We heard about this through bartenders at Worship Street Whistling Shop, who told us how they'd seen Compass Box distiller John Glaser wielding a strange contraption that aerated spirit using a perfume pump. We got in touch with John, and he kindly put us in touch with German firm Bukanter.
The company makes various different mechanisms designed to intensify the contact of different liquids with air - from wines to beers, spirits and even vinegars and oils. The ball bukanter is designed with spirits in mind. It sits in your hand, and when you squeeze the perfume-style ball pump it forces air through a tiny series of glass tubes. Air is not directly sent through the liquid but pressure differences force a small portion of the spirit through a tiny, vertical-pointing nozzle, akin to a manual aerosol that sprays spirit up the inside of the Bukanter, aerating it to the extent you can see a fine, fine mist emanating from the top.
As the accompanying instructions say: "First pump - then smell!"
The Ball Bukanter has a certain wow factor even before you put spirit into it, but we were genuinely impressed with its performance. We found it really does bring out aromas in spirits, without the need to dilute them back, as we might typically do to 'open' a spirit up. We would caution that if you use this for comparing different spirits side-by-side, you must put everything through it.
Intriguing and typically fine German engineering.