Alone, They Stink. Together They Create Dark Chocolate’s Alluring Aroma.

With the help of a trained panel of sniffers, chemists uncovered the molecules that give a rich treat its scents.

Comments: 14

  1. As J Geils said.. “ Love stinks!”

  2. Really fascinating stuff!

  3. Too much information... just give me the chocolate please. :) Seriously though.. other then for chemists and food preparation specialists... who cares what nasty individual scent notes combine to make a delicious and aromatic piece of chocolate. Must be a slow news day at the NY Times. :)

  4. @Chuck If you aren't interested, then why did you read it? Many of us are interested in how our wonderful brain works to sense the world. Not only is this work useful for food chemists, knowing how our sense of smell works is important medically. The sense of smell is also critical to our sense of taste. With age, as well in certain diseases, smell and taste decline, which can contribute to people eating less. This can obviously affect health. From a safety aspect, being able to smell smoke or other noxious smells is obviously important.

  5. @Scientist I'm interested in aroma research in general, and have been for years. But I'm not silly enough to think it actually has meaning for the average consumer looking for their next chocolate bar. I really don't think anyone buying chocolate is at all interested that one of the many molecules that make it so delectable would in fact smell like the back side of a sweaty monkey when isolated from the rest. Hence... just give me the chocolate please. The point of the article is that aromomatic molecules are unique instruments that nature assembles into a complex symphony that is greater then the sum of the parts. Science tries to disassemble, then copy and synthesize an equivalent and most often fails miserably because science tends to focus on deconstruction in order to understand how to create a copy... but nature is much more complex then that.

  6. Science is working hard to bring us smell-o-vision, without the clumsy single use scratch and sniff cards. Shouldn’t that make us all happy?

  7. I believe it. For some reason, I have smelled someone like this and thought they smelled like chocolate and said "Hmm, you smell nice." When actually they stink. Now they walking around with poor hygiene because I'm thinking they smelled like chocolate. Science just always find a way to deepen the situation and make you think and say to yourself "Dang it!"

  8. "The goal is not necessarily to create artificial versions of familiar food aromas." ...but that is exactly where this will end up.

  9. Leave it to science to dismantle the mystery and allure of chocolate and rendering it to mere stinky molecules. I will never look at another Hershey Bar in quite the same, craving way as I did prior to reading this incredibly interesting article.

  10. Acetic acid doesn't just smell like vinegar; it /is/ vinegar!

  11. No, the closest smell to that of chocolate is that of skunk.

  12. So when, where, why and how did the first Native American pioneers discover the power of cacao? And when, where. why and how did cacao find the Native American pioneers?

  13. Gee. We now have impossible beef. Just imagine using a Smell-O-Blender to cheaply craft the smells and tastes of truffles, saffron, caviar, and more -- these and more brought to grocery shelves near you in a dazzling array of tofu-based delights.

  14. This explains a lot of the odd whiffs of this and that I pick up in unrelated things. Or I should say used to pick up. I’ve lost my sense of taste and smell since having a horrific flu about two months ago! I Googled this loss and leaned that it is not a rare occurrence after flu. And that it may or may not return fully. Kind of scary. This is really gross, but sometimes the “complex aroma” of dog poo contains hints of chocolate. I kid you not.