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Tastes Like Purple

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"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 or hearing colours or other variations. Related to and may be preceded by Non Sequitur, *Thud*. Colors like blue and purple are popular.note  Often played for humor.

Doesn't cover characters just speaking metaphorically.note  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 It Tastes Like Feet. See also When Is Purple and Magical Sensory Effect.


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  • A 2023 sign advertising Starbucks' Pink Drink stated that it's "the color of happy".

    Anime & Manga 
  • Reo from Ayakashi Triangle has a very acute sense of smell, so much that she tends to identify people by scent. She describes Suzu as having a "sweet, lusty scent", and Matsuri as smelling "sporty".
    Suzu: (smelling herself) Lusty?
  • In Space Adventure Cobra, episode 20, Cobra fights the current king of the Swordians — living swords with psionic abilities. When the king realizes he is up against a human, he psionically changes Cobra's perception around, so that he sees sound and hears light. The anime even shows what Cobra perceives instead of what an innocent bystander would see.
  • Toriko plays this a little more seriously with Coco. Each of the Four Heavenly Kings has specific Super-Senses. In Coco's case, he has super vision, to the point that can experience synesthesia at times (see "Real Life" below).

    Comic Books 
  • 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 the ongoing Batgirl series, Batgirl has helped Klarion the Witch Boy (dum, dum, dum) reclaim his cat familiar, Teekl, and now the two of them are strolling through a Valentine's Day festival (Completely platonically, trust me on this one). When Jordanna, a "friend" of Stephanie's from school, begins to mock Klarion, Stephanie forcibly kisses him to keep him from turning Jordanna into a frog.
    Klarion the Witch-Boy (dum, dum, dum): You taste like Christmas.
    Stephanie: You say that like it's a bad thing.
  • In one issue of Guardians of the Galaxy, telepathic dog Cosmos notes that Mantis' thoughts smell like flowers.
    • Drax the Destroyer says a block of Limbo Ice, made of frozen time, tastes like "regret". This response worries Phyla-Vell, because she thinks he's gone existential.
  • In one Archie Comics story, a hit on the head gives Jughead touch-to-taste synesthesia, so whatever he touches makes him taste something different. For example, Pop Tate's jukebox feels lime-flavored.

    Comic Strips 

    Fan Works 
  • In Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality, Comed-Tea "somehow (tastes) green and fizzy".
  • 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.
  • Shows up in My Little Denarians when Harry and Pinkie are navigating around the Outside.
  • An incomplete The Penguins of Madagascar fanfiction takes the idea a little further, having the resident smart guy invent a machine that will invoke this trope permanently. It didn't go according to plan.
  • 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"
  • 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.
    • Similarly, in Earth and Sky, asking Pip what color he tastes (blue, incidentally) is part of the physical for using Twilight's artificial wings. Given that rainbows are edible (albeit as Blazing Inferno Hellfire Sauce) in Equestria, it's somewhat feasible that colors have distinct flavors that aren't tied to foods at all.
  • In Another Day in the Life of Potter Redux a newly-female, renamed Harry has a brief moment of this after causing a killing curse to rebound on its caster.
    Lilith: Hey Padfoot...apparently the killing curse tastes like bananas, who knew?
  • In Mirror, Mirror, multiple characters ask "What smells like arson?" after Xander gets back from setting Snyder's car on fire.
  • In Little Guy a jungle-raised Harry comments on potions accidents.
    Harry: Hate those, blew up cauldron once, made everything taste blue for three days.
  • Sakura's chakra sense in Clockwork and a Teacup describes the feel of chakra oddly, such as the feel of birds taking off from a tree, or the smell of a deep green afternoon.
  • In The Path Less Traveled Domovoi comments on his grandmother.
    Domovoi: Her parting advice to me was threefold: ‘never’ is a dirty word; if I want people to follow, first I must lead; and not to add pixie dust to St. Elmo’s Fire unless I want to spend a week tasting colours.
  • In the Pony POV Series, Apple Bloom forces Spike to dragon mail her so she can free Applejack from the control of Queen Chrysalis and foil her Evil Plan. After this, Apple Bloom describes it as 'everything was green', including taste and her mouth still tastes green. Apparently green is salty.
  • Ages of Shadow: At one point, Jade takes a whiff of some magic incense that's meant to help her sleep, and complains that the new recipe smells purple, to the confusion of her attendant.
  • The New Adventures of Invader Zim: When Nyx is giving Zim and Skoodge her backstory in her introductory chapter, she mentions that for the first week after the power surge which electrocuted her PAK and rendered her Defective, everything tasted yellow.
  • Green Eyed Beast:
    Harry: He ate another one of those yellow and orange beetles, didn't he?
  • Dragon Ball Z: A Different Journey: When Guru unlocks Bulma's potential, he warns her that as a side effect she might end up "tasting the color 12" for awhile.
  • Fragmentation uses this for Natasha Kerensky's experience of traversing a dimensional rift.
    The air tasted blue. Her undergarments sounded F-Sharp. The overhead lights seemed friendly and outgoing. Then the universe returned to normal.
  • Watch:
    The Professor watched as Harry gave the newly constructed wand an experimental wave and for a second, the world seemed to turn inside out and Hooch would have sworn that she could see the odor of freshly cut wood, taste the sound the wand made as it cut through the air, and hear the light bouncing off the Weasley boy's hair.

    Films — Animated 
  • Tangled: About a pub for thugs and criminals:
    Flynn: I don't know why, but overall it just smells like the color brown.
  • One of the taglines for Fantasia was "Hear the pictures! See the music!"
  • In Will Vinton's short claymation film "Closed Mondays", a drunk man wanders into an art gallery, and one of the first things he looks at is a painting of musical notes, which he can actually hear. The guy even does a Double Take just to be sure.

    Films — Live-Action 

  • Beware of Chicken: Meiling's ability to smell chi occasionally manifests as things that aren't actually smells. Bi De, for example, smells like the moon to Meiling's nose.
  • Discworld:
    • In Sourcery, the crazy magics cast by the Sourcerer are said to have that effect on things. (See quotes page)
    • In Soul Music, Ponder manages to rig up a magical apparatus to let the wizards see sound waves. Ridcully initially thinks Ponder is trying to pull this trope deliberately:
      Ridcully: What sound looks like. Hey, we've got some cheese in the kitchen, why don't we go listen to how it smells?
    • Also in Discworld: Infinity is blue. Trust me.
    • There also exists the Listening Monks, who are determined to find out what the creation of the universe sounded like. In order to become a 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.
    • 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. The trope also kicks in at the climax, when Case breaks through the Tessier-Ashpool ICE, moving through cyberspace so fast that his senses get warped.
  • Animorphs:
    • In The Unknown, Cassie offhandedly mentions that Jake and Marco once spent an entire afternoon arguing on whether cheese tasted yellow or 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 John C. Wright's The Golden Age, Helion glances at Vafnir's view of the meeting. It all appears as music to him.
  • In the book Last Dragon, someone comments that a fruit tastes like moonlight.
  • In Catching Fire, the second book in The Hunger Games series, when Katniss and Peeta are at the Capitol, Katniss mentions in passing eating a soup that she describes in her narration as "tasting like springtime."
  • In The Final Warning, Iggy unexpectedly develops the ability to "feel" colors with 100% accuracy.
    Iggy: 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. A little girl describes it as "Tastes like when you don't have a dog".
  • 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.
    • In Jackrabbit Messiah, he does the same thing describing the place inside the Princess of Chicago's head where Jack has to go to save the day ("Overhead, the color white screeched..."), and also with regard to some of Jack's hallucinations.
  • Thaniel in The Watchmaker Of Filigree Street has synesthesia, which naturally results in this.
  • In a The Addams Family tie-in novel by Jack Sharkey, Gomez invents a machine which is supposed to make you experience a sensation with all five senses at once, then tests it on Pugsley and Wednesday's grade-school teacher. It swaps her senses instead, making her understandably upset.
    Abigail Glimmer: You look just like an off-key flugelhorn solo in B-flat minor!
  • One part of The Lorax describes the trouble you'll have hearing the Once-ler's story, including "his teeth sounding gray."
  • In Lewis Sachar's Wayside School series, teacher Mrs. Jewls makes an ice cream flavor named for every student in her class which evidently tastes like their personalities (Kathy-flavored ice cream tastes terrible). The catch is that when someone eats their own ice cream flavor, they taste nothing.
  • In Lawrence Block's Tanner On Ice Evan goes through a bout of malaria.
    Everything hurt, and I was freezing and burning up all at once, and the fever had me out of my mind, hearing colors and seeing odors and tasting music.
  • In InCryptid, Artie (who can read emotions) describes Sarah's love for him as tasting like "maple syrup and pizza sauce". He says crushes taste more like gingerbread.
  • In the Pilgrennon's Children novel Pilgrennon's Beacon, the titular beacon, which is detectable to people with a Brain/Computer Interface, causes temporary synesthesia, among other effects.
    Dana: I keep seeing telephones dialling. And hearing pictures.
  • The Scholomance: Yancy's magical booze tastes "like a light sea-green with streaks of polished brass and autumn leaves falling" and puts people in a synaesthetic haze for hours. Since magic runs on Clap Your Hands If You Believe, it also lets wizards do tricks that they couldn't if they were lucid enough to think more critically, like weaving a blanket out of a poem.
  • In Isaac Asimov's science fiction novel The Stars, Like Dust one character has invented the visisonor, a Bizarre Instrument that produces an array of sounds, colors, and other sensations by remote stimulation of the brain cells. Its effects on one character are described:
    It wasn't really a color, but rather a colored sound, though without noise. It was tactile, yet without feeling.
  • Misha, the protagonist of several short stories from Sergey Lukyanenko's sci-fi collection The Beautiful Faraway, is a teenager/young man who was genetically engineered to have a supremely acute sense of smell - so acute, in fact, that his own brain cannot fully interpret the vast variety of scents his nose can pick, and it overflows into his other senses. Thus, Misha perceives smells as combinations of visual, audio and tactile data (sometimes including pain), and may describe a particular smell as "purple, coarse and rattling". He's intended to become the world's greatest chemist who would be able to synthesize most complex substances, most importantly a compound that is theorized to enhance the abilities of the setting's psyonics up to Psychic Surgery levels. A flashback reveals he's actually already managed to synthesize it - only to discover that to him, said compound just happens to smell like agony.
  • Peter Crenshaw from The Three Investigators has the real world neurological condition known as Synesthesia, which makes the brain interpret a single sense as multiple senses. Pete perceives words, numbers, music, and sounds with colors. He thought everyone could do that and was surprised to find out they didn't.

    Live-Action TV 
  • House:
    • Dr. Gregory House takes a hit of LSD to cure his chronic headaches and experiences synesthesia.
    • 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."
  • Ugly Betty: This trope is said word-for-word by Betty, who at the time was accidentally drugged by perfume. It Makes Sense in Context.
  • 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", after drinking wine coolers for the first time, Rachel loudly declares that it "tastes like pink!"
  • Sweet Genius
    • Many a contestant learns the hard way that Chef Ron is sensitive to the chemical 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.
  • A first-season episode of Chuck gives us this gem after Ellie is poisoned: "Words taste like peaches!"
  • The first taste test of "Blobbly", the vat grown beef, in Better Off Ted was said to "Taste like despair." The second attempt turned out better but turned out to be too expensive to be practical.
  • One clip on World's Dumbest... involved a man peeing in a coffee pot, prompting Bryan Callen to say that the coffee tasted yellow.
  • Brooklyn Nine-Nine: After being incapacitated by an experimental sonic weapon, Boyle screams "I can taste my thoughts!"
  • In an episode of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, John comments that Mountain Dew Code Red "does indeed taste like the color red".
  • In The Adventures of Pete & Pete, when Little Pete, Wayne, Nona, and Monica are wandering through the woods without food, Nona offers for every to eat her lucky candy necklace, and says that the yellow ones taste like summer.
  • The Good Place:
    • This is true of the afterlife. The titular good place has a lot of frozen yogurt shops, with some unconventional flavours, like "haircut compliment". Eleanor tries a sample of yogurt that tastes like the relaxed feeling you get from knowing your phone is fully charged.
    • The air in the titular good place smells like whatever makes one happiest. That can be specific smells from real life but also complex chains of events or abstract concepts.
    • The Bad Place has produced a body spray that smells like the Transformers films feel; "Loud and confusing", according to Eleanor.
    • Gen, the Judge, likes to add envy to her burritos, as a condiment.
  • In QI, the Season O episode "Odorous and Odious" has Sandi Toksvig pass around samples of "the perfume of the Apocalypse", based on every recognisably scented item mentioned in the Book of Revelations. Nish Kumar is the first to take a whiff:
    Nish: Oh my God! It smells like racism!
  • A Drugs Are Bad episode of Mannix opens with a young woman attending a LSD meditation retreat supervised by her university professor, talking about "the taste of blue and the colors of twelve".
  • In an episode of Gilmore Girls, Luke Danes comments that a cocktail tastes pink:
    I mean it really tastes really pink! Like drinking a My Little Pony.
  • One episode of Victorious has Tori giving frozen yogurt balls covered with green cotton candy. When she asks what flavor it is, the manager only responds with "Green". Even funnier, he thinks Tori's the idiot for not understanding that.
  • In The Suite Life of Zack & Cody, London tries to advertise her telethon to help the homeless by very bluntly sharing her experience helping them.
    London: Newsflash: Brown is not a flavor.
    [Maddie cringes.]
  • Farscape. In a "Freaky Friday" Flip, D'Argo is thrown into Pilot's body and finds himself bombarded by all the sensors of Moya that Pilot deals with as a matter of course. To help him focus, Pilot (now in Chiana's body) tells him to concentrate on a faint noise that's at a higher pitch from the others (which represents Moya's life-support system), and to help D'Argo find it tells him to close his eyes and 'look' for a dark red color.

  • Practically the whole song by Chris Rice, "Smell The Color Nine".
    • "Cuz' Nine's not a color... And if it were, you can't smell a color, no... That's my point exactly."
  • "Lola" by The Kinks describes Lola's voice as "dark brown."
  • "View" by SHINee is about synesthesia. 'Smelling and tasting the star night, feeling the weight of the sense, seeing color of shapes and sound'.

  • In the Cool Kids Table game Here We Gooooo!, after spilling several crates of Diet Grape Escape soda at the bottling factory, Yoshi says that the room now smells like sadness.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons.
    • In 2nd Edition, the Complete Psionics Handbook had psionic abilities that did this: Feel Light, Feel Sound, Hear Light and See Sound.
    • 3.5 Edition has the synesthete psionic 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.
  • Exalted has the Wyld, the places beyond Creation where the rules of reality start to break down. Synesthetic sensations are among the least bizarre things that can happen when you venture beyond the borders of the world.
  • In Dresden Files, if a spell isn't cast correctly or uses too much power, "backlash" can occur, possibly causing Consequences, long-term effects that can complicate your character's life. One of the suggested consequences is "I Can Taste Purple", which Harry confirms is not atypical when spells go wrong.


    Video Games 
  • The Hunter from Bloodborne has a very queer scent about them that quite a few characters comment upon. Two characters in particular, Annalise, Queen of the Cainhurst Vilebloods, and Doctor Iosefka's impostor, both identify this fragnance as the scent of the Moon. Given that the Moon is a very central and very important concept in Bloodborne's cosmology, and the Hunter themself is unwittingly in the service of the Moon Presence, this is most assuredly not a comedic take on the trope.
  • In the Interactive Fiction game So Far, the green crystal rod found under the tree is described as smelling "blue", among other things.
  • In AdventureQuest, the elemental type of damage for wyverns' poison attacks is "purple".
  • When consuming a tiny bottle of absinthe in Kingdom of Loathing, the resulting message says the absinthe "tastes like licorice, pain, and green".
  • Dragon Age
  • 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 a total Cloud Cuckoo Lander as a result. One of her lines is "Yup! That tasted purple!"
  • Quest for Glory I describes the flowers at Erana's Peace as having a smell reminiscent of laughter.
  • In Quest for Glory IV you are given a "Good Humor bar" at one point. If you try to lick it, it tastes "kinda funny".
  • In Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, first Zexion and later Riku refer to Darkness having a scent.
  • In World of Warcraft, all in-game mentions of sickly-green Fel magic is referred to as smelling of sulfur and brimstone.
    • The engineer-built Failure Detection Pylon leaves this as an after-effect when it revives a defeated raid member.
      Your mouth tastes like copper and you can hear colors.
  • One of the penultimate assignments in SpaceChem requires you to make Ω-Pseudoethyne:
    A simple organic compound containing elements unknown to science. Highly poisonous and often described as "tasting like blue" by those unfortunate enough to inhale it.
  • In Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel!, there is an achievement for equipping all purple-rated items or higher called "That Tasted Purple!"
  • In The Lord of the Rings Online, the Deep-Toads in Moria have an attack that gives players a status debuff with the explanatory text "You can taste rectangles and smell the color magenta." It also tints the UI faintly purple, growing more pronounced towards the edges of the screen, as if you were looking through a literal purple haze.
  • A variant in Layers of Fear: The Mad Artist protagonist sometimes hears sounds coming from nearby rooms, and approaching them reveals that the source is, more often than not, a painting related to the subject. An example being, the artist hears the sound of a dog barking from a corridor he can't see the end of. But as he approaches, the dog turns out to be a picture of a dog...that spontaneously bursts into flames while the dog whimpers in agony.
  • Persona 4: At one point, the characters have a contest to see who makes the best fried rice omelet. Kanji tastes Yukiko's and pronounces that it tastes "boneless." When she protests that that's not a flavor, he says that that's the closest word he can think of because it somehow has literally no flavor at all. The protagonist samples and thinks that yes, it somehow lacks any flavor whatsoever.
  • In Trimps, the corruption smells "purple."
  • In Brutal Orchestra, a skeleton in the Far Shore speculates that fire tastes like "butter and phlogiston" (a nonexistent element once theorized to be what makes flammable substances flammable).
  • Several of the buff items in Rabi-Ribi are potions, flavoured after their respective colours. For example, Health Up (red) tastes like strawberry, and Mana Up (blue) tastes like blueberry. You might expect the Attack Up to taste like grape, but nope: it just tastes like purple.

    Web Comics 

    Web Original 
  • 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." Taken literally immediately after with The Cheat, whose mouth apparently "tastes like blue" after drinking the "family recreation water".
    • 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 fact, the website commonly refers to food and drinks that taste like the color they are shown as.
  • Epic Meal Time has made chili that "tastes like crazy alcohol rainbow pig."
  • Marik Plays Bloodlines, when Marik's character drinks blood for the first time. "Mmm, that's good homeless person. Wait, what am I doing? He probably tastes like shattered dreams and despair!
  • When Ink City moved to Dreamwidth, one of the signs something had happened was that Dot tasted purple.
  • Todd in the Shadows when reviewing Blah Blah Blah by Kesha says: "This actually smells bad. I can smell this through my speakers and it's awful!"
  • Dragon Ball Z Abridged: "Krillin, do you feel that?" "Gohan, I can TASTE that."
  • Game Grumps, during one playthrough, Danny talks about his new favorite flavor of paint called 'Breen'
  • Freeman's Mind features a moment of this in episode 59, when Gordon thinks he's heard someone green. He then thinks he might have taken some brain damage from his recent adventures, since he'd never experienced synesthesia before. It was an aftereffect of the teleporter he'd unwittingly used at the end of episode 57. At the end of episode 59, he gets the full effect of it, and ends up snapping back to Lambda Core at the beginning of episode 60.
    • Part 2 of Barney's Mind Episode 15 does the same thing. When Barney jumps into Dr. Rosenberg's teleporter, he asks why his mouth tastes like green. He then shortly becomes stuck in a harmonic reflux that sends him teleporting between Xen, Counter-Strike, the future, and Sector C of Black Mesa, before being able to leave once and for all.
  • An internet meme (sometimes rendered as an Image Macro) is "I put Redbull in my coffee this morning instead of water. Now I can see noises." The second sentence is sometimes replaced with "Now I can hear colors."
  • Not Always Healthy: "NovoPAIN!" centers around a patient for a dental procedure whose doctor refuses to listen when they tell them that the normal dose of anesthesia isn't working, until the pain gets so great that their vision is filled with the color silver. They finally get the doctor to stop by biting down on his finger, then yelling that "PAIN IS F***ING SILVER!"

    Western Animation 
  • The Simpsons:
    • 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 Indian 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."
  • Futurama: Philip J. Fry is the Trope Namer:
    • "Roswell That Ends Well": Fry's reaction to the blue-colored radiation produced by putting aluminum in the Planet Express ship's microwave is "Hey, what smells like blue?"
    • "The Why of Fry": After getting his memory erased by Nibbler, Fry remarks "Did everything just taste purple for a second?"
  • In the Arthur episode "All the Rage", a famous fashion model on TV tries to start a new trend of eating dog biscuits, and says that they should come in different flavors, "like yellow". When the interviewer tells her that yellow is a color and not a flavor, she responds, "Are you sure? 'Cause this tastes really yellow to me."
  • Clone High: After Abe Lincoln gets high on raisins in "Raisin the Stakes: A Rock Opera in Three Acts", he shouts "I can taste the sun!"
  • The Penguins of Madagascar: after recovering from an attack by a poisonous frog, Kowalski says "I can taste sound, but that's passed."
  • 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!"
  • The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius: 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!"
  • Inverted in My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, where the stuff they use to make rainbows in "Sonic Rainboom" is spicy enough to induce a Fire-Breathing Diner reaction in Pinkie Pie.
  • Fangbone! has the episode "The Kat of Munching" where Fangbone and Bill eat fudge made from the pixels of Munchie-Kat. The fudge was supposed to give you a magical nice sweet feel and scent.
  • 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."
  • An episode of Littlest Pet Shop had a skunk come in who was able to make pleasant scents at anyone's whim. At one point, the other pets wanted her to make color scents such as purple, or "a bold chartreuse".
  • The Amazing World of Gumball:
    • In "The Allergy", upon being hit with a large number of acupuncture needles, Gumball declares "I can smell dancing and taste purple."
    • In "The Decisions", Darwin recounts the time Gumball convinced him to chew sugar cubes instead of gum. He's shown in class going insane from the sugar and the fire department attempting to crowbar him out of his desk as he yells "I can taste sound!"
  • Gobba from Mixels has a tongue that's so sensitive, he's able to taste emotions through it. Sadness apparently tastes salty, probably because of all the tears.
  • Todd and Mr. Peanutbutter in Bojack Horseman invent Smoodies, which are moods you drink like a smoothie.
  • Broth from Crossing Swords gets so high at Beast Feast he can smell time.
    Mmm, apple pie. Must be 6:30.
  • In the T.U.F.F. Puppy episode "Hide and Ghost Seek", Mayor Teddy Bear claims to be able to smell purple and yellow.

    Real Life 
  • Considering you're currently reading, you're mentally hearing what you're visually processing.
  • One of the primary reasons for the hallucinations caused by psychedelics like psilocybin 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.
  • Truth in Television:
    • People with synesthesia effectively have wires crossed in their brain, causing signals sent to one of the senses, e.g. 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 color. For example: five could be blue.
    • There is some overlap between synesthesia and "perfect pitch"; some people with perfect pitch identify certain keys with particular colors (what keys goes with what color, however, appears to be idiosyncratic to each individual).
    • 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 flavor they're drinking.note 
      • Or try a glass of Crystal Pepsi.
      • Heston Blumenthal has fun with this one. One of the dishes at his famous Fat Duck restaurant is an orange and beetroot jelly, the trick being that the orange jelly is made with beetroot-coloured blood oranges and the beetroot jelly with orange-coloured golden beetroot.
    • 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." Orange and grape soda have nothing to do with the juices and are also described as tasting like the equally artificial colors. The latter is a literal example of this trope.
    • 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. Today, the red flavor lives on as "cherry", which is called that despite tasting nothing like any cultivar of the actual fruit (the black cherry, on the other hand, does vaguely taste of cherry).
    • This is best seen in the weird phenomenon known as "Blue Raspberry." The only real way to describe the flavor is... "blue."
      • Blue raspberries do really exist in nature, but they taste very little like the candy flavor.
      • Powerade averts the "blue raspberry" phenomenon by identifying the blue flavor as "Mountain Berry Blast". It's really just a labeling difference, though. The stuff still tastes like blue.
    • Circus Peanuts candy has an orange-the-color-but-not-orange-the-flavor taste. It's distinctive but hard to describe if you don't know the history of the candy. Take a guess then reveal the spoiler: It's supposed to be banana-flavored.
  • Yellow Chocolate.
  • 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.
  • Black licorice tastes like the color black.
  • 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, for example, most European ones. Japanese candy also often comes in "muscat" flavors which completely averts this and tastes like familiar green grapes.
    • 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.)
  • Orange. Color between yellow and red, or the most ubiquitous citrus fruit flavor? Yes.
  • Ultimately, this is the reason for things like Blue Raspberry and White Cherry flavors existing. The dyes used in purple and near-purple foods (including bright red, which actually was made with purple and yellow due to the complexities of light and pigments) have distinct flavors of their own - mostly bitter and pungent. While there are many types of food colorings available today, at the time that blue raspberry came out there was only one food-safe purple food dye - cabbage juice, hence why candies made with it taste like compost.
  • Jeppson's Malört, a brand of bäsk liquor, has been described as tasting like "pencil shavings and heartbreak" and "a burnt condom filled with gasoline".
  • All the syrups in standard Hawaiian shaved ice have the exact same flavor. It's the color that makes people think the red syrup tastes any different from the green or blue syrups.
  • The only accurate descriptor for the taste of the Scottish soda Irn Bru is, according to most people, that it tastes like orange. Not the fruit orange; the colour orange.
  • A popular condiment in the UK is "Brown Sauce." It's marketed as a savory sauce similar to Worcestershire Sauce, but the general consensus is that just tastes "brown."
  • The package might say the flavor is "lime", but the green Jell-O has been called exactly that since time immemorial, and "green" is a more accurate descriptor of its flavor than "lime" could ever hope to be.
  • Stand-up comedian James Acaster did a routine where he says he'd be hard pressed to find any way to describe the flavor of Dr. Pepper (his favorite soft drink) other than saying "It tastes like a sexy battery."
  • One Tumblr user's opinion of Confetti Glitter Fruity Cereal Flavored Fruit Spread:
    The flavor is indescribable. It's like if you wanted to make lemon preserves, but your only knowledge of lemons came from Saturday morning cartoon advertising. This is lemon as seen through the lens of Dr. Wondertainment of SCP fame and I'm pretty sure it fell through a rip in spacetime from their employee cafeteria. It’s !!LEMON!! (with a strong aftertaste of artificial coloring and plastic from the edible glitter bits).
  • The U.S. military for decades has called Power-Ade and Kool-Aid type beverages "bug juice", which comes in "flavors" of Red, Green, Blue, and Purple.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Temporary Synaesthesia, I Can Hear Magenta


Salad Fingers' Friends

Salad Fingers introduces us to his friends, who are all revealed to be finger puppets. He then proceeds to taste them, with differing reactions.

How well does it match the trope?

4.75 (4 votes)

Example of:

Main / CompanionCube

Media sources: