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Bad Nose Days

by Oliver Klimek on March 3, 2011

If you are following me on Twitter or Facebook you will already have learned that I have been suffering from a string of Bad Nose Days. A normal cold has turned into a mild sinusitis during the past two weeks, and my olfactory capabilities have been constantly fluctuating between non-existent and almost alright.

I don’t really intend to bore you with medical bulletins, but I would like to share two experiences that I have made in this period. First and foremost, even though you keep reading about how important the nose is for tasting someting, you are amazed just how true this is when you indeed lose your sense of smell. The tongue is working perfectly fine. Lick on salt and it tastes salty, lick on sugar and it tastes sweet. But eat some food or drink a drink, and you will taste nothing.

The reason of course is that much of the nasal tract including is covered with olfactory receptors and there is a direct connection to them from the mouth. So whenever or eat or drink something you also smell it from the inside of your mouth. As it happens, the smell sensations are noticeably stronger than the taste sensations, so when you lose the sense of smell, it feels like you also lost your sense of taste.

Another thing that really surprised me was just how quickly these fluctuations can happen. It can go all the way down and up again in the course of a single meal.

Needless to say that for seriously tasting whisky, an nasal perfomance like that is pretty much useless. I still have some tasting notes in stock, so the blog won’t come to a complete standstill. I am already doing better, but there still is a lurking danger that this might be something that can only be completely overcome with the help of antibotics. And this of course would mean no alcohol during the treatment.

Going through a phase like this you realize just how precious your olfactory sense is. Whisky is not even the point here. Eating only to become satiated without being able to enjoy your meal is not a nice experience at all. Of course being blind or deaf has a much bigger impact on your life, but you really learn to appreciate the capabilites once you have lost them.

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