I watched with fascination as aspiring sommelier's identified wine types by tasting. Not only did they accurately identify year, country and vineyard, but in some cases much more. And all from tasting the wine in a blind test. Sound familiar? Most Audiophiles I know of have a similar set of skills that rely on all the senses and a great deal of experience. In both cases these experienced tasters and listeners use their internal measurement systems to determine that which they are experiencing.
There are many that still believe the ability to identify characteristics in sound that we cannot yet measure is a hoax. They would refer to those that acknowledge this ability as 'Audiofools', a derogatory term from 'Audiophile'. By coming up with such a disrespectful label, others on the periphery of knowledge assume it 'says it all' and move on to the next controversy. That is a shame because there is a chance for all of us to learn from those experienced enough to both identify a wine simply by taste, or discover musical truth by listening.
Until several years ago there were no machines capable of doing what an expert wine taster can do. Does that negate what they achieve? No, because the evidence cannot be refuted.
We still do not have the means to measure that which we hear, yet there are many who would steadfastly deny that we hear any differences at all.
In the first case it is easy to understand why people who might normally deny that wine experts can do this relent: the evidence appears on a bottle of wine for all to see. The second case is equally difficult to believe in, yet no less real.