Flavor (American English) or flavour (British English; see spelling differences) is the sensory impression of food or other substance, and is determined primarily by the chemical senses of taste and smell. The “trigeminal senses”, which detect chemical irritants in the mouth and throat, as well as temperature and texture, are also important to the overall gestalt of flavor perception. The flavor of the food, as such, can be altered with natural or artificial flavorants which affect these senses.

A “flavorant” is defined as a substance that gives another substance flavor, altering the characteristics of the solute, causing it to become sweet, sour, tangy, etc. A flavor is a quality of something that affects the sense of taste.

Of the three chemical senses, smell is the main determinant of a food item’s flavor. Five basic tastes – sweet, sour, bitter, salty and umami (savory) are universally recognized, although some cultures also include pungency and oleogustus (“fattiness”). The number of food smells is unbounded; a food’s flavor, therefore, can be easily altered by changing its smell while keeping its taste similar. This is exemplified in artificially flavored jellies, soft drinks and candies, which, while made of bases with a similar taste, have dramatically different flavors due to the use of different scents or fragrances. The flavorings of commercially produced food products are typically created by flavorists.