The Super Mario Bros. Fragrance Collection Made Us Wonder What Bowser Smells Like

Mario Bowser

It’s hard not to be curious about the lives of your favorite video game characters. What do they do when they’re not off fighting monsters or saving the world? While old video game instruction manuals provide the occasional morsel, one of the most interesting tidbits we’ve discovered comes from a little-remembered piece of merchandise: The Super Mario Bros. Fragrance Collection.

Released in Japan in 2014, the collection consisted of four scents that represented four of Nintendo’s most famous characters: Mario, Luigi, Peach, and Bowser. Most of the scents featured in the collection weren’t too surprising. The Luigi cologne had a manly musk scent, and, to the shock of no one, the Peach fragranced smelled like peaches. Mario and Bowser are where things get interesting. Mario’s fragrance was vanilla scented, and Bowser? He smelled like lemons.

Lemons are a staple in certain parts of Japan. Japanese lemons tend to have a stronger fragrance than the lemons that grow in the west. They’re used to add flavor to all kinds of dishes, from ramen to cakes. In Satomi, a town in the Ibaraki, a lemon festival is held annually.

“All that is well and good,” you might say. “But what does any of that have to do with Bowser?”

We have no idea.

super mario 64 bowser room

As the King of the Koopas, Bowser is essentially an anthropomorphized turtle. If you’ve ever sniffed a turtle, then you know they smell nothing like lemons. Bowser’s Japanese name, “Daimaō Kuppa,” comes from a Korean dish called gukbap, a soup that is made with rice, but not citrus fruit. Lemons aren’t associated with royalty, and they don’t appear to be linked to villains either. So why was lemon chosen to represent Bowser?

It’s likely that the answer is simpler than we’re making it out to be. Maybe someone had to be lemon-scented, and the powers that be decided that Bowser was as good as any. Perhaps lemons were selected for Bowser because parts of his body are yellow, and lemons are yellow too.

Or maybe, just maybe, Bowser actually smells like lemons. You never know.

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