Smell the taste of food

Updated on Jun 23, 2004 02:15 PM IST

My first recognition of importance of smell to taste was limited to alcohol and beverages, writes Vir Sanghvi.

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I first recognised how important smell was to taste many years ago – but, at that stage, the recognition was limited to alcohol and beverages.

Johnnie Walker had organised a session at which a master blender from Scotland would explain how various malt whiskies were blended to create the bottled Scotch we know as Red Label or Black Label. The session was interesting enough – fascinating for whisky-lovers, a category that does not include me, alas.

When it was all over, and we were meeting for a drink, I asked the blender if he would do a blind tasting for me. I would line up seven or eight whiskies and he would have to identify each with a single sip. This sounded difficult but the man did claim to be a master-blender. Besides, I thought evilly, imagine the story that will result if I slip an Indian whisky into the selection and the Scotsman fails to guess its provenance.

The master-blender was reluctant.

I persisted.

Finally we agreed on a compromise. He wouldn’t taste the whiskies. He would guess what they were merely by sniffing the aromas. The fool, I thought, we’ve got him.

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