Move over tongues, there’s a new flavour organ in town. This splendid creation, officially known as The Flavour Conductor, is the brainchild of Bompas & Parr – the duo famed for their imaginative forays into immersive sensory experiences. They’ve been working with whisky producer Johnnie Walker to invent a new way to appreciate the Scottish firm’s premium Blue Label blend, and their multi-sensory installation needed the input of master organ builder Mander Organs and Oxford University scientists to make it a reality.
Fiction has been dreaming of contraptions that imbue music with smell and taste for a long time, and this project brings into being an invention from JK Huysmans’ 19th Century decadent novel À rebours. Using research from Oxford’s Crossmodal Research Laboratory and the latest projection mapping techniques, the instrument’s ever-changing form coupled with its sound work together to influence the perception of taste. Johnnie Walker hosted a theatrical event this week in which each audience member was given a glass of whisky to drink during the performance; the flavour changed through six essential characteristics as the sound and images altered. Now that’s the kind of scientific research we can get behind. The magnificent organ, which features a handy hidden bar at the side, is now off on a Grand Tour, tickling taste buds in Madrid, Berlin, Toronto, New York, Johannesburg, Lagos and Malaysia over the next year.