To date, most of the sensory studies concerning off-flavors focus on ă their detection or rejection thresholds. However, both supra and ă sub-threshold concentrations of off-flavor components may change the ă perception of odorous mixtures. In this context, the aim of this study ă was to determine the impact of infra- and supra-threshold concentrations ă of a wine defect, ``Bretty'' character (ethylphenols), on the wine ă fruity note. Techniques used included sensory analysis (odor profiling), ă psychophysical tests (threshold measurements), and chemical analyses ă (GCMS). The sensory test panels consisted of wine experts. The results ă showed that both sub- and supraliminal concentrations of off-flavors ă could interfere with the perception of fruity notes. In addition, the ă findings revealed that this wine defect not only changes the hedonic ă valence of the perception, but also has a masking effect on fruity ă notes, even at subliminal concentrations. The final experiment ă demonstrated that the interaction between the perception of ethylphenols ă and ethyl heptanoate takes place at a central locus in the olfactory ă system. (C) 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.