A team of researchers from — where else? — the University of Glasgow has invented an “artificial tongue,” that can differentiate between different kinds of whisky, and could potentially be used to put a halt to the dangerous counterfeit alcohol trade.
Looking nothing like an actual tongue — thank god — the artificial tongue is made up of two different kinds of metal nano-sensors, that mimic human tastebuds.
“Using subatomic slices of gold and aluminum to test the tipples, the research team created tastebuds 500 times smaller than a human’s, which were then able to successfully identify differences between drinks with greater than 99% accuracy. The tongue even had enough taste to tell the difference between a Glenfiddich 12-year-old whisky and a bottle of the 18-year-old variety.
[Lead study author Alasdair] Clark added that while whisky was the primary tasting subject for the experiment, the technology could also be used for food safety screenings and quality controls.”
We at DFC are big fans of what we call “Scotch O’Clock,” that pre-dinner hour on Fridays where we indulge in a favourite peaty potent potable and plain salty potato chips. (Don’t knock it, the combo works!) So we’re not going to replace our tongues with artificial ones anytime soon. But this invention could do wonders for whisky (and whiskey), as well as the health of consumers everywhere. I’ll drink to that!