The Science Behind Taste and Flavour

The Nose and Mouth are a Mixers Best Friend

There’s a science as to how we all perceive taste and flavour, as well as there being a fundamental difference between the two. Learning the difference will make you better at cooking and yes, mixing e-juice too.

  • Taste refers to the senses inside our mouth and tongue- Any of the 5 sensed characteristics: sweet, salty, sour, bitter, and umami. A more recent consideration for the list is Fat, although it’s not quite fitting.
  • Aroma occurs inside our nose and includes aspects relating to our sense of smell.
  • Flavour is when taste and aroma converge- The combination of compounds and aromas from natural ingredients.

The chemistry of Flavours

The science of food flavouring is fascinating. Did you know that it takes –

  • 300 compounds to create food with the flavour of a ripe strawberry?
  • 400 odd volatiles to contribute to the aroma of tomatoes
  • The chemical ethyl butyrate is one of 30 compounds that are typically found in orange juice

How artificial flavours work
An introduction to concentrated flavours

When trying to simulate the taste of chocolate, for example, flavorists will use substances that individually taste and smell like potato chips, cooked meat, peaches, raw beef fat, cooked cabbage, human sweat, dirt and other distinctly un-chocolate-like aromas. In fact, in some cases, it can get quite weird.

Certain strawberry and vanilla flavours are derived from the glands found in or around a beaver’s backside. And here I thought the secret to good food/flavour was utilising fresh natural ingredients.

Charles Yates

AKA Charles Vaper. Ex-smoker, current vaper and THR advocate. I started The Vapers Table in 2011 to offer information and support for smokers looking to transition to vaping. My interests are- Helping smokers quit, food, cooking, flavours, music, orchestral composing-studio recording & technology, travel & country road trips.

Leave a Reply