Scientific studies confirm that, of all the senses, smell offers the best recall. In Scent Memories, the Cut asks people about the scents they associate with different times in their lives.
Next up is Kacey Musgraves, singer-songwriter, six-time Grammy Award winner, expert yeehaw-er, and meme muse. Musgraves recently collaborated with aesthetically pleasing candle line Boy Smells to create a limited-edition candle named after her song “Slow Burn.” Photogenic and gender-agnostic, bright yet smoky, Slow Burn is an unexpected but heavenly mix that includes black pepper, raspberry, and things you didn’t know you liked, like tonka, elemi, guaiac, and smoked papyrus. The Cut caught up with Musgraves at the launch party that kicked off New York Fashion Week to talk Sharpies, hairspray, and smelling like a baby.
Happiness smells like: A clean house, clean sheets, and the smell of your Postmates order arriving. Or the horse barn. Smelling the earth, the horses, the dirt, and (sorry) the horseshit. It’s good for your soul. That’s our next candle: Barn Sweat.
Friendship smells like: Weed? Or honeysuckle.
Love smells like: Amber mixed with sandalwood. It’s sexy and relaxed. Not like hypersensitive, pressurized sexy, but laid-back sexy. That and secondhand men’s-cologne smell. You know, like when you’re in high school and you’re dating somebody or have a crush on somebody and you’re wearing their hoodie and you smell how they smell.
Heartbreak or loss smells like: Spilled red wine and rust. And Sharpie.
Success smells like: Hopefully Slow Burn! [Laughs.]
Regret smells like: Cigarettes. Stale cigs and a wet ashtray.
The worst smell is: I know it’s a common one that people love, but Palo Santo. I think that it smells like balloons. It hurts my brain.
Vacation smells like: Always a hint of sunscreen, salt, open air. I think one of my other favorites of Boy Smell candles, De Nimes, smells like vacation, actually. Ugh. UGH. It’s so good. It’s beautiful, and it comes in this glass that is kind of this frosted denim blue, and the wax matches, so it’s all tonal. It’s so nice.
My tour bus smells like: This incense that I burn a lot, a rotating cast of candles, hairspray, and makeup. It’s hard for me to get off the bus sometimes because it’s my little environment that I’ve created, versus lugging everything into a venue that maybe smells kind of old or damp — it’s not always the best vibe sometimes, you know what I mean? So I usually stick to the bus, blast some music, burn a candle, do my makeup, have a snack. Popcorn is a go-to. That’s more my zone. I also love fresh flowers being around me. Just anything to keep a little feeling of zen; something grounding when you’re out floating around the globe.
If I could have one smell on my hands forever, it would be: Hand sanitizer? Just kidding. But it’s a great thing to layer on top of …
I smell like: I have a fragrance on that I really like a lot. It was a gift that my glam team got me for Christmas from Paris, and I’ve never smelled anything like it. It’s called Baccarat 540, and it’s in this beautiful red bottle. It has a lot of amber in it. But also, this is weird … I’ve been told, from not only my husband but exes in the past, that I smell like a baby. And I don’t know what that is. Ruston will just be like, “You smell like a baby.” And another ex was like, “Your skin smells like a baby,” and I’m like, What does that mean?!
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