Smell is such an important part of taste, as experts believe between eighty to ninety percent of our perception is derived from smell, or aromas. Our taste buds only play a rudimentary role in flavor tasting because they can detect basically five tastes (see Basic Tastes on the next page) – sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and umami. That is why I prefer to use the term flavor note when describing chocolate taste.
Flavor Note equals aroma plus taste,
and overall richness
Taste is, more or less, a very individual process. Temperature, texture, smell, appearance, and even one’s facility with language, specifically one’s ability to name a flavor note, can influence the perceptions of flavors. Recent research has even shown that there are several types of bitterness.
Therefore, there is no right or wrong perception of flavor.
You may not detect the same flavor notes as another person, or describe it as it is “supposed” to be. At first, you may only detect a few flavors. However, a vocabulary of descriptive terms for flavors and aromas (see Guide to Colorful Chocolate Descriptors ) can help guide your senses to become more specific, or inspire you to be descriptively daring.
Go as far as you like. Most importantly, have fun and let your sense fly!