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Sunday, January 18, 2009

Improving your sense of smell

As an avid wine taster I can honestly say that one of the most enjoyable parts of drinking wine and analyzing it the best I know how, is smelling the wine. The bouquet of a wine is perhaps the most important part of your wine drinking experience. Don't believe me? Try tasting a wine with your nose plugged and tell me how it goes! I have investigated how to improve my sense of smell in order to better my critique and improve my overall wine experience. Here is a few tips I learned in my study and a few that I plan on incorporating in my everyday life.

Tips for improving your sense of smell:

*High moisture content in the air improves the sense of smell. So if you live in a dry climate you might consider humidifying your air.

*Cigarettes have a negative effect on the sense of smell as well as taste.

*Zinc is thought to improve and strengthen your sense of smell. Oysters are high in zinc, so have at em'!!

*Try sniffing therapy. Sniff something with a strong odor, for a couple of minutes, several times a day.

*In majority of the cases, it is seen that the sense of smell is higher after exercise, so get your daily dose.

*A blocked nose leads to blocked nerve receptors and often results in a poor sense of smell. So, keep your nose clean at all times.

*Make sure to drink a glass of water every hour or so. Dry mouth can contribute to diminishing sense of smell.

These are just a few of the ways that a taster can improve his/her sense of smell and I really believe this could lead to a better wine experience.
Benito said...

This is a great list of recommendations, and if you'll permit me, here are a few addenda:

- Avoid wearing perfume or cologne, eventually your nose becomes desensitized, and when you slosh on the stuff before a wine tasting it can impair the noses of your fellow tasters.

- Be careful around chemicals like bleach. Get a whiff of bleach right up the nose and it can kill your sense of smell for days. Some chemicals will completely destroy your sense of smell, leading to anosmia. (I had this for three days after an encounter with Clorox and I almost went insane.)

- Don't be afraid of "bad" smells. Barnyard, manure, wet horse, gasoline, cat's pee... I'm not saying you need to go nuts at the farm, but particularly with Old World wines you need to be able to identify certain aromas that will never show up as a fragrant soap at Bath & Body Works.

- Buy a weird herb, fruit, or vegetable once a week at the grocery store. Sniff the skin, the pith, the flesh, the stem, raw and cooked. For example, grapefruit is a great place to start when trying New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs. Look for the differences in peel, pith, and juice, red versus white.

Kevin said...

Great tips here! I'm looking forward to more reviews!

bacchus said...

Great tips Benito! I linked you up under the "Wine blogs of note" section

BS said...

This is a great bit of kit to get your sensory skills refined - http://www.nezduvin.co.uk/
Expensive but a good exercise

http://bodyandlegs.blogspot.com/

Nina said...

bacchus:
know anything about nasal sprays with steriods or a procedure that reduces the tissue in the nasal passages? i am a wine broker and am having trouble with my nose. don't want to go drastic, and ruin my career. HELP!

Palmwine said...

First and foremost thks for the top tips, they worked for me, as a waiter I have enhanced my smell just that little bit to provide my guest with special service.

On the extreme however i was happy to see that someone finally pointed a finger to some mineral to enhance the sensory capability. Which leads to my ?, is there any more herds, or roots or medication one could use to guarantee a good sniff sniff results in an informed judgement.

 
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