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Oops: Batch of Hermès Bags Smell an Awful Lot Like Weed

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Photo: Getty
Photo: Getty

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Imagine plunking down $20,000 for a much-coveted, nearly-impossible-to-buy Hermès Birkin bag, then taking it home and discovering that it smells unmistakably like Willie Nelson's tour bus. Several Hermès customers told Page Six that their luxury bags have a skunky odor that smells a lot like marijuana, and that Hermès boutique staffers are blaming the problem on a "badly tanned" batch of leather.

The odor isn't always detectable, but exposure to heat or direct sunlight can cause the bag to begin to reek. And the bad batch of leather isn't just limited to Birkin bags—it also affected other designs, like the Kelly bag and the Elan clutch. "Apparently, this is a worldwide problem as Hermès bags are distributed to boutiques in limited quantities and are often on back or special order," Page Six reports.

A Hermès rep didn't respond to a request for comment from the paper; instead Page Six quotes a member of the PurseBlog Hermès forum's 152-page "Odd Leather Smell" thread, who describes her experience with a stinky bag:

After riding in the car with her for about 30 minutes, I smelled what I thought was a dead skunk. Another 30 minutes later I could still smell the dead skunk, and I thought it was odd, but never imagined it could be my bag. I keep (it) in an armoire . . . When I opened the cabinet door this morning, the smell hit me, and I immediately knew it was the bag.

According to the paper, the bags are being sent back to Paris to be reconstructed with new leathe. But to return your bag to the shop, you might have to walk around with a skunky Birkin. Another poster on the PurseBlog forum considers how to bring her bags back to the Hermès store, but is totally embarrassed by their smell: "That was my plan but the bags seem to be fermenting and the smell is getting worse! I don't know how to get them there without feeling like Pigpen from Peanuts!"
· $20K Hermès Birkin Bags 'Smell Like Marijuana' [Page Six]
· How Hermès Built Its Billion-Dollar Fortune [Racked]
· Intensive Study Reveals Hermès Is Losing the Internet [Racked]
· NeNe Leakes Did the Most Horrific Things to a Birkin [Racked]
· How Two Stay-At-Home Moms Turned Their Bag Obsession Into a Six-Figure Business [Racked]