|MadSci Network: Other|
I'm assuming that you are talking about comparison of similar flavors like Coke and Pepsi or Sprite and 7-Up. There are many factors that go into the sensation of flavor. Actually most "flavor" perceptions are really odor perceptions. Volatiles enter your nasal passage at the back of your mouth and are sensed by the receptors in the nasal cavity. These receptors are extremely sensitive to an enormous variety of aromas. Have you had a cold recently? If so, think about how the food tasted. It was probably flat and kind of blah. Taste, as located in your mouth on your tongue, is limited to four sensations: salt, sour, sweet, bitter. The specific points where these sensation lie are very localized. You can verify this by using lemon juice, salt solution, sugar solution, and quinine water (available at any grocery store). Dip a toothpick in the liquid and touch it on different parts of the tongue. These factors can be easily confused by consumers (regular people) tasting the product because the identification of intensity of aroma notes isn't a common skill. People can be trained to quantify the amount of flavor and aroma to a very high degree, showing both accuracy and consistency. In your case they were trying to distinguish between very similar aroma profiles (cola, caramel, etc.) and very similar taste profiles (sweet, sour). You probably would have had a more clear ability to distinguish if you had chose products of a similar category but formulated to be more distinct, i.e. pepsi/coke vs RC cola, Shasta cola, Double cola, Sam's, cola, etc.
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