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NeurogastronomyHow the Brain Creates Flavor and Why It Matters$
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Gordon Shepherd

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780231159111

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231159111.001.0001

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Smell, Flavor, and Language

Smell, Flavor, and Language

(p.207) Chapter Twenty-Four Smell, Flavor, and Language

Gordon M. Shepherd

Columbia University Press

This chapter addresses the fascinating and frustrating link between smell and language. It argues that connecting smells and flavor with language may be difficult, requiring all the linguistic tricks at our disposal (analogies, metaphors, similes, metonyms, and figures of speech) qualified by the entire vocabulary of emotion (joy, despair, hate, revulsion, craving, and love). Among the best challenges to the use of language to evaluate flavors is wine-tasting by experts. The chapter presents two examples of using language to characterize wine flavors. The first is Ann Noble's “The Wine Aroma Wheel,” with terms to describe wines organized in three concentric circles, starting at the center with the most general terms (fruity, earthy, and so on), to more specific (berry, citrus, and the like), to the most specific in the outer circle (blueberry, other specific fruits, and flavors). The second is Robert Parker's Wine Buyer's Guide, where he catalogues more than 7,500 wines, based on his ability to discriminate among different labels and different years.

Keywords:   smell, language, vision, hearing, flavors, wine-tasting, Anne Noble, Robert Parker, The Wine Aromaa Wheel, Wine Buyer's Guide

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