May 23, 2012 at 10:06 AM ET
By Matthew Moll
For (maybe) the first time ever, it will be socially acceptable for men to release their odors into rooms filled with people.
Release by way of candle, that is.
Historically, candle fragrances are either gender-neutral or one ingredient short of a souffle, but now men are getting scents for their manly sensibilities. Yankee Candle recently released a collection of four original "Man Candles": First Down, Man Town, 2 x 4, and Riding Mower.
Unlit and awaiting man’s invention of fire, First Down ("combination of orange, patchouli, vetiver and leather") hits your nostrils like your local shopping mall’s Wilson’s Leather outlet. Man Town ("masculine blend of spices, woods and musk") is the musk that I imagine Jack Palance would have rocked on a Saturday evening. 2 x 4 ("freshly planed wood") smells of elegant sawdust, while Riding Mower ("summery scent of freshly cut grass") is a mixture of pine needles and a well-maintained supermarket.
The scents, while cheeky in name, are intended to appeal to a demographic that has been largely ignored by candle makers.
“Men make up about 35 percent of the candle market, but there weren’t products specifically for them,” Hope Margala Klein, Executive VP of Brand Merchandising and Innovation for Yankee Candle, told TODAY.com. “We felt it was time for men to get their share of attention.”
A sanctuary of unsavory scents is the hallmark of the bachelor pad. Since I willingly left my man-fortress in favor of cohabitation with my girlfriend years ago, I had to lean on my bros to determine how the candles would work in a dude-centric living space.
My friends’ home is a typical early-to-mid career professional, cramped city apartment, complete with stacks of random sports equipment, "Star Trek"-on-SyFy-marathon geekdom and unestablished rules on whose turn is it to complain about the other not scrubbing the toilet.
At first, it appeared that a man-lair was not the best lab for my experiment.
“This one smells like hair... wait I think I just put my nose too close to the flame.”
We decided that it would be safer to quarantine the candles in the bathroom, a room not known for its flawless odor.
The boys reacted neutrally to the first two candles: Bachelor no. 1 thought he was breathing in a cranberry when testing First Down, while bachelor no. 2 accused Man Town of having a touch of wimpy lilac. Not terrible aromas, just not what the names originally conjured in their man-brains.
The guys said they would burn 2 x 4 when they have house guests, but one of them remarked that it reminded him more of candy shop caramels rather than newly laid hardwood floors.
The positively overwhelming hit was Riding Mower.
“It smells like someone cut grass in here,” said bachelor no. 1. “It reminds me of my youth, throwing a Frisbee, and feeling invincible.”
The feeling of invincibility and other manly themes may be spreading. According to Margala Klein, since the launch, Man Candle scents have topped their sales chart.
Maybe this will finally prove that being manly includes keeping your man cave smelling fresh.
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Matthew Moll is a multimedia journalist based in New York. He insists that everyone who says jeans are comfortable are simply lying.