The penny may be history, but some Canadians suspect the Bank of Canada has been circulating a new scent along with its plastic bank notes.
Dozens of people who contacted the bank in the months after the polymer notes first appeared asked about a secret scratch-and-sniff patch that apparently smells like maple syrup.
“I would like to know … once and for all if these bills are in fact scented, as I do detect a hint of maple when smelling the bill,” says a typical email from a perplexed citizen.
Said another: “They all have a scent which I’d say smells like maple? Please advise if this is normal?”
Under the Access to Information Act, The Canadian Press obtained a year’s worth of correspondence to the Bank of Canada from ordinary Canadians about the new currency. Names were withheld to protect privacy.
For the record, bank official Jeremy Harrison says no scent has been added to any of the new bank notes.
The maple mystery was born soon after the first polymer note — the $100 bill — was released in November 2011, and has persisted in cyberspace on YouTube videos, blogs and Tweets.
A few people were so convinced about the fragrant funds that they actually complained to bank officials that some of their new plastic notes were odour-free.
“The note … lost its maple smell,” said one writer. “I strongly suggest the Bank increases the strength of the … maple smell.”
Another correspondent asked for an explanation after he “could not discern any maple syrup aroma. … I would very much appreciate if you could confirm or bust this myth.”