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Edinburgh psychologist creates test to predict the perfect whisky for your personality

Published: August 11, 2016
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How does your personality determine what flavours you prefer?

And is there a way to predict the perfect whisky flavour for someone?

Those are the questions Dr Adam Moore and The Scotch Malt Whisky Society (SMWS) are seeking to answer with the launch of their ‘Flavour Behaviour Test’.

The psychometric test (www.Flavourbehaviour.com), which matches personality types to flavours of whisky, is the result of a six-month international scientific study carried out by Dr Moore - a psychologist and research scientist based at the University of Edinburgh* - and the Society.

To create the predictive test, Dr Moore and the SMWS conducted quantative research with more than 300 volunteers at tasting events across the world in places like Edinburgh, London, Islay, Washington D.C., Vancouver and Melbourne.

Each volunteer answered a personality test measuring the ‘Big 5’ personality dimensions (Openness to Experience, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness, Neuroticism).

They then rated the 12 core flavours found in whisky by the experts at the SMWS such as sweet, fruity & mellow; light & delicate; juicy, oak & vanilla; oily & coastal; and heavily peated.

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Dr Moore analysed the data from the test events and discovered some fascinating correlations between personality and flavour preferences.

He used these findings to create an algorithm that analyses answers to the Flavour Behaviour questionnaire to predict which whisky flavours are suited to different personality types.

Dr Adam Moore said: “This has been a particularly exciting research study to be involved in as taste is the least understood of our senses, and this is the first project I’m aware of that has investigated the links between personality traits and preferences for whisky flavours.

“Together with the Society, we’ve used decision-making science and psychometric techniques to gather data from research events around the world to create this test, which we hope will help people to find the perfect whisky for them. These are early stages for this kind of research, but it’s fascinating to think where this type of study could lead for both how food and drink producers make goods and how consumers choose them.”

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Helen Stewart, Senior Brand Manager at the SMWS, added: “At the Society, we explore the kaleidoscope of flavours in the whisky spectrum, rather than follow the traditional notions of whisky regions or distillery brands.

“We believe there is a perfect whisky flavour out there for everyone. The Flavour Behaviour Test is a fun and scientifically researched way to help with that search for the perfect dram – from novices struggling to find a whisky flavour they like among all the different varieties, or aficionados looking for inspiration for new whisky flavours to try.”

• Take the Flavour Behaviour test at www.Flavourbehaviour.com

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