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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2014

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In Living Reviews

Enhance your football-watching experience by burning "pigskin," "stripper" and "beer" candles.

In Living Reviews

Make your office smell like sawdust and cut grass now ... use the rocks glasses for cocktails later.

"Man candles" make scents for dudes


My foray into the world of "man candles" began almost accidentally. As the smell of fresh, black coffee wafted around my office one morning, I thought to myself, "Someone should make a coffee-scented candle."

Not a cappuccino or hazelnut or mocha candle. Just something that smelled like hot, strong, black coffee. You know, a candle that a dude could be proud to burn.

A quick Google search led me to two eCommerce sites that sell all sorts of man-themed scents -- like campfire, sawdust, pigskin, bacon, stripper and beer.

I had to learn more.

Both Hotwicks and Manterns sent me some samples, and both offerings have their respective strengths. The Manterns, for example, vary in terms of scent authenticity (though they are pleasant and manly), but they came in large "rocks" glasses that can literally be used for drinking cocktails when the wax has been burned off.

The Hotwicks candles, by comparison, are smaller and sport kitschier packaging -- but their scents are right on. Both are domestically made, and Manterns are contain 100 percent soy-blend wax.

After subjecting my co-workers to a week of scents like "forest," "freshly mowed grass" and "dryer sheets," I got back in touch with the owners of both companies to get the low-down on these clever "mandles."

"My wife and I were walking to brunch with family when, just as we passed a store window with a candle display, we caught a whiff of that awesome outdoor burning wood smell," says Mike Chorazak of Hotwicks.

"My brother in-law and I commented that they should make a candle that smells like that and started joking about other manly candle smells. After brunch I tried to find some manly candles online but had no luck. Within a week I had my first candle kit mailed to me, and a few months later I quit my job to run Hotwicks fulltime."

Manterns founder Tom O'Dea says he had the idea about five years ago, and the market for man-themed candles is growing.

"More men are buying candles these days, albeit most of which are of the traditional scent variety. While we think it's funny and most people might assume that it's a joke gift, our candles actually smell pretty good," says O'Dea. "Not to mention you're getting a really nice drinking glass out of it, too."

Chorazak says his candles aren't specifically designed for men (though one has to assume that "stripper" and "pigskin" are male-oriented).

"Our customer has a nose and a sense of humor ... their plumbing is irrelevant. Hotwicks just saw a candle industry with about as much variety as a Soviet-era grocery store and thought we could spice it up a bit," says Chorazak.

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Talkbacks

brunocarlson | Sept. 17, 2008 at 4:09 p.m. (report)

Does the Stripper scent come with a sense of regret and shame as well as a bill for a STD check up? Or is that extra? Can my candle be one who is still working on her medical degree? I would certainly invest in the mowed grass scent. That is always relaxing, especially after mowing it.

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cbbush | Sept. 17, 2008 at 11:24 a.m. (report)

I understand the stripper scent being for men, but get real - plenty of women enjoy the smell of pigskin as in football. As well as brand new tennis balls and other sports scents. Please refrain from being so general in your comments so that we don't think of you as the same as Begel's sexist talk.

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diesel1976 | Sept. 17, 2008 at 9:26 a.m. (report)

Why any man would want his house to smell like a stripper is beyond me. How does one come up with a scent like that anyway?

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