Nov 272009


Yeah, I know.  It took me a long time to come to the point.  But if I’d tried to put all this into one long post, you’d have gone back to the bong, that six-pack of PBR, or the latest episode of Metalocalypse before finishing.  If you’ve stumbled on this site for the first time today, what follows will make (slightly) more sense if you read Part 1 and Part 2.

Just about anything packaged that you buy to eat or drink comes with a label that identifies the ingredients.  Often, one of the components will be vaguely described as “natural flavors” or “artificial flavor.”  Turns out there are companies you’ve never heard of that generate mountainous piles of cash manufacturing flavor additives for food and beverage makers. Some of those flavor additives are made using natural ingredients and some are synthesized from stuff you would never think of putting in your mouth. Those companies are constantly searching for new flavors that might become a hit with consumers and sometimes all they try to do is mimic flavors that have already become a hit. They identify chemical compounds that when mixed together in the right formula produce a taste that people already like and will keep buying — at least til they get tired of it.

My favorite example from the New Yorker article that prompted these posts is the flavor company that was being paid to analyze dips made from natural ingredients and then develop chemical compounds that could be injected into a “slurry” of starch, oil, and salt to create stuff that tastes (for example) like guacamole. Or the makers of energy drinks trying to capitalize on the popularity of Red Bull by having the flavorists intentionally make their shit taste bad, because that’s what consumers have been conditioned to believe energy drinks are supposed to taste like.  So what does this have to do with metal? Continue reading »

Nov 252009


In the first part of this post, courtesy of Raffi Khatchadourian’s article in The New Yorker, I introduced you to Givaudan, the biggest manufacturer of flavors and fragrances in the world.  (For those of you who already knew about Givaudan, hot shit!).  This company and others like it manufacture flavors for addition to processed food and beverages.  They are constantly searching for new flavors, mixing and matching the chemical building blocks of known tastes, as well as mimicking existing flavors that are proven favorites with the livestock consumers.  Take Red Bull and other energy drinks, for example. Continue reading »

Nov 242009

New Yorker 2009_11_23_p139

I read shit most of you wouldn’t go near in a hazmat suit.  Don’t ask me why.  But every now and then I come across something that makes it worthwhile, and I’m here to share it with you.

Case in point:  The Nov 23 issue of The New Yorker includes an article by one Raffi Khatchadourian called “The Taste Makers.”  And he means that literally.  It focuses on a Swiss company (with at least one factory in the U.S.) called Givaudan — the largest manufacturer of flavors and fragrances in the world.  There’s so much fascinating shit in this article, I had a nut-busting time figuring out where to draw the line in sharing it with you.  But in this multi-part post, I’ll give you the highlights and explain what (in my twisted way of thinking) this has to do with extreme metal. Continue reading »