Ever wondered why the wonderful Shiraz you sipped a few weeks ago in that Paris hotel doesn’t taste quite the same when you buy the same brand in the supermarket back in Pimlico? Could be the quality for export isn’t quite as good, I guess, or maybe it just doesn’t travel well.
Or perhaps there’s a more complex scientific reason for the change it taste… Having proved that food and drink taste sweeter under red lighting and more sour under green lighting, Oxford academic Charles Spence has turned his attention to the art of wine tasting and, in particular, the effect of cues in the environment on perceptions of taste. It appears that context is everything and, more importantly, the experience of taste is multi-sensory in character. When we initially enjoy a glass of wine in the lounge, the surroundings are important dimensions of the overall tasting experience, whether we are talking about the lighting levels, room temperature, background music that’s playing or the scent of the flowers on the table. Research by Spence suggests that removing any of these elements can result in a change in consumer taste perceptions/satisfaction of anything up to 20%. So, to recreate the taste, we also need to ensure that we also recreate the sensory environment too.
Ah well, this week end, I’ll be enjoying another bottle of the Merlot I discovered in Sainsbury’s last week that was so good I went back and bought more. To make sure it’s as nice, though, guess that means I also need to wear the Chanel Blue aftershave and sit through Britain’s Got Talent on TV yet again!