Mr. Sketch Markers: A Smell-Based Ranking

Although there are plenty of amazing smells that will bring you right back to the '90s, there is one particular set of scents that most of us '90s kids hold in our nostalgic little hearts with a devotion little else can match: Mr. Sketch markers. And so, my friends, the time has come for us to immortalize those olfactory memories in the form of a definitive ranking of Mr. Sketch marker scents. Because let's face it — not all Mr. Sketch markers are created equal. While it's true that they're a cut above almost everything else (except maybe Gak smell), some of them are better than others. Much better, in some cases.

Of course, when I first had the idea for doing a complete ranking of Mr. Sketch marker smells, I was missing the key piece of the proverbial puzzle: It had been literally decades since I'd owned a box of them. In order to remedy the situation, I did what any self-respecting Millennial would do: The next time I made an Amazon order, I added a pack of Mr. Sketch markers to my basket, and voila — in two days, artificially-scented artistic possibility was mine.

It's worth noting that my beloved Mr. Sketch markers have undergone a few changes over the years. For one thing, they no longer look like this:

No more the battered cardboard box; no more the gentle styrofoam bed to cradle the markers' delicate little heads. Instead, we have a see-through plastic box that looks like this:

Mine also appears to be defective — one side of the box definitely didn't get glued together correctly, which really just encourages the markers to make a break from their plastic prison every time you pick the dang package up.

Ah well. You win some, you lose some.

Oh, and the other important change to note: Not all of the colors are the same scents. Two notable switches have been made, although I was not able to determine whether they were better or worse than the originals. Do with that what you will.

Anyway, after an afternoon spent huffing my brand new pack of markers, I experienced a deep sense of nostalgia, as well as a deep sense of betrayal. Why betrayal, you ask? Well... you'll just have to wait and see. Trust me. It's a doozy.

In order from worst to best, here's my definitive ranking of Mr. Sketch Marker smells. You're welcome.

12. Light Green: Mint

There is a simple explanation for why the mint-scented Mr. Sketch marker comes in dead last: It smells like a dentist’s office. This is not an affront to dentists — I definitely appreciate everything you do for us and our oral hygiene, dentists of the world — but dentist office smell is not a pleasant thing. It’s just so… antiseptic. Not the stuff that my schnozz’s dreams are made of.

11. Yellow: Banana

Back in my day (she said, sounding exactly like the old fogey that she is), the yellow marker was lemon-scented. I wasn’t incredibly fond of it then; lemon-scented things have always smelled like furniture cleaner to me. Banana-scented things, however, aren’t much better — and, in fact, I think are proof that some scents just weren’t meant to be recreated in artificial form. For this reason, the yellow Mr. Sketch marker comes in rather close to last. But at least it's not as bad as the mint one, right?

10. Light Pink: Watermelon

I don’t know what this smell is, but it sure as heck isn’t watermelon.

9. Orange: Orange (Duh)

And this is not orange. Or perhaps more accurately, it is not orange-as-in-the-fruit… but I guess it could be orange-as-in-the-color? Like, you know when people say something tastes red? This is the smell equivalent. It smells orange, but it does not smell like an orange.

8. Purple: Grape

Grape is another one of those smells that I just… can’t. Not with the artificial version. It smells like cough syrup to me. Apologies to anyone out there who really loves the smell of fake grape.

7. Black: Licorice

OK, to be fair, I actually quite like this one. I also quite like black licorice in general. But since pretty much everyone I know tells me that my opinions on black licorice are wrong (except my mum — she will forever be my partner in licorice crime), and since I probably just destroyed a whole bunch of people who really love the smell of grape, I figured I’d maybe try to make up for it by ranking the black licorice Mr. Sketch marker not by my own standards, but by everyone else’s. Or at least, not as close to the top as I would have placed it myself.

I still love you, black licorice. We just have to take one for the team here.

6. Dark Blue: Blueberry

I really couldn’t explain why, but I find the blueberry-scented Mr. Sketch marker strangely appealing. It’s not that it’s a good smell, necessarily… but it’s certainly a unique one. Its indescribable nature, however, also counts against it, hence its position on this list. No one knows what to make of it, so it just hangs around in the middle. Sitting there. Not moving. Stagnant in its indecision.

5. Dark Green: Apple

I love it when green things are apple-flavored or –scented. Lime always makes me think of slime, which makes me think “ugh.” Apple is so much more pleasant... which is hilarious, because I'm actually not that fond of apples on their own.

4. Fuchsia: Raspberry

My favorite candies are always the red and pink ones — not because I necessarily like the color, but because the flavors are the best. The scents are apparently the best, too (except for light pink, because seriously, that is not watermelon, you guys), because the fuchsia raspberry marker smells divine. If I hadn’t moved beyond the eating-all-my-art-supplies phase I went through when I was two, I would definitely have shoved this one in my mouth already. It smells like it should taste delicious.

3. Red: Cherry

I know, I know — I’m surprised something so typical did so well, too. It just goes to show you that just because something is popular doesn’t mean it’s terrible.

2. Turquoise: Fruit Punch

I came into this experiment fully prepared to hate the turquoise marker. In my childhood, it was meant to be mango-scented; I wouldn’t exactly say it was successful in recreating the scent of a mango, but it sure did smell delicious. These days, it’s fruit punch, and that is much less interesting to me.

However, the fruit punch-scented marker actually smells quite nice. It’s a little sweet, sure — but like many overly sweet things, it’s great in small doses.

1. Brown: …Cinnamon…?

You guys.

All these years, I thought the brown Mr. Sketch marker was root beer-scented.

I was wrong.


Excuse me while I have an existential crisis, clutching my very favorite scent of the bunch.


I’ll never forgive you, Mr. Sketch. Never.

Images: Amazon; Lucia Peters/Bustle (13)