Hold Your Nose

This activity is from my Experiment of the Week Newsletter. It is free, and will let you know about new resources on this site.
This time, we are going to take a look at a classic science experiment that has been used for a LONG time. In fact, it was already an old classic when I was a kid, and that was quite a while ago.

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SerranoHomeschool wrote on Thu, 12/18/2014 - 21:02:

What a fun experiment! We had a blast with this one. The link between smell and taste and the path of smell from your mouth out of your nose, rather than into your nose - how remarkable! Thank you for documenting this so clearly and completely.

Singinggirl wrote on Mon, 09/16/2013 - 13:11:

When I try it, it doesn't work. I still taste the food. Maybe I breathe through my mouth... would that make any difference???

rkrampf wrote on Tue, 09/17/2013 - 11:14:

What food are you using? Basic tastes (sweet, salty, sour, bitter, umami) are tasted with the tongue. With candy, you will still taste the sweet and the sour, but you won't taste the fruit flavor.

welshman2 wrote on Thu, 06/27/2013 - 18:25:

wow! i tried it. thats really cool!

AngelaTurner wrote on Fri, 12/21/2012 - 10:46:

my mom does'nt let me do it at 9:45pm aw man!

Anonymous wrote on Tue, 03/12/2013 - 18:33:

im doing this same exact experiment for my science fair project!!!!!

Anonymous wrote on Fri, 12/14/2012 - 12:09:

I tried this with a regular Pepsi and only tasted the exciting fizzle of the carbonation but no flavors. Then I tried it with bubblegum. No flavor, just a sudden intese burst of sweet that slowly faded the longer I held my nose. I plan to try this with other things later. Such as ice cream and hard candy.

As always, thanks again for such a well-written archive on this. You excited my brain, now I'm trying to taste everything in our pantry.


lorrieaross wrote on Mon, 11/05/2012 - 14:15:

When I am sick and have to take cough medicine, or something else that does not taste good, I am told to hold my nose. For me this just seems to make the flavor more intense, but doesn't seem to take anything away either. Why is this?

hillsboroughmiddle wrote on Mon, 03/05/2012 - 15:03:

I was born without a sense of smell. I can't taste the flavors... only how sweet or sour the hard candy is.

Jesse Barrett wrote on Tue, 12/30/2014 - 11:18:

I am sorry to hear that. :(

Anonymous wrote on Fri, 12/02/2011 - 20:38:

i was about to do this project for my science fair project this year,until my friend send me this website,i can't believe me eyes. i thought this was a new experiment,but i was wrong. Now i have no idea what topic i'm going to do....

Anonymous wrote on Mon, 01/14/2013 - 13:45:

Are you required to do this science fair? I am. And I only have a week left!!!!! (And I have no idea what I'm going 2 do!!!!!!)

ScienceRocks wrote on Mon, 01/30/2012 - 18:15:

Lots of people might understand theses questions but you can do this for a science project just to show that you have probably wanted to do something different.

rkrampf wrote on Fri, 12/02/2011 - 23:12:

Just because it has been done before does not mean you can't use it as a science fair project. In fact, it would be incredibly difficult to come up with a science fair project that had never been done before. As long as you take a very scientific approach, it should be a great project.

Anonymous wrote on Mon, 11/14/2011 - 17:18:

I had a question. Why do people enjoy savory and sweet together, such as grapes and cheese, or sweet and sour chicken, things like that? Is there a scientific explanation or are people just that way?!
Thanks! :)
Your website is great by the way!

Anonymous wrote on Wed, 11/16/2011 - 10:28:

I think people think that sweet & savory go good together. I, personally, think that sweet & sour chicken is DELICIOUS, but I'd rather not have grapes & cheese. In sweet & sour chicken, they make the chicken a different, like if you had KFC's new grilled chicken, & you dipped it in sweet & sour sauce, it would be GROSS!! YUCK!!! I think that people just like the flavor of those flavors.:)

Anonymous wrote on Wed, 11/16/2011 - 14:06:

I think you are right. I don't like grapes and chesse together either! but I do really like sweet and sour chicken too. It probably just depends on what you personally like to eat.

rkrampf wrote on Mon, 11/14/2011 - 20:45:

Mixed flavors excite more taste receptors, which can give you a more intense taste. Some flavors mix better than others. I have not seen any reports on why some flavors are more pleasant than others.

Anonymous wrote on Sun, 11/13/2011 - 06:32:

Well, this experiment is one that many science classes all over the world will probably be very happy to try out. It sounds like it will be really fun. Thank you for taking the time to detail it for us.




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Ms. Meow wrote on Mon, 11/07/2011 - 13:17:

Wow it really works!! My sister & I tried it with star-bursts we couldn't tell what the flavors where. Thank you so much it was so much fun, now I'm going to try it with my favorite candy (Jolly Ranchers). I also want to thank you for replying to my post on your newest video. So thank you many times :).

Truly Yours,
Olivia 12

EHCoop wrote on Tue, 03/04/2014 - 19:12:

Wait... Star bursts have a flavor?