Kyrö Tasting Experience
Nominated in the categories
3.1 Soundscapes and Ambient Sound, 4.1 Audio Marketing
Audiodraft and Kyrö Distillery Company teamed up to design an experience at Slush Music to showcase the power of audio on our taste perception. We paired Kyrö’s new products with two specialized custom tracks to highlight the bitterness in one drink, and the sweetness in the other, to increase the memorability and enjoyment of the beverages.
There are two conflicting theories of how we taste. The current, most accepted one is the “lock and key” theory, where certain volatile chemicals “click” into certain receptors and trigger a taste response. However, there is an alternative model. One which focuses on the “vibrations”. Similar to how we perceive sound vibrations and frequencies in our ears, and light frequencies in our eyes, the alternative theory states that odour particles give off a certain frequency, which trigger our sense of taste and smell. This theory has its limits, and is currently still under investigation.
What we do know however, is that by using specifically designed audio, we can influence your perception of a taste. Loud music can mask strong flavours, bad music can cause you to find a taste repulsive, high pitched sounds can increase sweetness and lower pitched sounds can increase bitterness.
Based on research higher pitched frequencies increase the perceived sweetness of a flavour. This coupled with a smooth, slow and gently oscillating musical note reinforces the sweetness and lowers the recognised bitterness.
In the custom designed track for the pale, we utilised an audio effect called “evaluative conditioning”. By using ambient sounds of a gentle summer breeze blowing through a field of wheat on a hot day, it is possible to place a person in a positive frame of mind by reminding them of a time they were happy, relaxed and calm. All of these have a unconscious impact on your perceived enjoyment of a taste.
The bird song and wind chimes are an additional higher frequency layer added to increase sweetness and also give the overall production a greater narrative, while introducing some light “grey” noise to the mix to lower the overall perceived strength of the drink.
Lower pitched frequencies have been proven to increase the bitterness of a taste. Here a cello has been pitch shifted down two octaves to achieve an even lower sound than is usually expected from this instrument. The smooth and gentle movement of the melody also increases the perceived smoothness of the flavours, so as not to overpower the senses with a strong negative response to the bitterness.
In the custom track designed for the dark, the sound of wind covers the “brown” noise frequency, filling out the production and adding noise, without it being overtly obvious. According to research, this noise is meant to lower the overall perceived strength of flavours, and adds to the overall enjoyability of the experience by acting as a control on the bitterness.
Finally, an enjoyable, upbeat and gentle melody was selected, as a positive attitude towards a sound increased the overall enjoyment of a taste. Using evaluative conditioning, the background noise of a fire, and the gentle groan of a forest’s trees in the background remind users of a happy time spent outdoors camping, while also drawing attention to the woodiness and smoky elements of the product.