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filed under: Goods & Gadgetry,

Ever wonder what Guilty tastes like? What about Power? How 'bout Orgasm?

Thought that would get your attention. Now, apparently, you can find out. Avant-garde fashion-meets-art publication Visionaire just released TASTE in collaboration with International Flavors & Fragrances Inc. (IFF), the bar none leader in the creation of scents in the world's top perfumes as well as other flavored and scented products.

The TASTE tome, bound appropriately in noirish black (Visionaire has a rep for being a bit dark), comes equipped with 12 emotions/concepts depicted both visually--via photographs--and, er, orally. Flavors meticulously cooked up by IFF's team of flavorists are stored on strips made from the same taste-film technology that makes Listerine breath strips possible.

Emotion-concepts (I coined that term myself, as I'm not sure how else to refer to the stuff depicted in TASTE) are depicted variously in photographs and still artwork. Guilty, for example, is a photograph of an attractive woman heavily made up and scantily clad running her fingers through her hair. The side note says "taste leather and chocolate". Ok.

Visionaire says that "Some tastes are easy to identify, while others are highly conceptual."

And so I'm guessing that the flavor-concept "Mommy", rendered via a photograph of a woman's breast and the flavor "condensed milk", is most definitely not one of the "highly conceptual" pieces.

The Visionaire website further reports that "This may be the first time that flavor has ever been used as a pure art medium, without concern for convention or application and detached from its connection to food." Hmm. Except that there are flavors in wine, which is not food, which got me thinking about the unique role that flavor plays in wine appreciation.

Like the flavors experienced in TASTE, those found in wine are also separate from the sources they recall. For example: leather. And earth. And berry fruit. All of those flavors are often present in a regular old glass of Pinot, but they aren't really there. Not, at least, in their literal forms.

That's the special thing about wine: unlike food, you don't have to actually ADD those ingredients into the mix to have them somehow appear in the finished product. In some ways, and I know this is going to sound cheesy, it's kind of like magic.

And so, while my hat's certainly off to Visionaire and IFF for so carefully concocting these "completely unprecedented flavors", I'd like also like to tip my hat to the world's top winemakers, who manage to make an ordinary glass of wine sing without nearly as much pondering, mixing, matching, and calculating.

I guess the magic, in the end, is in the grapes, not the ingredients.

Bonus: You don't have to pay for a fancy black leather binding to enjoy up to ten THOUSAND different TASTES in a glass of wine. Beats just 12 flavors and a picture of a woman's breast any day.



Posted by Courtney at