How do you describe a smell or  MAR 21 2008

How do you describe a smell or a taste? John Lanchester discusses that and a recent book of perfume reviews in this recent New Yorker article.

The language of taste has, therefore, reached something of an impasse. On the one hand, we have the Romantic route, in which you are free to compare a taste to the last unicorn or the sensation you had when you were told that you failed your driving test-and others are free to have no idea what you are talking about. On the other, we have the scientific route, which comes down to numbers, and risks missing the fundamental truth of all smells and tastes, which is that they are, by definition, experiences.

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