Scientists have made a synthetic tongue that is designed to sort whiskey by taste. Every whiskey varies in its smell and its taste, but the chemical composition is extremely similar between bottles. This has always meant that the only real way to understand whiskey is by tasting it, noting its flavors, and learning the subtle differences between every bottling.
That has all changed, after scientists introduced an artificial sensor array that can detect the subtlest of differences between two kinds of whiskey. The artificial tongue was explained in a journal publication called Chem on June 8, and the report explained how the sensor array could identify the malt status, country of origin, and even the age of a whiskey it encountered.
An organic chemist from the University of Heidelberg, by the name of Uwe Bunz, was the senior co-author of the report. He told Phys.org about his interest in developing a system that could tell the difference between to extremely similar kinds of whiskey. To achieve this, scientists created sensors that were made up of numerous different solutions containing dye. A whiskey is then dropped into each solution, causing a change in the brightness of the colors. A machine called a “plate reader” is then used to analyze the change in the fluid fluorescence, allowing them to note a pattern for each kind of whiskey.
When different whiskeys are added to the sensor, the response by the dye is used as an indicator of the malt status, age, and flavor of the whiskey. Though it is called a synthetic tongue, it appears nothing like one. The sensor array is simply a collection of fluids that operate on the same principles of the human tongue, which consists of six different receptors. These are sweet, bitter, salty, sour, hotness, and umami. These sensors then feed information back to the brain about the food that it is in contact with, creating our sense of taste.
Sticking to the Old Ways
SipDark thinks it’s better to stick the old ways, and experience whiskey yourself!
Unlike the palate of an enthusiastic whiskey lover, this interesting new science can’t identify a whiskey from scratch. Instead, it must use readings from a base whiskey before it can determine information about the varieties of the beverage it comes in contact with.
At SipDark, we have a huge range of whiskey drinking accessories for you to enjoy, including our famous Glencairn glass range. You can choose from Glencairn glass gift sets, to single glasses that are crafted to feel amazing in your hand. Perhaps treat yourself to our cigar rest, which also functions as a bottle opener – or even some of our famous drink stones. SipDark’s steel and soapstone whiskey stones are designed to keep your whiskey cool, without affecting flavor.
This new science sure is interesting, but it can never quite beat the experience of drinking a fine whiskey from a high-quality glass, with our innovative drink chilling stones.