420: Perfume that smells like weed

420: Perfume that smells like weed

Celebrating 420? Us too. With a spritz instead of a toke, of course.

Canada’s current Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, included the legalization of marijuana in his campaign promises last year. More pot dispensaries have been popping up across the country since, and our neighbours to the south have even managed to pass weed-legalization laws in a couple of states. Needless to say we’ve got green on the brain.

Marijuana isn’t exactly known for being a smell you want to linger on your person, so why is it showing up in some of our favourite fragrances?

Denyse Beaulieu, author of The Perfume Lover, says it has everything to do with the forbidden. Perfumers are playing around with essences of forbidden things, she says. “It’s the stuff we’re not allowed to consume, the stuff that should be bad for us.” Wearing the scent of something taboo—which could be alcohol, sugar, tobacco, cannabis—is a quiet rebellion of sorts. 

While we’re waiting for the PM to get around to legalizing it, and in honour of April 20 (420), we’re talking about our favourite cannabis-inspired perfumes.

Fresh_CannabisSantalFresh Cannabis Santal

Fresh’s Cannabis Santal Eau de Parfum has a cannabis accord at its heart. This in combination with bergamot, plum, orange, patchouli, rose, vetiver, musk and chocolate, creates a second-skin scent that is subtle and smooth. This is not the sticky-icky bud—this is the sweet relaxation of a joint, minus the smoke.

This unisex scent is warm and moody, slightly sweet and gives off a your-skin-but-better vibe. Wear at home, in bed, preferably sharing indulgences with a lover.
$109 (100 ml), www.sephora.com

JackPerfume_Jack by Richard E. Grant

Jack by Richard E. Grant (yes, the actor) decided to act on his lifelong obsession with scent by creating Jack, his signature in perfume form. The result? It’s good. Notes of cannabis, clove, nutmeg, lime, mandarin, oud, pepper and vetiver combine into a sultry mix that would be as natural in a dark, dirty bar as it would be camping in the woods. This spicy, woody scent has a lightness to it thanks to the mandarin and lime making it a fresher, fun take on the cannabis note.
$175 (100 ml), www.jackperfume.co.uk

Demeter_CannabisFlowerDemeter Cannabis Flower

Demeter’s Cannabis Flower, is a single-note, straight-shooting cannabis scent if there ever was one. Don’t be confused: This isn’t skunky or overpowering, but it does smell undeniably like marijuana. There’s a touch of flower, a dose of smoke and that earthy, greenness that you’d expect from a perfume named cannabis. While on a day like 420, you may want to spritz this scent alone, Demeter’s library of fragrances is made for layering. It will take you back to your days as a teenager layering whatever perfume was on hand overtop of youthful indiscretions. No? Just us?
$34 (100 ml), www.demeterfragrance.com

Balenciaga_FlorabotanicaBalenciaga Florabotanica

Call this cannabis-lite. Balenciaga Florabotanica is mostly flowers. But the brand did manage to sneak a cannabis note into this lush, modern spritz. This isn’t the floral bouquet of a pretty, pristine setting. Instead this spritz is dark, woody and energetic. In this way the cannabis note only makes sense viewed through the lens of darkness—the forbidden. In her review of the scent, Deborah Fulsang noted that this was a floral perfume for the anti-princess—a princess perhaps that also wouldn’t say no to a little extra green indulgence.
$130 (100 ml), www.thebay.com


Smoke for the Soul by Kilian

Though the smoke referenced is tobacco, the cannabis note in Smoke for the Soul seems more prominent. This is dark, sensual, luxurious—not adjectives usually associated with pot. But the combination of cardamom, thyme, eucalyptus, grapefruit, tobacco, birch, balsam and cashmere woods all contribute to a sense of the forbidden. This woody, masculine scent is aromatic because of the green notes, with the cannabis offering levity in all that darkness.
$345 (50 ml), www.holtrenfrew.com

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PHOTO: FlickrCC/Centophobia
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Alexandra Donaldson is the editorial assistant at The Whale & The Rose and a freelance writer and content creator. Although she recently took up yoga in an effort to be a healthy adult, she still binge-watches cartoons on a regular basis and dreams of running away to a cottage in the woods. She has yet to nail down her favourite perfume, but knows that it smells green, earthy and maybe a little bit spicy, but definitely not sweet.