Self-care is important, people! Your home should be your oasis, your place to relax and recharge, and to give all of your senses peace. But self-care is a double-edged sword—comfort yourself too much and you lose the armor to face your battles. What if instead, the home was the place where you pushed yourself to your greatest discomforts, such that the outside world became the oasis? What if your home became the place of most chaos?
This is presumably what McDonald’s had in mind when it released a group of six candles which smell like the individual components of a Quarter Pounder with Cheese.
The candles are part of a new Quarter Pounder Fan Club line of merch, along with other items like a Quarter Pounder calendar and bumper stickers. But the candles — which come in the scents Bun, Ketchup, Pickle, Cheese, Onion, and 100% Fresh Beef — struck fear into the hearts of Eater staffers. “For the full effect, it’s recommended that you burn them together,” says The Daily Meal, presumably getting a recommendation from Beelzebub himself. It’s like an olfactory version of that one Flaming Lips album that’s four CDs. Nobody needs this.
Given that you will not be burning all of these together unless you want to summon the restless spirit of the Hamburglar, we’ve decided to rank the scents individually. No, we have not smelled them. Yes, our opinions are correct anyway. And yes, they’re all the worst.
Notes of yellow and indigestion. Have you ever made queso with Velveeta and Rotel and then drank too many margaritas and it sat congealed on your coffee table overnight, and you thought about scooping it into the trash the next morning but you were hungry so you microwaved it instead, filling your home with the aromas of stale chemicals with a hint of dairy? Well, now you can get that without the hangover.
Pungent and fresh, this could actually make for a good bathroom candle, so you could claim that low-level stink is on purpose. The scent evokes tears falling on a cutting board, that guy you stood too close to on public transit, and Stanley Tucci’s withering stare as he asks if you ate an onion bagel. You did, and you hate yourself for it. This candle is your penance.
6. Sesame Seed Bun
You’d think this would smell like fresh-baked bread, but you’re wrong. It smells like beige incarnate, like a band-aid on the hand of someone pounding on a counter demanding to see a manager. Smelling it somehow dries out your mouth? Burn this if buying furniture feels like too much of a commitment.
Remember that story about how one of our staffers had to combine old ketchup all day long and would walk out of her job covered in the stench? If you read that thinking you want more of that energy in your life, this is the candle for you. It smells of suffocating on vinegar and corn syrup. This is what a schlimazel smells like. It will stain your counter and we don’t know how.
Once I was sent a box of artificial pickle juice that body builders were supposedly using in lieu of Gatorade. I took one smell and gagged, so I poured the bottle down the drain, but then my sink smelled like neon-green suggestions of pickles and it wouldn’t go away for like, two days. This candle is giving me flashbacks and I don’t want to talk about it.
6. 100% Fresh Beef
“Beef candle” is perhaps the most cursèd phrase available here. Notes of factory farm and decades-old grease. This smells like a health code violation. This smells like Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle. Once lit, your apartment will be imbued with the energy of a parking lot at 3 a.m. where punk teens are daring each other to do whippets. You have no friends and do not want any.
So yes, in this ranking everything comes in last, especially us, the consumers. Most importantly, it is absurd that McDonald’s is not making the one candle scent people actually want—french fry.