New Understanding of Human Sensory Perception
POTENTIAL FOR MORE ROBUST SENSORY EVALUATION OF DISTILLED SPIRITS W R I T T E N B Y G A RY S P E D D I N G , P H . D.
nderstanding the evaluation of flavor which, as we will see, is a combination of taste and aroma and, in fact, all the senses combined, has undergone a revolution within the past 30 years. Yet the new findings have not percolated down to brewers or distillers, and there are still some myths and misunderstandings regarding this topic. This even applies with respect to the better-understood evaluation of wine. It is time to address this topic before these myths filter down to affect distilled product evaluation by craft distillers and consumers of their beverage formulations. The review here is a general introduction as to what we know about the senses and how we apply
sensory evaluation to food and beverages in general. Publications by the authors’ Gilbert, Holmes, Shepherd and Spence are recommended as an initial entry into this burgeoning field. They provide very readable and entertaining introductions to the world of sensory evaluation, which will clue readers into both evaluating beverages and in interpreting the results of competitions or the evaluations of their products by other “so-called experts”.1-5 These books represent coverage of the fantastic advances in knowledge over the past few decades, with details from peerreviewed journal articles and material that
in many cases has not yet transitioned to the brewer, distiller or winemaker. From here the reader can venture off into locating the actual research papers and reviews on the subject to build up their understanding of the complexity of the topic, and to prepare themselves to better approach joining a sensory evaluation team or program, or to seek opportunities in participating in judging competitions. For those interested in setting up a sensory evaluation program many other complete works on the topics are available with reference citation details provided upon request. Some summary details from the aforementioned books and a few other works are provided here. WWW.ARTISANSPIRITMAG.COM
The magazine for craft distillers and their fans.