NEW YORK — International Flavors & Fragrances Inc. and Visionaire magazine are breaking new ground in the world of art by introducing Visionaire 47 Taste, an exhibit and limited-edition publication that can be both seen — and tasted.

Artists — who included Yoko Ono, Bruce Weber and Laird Hamilton —were each asked to create a concept, and noted chefs and IFF flavorists were charged to come up with tastes to match. Using an edible film that consumers will recognize from breath-freshening strips, IFF and Visionaire teamed up to create 12 tasting and art pairings.

“People can experience art and be part of the artistic experience,” said Nicolas Mirzayantz, IFF’s senior vice president of fine fragrances and beauty care and North American regional manager. The project follows Visionaire 42 Scent, a project created three years ago pairing artwork and celebrities with the creation of fragrances.

By showcasing IFF’s ability to translate abstract concepts into specific flavors, the fragrance house hopes to expand the flavor and fragrance palettes while broadening how certain tastes are perceived, said Mirzayantz, who added that the project allowed taste and scent experts to experiment and use notes they had never used before.

“We were challenging ourselves in terms of our creative brain and were able to show the vast array of emotions that can be evoked through this unique art form,” said Christophe Laudamiel, an IFF perfumer, who worked on the exhibit with Marie Wright, IFF’s flavor creation manager. “It showed us that we have the ability to instinctively imagine how complex mixtures smell. Its success is now challenging perfumers and flavorists to expand their palettes and push the envelope with their creations. It makes you look at things in a different way.” While Laudamiel used new notes like egg white, honey and truffle and milky notes, Wright toyed with musk notes. “It’s hard to create a modern milky note that’s not thick,” said Laudamiel. “It refreshed my brain and brought me back to the library [of perfumes] since I had to expand my palette.”

Added Wright, “The ability to use notes like musk that I’ve never used before — and see the effect of musk on sweet caramel notes, utilizing the musk in a more subtle way — allowed me to look at notes differently.”

This story first appeared in the March 24, 2006 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Not everything offers an expected taste, either. For instance, artist Jenny Holzer’s “Adrenaline” is paired with a metallic jet fuel flavor, while “Guilty,” a pop-porn image by Heston Blumenthal, is accompanied by a heady mix of chocolate and leather.

“Our flavorists are artisans that understand and employ the emotional power of taste much like great painters whose virtuosic use of color and light evoke strong emotional connections,” said Mirzayantz. “Visionaire Taste is the perfect vehicle to push into previously unexplored territories and create new and exciting opportunities for the flavorists’ art.”

The exhibit was first previewed at Art Basel in December. In New York, the exhibit is being held at 11 Mercer Street. It is scheduled to close this evening, although executives are contemplating a tour. The exhibit will also be shown at COPIA’s (The American Center for Wine, Food and the Arts) TASTE conference in Napa Valley from July 13 to 16.

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