You appreciate a good glass of whisky, but what if you could transform every sip into a multi-sensorial experience? Bompas & Parr, a creative duo based in London that specialise in food art, recently unveiled Flavour Organ – a magnificent church organ designed to bring a theatrical dimension to whisky-tasting like never before.
Also known as the Flavour Conductor, this contraption was originally envisioned in literature. In the 19th-century novel A Rebours, author J. K. Huysmans described the flavour organ as giving taste to the delights of music. A similar instrument, where notes and melodies correspond with smells, tastes and flavours, has also been the subject of fantasy for other authors and scientists, such as Aldous Huxley in his book, Brave New World. To transform concept into physical reality, Bompas and Parr and their team employed the latest flavour science from Oxford University’s Crossmodal Research Laboratory to guide their creation of bespoke musical composition and visual effects, and they commissioned a church organ from one of England’s oldest organ specialists, Mander Organs.
The Flavour Conductor premiered in London in September through Symphony In Blue – an immersive and theatrical experience by Johnnie Walker Blue Label. Using the latest techniques in projection mapping, the organ allows images and sound to correspond in a manner scientifically proven to influence the perception of taste. As the audience – each with a glass of Johnnie Walker Blue Label in hand – drank their whisky, the flavour of the liquid changed and evolved through six essential flavour characteristics as the sound and images in front of them changed. Over the next year, it will be taken around the world, to cities and countries such as Madrid, Berlin, Toronto, New York, Johannesburg, Lagos and Malaysia.