How mystery flavors confuse our taste buds

The candymaker receives heaps of fan theories every day—from tart lemon to smooth vanilla—but no one has gotten it right. Today, only a few dozen people know the secret identity; the rest of us have to settle for simpler certitudes. The tang of citric acid makes White Mystery undeniably fruity, and a mixture of sugar and corn syrup adds ample sweetness. The absence of color, however, is the curveball: It deprives the brain of the visual cues that can help taste buds determine the source and the intensity of a given zing.

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