Does your wine ever smell like a wet dog?

(Bob Tymczyszyn/QMI Agency files)

(Bob Tymczyszyn/QMI Agency files)

Relaxnews

, Last Updated: 9:45 AM ET

It's one of the biggest disappointments for wine drinkers: opening a bottle only to be met with the foul smell of wet dog, mold and mildew. But a new study out of Japan has the potential of turning the concept of corked wine on its head after finding that it's not the wine that smells, but your nose that's playing tricks on you.

The chemical responsible for creating the off-putting odors in tainted cork is known as 2,4,6-trichloroanisole or TCA, produced after naturally-occurring cork fungus comes into contact with bleach or chlorine products used in wineries for sanitation, explains LiveScience.

But instead of stimulating olfactory senses, a team of Japanese scientists from Osaka University found that TCA actually shuts down the ability to smell, they reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

For their experiment, researchers measured the electrophysiological recordings of TCAs on olfactory cells.

What they found was that the chemical suppressed the primary olfactory receptor.

So while you think you're smelling moldy newspaper, wet dog or rotting damp cloth, what's actually happening is that the compound has knocked out the scent-sensing electrical signals in your nose and numbed your scent receptors.

Why the suppression of olfactory senses translates to the smell of wet dog is not yet clear, but somewhere along the process, when TCA hits the nose, the brain picks up a phantom off-putting odor.

And while wines topped with screw caps may have a smaller chance of being corked, some experts say airtight caps "suffocate" the wines.

Opened a bottle of corked wine at a restaurant or purchased from a retailer? It's perfectly within your right to take it back to the liquor store where you bought it, or get another one for your table. Just make sure it's not half-finished.


Videos

Photos