Yes. I guess I am a super-taster, I replied to Ben.
I didn’t even know there was such a thing until a few years ago when a wine friend, Barry C. Smith, asked me how I felt about tea & coffee
Cannot drink tea all all. Coffee, I only started drinking in my 40’s and now, in my 60’s I don’t mind it, but I still don’t drink very much of it.
With that answer, he suggested I was a Super-Taster.
Scent & aroma appreciation has always been at my core … but rarely in a negative way.
Even scents that others find putrid, I find curious.
There’s only been one time in memory where scent shocked me. I was walking through a department store where the fragrance department had just launched Versace’s “Blonde” (Donatella’s deal). Its premise was 3 basic scents, one of them, I learned later, being tuberose.
As I walked toward the fragrance counter where the scent had been sprayed in vast amounts, it was like I’d hit a wall. I had to change direction until the scent diminished.
It was freaky, because I’ve long been a huge fan of perfume – spray tons of it every day – but never that one. After that experience, I sympathize with people who say they’re allergic to perfume.
While attending the Society of Sensory Professionals Atlanta GA conference Oct 2016, one of the speakers asked each of the 700 or so participants to pick up the small white strip from within the small, sealed holder at each seat in the room and place it on our tongue.
I almost died!
and was gagging when she asked over the speaker system:
“How many of you hate me right now?”
… my arm shot up, but was very surprised to see that only a handful of people in the room did the same thing.
The speaker went on to explain what that horrible compound was and why only a few of us were affected by it.
I can’t remember what it was called, but from what I’ve read since that experience, it’s pretty safe to say it’s the “bitter chemical called 6-n-propylthiouracil (PROP)”
“Testing a person’s sensitivity to a bitter chemical called 6-n-propylthiouracil (PROP) is a more definitive way to determine if he or she is a supertaster; non-tasters can’t taste PROP, but supertasters can and really don’t like its bitter taste! Average tasters can taste it too, but its bitter taste is not strong enough to bother them.” – Scientific American.
Frankly, I just want to forget that experiment every took place, but that will never happen.
Scent / taste memory can last forever … I can still recall that taste/ aroma to this day.
So, I guess I tested positively/ was informally ID’d, for Super-Taster status
It’s important to note that 1 in 4 people are Super-Tasters.
1 in 4 are non-tasters. The other 50% of the population are average tasters.
At this stage in life, I don’t have all the characteristics attributed to super-tasters, but at various points in my life, I certainly did.
Taste is only part of it. Taste is 80% smell. As a child, there was only a handful of foods that I would eat – the aromas of which still give me great comfort.
But, at the time, my family attributed my fussy eating habits more to texture than taste or aroma.
For instance, I couldn’t eat mashed potatoes until my late teens.
Forget cabbage – wouldn’t go near that … which was unusual considering I’m Ukrainian.
But I loved borscht, home-made chicken noodle soup and good ol’ basic bologna sandwiches.
The other important consideration is I’ve always had a really good nose for scent.
My 1st memory of scent appreciation was when I was about 8 years old.
After a visit to the dentist for a filling in a front tooth, Mom bought me a “Kiddle Kologne” doll in “Violet” … a cute little doll with long, purple hair housed in a replica of a perfume bottle. I loved that doll above all others; couldn’t get enough of the aroma!
But I also work at it … to maintain that taste & olfactory skill.
There’s exercises I do to keep my nose calibrated for scent recognition and my brain active with scent memory & vocabulary.
I practice every day with foods found in the grocery store, in the pantry and during masterclasses & with personal experience, for wine, whisky & cigars.
There’s a whole section of books about taste buds & molecules in my personal wine-library.
Aroma & flavour are 2 things that we should never take for granted.
They truly are gifts to be enjoyed with every whiff & every bite.