News | Tuesday, 7th November 2017

New psychology research lets you 'feel’ the taste of whisky

Glenmorangie distillery creates 'revolutionary' ASMR online whisky experience

Glenmorangie distillery have been working with psychologists to create a digital experience that allows viewers to ‘feel’ the taste of whisky through online films using sensory triggers.

The Single Malt Highland Scotch Whisky Company commissioned three artistic films that deliver an innovative visual and sonic experience through the phenomenon of Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR) to communicate the aromas and tastes of its whisky to an online audience.

ASMR is a sensory phenomenon typically characterised by electrostatic-like tingling across the scalp, following the line of the spine downwards, extending to the arms and further depending on the intensity of the response.

These tingling sensations can be elicited in response to a number of auditory and visual triggers. ASMR videos, featuring triggers such as whispering, tapping and snipping scissors, are one of the fastest growing internet trends with YouTube videos gaining millions of views. 

The research 

Research from Dr Nick Davis at Manchester Metropolitan University, Emma Barratt, and Charles Spence, Professor of Experimental Psychology at the University of Oxford, set to identify and better understand ASMR triggers.

The study used evaluated 130 people who self-reported experiencing ASMR, recording their experiences and the effectiveness of various factors such as atmosphere, timing and distance from the object.

Dr Nick Davis, Senior Lecturer in Psychology and Neuroscience, who was one of the first scientists to officially identify ASMR as a scientific phenomenon, said: “Our findings demonstrated that there are many potential ASMR triggers – but crucially, it is the way in which the triggers are portrayed and recorded, which makes them effective. These results will be helpful in designing media that can induce ASMR.

“Popular factors included close-ups and sounds of natural wood textures, local plants and natural stone textures or wide shots of running water. The research also suggested that triggers such as soft tapping on whisky bottles, open fires and Scottish accents could prove effective while background music was seen to be distracting.”

The films

All three films were created in a collaboration between agencies Alter_Projects and Bompas & Parr.  Using the scientific research, they researched ASMR video, art directed and produced the collection of films, which bring to life the creativity, taste and complexity of Glenmorangie’s expressions.

Dr Bill Lumsden, Glenmorangie’s Director of Distilling, Whisky Creation & Whisky Stocks, said: “At Glenmorangie we are always searching for innovative ways to delight single malt lovers. By bringing the unique characters of our whiskies to life online in such a modern way, we can share the spirit of Glenmorangie more widely.”

The films can be viewed via or Glenmorangie social channels on any device. 

The best way to enjoy the full immersive ASMR experience is to find a quiet place and wear headphones.

Notes to editors

Paper: Sensory determinants of the autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR): understanding the triggers. Emma L. Barratt, Charles Spence, Nick J. Davis. Published October 6, 2017, PubMed, 29018601. 


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