If you’ve been keeping up with your Peloton routine, you might have spotted a recent workout with Kim Kardashian who spent her Tread session sipping on a mysterious pink water bottle with the words “Air Up” on the side.
In case you were wondering (I certainly was), the water bottle in question was an Air Up, a new type of water bottle that flavors plain water using — wait for it — scent. It’s an intriguing concept, to say the least. As someone who definitely needs to drink more water, I’ve tried all the tricks in the hydration handbook: I’ve added lemon, I’ve squeezed in flavor droplets, and I’ve toted countless bottles around with me like a third limb. But do I reach the recommended 2.7 liters a day? Hardly ever.
That’s precisely why I was down to try the Air Up water bottle’s olfactory-activating powers. Could the scent, “flavor”, or the intrigue motivate me to take more sips and become a hydration girly? Read on for my honest review of the product along with intel on how it works.
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- Product Name: Air Up®
- Price: $39.99
- Best for: Hydrating, making water more fun
- Material: BPA-free Tritan bottle, silicon strap
- Size: 22 oz bottle + cap
- Rating: 4/5
How Does The Air Up Water Bottle Work?
You can totally use an Air Up water bottle just like you would any other: fill it up with H2O, take a sip, and leave it at that. But if you want to try the brand’s signature “scent flavors”, all you have to do is pop a specially-made pod onto the mouthpiece and drink.
The pods smell exactly like the flavor intended. The lime pods smell like limes, the lemon pods smell like lemons — and they’re color-coordinated, too. As you take a sip, the scent travels through your mouth and up your nose to the olfactory receptors where your brain perceives the scent as taste. According to air up, this is called “retronasal smell”, aka tasting with your nose.
Have you ever noticed that food doesn’t seem as flavorful when you have a stuffy nose? That’s because 80% of what you taste is actually derived from scent. The Air Up bottle works on that concept, but in reverse: As you take a sip, you get a whiff of the flavor pod, and just like that it seems like your water is infused with lemons or limes simply because you’re breathing in that aroma.
You can even fill the bottle with sparkling water if you’re in the mood for something bubbly. And it’s said that three flavor pods should get you through about four gallons’ worth of water. Apart from making water more fun, there’s also the fact your H2O remains free of sugar, flavors, dyes, preservatives, and sweeteners — it’s nothing but natural scents.
I have to admit, I was a tiny bit skeptical when I filled the Air Up with plain water and popped a flavor pod onto the nozzle. Surely this little plastic-y thing couldn’t make me believe I was drinking actual lemon water, right? But then I took a sip and, much to my shock and awe, it tasted exactly like I had put in the effort to squeeze a ripe fruit.
At first, I kept catching myself breathing dramatically through my nose as I sipped. This was to make sure I was “smelling” my water correctly. Then I got the hang of it and realized you can just drink normally — no special sipping technique required.
I started off with the lemon pod and then moved on to the lime (my personal fave). I have to say, after a couple of weeks testing the Air Up, it really has been nice to have tasty water readily on hand — without all the hassle of cutting up a fruit or digging through my cabinet for a sweetener of some kind. Oh, and I really liked that it was just plain water, with nothing artificial or weird in the ingredients to make it taste better.
I definitely drank more water the first few days using the Air Up, if only because of my desire to try all the different flavor pods. I didn’t wait for them to run out of scent, but instead cycled through a few different options — orangeade, lemon basil, etc. — in an effort to see (er, smell) what each one was like.
As it goes with any new habit, though, it was still tough to get into the rhythm of drinking more water. (Why is it so easy to forget?) That said, I found that having a reason to keep sipping certainly helped.
If you’re looking for another way to make water more fun, you can always go with a bottle that has an infuser basket inside, like this option from Hydracy. Fill it with your fave fruit or veggies — whether it’s lemon slices, basil leaves, or cucumbers — and it’ll infuse your water with actual flavor (and a few extra nutrients, too). This 32-ounce bottle is made of BPA-free Tritan and it securely seals so you won’t accidentally flood your bag with water.
I was completely flabbergasted by the sorcery of the Air Up water bottle. It genuinely does feel like magic when you take a sip and “taste” the flavor, without it actually being there. I’d definitely recommend giving it a try, if only for the novelty factor.
Castillo, M. (2014). The Complicated Equation of Smell, Flavor, and Taste. AJNR Am J Neuroradiol. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7966593/