I have been looking for some actual science that explains how we smell and taste whisky. How do whisky-chemicals interact with you brain.? I say brain because your brain is the end point.
The smell of whisky is the result of evaporating “gas” out of the “liquid”.
The “whisky gas” moves out of the “whisky liquid”.
The “whisky gas” moves up the glass.
The “whisky gas” moves out of the glass.
The “whisky gas” moves from the glass in “all” directions, so long as there is no other gas moving the “whisky gas” out of the way. Wind sucks. Draft sucks.
Some of the “whisky gas” makes it to your face, into your nose, onto your nasal receptors. There are also “receptors” on your tongue. These receptors activate while you drink your whisky.
While drinking the whisky, your whisky gets warm. This “Heat” is transformed into “Work” and some of the liquid whisky is evaporated into “whisky gas”. This “whisky gas” can move out of your mouth, but it can also move into your head to the place where your nasal receptors are.
The receptors in your head that react to gasses and the ones that react to solids and liquids send information to your brain. Your brain uses memories to quess whether the gasses your are letting enter into your head are going to lett you die, turn sick, loath or enjoy. Some smoke will let your run out of the house. Some smoke will relax you because your brain said it is ok not to run out of the house while smelling a Laphroaig.
There is loads of outdated information online about the regions on the tongue that identify salt, sweet etc.
I did not actually read scientific papers about this topic, but I started watching a Biology course on Youtube and just happen to find the video below. Thought you should know.
The molecules (gas) that escape out of the liquid (whisky), have enough energy (Heat) to actually evaporate. Then they have to make it to your nose. Yes they have to MOVE from the surface of the whisky, past the glass, thru the air into your nose.
The temperature (Heat) of the whisky determines the kinetic energy of the whisky and therefor the potential to evaporate. So ice reduces the temperature, reducing the kinetic energy of whisky-gasses, hence less congeners can evaporate. So if you add ice to your whisky let reduces the potential for gasses to evaporate. If you are in the middle of the desert, this might be what you want.
The size of the whisky-gas molecules differ from molecule to molecule. The smaller the molecule the faster it can move thru the air. Air is a gas. Air contains of Nitrogen and Oxygen mostly. And some Carbon Dioxide as well. And some Argon. So the whisky gasses have to move past all these molecules if they want to make it to the place where your nose happens to be. It is not that this gas knows where your nose is. A good glass and having your nose close too it helps. The more a glass concentrates the gas, the more likely it is the amount of gas will pass the detection barrier of your nasal receptors.
The video below illustrates how “whisky-gasses” get from the glass into your nose.
So the first molecule that hits your nose is the fastest one. Just a long as the fastest molecule is so abundant that the amount of it is large enough to pass the detection level of your nose.
I just love this nerdy stuff!
After posting this blog I found a new world to discover and learn about. It seems there is a while field of study called “Neurogastronomy” I was clueless about.