Why can smells unlock forgotten memories?
As the Tardis told the fantastic Amy Pond “Petrichor, don’t say the word, think it” smell is such a powerful sense, a whiff of something can transport you to another time or place in seconds.
This fascinating article from the BBC about smell and memories is worth a read even if your livelihood doesn’t depend on a well-trained nose Why can smells unlock forgotten memories?
I need my nose to be on form to do my job but the joy of wine is that there is no secret to being able to find the scents that people describe in wine. A wonderful article written by Tim White (http://tinyurl.com/6twwsq5) debunks the myth that us wine folk are just being poncey by using descriptors, those things really do exist.
To turn yourself into ‘one of us’ here’s a few tips to get you started. Firstly, pay attention when you smell something. Even an apple doesn’t have a one-dimensional scent, there are subtle nuances depending on how ripe it is, what type of apple it is, if it is warm, cold, cooked, juiced and so on.
Everything has a smell; everyone recognises things like ‘new car’, ‘baby’ and ’teenage boys bedroom’. I often advise new people into the wine industry to go to the greengrocer and pick up the fruit and smell it. Link that smell to the thing in your hand and file it away. Build up your database of smells and before you know it the elusive flavour that is on the tip of your tongue but you can’t quite say it will pop into your head.
The spice cupboard, the back of your partners neck, the shady bit of a wood that never gets sunlight charity shop clothes, new carpet, clothes left too long in the machine are all good sources of smells to get your olfactory sense up to scratch.
Once you have spent a few days sniffing and filing the flavours away, sit back and watch Amy Pond on Dr Who and pour yourself a nice glass of wine. See what you can find. This is easier with a better wine, try to spend at least £7/8. Have fun, wine is supposed to be fun!