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 Jasmine Garcia, product development lead at Homesick, the home-fragrance brand that has a scented candle for all the places you miss and the moments you want to relive. The highly giftable brand recently debuted a Wedding Collection just in time for the reboot of wedding season. Featuring three new candles that smell like a beautiful bouquet, celebratory bourbon, and cigars, and a postnuptials Champagne toast with an ocean view, it’ll take care of any sentimental, off-registry items on your shopping list. The Cut caught up with Garcia to talk library books, homemade hair oil, and New York City parks.
My first scent memory is: Definitely the library. I remember being in Catholic school and going to the library every week in single-file lines; Miss Antony’s in the front with her two fingers that are like, Everyone be quiet. It’s this really satisfying, saturated smell of the wood, the really old paper. I feel like that’s a scent that everyone understands. It always makes me feel calm. I’ll walk into antique shops and bookstores now, and I’ll just stand there and smell it, and think, Here we are. This is good. It’s so nice. They probably think I’m so odd; just walking into a library and not checking any books, just inhaling.
Happiness smells like: Fresh peony blooms. They’re just the happiest flowers ever, and they have the perfect, gorgeous spring scent. That’s when you know spring is actually here, because the peonies don’t come out unless the weather is absolutely right.
Love smells like: Honestly, our Bride’s Bouquet candle, which is in our wedding collection. When I go back and trace moments with my fiancé, it’s always being out in the world, surrounded by greenery and trees; like at the botanical garden, or at a park, or even just hiking. Even before I really put the ring on my finger, I always connected those scents to my love, and my love with him, especially. When we were creating the scent for Bride’s Bouquet, I closed my eyes, and I just kept thinking, What do I see when I walk down the aisle? So there’s eucalyptus in my hands, there’s the wooden arch, there are florals, these really beautiful scarlet roses. Now the scent makes me think about finally getting down the aisle and saying “I do,” because we’ve pushed our wedding multiple times. Miss Rona took over, but I’m manifesting. I’ll light the candle, and I’m like Bride’s Bouquet. Bride’s Bouquet. [Laughs.] I’m gonna get down there.
Heartbreak or loss smells like: Musky linens, salty tears, weed. Wherever I’m burrowing myself into, that’s my sad place.
Friendship smells like: Bubbly. It smells like sitting outside a restaurant with my friends, drinking Cava. With my best friend, that’s literally our night water. When she comes over, we’re just pouring prosecco, and that’s how we hang out. That’s what we do: Hydration.
Regret smells like: Vomit.
Success smells like: New York City to me. I grew up in Brooklyn, but I moved out for a quick sec. When I finally moved back, I remember sitting on my rooftop, looking at the Empire State Building, thinking, I’m gonna get there one day. And then less than a year later, I was walking into my first career position for product development next to the Empire State Building.
In terms of what New York smells like, there are two facets: the good way and the bad way. But I’m going to lean on the good because I love New York and it’s in my heart. It’s the perfect combination of industrial and outdoors, because New York is always trying to rebuild and incorporate the outdoors, because there’s cement everywhere, there’s steel, there’s always construction going on. But there’s also lots of beautiful tulips, and really random parks, so those beautiful scents are always coming through. I think the one note that isn’t in our candle, but definitely smells like my old-school New York, is the scent of roasted nuts on every corner. They don’t do that as much anymore, but I remember growing up it was always around.
The worst smell is: The smell of old alcohol coming out of someone’s skin.
My ideal vacation smells like: Sea salt in the air, fresh linens, Champagne at the ready, and some kind of really awesome breeze filled with florals. That’s my ideal vacation. I’m just on the bed, and I want all those smells to come to me, through the window.
My home smells like: Palo Santo and incense. I cleanse my house a lot of energies, then get them balanced back up.
The first thing I smell in the morning: Our Home Office candle. It’s a huge part of my morning routine. We launched it last year as a response to COVID, but it really is incredibly invigorating and motivating. I like to light, pull out my to-do list, and get my mind ready for the day. If I know it’s going to be a really crazy day and I’m not going to be able to leave my desk, I’ll keep it lit throughout the day, because it has these really beautiful bright-green notes in it, so it makes you feel okay being glued to your desk in a way. It also has cinnamon in it, so it gives you a nice spice kick.
The last thing I smell before bed: My dreads. They are literally everywhere. They’re like suffocating my face; they’re all over my pillow. But luckily, they smell good! I make a little at-home oil with patchouli and lavender just because I love those two together as a scent. Then I also have rosemary for some hair growth, and I have some peppermint to stop the itching and get dandruff away. It smells good; it’s a good thing to go to sleep to.
A scent or smell I love that others usually don’t: Apparently this is the thing, but I’m gonna say it anyway: I love the smell of gasoline. I will stand by the pump and just take all the whiffs in.
I smell like: My hair oil, so lots of herbaceous smells going on there, and shea butter, because I gotta keep the skin moisturized. I also have this hinoki shower gel that my fiancé and I bought maybe three months ago at this outdoor spa place. We’re very addicted to it. The smell lingers, and it’s great smell, so I hope that I smell like that.