Have you ever noticed that music changes your mood? I think we may all have experienced this with a banging song. However what about what you hear impacting what you taste? This was the premise behind the sensory experience evening hosted by Silent Pool. Read on to see what we experienced and how we tested the theory!
A sensory experience with Silent Pool gin
The idea: the senses are all interlinked
Professor Barry Smith and his team are working from the basis that the sense are interlinked. Therefore by changing one sense, for example touch, by making you touch things of different textures, it will impact your sense of taste. This is an intriguing idea… I’ve been aware that when tasting gins and wines etc, smell and taste are very much linked. But I’ve never thought about how listening to something might impact the taste of my drink!
The evening was designed so that everyone got to try Silent Pool gin in varying serves. We also got to try out various experiments to test the theory that manipulating one sense effected another. These experiments were both in a separate room where the sound and vision etc could be controlled, and out in the main bar space.
The drinks – all Silent Pool based, naturally
But first we started with a Silent Pool gin and tonic. Silent Pool gin is named after the pond that the distillery sits next to – called the Silent Pool. To my taste the gin has notes of caramel in it, but it’s not a ‘sweet gin’ per se. This lovely gin has loads of floral notes and cassia to assist the juniper with some spice. The caramel I get is probably from the local honey that comes through at the end.
But the best bit was the experiments!
When it was our time to be called into the back room, we went to be greeted by Professor Barry Smith and his team. They made sure everyone had a Silent Pool G&T and then handed out the equivalent of a gimlet. Gin and lime juice! This was for experiment one:
The Sound of Gin
This involved us listening to different music whilst sipping our G&Ts. Then we listened to two different tracks whilst sipping our gin and lime juice. The idea is that depending on the type of music, you’d either appreciate the drink more or less. I didn’t really feel an impact with the G&T and the types of music. But there may have been something in a more discordant melody, making the gin and juice taste more tart. However my friend Becky definitely reckoned there was something in this…. but what we were experiencing wasn’t the strict control of a lab experiment and the team were definitely ‘leading the audience’ when it came to assisting them with descriptions!
The Feel of a Martini
This was the next experiment – to be fair I was just happy to be getting a dry Silent Pool martini! This explored the link between taste and touch (rather than taste and hearing from the previous experiment). We drank our martinis whilst first stroking a piece of smooth silk and then ‘stroking’ the rough side of Velcro. Again I didn’t really get much of an impact from this.
The martini seemed lush both times! But again most of the audience in the room thought there was an impact to this. Apparently the touch of holding a martini glass doesn’t count – you need to be moving your hand/fingers across the surface.
Gin & Zing
The final experiment in the room was gin & zing! For this one we brushed our lips & tongue with a schezwan pepper mixture, before listening to music that was meant to be at the exact same frequency that our taste buds were vibrating. I’m not sure I could tell that the ‘zing’ in my mouth was vibrating at the same time as the sound waves, but the visualisation of these on the screen was mesmerising! The numb tongue / buzz from the schezwan pepper was an interesting thing to try out though.
Back in the main room
We then tried out a few more ‘experiments’ or experiences en masse back in the main room.
The Harmony of Silent Pool Gin
We got to smell the key botanical aromas one by one. Some of them you could smell from across the room – like the lavender. Others were more subtle, like the chamomile.
It was interesting to smell the botanicals one by one and then see if you could pick them out of the gin.
The final experiment was one that had us all flumoxed to start with! We were served two different garish negronis each – red and green.
Then we were told to taste each to a different piece of Christmas music and then vote to say which one we preferred the taste of.
This really threw me as I was expecting the ‘green’ negroni to be a white negroni (I spotted a bottle of Suze on the side behind the bar and put two and two together to make ????). And I expected the ‘red’ negroni to be a classic one made with Campari.
So it was weird when they tasted the same! I’m not sure if you would have had the same experience if you weren’t a negroni lover like me, but apparently any difference in taste was due to the music and your eyes seeing the colour (so didn’t work on me – again!), the only difference was food colouring!!!
I had to mention the venue. This evening was held at Cambridge Audio offices near Borough and it’s a pretty cool space.
They have a whole section with album covers on the wall; a tiered seated area opposite a stage; a whole wall of glitter and a bar with lighting made from Silent Pool gin bottles!
Well, for me this experiment didn’t work. Does this mean that it doesn’t work, period? No, obviously one person’s experience can’t negate a whole lot of blind testing etc
Am I the exception that proves the rule? Well that’s not very scientific!! But others did experience changes, are they just more susceptible to suggestion? Maybe… but there was a definite leading of the witness going on in our ‘tests’!
However I can confirm that I definitely enjoyed the evening and tasting Silent Pool gin again. It was in my top 10 gins for 2016!
Let me know in the comments if you’ve ever experienced other senses impacting your enjoyment of a g&t!
For more information on Silent Pool check out their website here.