The third challenge of the G'Vine Gin Connoisseur 2011 World Finals is all about aroma. First contestants (and bloggers) learned about aroma and then took a quiz about it.
In the seminar, we learned about the link between aroma and emotion, and aroma and memory. These links are not even logical- if you hear a dog barking or bad noises when you’re in a rose garden, in the future when you smell roses you may associate that with an uncomfortable sound.
Bad smells are useful for self-defense too - a large portion of people who are hurt in fires have a compromised sense of smell - they didn't smell the gas or the smoke. The loss of the sense of smell causes loss of appetite, diminishes quality of life, and causes accidents as above.
We then did an exercise where we smelled an aroma and created an image in our mind- a shape, a color, a piece of music, or a place. Everyoneended up chosing a pastel color. The shape was roundish but not defined – I chose a cream colored egg.
We classified odors by intensity and learned the difference between intensity and tenacity. Intensity has to do with the highness of the note (so lemon is way up there) whereas tenacity is the length of the scent (cardamom is a medium intensity but high tenacity odor). Citrus notes tend to have a high intensity but low tenacity; chocolate has a medium-low intensity but high tenacity, as does vanilla and licorice root (used for that purpose in gin), sandalwood and cedarwood have low intensity and high tenacity.
We learned about synthetic and natural fragrant molecules, and how each are important in perfumes - often they are mixed and it's less common to have synthetic-only perfume. Often the discovery of an important fragrant molecule leads to the creation of a great perfume- this happened with Chanel No 5 and Aldehyde C12 MNA, discovered in 1903.
After the class, the contestants sat down to a test.
We won't know the winners until later...