Veteran’s common scents business


Peter Mallett, Staff Writer ~

When Lieutenant-Commander (Retired) David Lewis launched his small business, he had a simple business plan that relied on one premise: The nose knows common scents.

Knowing there are about 450 olfactory receptors that communicate between the nose and brain, the 60-year-old veteran created Battle Rattle Candle Company – scented candles with a military twist. Ten per cent of net sales are donated to Canadian veteran charities.

All 30 of his candles are military themed. Afghan Tea, Galley Cookies, Kabul Snow, Duff, and the list goes on, “making scents of our time in the military,” he says.

He has divided them into two categories: domestic operation scents and deployed scents, with a recent launch of holiday scents such as Ginger-Bloggins Man, and Moosemilk.

LCdr Lewis spent 13 years in the military as a public affairs officer. In 2011, he was posted to Camp Eggers in Kabul, Afghanistan, as Deputy Director of Social Media for NATO. Smelling a chai-scented candle a few months ago instantly brought him back to that deployment and the tea he drank. 

“I began to ask myself, what if I created a line of scented candles for military members and veterans. Ones that would have a unique point of reference for anyone who has ever served in any branch of Canada’s armed forces.”

After a bit of research and experimenting, he set about turning his London, Ontario, home into a mini factory. Pots of paraffin wax are heated on the stove top before adding his special scent formulas and colours. Then he pours them into small tins, adding the final touch of a wick in the centre. Each tin is topped with a lid and label.

His candle names hold meaning to those who serve and have served. Some will even bring about a chuckle such as the Beardforgen, the approval of facial hair in branches of the Canadian Armed Forces. The smell is reminiscent of beard grooming products. Or the Freshly Minted Officer that is full of distinctive peppermint overtones.

On a more nostalgic note is When We First Met, a baby powder scented candle designed for military parents who were deployed when their child was born.

“There is a story behind each candle scent and we have a little write-up explaining each one that is available on the website,” says LCdr (Ret’d) Lewis.

He sells them on his website – – and so far they are available at The Military Museums Giftshop in Calgary, and The Canadian Warplane Museum Giftshop in Hamilton, ON. They retail for $14.

In the three months he has been in business, Battle Rattle has made donations to Veterans Voices of Canada, with future donations going to Wounded Warriors Canada, Can Praxis, Veterans Emergency Transition Services, and Quilts of Valour. He has also teamed up with Cadets Canada to provide personalized unit candles for fundraisers.

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  1. David Lewis says:

    Great article! Thanks so much for the attention. I myself am looking for more Veteran-owned businesses I can support. We are also looking for new scent ideas so any input from the ranks is always appreciated! – David

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