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SMWS matches whisky and personality types

The Scotch Malt Whisky Society (SMWS) has partnered with a psychologist to create the Flavour Behaviour Test – a psychometric assessment that matches personality types to whisky flavours.

The SMWS partnered with psychologist Dr Adam Moore to create the test

Helen Stewart, senior brand manager at the SMWS, explained: “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.”

The online test was created using the results of a six-month international scientific study carried out by Dr Adam Moore, a psychologist and research scientist based at the University of Edinburgh, and the SMWS, investigating whether personality determines flavour preferences.

To create the predictive test, they conducted quantative research with more than 300 volunteers at tasting events in Edinburgh, London, Islay, Washington D.C., Vancouver and Melbourne.

Each volunteer answered a personality test measuring the ‘Big 5’ parameters – openness to experience, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism.

The team then rated”12 core flavours found in whisky” such as sweet, fruity and mellow, light and delicate, juicy, oak and vanilla, oily and coastal, and heavily peated.

Dr Moore discovered correlations between personality and flavour preferences, and used these findings to create an algorithm that analyses answers to the Flavour Behaviour questionnaire.

Dr 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.

To take the test for yourself, visit

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