Closing the sensory loop Shepherd4 sums up the language connection with the olfactory sense very well: “Thus, connecting smells and flavor with language may be difficult, but it is a uniquely human endeavor. That we require effort to do it, using all the linguistic tricks at our disposal (analogies, metaphors, similes, metonyms, and figures of speech) qualified by the entire vocabulary of emotion (joy, despair, hate, revulsion, craving, and love) should not come, therefore, as a surprise.” and3 “There is no primary vocabulary for smells. Everything is analogy. So, the expert must develop a set of meaningful terms borrowed from the other senses that facilitates the dissection of the complex odor space into parts that can be reliably identified” Here endeth the lesson—for now. If this article topic has grabbed your attention, and you want some more fascinating insights, at a slightly less technical or academic
level, though written by authors who truly are knowledgeable about the subject and have done their research well, we yet again encourage you to read for sure the books by Shepherd3,4 (especially his Neuroenology book³) and those by Gilbert¹, Holmes², and Spence5. Want to become better at sensory evaluation or become a competition judge or part of a sensory panel? Or just to better enjoy your food and beverage choices? Then go forth, read, learn, eat, drink and think, learn some more but most of all—enjoy!
Gary Spedding, Ph.D., is a brewing and distilling analytical chemist and biochemist with special interest in the origins and development of beverage flavor and in the sensory evaluation of beer and distilled spirits. His company, Brewing and Distilling Analytical Services, a triple TTB certified laboratory, is dedicated to testing alcohol-containing beverages. A team of four supports the operation with Gary. Two chemists, and one microbiologist, all with B.Sc., degrees to their credit, and one sensory and computer operations specialist who administers and co-teaches in the new division of the business—Brewing and Distilling Educational Services.
1). Gilbert, A. (2008). What the Nose Knows. The Science of Scent in Everyday Life. Crown Publishers, NY. 2). Holmes, B. (2017). Flavor. The Science of Our Most Neglected Sense. W.W. Norton & Company, Inc. 3). Shepherd, G. M. (2017). Neuroenology. How the Brain Creates the Taste of Wine. Columbia University Press. 4). Shepherd, G. M. (2012). Neurogastronomy. How the Brain Creates Flavor and Why it Matters. Columbia University Press. 5). Spence, C. (2017). Gastrophysics. The New Science of Eating. Viking. 6). Attestia/Daesenso. http://www.attestia.com/A/serv_01_1. html 7). Schuster, M. (2017). Essential Winetasting. The Complete Practical Winetasting Course. Octopus Publishing Group Ltd. 8). How does our sense of taste work? (2016) https://www.ncbi. nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0072592/ 9). Chandrashekar, J., Hoon, M.A., Ryba, N.J.P. and Zuker, C.S. (2006). The receptors and cells for mammalian taste. Nature. 444 (16); 288-294. 10). Breslin, P.A.S. and Spector, A.C. (2008). Mammalian taste perception. Current Biology. 18 (4); R148-55. 11). Trivedi, B.P. (2012). The finer points of taste. Nature. 486; S2-3. 12). Spedding, G. (2017). Eighty Years of Rapid Maturation Studies. Why Are We Not There Yet? Part 1. Key Analytics and Solvent Chemistry. Distiller. Fall 2017. 13 (2): 88-100. 13). Spedding, G. (2018). Eighty Years of Rapid Maturation Studies. Why Are We Not There Yet? Part 3. A review of spirit in wood maturation—The chemistry: reactions and mechanisms; solvent and congeners; oxidation and catalysis. Distiller. Summer 2018 (In Press). 14). Jackson, R.S. (2017). Wine Tasting. A Professional Handbook (Third Ed.) Academic Press/Elsevier
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