Hormel, of meat and chili fame, definitely knows how to surprise us. Last year, it released Pumpkin Spice Spam, and the response to this genius seasonal release was overwhelmingly positive (it sold out very quickly). This year, Hormel is going in a sartorial direction with Breathable Bacon, a face mask that is not only decorated with images of perfectly crisp Hormel Black Label Bacon strips, but is also scented like bacon so you can carry the smell of breakfast meats wherever you go. (Damn, we should have thought of that.)
According to the registered-trademark-littered press release:
HORMEL™ BLACK LABEL™ Breathable Bacon is the latest in a series of technology-led innovations spanning products and distribution from the makers of the HORMEL® BLACK LABEL® brand. Recent innovations have included The Black Market, a multisensory virtual reality experience, the development of a musical experience using the sounds of bacon and creating the world’s first bacon-fueled motorcycle.
Who knew that bacon could be so thoroughly disrupted?
Back to the Breathable Bacon, though: you can head to this website (with a domain name I really hope no one else was already using) and enter to win a bacony face mask of your own, from now until October 28. I, meanwhile, will not be entering... because Hormel has sent me a bacon mask of my own. Let’s give it a whirl.
It certainly looks as sleek as it does in the photos, and maybe even a little sexy, given its slinky, shiny black fabric. Once the mask comes within an inch of your face, though, the scent is overwhelming; I’d humbly request that Hormel recalibrate the scent levels in consideration of the fact that this thing is right up against our noses. It doesn’t need the strength of a Yankee Candle to succeed; it needs the weakness of a scratch ‘n’ sniff sticker.
Once I’d coughed the cough of a jogger who has accidentally caught a deep lungful of a passerby’s cigarette smoke, I slipped the mask on fully. It actually smells less like bacon than a bonfire, with woodsy, smoky notes creeping so deep down into my nostrils that the scent lingered for several minutes after removing the mask. It’s got a slightly bitter edge, too, no doubt the combination of artificial scent and the industrial tang of mass-produced fabrics, the latter of which is familiar to anyone who’s ever bought dubiously sourced clothing on Amazon. But once your nose recovers from the shock of the assault, it’s definitely not a bad scent—just strong—and it’s one that some people might even find enjoyable. My next test will be to see how long it takes for my senses to adapt to the smell...and whether it leaves me smelling like I’ve applewood-smoked my own face.