Created by Japanese inventor Yukio Horie in 1963, the humble highlighter has moved far beyond basic yellow. There are dozens of colors — and flavors. Raymond Geddes makes 21 flavors of scented highlighters, from sweet to savory, obvious to absurd. There's Fudgie Wudgie, Candy Apple, Pizza, Lemonade and more.
How much do these scented highlighters actually smell like what the foods they're supposed to mimic? We ordered a tub of their Snack Attack Scented Highlighters ($9 for a 20-count tub with five different flavors) and conducted a blind sniff test.
Popcorn: butterscotch, rice, “familiar but I can't place it.”
Orange Slush: crabgrass, Hawaiian punch.
Strawberry Milkshake: grape, grape Jell-O.
Cheeseburger: snow cone, dog kibble, pretzel, bread, toast.
Pizza: wintermint, lime, vanilla, marshmallow.
None of the scents are overpowering or even very strong. You have to lean in close to even smell them.
The sweet flavors worked much better than the savory ones. Strawberry isn't the same as grape, but at least they're in the same family. The pizza-scented highlighter smelled like anything but pizza. One tester thought the cheeseburger-scented highlighter resembled dog kibble, and not in a good way.
Those lab-concocted sweet scents may be cloying, but at least they're vaguely recognizable. Scientists have a long way to go before they can adequately fake a delicious-smelling burger, at least in highlighter form.
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