It looked like a piano sounds shortly after being dropped down a well. It tasted yellow, and felt Paisley. It smelled like a total eclipse of the moon. Of course, nearer to the tower it got really weird.
Momentary tasting colors/ temporary synesthesia. This is where a character, due to magic, poison, drugs, blow to the head, etc. starts tasting/smelling/hearing colours or other variations. Related to and may be followed by Non Sequitur Thud. Colors like blue are popularnote likely because it would be considered the most bizarre and unlikely in nature (Name any color, and you can probably think of a few natural foods that are of that color; "tasting red" might lead to thinking of apples, or "tasting yellow" could lead to bananas or lemons. Aside from blueberries, which are often more purplish, blue is a rare color in nature.) Often played for humor.
Doesn't cover characters just speaking metaphorically.note A key difference between this trope and Tastes Like Feet is that normally it would be impossible for people to taste or hear colors, but it is quite possible for people to taste things like feet and motor oil. The exception of course is those with the condition synesthesia. And most of the color examples at Tastes Like Feet are metaphors: a food with color X is described as tasting like color X. Those don't belong here. Only include examples where a character is made to taste (or hear or see, but taste is most common) something which rightfully does not have a taste at all. The character tastes something which rightfully does not have a taste at all, or experiences other synesthetic weirdness. May be related to Insubstantial Ingredients, where whatever they're eating actually contains abstract concepts.
Not to be confused with Editorial Synesthesia where the characters sense things normally, it's just things have to be displayed differently for the viewer.
For the conventional taste of unconventional things see Tastes Like Feet. See also When Is Purple.
In The Sandman, Delirium of the Endless sits at a dinner table eating something she isn't supposed to (a table decoration) and declares that "It's nice. It tastes a bit like forever... I like the way colours taste. Except I don't like crimsons... or turquoises..." Of course, given that the character is the Anthropomorphic Personification of insanity, it behooves one to take everything she says with a grain small mine of salt.
In In Flight, Shirou's ability to sense magical phenomena is interpreted by his brain in terms of smells. Normally when trying to identify the various Sekirei's powers, this is pretty straightforward, however in Miya's case, one aspect of her aura, he can only describe as smelling like "remorse".
In My Immortal, Ebony says something "indigoally" at one point.
Nightmare from Nightmarefics asks for square-flavored licorice in one chapter.
In Glee fanfic Story of Three Boys, Original Character Casey prefers red candy. He claims that red candy never tastes like strawberry or cherry or whatever flavor it's supposed to be, it just tastes red, and he likes that.
In one Tron-universe fanfic, a User describes his energy ration as looking like "Mountain Dew under a blacklight and tasted...green."
In The Conversion Bureau: The Other Side of the Spectrum, when the magical portal that transports the human character of the story into Canon!Equestria opens up over Ponyville, Twilight Sparkle remarks that everything tastes purple for a moment when she senses massive amounts of magical energy radiating from it.
There also exists a cult of monks who are determined to find out what the creation of the universe sounded like. In order to become an member, one has to listen to a coin being flipped 50 miles away and correctly identify if it landed heads or tails. In order to become a master, one has to also be able to identify the color of the coin.
The most adept group of these monks can hear what came before the creation of the universe. They say it was "One, Two, Three, Four." The most adept of all can hear something that came even before that. They say it was "One, Two..."
In Wings by the same author airplane food is described as always having suspicious wobbly stuff that tastes of pink.
In Making Money, neurotic engraver Owlswick Jenkins describes the sensation of having his irrational fears extracted by an Igor's invention with the phrase "It smells like the sound of raspberries tastes."
Supposedly, werewolf Angua can smell what day of the week it is. This may just be a joking exaggeration by other characters, but she has smelled that something was green, justified by it having been made recently with a dye that had a smell. Also, Angua experiences brief synesthesia whenever she morphs from wolf to human: for a moment the things she was smelling earlier with her wolf nose are perceived in her human form as odd sights and tastes.
In Going Postal Moist thinks the air inside Hugos (a posh hair salon, and no, there isn't an apostrophe, because they stole the letters from the Post Office) "smells pink."
Neuromancer: Molly suffers this due to the side effects of some painkillers 3Jane gives her. Case, being jacked into her senses, gets to "enjoy" it too.
An Animorphs book offhandedly mentioned that Jake and Marco once spend an entire afternoon arguing on whether cheese could taste green.
Another book has Ax, the local alien and Sense Freak, comment that his food tasted red. Jake corrects him with "It's cherry flavored."
In the book Last Dragon, someone comments that a fruit tastes like moonlight.
In Catching Fire, when Katniss and Peeta are at the capital, Katniss mentions in passing eating a soup that she describes in her narration as "tasting like springtime."
Maximum Ride: In The Final Warning, Iggy unexpectedly develops the ability to "feel" colors with 100% accuracy.
"I still can't see squat. No vision. Nothing...But this cup is blue."
Because of Winn-Dixie includes the Littmus Lozenge, a candy that tastes like a mixture of strawberry, root beer and "melancholy". It's said to have been invented by a candymaker who perfected its formula right after losing his family in the American Civil War (since he needed something sweet in his life to cheer him up), with his sadness affecting him so strongly that it could be tasted by everyone who ate his candy. Miss Fanny even describes "sorrow" as the the secret ingredient of the lozenge.
In the Jeffrey Ford story "The Empire of Ice Cream", a synesthetic composer sees and falls in love with a synesthetic artist whom he can only see when he drinks coffee, or at least eats something with a coffee taste. She sees him under much the same condition, but she believes him to be a hallucination. She's right.
Geoph Essex loves this trope:
In Lovely Assistant, nearly every instance of Jenny travelling to and from "Wonderland" is accompanied by a description that switches things up in a Tastes Like Purple way: like "a puff of bells and the ringing of dust." Wonderland itself is sometimes described this way, too.
House: Dr. Gregory House takes a hit of LSD to cure his chronic headaches and experiences synesthesia.
Later in the series, House has a patient, a USAF pilot training for NASA, whose symptoms are kicked off by a bout of synesthesia while practicing in a simulator. She begins seeing sounds and "crashes."
30 Rock: Said word-for-word by Jack Donaghy while whacked out on pain relievers after his heart attack
Snipets: Said word-for-word by a child in one of the series of PSAs for children made in the 1970s, when he tastes some blueberry yogurt.
Survivor: To resolve a tied vote in Survivor: Marquesas, the contestants would randomly draw rocks. The two people who drew the yellow rocks would be safe, while the person who drew the purple rock would be eliminated. One of the contestants said "Oh, it feels like purple" when he picked his rock. Guess who got sent home?
Greg the Bunny: In the first episode, Tardy the Turtle is eating crayons and says "Crayons taste like purple".
Glee: In "Blame it on the Alcohol", Rachel declares that the wine cooler "tastes like pink!"
Many a Sweet Genius contestant learns the hard way that Chef Ron is sensitive to the taste of blue food coloring.
More literally, one contestant actually had a natural case of synesthesia and attempted to produce desserts that also appealed to her own unique senses. Unfortunately, this resulted in a weak presentation and she lost.
Dungeons & Dragons. In 2nd Edition, the Complete Psionics Handbook had psionic abilities that did this: Feel Light, Feel Sound, Hear Light and See Sound.
Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 has the synesthetepsionic power, which inflicts this on the user. It's primarily used to "see" with your skin, and thus protect against gaze attacks.
Eberron 's Dal Quor is the region of dreams, and the kalashtar are descended from refugees. The "Races of Eberron" supplement mentions that they may have memories of "tasting colors or smelling sounds."
Warhammer 40,000 has direct exposure to Chaos causing things like being attacked by clouds of anger, and daemons are made of emotion.
In League of Legends the champion Lulu the Fae Sorceress is a young Yordle girl who went off with a fairy for a few centuries to learn their magic and became total Cloud Cuckoo Lander as a result. One of her lines is "Yup! That tasted purple!"
In Freefall, Florence asks two robots "What does your name smell like?" It's actually a simple yet effective Turing test. Non-Sapient AIs simply declare the question nonsensical and thus unanswerable and move on; Sapient AIs ask themselves, "Why would she ask me what my name smells like?" and work from there (starting at this strip).
For those who don't care to read the whole sequence: the second robot Florence asks reasons that since a machine doesn't have a sense of smell and a wolf has a very good one, it would have no way of knowing for sure that names don't have smells, and so can't rule out the possibility that they do.
In one Real Life Comicsstrip, Liz and Greg bring "the world's first sparkling liqueur" to a new year's party.
Liz: How does it taste? Greg:Pink. Very, very pink.
Malfunction Junction: "I just found out what the worst Chinese food in the world tastes like. ... It tasted like communism. Like a Maoist army oppressed my tongue, then moved south to commit human rights violations against my gastrointestinal system. I'm pretty sure this stuff violates UN rules."
Terezi from Homestuck was the victim of an Eye Scream incident and thus is technically blind, but she learned to effectively see again, well enough to view things that are at least several miles away, by smelling and tasting colors. Several other trolls have Psychic Powers, but Terezi's ability is treated as a learned skill rather than a power. This probably runs on nonsenseoleum, but it could also be Bizarre Alien Biology.
Played with in Ask a Ninja, where he says that to kill a chimerathon (a 26.2 mile long chimera), you have to cut off its ears and shove them up its nose because it can't stand the sound of how it smells.
In one Ask That Guy episode: "You'll be able to hear colors and smell happiness."
"...That, or... die."
In web radio drama OrgLIX, after having eating almond-flavoured jelly-beans, Demyx pauses to wonder whether "real almonds would make you hear colours too?"
One edit of the infamous Sonic Joke Book features a Buzzbomber recommending some medication to a friend. When asked about them it responds "I can hear colors."
Salad Fingers: The famous line from episode 2: Marjorie Stewart-Baxter, you taste like sunshine dust!
Homestar Runner: In the Strong Bad Email "mini-golf", Strong Bad briefly speaks in reverse after returning from a trip to Sweet Puttin' Cakes, and remarks "My mouth tastes like... backwards."
Which was a reference to an earlier cartoon where, after waking up on the couch one day, he mentions that his mouth tastes like email. This was also referenced in an opening to a Strong Bad Email DVD, where Strong Bad says, "My mouth tastes like DVDs."
In "Selma's Choice" Selma takes Bart and Lisa to Duff Gardens, and Lisa drinks the water from the boat ride on a dare: "Ooh, I can see the music!"
In "Homer and Apu" Lisa has a similar quote on eating a Spice heavy meal: "I can see through time".
Homer's "food sense" is so pronounced he can smell the letters on a birthday cake and hear pudding.
In one episode, Lisa finds a crankiness cure and gives it to Grandpa. They try to isolate out of a drop of his sweat by giving every chemical in it back to him one at a time. One reaction was "I taste music."
The Penguins of Madagascar: after recovering from an attack by a poisonous frog, Kowalski says "I can taste sound, but that's over now."
An episode of Family Guy has Peter's toy company taken over by a tobacco company. They produce a line of smoking babies that puff a cigarette and giddily announce "Tastes like happy!"
Jimmy Neutron: Jimmy once broke the citizens of Retroville out of their addiction to his super-delicious home-made candies by giving then treats that shock them. Sheen, however, enjoyed the sensation, and continued shocking himself until "Everything's bluuuuue!"
In an episode of The Hub's Pound Puppies, Strudel bonds with a clever robotic dog, which at one point distracts her from instructing Niblet when to let go of a rope, leading the big guy to complain "Can I let go now? My mouth, it tastes like pain."
One of the primary reasons for the hallucinations caused by psychedelics like psylocybin mushrooms and LSD. One sense can bleed into another. Components of things that we normally consider one sense, like the ability to recognize shapes and recognize color which together are components of sight, can also bleed into one another making colorful objects bend and warp or monochromatic objects in complicated shapes appear to have color.
People with synesthesia effectively have wires crossed in their brain, causing signals sent to one of the senses, eg hearing, to be interpreted by other senses as well. Such people may literally see sounds, or taste or hear colors. Synesthesia can also be temporarily induced by psychedelic drugs.
Or numbers have a colour. for example: five could be blue.
Bouba/kiki effect. When asked to assign the names "kiki" and "bouba" to two shapes, the vast majority of people, across cultures, will assign "kiki" to the spiky shape and "bouba" to the round shape.
It's well-known that our sense of taste is heavily influenced by our sense of smell. But other senses can influence the way we taste things, too: try putting blue food colouring in a glass of lemonade and asking a friend to guess what flavour they're drinking.note Bonus points if they say purple.
Some cheap artificial colors have very distinct tastes. A lot of purple candy is functionally inedible due to the incredibly rancid aftertaste conferred by that coloring agent.
Or try a glass of Crystal Pepsi.
Mountain Dew Voltage, a soft drink with a distinct deep blue color. Many comments have been made by drinkers that it "tastes like the color blue would".
For the curious, it tastes like blue electricity, with a distinct aftertaste of watered-down cough medication.
Comedian Lewis Black remarked that NyQuil comes in two flavors: Red and Green. And they're the only substances on Earth that actually taste like Red and Green. He then goes on to note that these are Christmas colors, and together they make a mean eggnog.
People regularly assign temperatures to flavors, regardless of the temperature of the substance itself. For example, mint tastes cold while cinnamon tastes hot and chocolate tastes warm. Chefs must keep this in mind with combining ingredients.
Molecules like menthol (found in mint) and capsaicin (the molecule that give chili peppers their bite) found in ingredients cause temperature sensation by bonding to the temperature receptors in the tongue thus causing a food to taste "hot" or "cold".
Behold xylitol, the sugar analogue which tastes cold (and sweet). Holding a lump of ordinary sugar in the mouth causes no temperature change, or perhaps a slight warming sensation. Holding a lump of xylitol in the mouth causes the tongue to feel cool as it dissolves, and the heavy association of "cold + sweet = minty" can even cause a slight minty taste to be detected. For this reason, it's commonly used in things which are mint-flavored, such as gums: the two "cold" tastes have synergy.
Some artificial flavors have become heavily associated to the artificial colors they're usually paired with. Thus, "bubble gum" flavor is commonly called "pink" flavor, and the stuff that used to be laughingly called "cherry" in soft drinks is increasingly just being sold as "red."
Kool-Aid in the 70s and early 80s had several red varieties with different names that were largely indistinguishable either by appearance or taste. The one exception was Punch, which was cloudy and had a distinct (and vile) taste as well.
This is best seen in the weird phenomenon known as "Blue Raspberry." The only real way to describe the flavor is... "blue."
There is a certain fruit, native to South America: the Acca sellowiana, or feijoa. It is commonly described as tasting like the color purple.
Blue Moon ice cream, served almost exclusively in the American Midwest. Ice cream aficionados disagree on exactly what it tastes like but "blue" is not an unheard of description.
The best description for the taste of Big Red soda is...tastes like red.
It's slightly more accurate to say that Big Red tastes like red licorice. This just pushes it back a generation, though, since red licorice tastes like red.
Things that are grape flavoured never taste like grapes, and if things actually do, they are probably rare and not purple-coloured. They never taste like anything except perhaps purple, and by most accounts, purple is apparently flavoured of "death and the tears of small children", particularly the cough syrup.
Inverted in Japan: Most grape-flavoured things there actually taste like grapes... Japanese varieties of them, who taste noticeably different than e.g. most European ones.
This is more complicated than it sounds — there are several species of grapes, and Vitis vinifera — the species that produces most wine and table grapes — definitely doesn't taste like that. However, the American black grape, V. labrusca, sort of tastes like it, a flavor known for some reason as "foxy"; the common "grape" flavor is based on the "Concord" variety originally bred in the town of the same name in Massachusetts and most commonly used for grape jelly. (Labrusca grapes can make wines, even good wines, but they taste rather strange to people who've never known anything other than typical vinifera wines; one labrusca-vinifera hybrid, Ravat Blanc, makes a wine that tastes rather like pineapple juice.)
Artificial banana flavouring is in the same boat, as the flavouring was based on the (now rare) Gros Michel strain of Bananas, which tastes distinctly different (for one, it is much sweeter) than the Cavendish bananas we currently eat.