The verdict’s in, folks. It seems women generally have a better sense of smell than men. And there’s evidence showing that women make better whisky tasters, too.
Olfaction — AKA smelling — can have a huge impact on our behaviour. According to a recent study, Sex Differences in Human Olfaction: A Meta-Analysis, olfaction can affect our nervous system in different ways. For instance, olfaction influences our heart rate; our mood; our experience of pain; our stress response; our interpersonal communication and mate selection, among other things.
Most importantly, olfaction allows us to appreciate a great dram. And studies suggest that women are a nose in front when it comes to tasting whisky (pun definitely intended).
The study found that women have more cells that translate olfactory sensations into information processed by our brains, meaning that women can generally detect more subtleties in different substances.
And it seems women are equipped with these extra olfactory cells from birth. Sure, the differences between males and females aren’t huge. But in general, women were proven to have a better sense of smell than men.
The reason? Well, it’s estimated that women are wired to have a better sense of smell and taste for the continuation of the species, no less. Theories suggest a supercharged sense of smell influences womens’ ability to select potential mates as well as help a mother bond to her child after birth.
And it’s not just these biological factors that contribute to womens' keen sense of smell.
It seems that women are also better able to articulate their olfactory experiences — they can describe and categorise what they’re tasting and smelling with more precision than their male counterparts.
During our sample sessions here at Club HQ, we've found there seems to be little difference between men and women.
Also worth keeping in mind, studies show your sense of smell and taste changes as you age. Between the ages of 40 - 50, the number of tastebuds you have decreases — and tastebuds work together with your sense of smell.
However, you can train your nose into a super-sharp schnoz. How? Put it to work. The more you use your senses the better they get. Open up your nostrils to new scents and see your personal ‘bank of scents’ expand.
Even better, you can take a course to send your senses and whisky appreciation skills through the roof.
Members, through our exclusive partnership with the Edinburgh Whisky Academy, you’ll get a hefty discount on courses in dram appreciation.
Wake Up Your Whisky Nose is a short, stand-alone course that’ll teach you tips and tricks to get even more enjoyment out of your whisky.
Head to your account and check out the course.