The Bank of Canada has been forced to deny that its new plastic bank notes smell of maple syrup after authorities were inundated with polite queries from Canadians asking about the mystery scent.
Correspondence to the Bank of Canada obtained by journalists showed many ordinary Canadians were flummoxed by the "hint of maple" they detected when smelling the bills.
Many who did not trust their own noses called on the Bank to confirm or deny the claim, and some even complained that the smell was not strong enough, suggesting that the Bank should strengthen the odour.
Bank official Jeremy Harrison told The Canadian Press that no scent has been added to any of the bank notes.
"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," said one citizen in what The Canadian Press described as a "typical email" in a year's worth of correspondence about the new currency.
"They all have a scent which I'd describe as maple?" another person wrote. "Please advice if this is normal?"
Claims that the polymer notes had a maple syrup scent first emerged after the $100 bill was released in 2011, and have persisted ever since. Some people were so convinced of the rumour's veracity that they actually complained about the lack of smell.
"The note... lost its maple smell," said one. "I strongly suggest the Bank increase the strength of the... maple smell."
A Vancouver woman who creates perfumes told The Canadian Press that she picked up on the scent of maple in the first of the new bills she encountered.
However Monique Sherrett, who reportedly has created a small collection of Harry Potter-inspired perfumes, suggested that the scent was triggered by heat, saying that the bill she smelled had just been removed from a friend's back pocket.
"Scratching will create some heat friction but my friend's warm butt is likely the activator," she was quoted as saying.
Canadians have previously complained that the maple leaf on the new notes is actually a Norway Maple, a species foreign to Canada. The Bank has categorically rejected that claim also.
The correspondence also revealed fears from citizens that their plastic money will melt when exposed to heat, such as when left in a clothes dryer. The Bank said its testing has disproved that.