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 Taylor Hill, model and face of Ralph Lauren’s Romance fragrance franchise. This month marked the launch of Romance Pink Pony Edition, an exclusive scent celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Pink Pony Fund, Ralph Lauren’s global initiative in the fight against cancer. For every purchase of the pink peony-driven scent in October, Ralph Lauren Fragrances will donate 100% of the profits to the Pink Pony Fund to help reduce disparities in cancer care. The Cut caught up with Hill to talk detergent, frothy lattes, and the candle that smells like Colorado.
My first scent memory is: The smell of laundry and clean clothes, because it was the chore I had to do the most growing up. I did everybody’s laundry, for our entire family of six people, and I ironed my dad’s clothes, his ties, and his work shirts. I still really love the smell of laundry detergent because it reminds me of home.
Happiness smells like: Food and things cooking in a kitchen, because it either means (a) I’m at home and my mom is cooking, or (b) my older sister is somewhere that I also am, and she’s cooking for me. I love home-cooked meals that I didn’t make because I am not good at cooking and I don’t like doing it. I love the smell of Thanksgiving dinner cooking, or smelling kimchi or Sriracha, which are ingredients my sister loves when cooking.
Love smells like: Fresh flowers, because it reminds me of going on dates, and having butterflies in your stomach; those first beginning stages of falling in love and all that good stuff.
Heartbreak or loss smells like: Sweets or chocolate. Usually if I’m sad, or even lonely while I’m traveling, or heartbroken about leaving my dog, I crave something sweet, like ice cream or Pinkberry.
Friendship smells like: New York, which is a very unspecific thing to say, but as a New Yorker, New York has its own smell to it when you go outside. It’s an array of things that just hit you. I can’t really describe it, but it’s like the smell of sitting in my favorite restaurants with my friends, and going to the dog park on the West Side Highway, closer to the water with some fresher air mixed in. It’s a blend of the city, which is where all my best friends live and where I see them most.
Regret smells like: The truffle fries that your friend ordered and you didn’t order as a side because you went with a salad.
Success smells like: That new car smell; like new leather, or a new pair of shoes. Something luxury, because that usually means I’ve accomplished something and I’ve decided to treat myself to something I’ve wanted for a while.
The worst smell is: Onions. They are the bane of my existence and the worst smell in the world. I cannot stand the smell of onions; raw onion, cooked onion, anything onion, I can’t take it.
My ideal vacation smells like: Definitely tequila, margaritas, and fresh guacamole. If any of that is present I am definitely on vacation.
My home smells like: Candles mostly, because I love scented candles. I’m obsessed with them, I have like 20 in each room, and I’m always lighting them. But more specifically, I have a Madewell one called Mountain Sage that just smells like Colorado in a candle. It’s fresh and mountain-y and smells like pine trees and it just reminds me of home.
The first thing I smell in the morning is: Coffee from the Keurig — one of the ones where you can make your lattes frothy and everything. It’s the first thing I do in the morning.
The last thing I smell before I go to bed is: Lavender bar soap because I take a shower every night before I go to bed. I like to feel clean when I enter my sheets.
A scent or smell that I love that others don’t: Bleach. I love the smell of it so much. People think I’m crazy, but I love the smell of it because it just means that things are clean!
I smell like: A mix of drugstore shampoo and definitely Romance, which is my favorite fragrance of all time. I love the Pink Pony Edition as well because it’s got sandalwood and pink peony, and it smells very “last days of summer.”