Is Taste Really “Subjective”?
Watch or read almost any review of e-juice, and chances are pretty good that the reviewer is going to say “….but, of course, taste is subjective.” Some folks go so far as to spurn juice reviews as a waste of time because, well, “taste is subjective.” But is it really? Perhaps, if we’re talking about one’s perceptions of clothing style, or of more emotional stimulation, like music; but when it comes to something like e-juice, which is carefully crafted with chemicals designed to replicate certain flavors, how true is that statement?
Taste qua taste is simply a sensation perceived presented via chemical reactions with receptors on the tongue as well as by interaction with olfactory perceptions. Through our evolution, our senses have developed to provide us with clues as to what will either harm us or help us…and the sense of taste is included in that process. Typically, our sense of taste evolved to warn us that sharp, bitter-tasting stuff is probably poison, or that sweet stuff is in some way good. It’s a bit of a protection mechanism, like our eyesight. We don’t say, “This is a pleasant blue color…but eyesight is subjective.” Your appreciation of the color blue may be subjective, but the color itself is not.
When it comes to taste. much like our other senses, some thing is what it is. Barring injury or some malfunction in either your taste buds, olfactory system or nervous system, an orange tastes like an orange, and an onion tastes like an onion. You’ll never find a Brussels sprout that tastes like an apple, or a potato that tastes like ice cream. However, our reactions to these tastes may, indeed, be subjective. I love Brussels sprout — you may find the taste abhorrent. You may really love the taste of anise; I can’t stand it except in extremely light applications so that it’s barely perceived. Salty stuff tastes salty, and bitter stuff tastes bitter; only our perceptions of these tastes may likely vary.
When I review an e-juice, the review is based upon what the manufacturer claims it to be, not whether or not I like a particular flavor. I don’t care much for the flavor of smelt, but if someone wants me to do a review of a smelt-flavored e-juice, I can do so because while smelt may not be up my alley, I know what smelt tastes like. I can then tell someone whether or not this smelt e-juice really tastes like smelt or if it vapes like mackerel instead. Whether or not I actually enjoy the taste is another matter, and would only be mentioned in the context of my preferences — not as a detraction to the manufacturer’s skill or anyone’s likes or dislikes. The job of a reviewer isn’t to tell you whether or not you like smelt, or banana pudding, or Perique tobacco — only the degree to which the product replicates the flavors of those things.
I believe that e-juice reviews, done correctly, are important; otherwise, we’re all left to our own devices in trying a boatload of “Perique tobacco” juices to see if any of them, indeed, even come close. If you don’t like Perique, then it doesn’t matter — no manufacturer is ever going to make a Perique juice that you’ll enjoy; but if you do like it, then isn’t it nice to know which ones come close and which are, pardon the pun, close but no cigar? Viva le juice reviews, fellow babies!