Fantastic Flavours Pty Ltd
The Flavourists’ art of making flavours for a food application is steeped in mystery, some science, some food technology, some alchemy and some inspiration.
To satisfy a commercial request, most flavourists use what they know at that time
Science has made great progress in areas such as identification of key flavour molecules with specific flavours. This information however, and the experiences of working flavourists is not collected and prized. This site will attempt to collect this information and make it available to anyone interested. If you can contribute insights into the working of flavours please e-mail your ideas and they will be added to our knowledge base.
Some flavours are just single chemicals like mustard (allyl iso thiocyanate), others are due to a collection of aroma chemicals at specific concentrations. While others like some wines, fruits, foods have flavours that are composed of identifiable nuances that combine to give the overall flavour. Hence the need for flavour ‘maps’ or ‘wheels’ that help the taster navigate through the complexities. Yes we can learn from the beer, coffee and wine tasters!
Can flavourists ever duplicate nature? They can try but it is full of difficulties. Aroma chemicals used by flavourists are often not of the correct optical rotation.
Nature tends to choose a particular optical rotation and that rotation often determines the flavour. Most commercial flavour chemicals are of mixed optical rotation. Using aroma chemicals isolated from natural essential oils helps. (Chiral compounds in nature) The most quoted example being l-carvone having a spearmint odour and d-carvone having a caraway aroma.
My own experience of flavour analysis shows that (more likely than not), key odour impact chemicals are not identified due to faulty extraction techniques and equipment.
The flavourist is left to fill the gap.
No, the dominant smell in this wonderful aroma is "sulphury herbal catty" (possibly like para Menta-8- thio-3-one) but it has not yet been identified. Garden mint has the same aroma as you brush past.
Odour active chemicals are the key to effective flavours, trace components with very low tresholds quite often make the destinctive character of the flavour.
The concentration of the impact chemicals is also important, but in nature these compounds are often present as glucosides and are released slowly.
The best that the flavourist can do is his/her best.
The art side of flavouring is not duplicating nature in the raw, but making a flavour that lives up to the publics expectation. This is often very much different to the natural, its as if the comsumers (us) have a preconceived idea of what to expect and judge a flavour against this. We remember the best flavour we ever tasted.
Our memory for aromas and tastes is amazing.
Another amazing thing about aromas( flavours) is that not everyone can appreciate them. Some people have no sense of smell!
This is from Wikipedia.
It probably applied to other odours as well with Symrise reporting 20% of their panel could not smell a key pepper aroma.This makes matching flavours very difficult as an evaluation panel of super tasters may pick differences that the general public might not. Even experienced flavourists may not be able to detect every component of a flavour so may leave gaps in the profile.
One more thing, looking at the formulas of commercial flavours often leaves one confused. A single flavour can have totally different ingredients in it and still be called an "apple or whatever" flavour. It is amazing what you can get away with! But... when you look at nature you find massive differences, ripe fruit can have 100 times the aromas as "almost ripe".
Don't take too much notice of aroma analysis unless it is from a leading Flavour House. Even the best equipment is flawed and the impact aromas are often at trace levels.
Most imitation flavours need to be dosed appropriately as overdosing will lead to an "artificial" taste. Max Lake's article gives a great insight into this problem.
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The salt, sweetness, bitterness, acidity and umami of this dish combined with the aroma gives what we call the flavour.
The visual splendor, company and atmosphere combine to make it delicious
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Fantastic Flavours Pty Ltd