The Difference Between Flavour and Taste

Flavour and Taste are not interchangeable words!

The aroma/smell is what you smell, both through your nose and retronasal through your mouth. These are the aromas that we love to talk about when we discus wine “This smell like fresh hay from a winter barn”.

Taste is what we experience on our palate and this experience can always be broken down to five separate sensations: sweetness, saltiness, bitterness, acidity and umami.

And yes, these two are completely unrelated in themselves. If you have every eaten raw vanilla bean you will know this. When you smell vanilla, you experience the aroma of vanilla. You might associate this aroma to something sweet, since we love to combine vanilla and sugar. But the aroma vanilla does not have an inherent sweet taste. If you have every eaten vanilla bean straight from the pod, you will know this. Vanilla is a spice; it is flavoursome and on its own it has a somewhat bitter taste. That bitterness is the true taste of vanilla.

Flavour on the other hand, is the combined experience of taste, aroma and other sensory experiences. When you eat a traditional Crème brûlée. You experience the aroma vanilla in relation to the taste of the sweetness. Flavour is the complete experience; this is the brains way of combining the different sensory experiences to make them easier to handle.

The sweet vanilla custard, that just melts in your mouth also gives us the last the last component we need to understand the sensory experience of eating; mouthfeel.


  • Taste: What happens on the tongue and in the mouth
  • Aroma: What you smell through your nose
  • Texture: Mouthfeel, how it physically feels on your palate
  • Flavour: The combined experience of these senses