Of pot, perfume and airport customs

Of pot, perfume and airport customs

By Deborah Fulsang

“Do you smoke marijuana?”

The customs officer at YYZ looked me square in the eyes, as my kids, then 9 and 6 waited excitedly by my side. (We had just surprised them with a Disney getaway on this Monday after school.)


My jaw dropped.

“No, why?” I responded after a few seconds, nearly dumbstruck.

“I smell patchouli,” he said, still stern.

“Wow, your nose is good,” I replied. “It’s my perfume: patchouli and vanilla, amber and wood…” (I tend to go on when I sense someone has a good nose.)

The officer had  warmed up slightly. I’d passed the test. Many use patchouli to mask the scent of marijuana, he told me.

I was impressed, he had pegged my Chanel Coromandel instantly—although he didn’t name drop but he’d nailed the notes. (Maybe he’d picked up on the perfume’s cognac-iness too.) I want him on my perfume panel I thought.

The airport anecdote sprang to mind as we’re all trying to plan a little March Break escape.

So a little travel tip: In addition to flying with “less than 100 ml volumes” to avoid the possibility of lost luggage and being without your favourite perfume—yikes!—beware patchouli and incense. Yes, I know, no easy task given the current crop of fragrances that celebrate those spicy, earthy Boho ingredients. But really, who needs a reason to be pulled over at customs? Especially since you might have been indulging on the fashion shopping front also.

So many perfumes and shoes, so little time.

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Deborah Fulsang has spent the last two decades as a journalist covering news and trends in the worlds of style—in fashion and beauty, design and décor, food and entertaining. Her long-held love of fragrance led her to launch The Whale & The Rose, a destination for all things perfume-related. Now, when she indulges in a crazy-expensive bottle of fragrance, she can do so guilt-free. Well almost. It’s all in the name of research after all.