Scientific study finds environment can impact taste and flavour of whisky

Change the room; change the taste of your whisky 
Research results prove environment enhances taste and flavour. 

London, UK, 10-10-2013 — /EuropaWire/ — A change of environment can enhance the experience of enjoying whisky by up to 20% according to the world’s first scientific study exploring the senses and taste of whisky. The study has exciting implications for people enjoying whisky in their own homes, and for the way pubs, bars and restaurants could be designed in the future.

Leading the study was Professor Charles Spence, Head of Crossmodal Research at the Department of Experimental Science at Oxford University.  Professor Spence ran multi-sensory tests with sensory architects Condiment Junkie and The Singleton Single Malt Scotch Whisky, for participants at a specially designed bar in London. This study was followed by in-lab testing and under both conditions participants reported significant variations in their ratings of the scent, taste and flavour of whisky when tasting The Singleton Single Malt Scotch Whisky in different atmospheres.

The study notes the future possibilities for creating specific multi-sensory environments to enhance the experience of drinking complex liquids such as whisky. So whether one wishes to change the environment in which whisky is enjoyed by changing the lighting, putting on a special soundtrack, or even thinking about the surrounding scents – all can work to change the whisky experience.

Professor Charles Spence said, “We carried out experiments both in the laboratory and in The Singleton Sensorium, under more realistic bar conditions. The Singleton Sensorium saw people tasting The Singleton Single Malt Scotch Whisky in three rooms with very different environments: a grassy room laid with turf and noises of nature, a fruity room with red fruits and chiming bells, and a woody room with wood panels and sounds of crackling wood. Both sets of results confirm that it really is possible to enhance the drinker’s experience by creating a rich multi-sensory environment.

This sort of research has significant implications for anyone looking to enhance their whisky experience in a bar, restaurant or even from the comfort of their own homes. Notable chefs have embraced the potential when working with all the senses to deliver powerful tasting experiences,” he said.

This latest research has been published in Flavour, a peer reviewed journal from Bio Med. Velasco et al: Assessing the influence of the multisensory environment on the whisky drinking experience. The full paper is available to read via the following link:


For more information please contact 

Ailana Kamelmacher:, 07713 621 683.
Gillian Cook:, +31 (0) 207745162

Notes to Editors

About The Singleton of Dufftown
Distilled in the Dufftown distillery of Speyside, where fine single malts have been produced since 1896, exceptional care is taken at every stage of producing The SingletonTM to create the best taste possible.  Longer fermentation and slower distillation ensures exceptional smoothness and depth of flavour that creates a whisky regarded by many as the single best tasting single malt whisky in the world.  The liquid is then matured in a combination of American and European oak casks to ensure extra flavour and perfect balance.  The Singleton of Dufftown 12 year old has sweet fruity notes and a lingering, pleasurable warmth. On the nose you may notice toasted nut and rich fruit aromas.  The Singleton word and the Fish and Gate device are Trade Marks owned by Diageo. @singletonwhisky (

About Diageo 
Diageo is the world’s leading premium drinks business with an outstanding collection of beverage alcohol brands across spirits, beer and wine. These brands include Johnnie Walker, Crown Royal, JεB, Windsor, Buchanan’s and Bushmills whiskies, Smirnoff, Cîroc and Ketel One vodkas, Baileys, Captain Morgan, Tanqueray and Guinness.

Diageo is a global company, with its products sold in more than 180 countries around the world. The company is listed on both the New York Stock Exchange (DEO) and the London Stock Exchange (DGE). For more information about Diageo, its people, brands, and performance, visit us at For our global resource that promotes responsible drinking through the sharing of best practice tools, information and initiatives, visit

About Condiment Junkie
Condiment Junkie is a sensory branding and experiential design company, founded by Scott King and Russ Jones. It is a pioneering creative agency that specialises in the use of sound, scent, tastes and other sensory cues to profoundly affect experiences of brands, products and environments. Their approach, referred to as Sensory Architecture, is underpinned by scientific research into how our perception and behaviour is fundamentally shaped by the interaction between our senses. Condiment Junkie’s Head of Sensory Research, Prof Charles Spence, is the world’s foremost scientific authority in the investigation of these sensory links. The agency works across the automotive, retail, food and drink, healthcare, digital and design industries. Clients include Bentley, Selfridges, Heston Blumenthal / The Fat Duck, and Electrolux.  For more information visit

About Professor Charles Spence
Professor Charles Spence is the head of the Crossmodal Research Laboratory based at the Department of Experimental Psychology, Oxford University. He is interested in how people perceive the world around them. In particular, how our brains manage to process the information from each of our different senses.

Charles has published more than 450 articles in top-flight scientific journals over the last 15 years. He has been awarded the 10th Experimental Psychology Society Prize, the British Psychology Society: Cognitive Section Award, the Paul Bertelson Award, the prestigious Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel Research Award from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation in Germany, not to mention the 2008 IG Nobel prize for nutrition, for his groundbreaking work on the ‘sonic crisp’.

Detail of the taste experiments run by Professor Spence
Real World Singleton Sensorium experiment: 441 participants were recruited to take part in a whisky sensory experiment in Soho, London in March 2013. Each room challenged the senses in different ways; the first room was designed to accentuate the green, grassy nose of The Singleton, and included a real turf floor, sounds of lawnmowers and birds tweeting. The second room, the red room, aimed to bring out the taste of the sweet dark berries and dried fruit flavour notes in the whisky, using curved shapes and the sounds of bells ringing. The final room was created to represent the unique finish of the whisky. Sounds included double-bass notes, creaking wood and a wood crackling fire. The scent of cedar wood in the air, and a tree growing in the room, highlighted the lingering taste of age and wood in The Singleton whisky.

Laboratory experiment: 18 participants were tested under laboratory conditions at Oxford and tasted 4 samples of Singleton Single Malt Scotch Whisky whilst watching three visual cues designed to enhance wood, sweetness and grass and listening to three soundtracks created specifically for the experiment.



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