Bittersweet Symphony

Bittersweet

In association with Oxford university and the Fat Duck restaurant, we undertook a research project that provided the first empirical proof that flavour perception can be modulated - in this case making something taste bitter, and then taste sweet - purely by sound.

Understanding these frequencies enables us to embed sweet or bitter characteristics to background soundscapes, music, advertising, online UI audio, even products and packaging.

The sounds below were created for the study. To experience them properly, put headphones on and get something to eat or drink that has sweet and bitter notes. We find it works well with a cup of coffee. Changing between the two sounds as you taste, you should notice a difference in the balance of flavour, and possibly where the sensation of taste is located in the mouth.