The difficulty of describing taste
When I started to decided to explore gins a bit more I did what many people do, what I still do sometimes admittedly: Judged the gin by the bottle. Maybe, just maybe by a medal on the packaging. But why do we behave like that and what does that mean for a blog like this one? Bare with me, I will try to keep it short and concise.
As some of you know I am an Art Director by day and I have an education in graphic design / communication design. One of the most important things to learn when starting as a designer, is to take the ideas of person A and transform them into shapes, colours and words which trigger a desired effect, usually creating a feeling or recalling memories / associations. That's why a logo should never be tailored to the taste of a CEO, but should resonate well with the potential target group.
Besides being a designer I do train people as well. Often times I get hired to teach journalists how they can optimise their story telling. That's when we usually do a little exercise to start the course. Actually, let's do this exercise together.
A little exercise
Imagine there is a party, with music and drinks and people. Got it? Do you see the room? The people? The bar and drinks? Great.
Now let's look at this type demo.
Now think about the party again. What kinds of drinks do they serve at the type party on top and what kind of music is playing? Fun people? Now think about (type) party number two, the bottom one. Who is invited? Drinks? People?
And now the most important question:
Which party would you rather go to?
There you go. I just sold you a party without any hesitation. No one wants to go to that "PARTY" with all those boring lawyers and dull elevator piano music. Only super old Scotch and no fun drinks. Okay, I pushed it to far. Now you all want to go and have the mega expensive old Scotch. I should have stopped when it was time. ;)
Another game? Okay, but this is the last one. You need to buy a detergent. One that really gets the mess cleaned in that shared appartment's bathroom. Ready to shop?
Do I need to ask which one you bought? Probably not. The bottom one probably makes things even worse. The first one is clean and fresh, that should get the job done in no time judging from the colour.
Now describing taste is not so easy. Actually a bit harder than the little exercise we just did. But colours help. And colours help us to remember things a bit better. raspberry is a bit more pink than red, but strawberries are more red, and maybe even a bit orange yellow when still a bit sour? Which colour is sweetness? Probably not blue, maybe red, or orange? when you ask many people they will start giving more answers of the same kind than others. That helps a bit. When I say earthy, you probably think dark, brown, maybe deep dark green, maybe even a bit black? and spicy? Bright red? With what combined? Black? Orange? Beasty yellow-green?
You get the idea. And that is what the fine folks at the gin foundry have done. They have taken botanicals and arranged them with attributes and colours in a circular design. With that it helps people to describe taste a bit better. You can order this chart at their webshop if you feel like using it to describe what you are tasting.
This is a great first way to understand taste, to get a feeling for it.
Now I will try to incorporate some colours and ideas of this into some of my reviews which are often explaining what I am tasting. But personally I am not sure whether this is perfect just yet. Probably it takes more than that. There is an idea that has been building up in the last 2 or 3 years but I am not there yet. It's too much for this post anyway.
More colour, more to imagine, closer to the taste
It's important that you take one thing with you today, our brain and our imagination is amazing. We cannot switch cretain things off. They happen. And that is good and bad at the same time. When used to bring an idea across, an idea that reflects reality, like the description of taste, it can do wonders. All of a sudden you get what the other person is talking about. Let's use some colours to describe things and maybe that colour wheel can help us a bit.
How do you feel? Green? Red? Pink?