A few weeks back, I walked into our tasting room to find 4 customers arguing with each other. I stayed back and listened as best as I could to try to understand what was going on, and this is what I heard . . .
No.1: I smell citrus and spice from this wine.
No. 2: Well, I get peaches and cinnamon.
No. 3: You are both wrong! This wine smells floral and spicy!
No. 4: Are you crazy? This wine has the essence of grapefruit and the sea . . .
Not only were each of these customers telling the others what they smelled, but they were insistent that they were ‘right’ and everyone else was ‘wrong’!
So who was right here? The fact is – they ALL were. One person’s ‘citrus’ may very well be another’s ‘stone fruit’ and one’s ‘spice’ may be another’s ‘cardamom and cinnamon’ . . .
The bottom line is that each of us has a unique sense of smell and taste that is based upon a number of factors unique to us, including the foods we were exposed to throughout our lives, the places we’ve visited and the aromas we’ve noticed at each of these places, the recency of when we last smelled a particular smell or tasted a specific item, and much more.
And not only that, but each of us has different’ thresholds’ for detecting senses as well. For instance, there are some, including some well known wine reviewers, that can detect TCA, the chemical responsible for the ‘wet cardboard’ smell caused mainly by bad corks, at 1 or 2 parts per BILLION! Others may not be able to detect this defect unless it is 20 to 30 TIMES that level!
What similar situations have YOU been a part of? I’m looking forward to your comments!