The term “savory” is one that is readily understood, but difficult to define. It incorporates both positive and negative features; Chambers Concise 20th Centuy Dictionay defines it as “of good savour or relish; appetizing, salty, piquant or spiced (opp. to sweet)”. This introduces some key aspects, especially the implication of a strong, pleasant aroma, and the idea of being opposite to sweet, but this still does not tell the full story.
In an attempt to discover more about people’s perceptions of “savory,” a number of people at or associated with Oxford Chemicals were asked to complete a simple questionnaire assessing the suitability of 146 odor descriptors against the term “savory.” According to the questionnaire, the ten most appropriate descriptors, in descending order, were the following