As someone whose job revolves around tasting and giving my "highly valued" opinion on food and drink, I am always looking for ways to train my palate and improve my sense of taste. Unfortunately, I am plagued with overly excitable sinuses that flare up on an almost daily basis. This interferes with my sense of smell — and consequently taste — but I've found ways around it.
In addition to fistfuls of Sudafed, the No. 1 item in my arsenal of weapons against nasal cloggage is this little device form NeilMed:
It works very well, but it's kind of a whole production. It needs to be sanitized before each use (obviously), and even though I'm squirting solution inside my face and not on it, I always end up with mascara running down my cheeks. In short, while I'm pretty happy with my NeilMed, I'm not against adding new things to my sinus-clearing repertoire.
So when the good people at Lick Me I'm Delicious (a company which surprisingly has nothing to do with edible sex toys) offered to send me its Olfactic Dog Nose, I agreed without hesitation. Though, if I'm being honest with myself and you, I wasn't actually thinking about my sinuses at all; I was imagining all of the funny photos I could take with Angie.
Angie wasn't very interested in taking adorable pictures, but she was very interested in the prop wine.
We'll get to the nose and it's function in a moment, but first I want to take a minute to talk about Charlie Harry Francis, the owner of Lick Me I'm Delicious and dude behind the Olfactic Dog Nose.
Known as "Britain's answer to Willy Wonka," Charlie Harry Francis has given us creative culinary advances the world didn't even know it needed. Edible mist, glow-in-the-dark ice cream, and a soup washing machine are just a few of his inventions I'd like to test out, but sadly Charlie is across the pond, and so is my edible mist.
Thankfully, Charlie's Olfactic nose is mailable, making this the first of his inventions available for my review. I could have done before-and-after comparisons of food, but I find wine to be a more pleasant test subject. (Not that food isn't pleasant, wine is just a little more so.)
I opened a bottle I had recently (half an hour before) purchased from Trader Joe's, let it breathe for a bit, and took some sips. It tasted a little thin and made my mouth feel a bit dry in the back, but was overall enjoyable.
I then prepared the nose as instructed, soaking it in warm water, wringing it out, and placing it on the bridge of my nose for 10 minutes and breathing through my nose the whole time, the result of which should be an improved sense of taste.
According to the instructions that were printed on the fanciest of paper, "the warm wet air will travel through your nasal passage, moistening your mucous membranes, allowing them to function more efficiently."
It was itchy, and turned cold very quickly, prompting me to re-soak it at the five-minute mark. After a very long (and quite itchy) 10 minutes, I removed the nose, not noticing any difference in my nasal passages. If anything, my sinuses felt a little inflamed after the (albeit light) pressure exerted by the dog nose.
But then I had another sip of the wine, and noted that it did taste a little more velvety. A bit smoother. As someone who is skeptical of every claim made by anyone ever, I was surprised to find that the Olfactic Dog Nose had any effect on my senses at all.
That being said, I still find my NeilMed to be a more effective method of full nasal passage clearing. The Olfactic Dog Nose didn't seem to clear my nasal passages at all, and the air that passed into my nose while wearing the thing didn't stay warm for very long, as the Dog Nose cooled very quickly.
So while the Olfactic Dog Nose is an interesting concept — and certainly made for great pictures — I'm not sure that it's more effective or innovative than a neti pot. I may take it to some wine tastings in the summer, though.
It would really embarrass my husband.