41.
    Murf

    "...A good bowl of Wheaties with bourbon can't be beat." Dizzy Dean, The Gashouse Gang, 1934.

 

 

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