Whisky brand The Singleton challenged Condiment Junkie to devise a sensory event that would help bring to life the Brand’s vision as being ‘The Best Tasting Whisky in the World’, sitting in the realm of wine and food, where taste and sensuality is king. They wanted to bring the experience of drinking Whisky into the 21st century, be progressive and appeal to a wider, younger audience - as well as generate huge amounts of talkability and PR.
We created 'The Singleton Sensorium', a pop up event that blends science and sensuality.
The Sensorium is a concept for the bar of the future - how the 12 year old single malt will be drunk when the current batch is ready in 2025.
Using cross-modal research, we designed three immersive ‘sensory worlds’, where sound, scent, colour, decor and textures combine to highlight different flavours of the whisky. As guests walk from one room to the other, drink in hand, the sensory environment highlights the complex notes in the drink, amplifying different flavours and showing how much the environment can change your experience.
The first room was designed to dial up the flavours of cut grass, apples and pears on the nose.
|The Grassy room|
The sounds of birds chirping and the occasional lawnmower, as well as certain frequencies associated with green pushed up in the audio, were combined with cross modal scents, real grass on the floor, deck chairs, picnic baskets and a slightly humid atmosphere, all bathed in green light.
The second room was designed to elevate the Sweet and fruity taste.
|The Sweet room|
Based on our research, there were no sharp edges in the room - everything was curved and bulbous. Red light combined with high tinkling bells and an aldehyde scent that heightens perception of higher sonic frequencies - which in turn would enhance sweet perception.
The final room was made to bring out the woody finish.
|The Woody room|
Throughout the night guests remarked how this was 'the Whisky room' - the most congruent with their expectations of Whisky. With a real tree, lanterns, old floorboards and a fireplace - the room was designed like a surreal, dreamlike wood cabin. The sound of creaking, crackling and a drawn out double bass combined with scent of cedar and vetiver.
As guests travelled around the event, they were asked to note down how the sounds, scents and visuals enhanced the flavours in the whisky. Results have contributed to the first ever scientific study into the effects of multi-sensory environments on taste, conducted by our head of sensory research, Prof. Charles Spence.
Over 440 guests attended the event. Preliminary results show a 20% increase in taste perception across the board - in the grassy room the drink tasted 20% more grassy, 20% more sweet in the sweet room, and 20% more woody in the wood room. We successfully proved our hypothesis and for the first time ever have shown that sensory architecture enhances perception.
The event generated massive media coverage which is still continuing - there will be more to come when the scientific paper 'Tasting notes: Assessing the effect of the multi-sensory atmosphere and ambience on people's perception of whisky' is published sometime in September 2013.