BBC: Sweet or sour? Altering how we taste our food

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It's not only the water and the peat that will affect the taste of a malt whisky

What can you taste when you swirl a mouthful of malt whisky around your mouth? Peaty flavours, honey, sea salt? Talk to any whisky drinker and they’ll be happy to discuss at length.

But it turns out that not all you are getting is down to your taste buds – or even your nose. If you drink a glass of single malt in a room carpeted with real grass, accompanied by the sound of a lawnmower and birds chirping, and all bathed in green light, the whisky tastes “grassier”. Replace that with red lighting, curved and bulbous edges and tinkling bells and the drink tastes sweeter.

Best of all, creaking floorboards, the sound of a crackling fire and a double bass bring out the woody notes and give you the most pleasurable whisky experience.

“For a drinks company to think what does our whisky sound like, not just what does it taste like, opens a window to a whole lot of creativity,” says Nik Keane, malt whisky global brand director for Diageo.

Experimental phase This new discipline has been labelled “neurogastronomy” by its best-known apostle, Prof Charles Spence, who runs the Crossmodal Research Laboratory at Oxford University.

Tags: DiageoSenses
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My name is Greg, and I’m a brand strategy consultant, writer, speaker, host and judge specialising in premium spirits. My mission is to experience, share and inspire with everything great about whisky, whiskey, gin, beer and fine dining through my writing, my brand building and my whisky tastings.

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