I was reading a book last and the author was describing drinking some particularly fine scotch. The taste transitioned from the smooth warm alchohol to the peaty, smoky aromas.
Which got me thinking - how does aftertaste work? I figure that anything which can register against the olfactory system will do so immediately, so all the flavours would be present simultaneously. I did wonder if perhaps the chemicals reacted (oxidise maybe?) and the end products provided some of the aftertaste.
Or maybe some of the flavour sensors work more slowly than others giving a layered effect?
The dissociation of flavor molecules from taste receptors can be quite slow; and like most receptors, those for tastes can have their responses altered by a variety of agonist and antagonist molecules. This link gives a bit of the flavor of the subject: Unraveling the biochemistry of sweet and umami tastes
Thankyou Squink. The article was very interesting (had to use a few google ‘define xxx’ ) and I was quite surprised to see the apparent immaturity of our understanding of taste.
This does lead on to a related question - in the OP I mentioned that the scotch tasted of the burnt peat. Is this due to the actual physical presence of burnt peat in the scotch making process, or is the term just used in a descriptive fashion? I’ve often read wine labels which suggest gooseberry, cut grass, citrus and other flavours and wondered whether something is actually done to include these flavours or if the chemicals just occur in the wine and some poetic license is used when writing the label.