Smell is the sense most closely tied to memory, and it’s not uncommon to hear bag lovers gush about the lovely leather scent that emanates from a brand new luxury bag. Some brands, like Dior and Tom Ford, even work that scent into fine perfumes because of its close association with luxury and quality. Unfortunately for some customers, Hermès’ bags have recently acquired a new smell–skunk. (Or weed, depending on who you ask.)

This story start over at our PurseForum, where members in the Hermès section have reported skunky-smelling leather bags dating back to December 2013. From the information they’ve pooled in over 150 pages of comments, the problem becomes apparent when a bag is left in sunlight even for a few minutes; the heat and light bring out the stink, which is bad enough that the bag owners then have to open windows to air out their homes and cars. It’s not a subtle, close-range smell, apparently.

A New York Post writer (who I’m guessing is also a Forum member) noticed the complaints and went to Hermès to get some answers, but the notoriously tight-lipped French brand didn’t return her inquiries. Based on the feedback from shoppers on our Forum, the problem seems to be most common among bags made of the brand’s popular Togo leather, although Epsom and Clemence leathers have also been identified as skunky. As the Post points out, Hermès makes many different models in the affected leathers and ships them worldwide, so the issue is not limited to a particular boutique or region.

If you have a recently purchased bag that you’d like to test, our members suggest sitting it in direct sunlight and allowing it to warm up for a few minutes. If you notice the smell, Hermès boutiques should all be aware of the problem by now, and it seems as though the only solution is to send the bags off to France to be rebuilt in different leather over a period of months. That suggests that the issue was created somewhere in the leather production process, and based on our members’ feedback, it’s not something that will fade with time.

If you’ve experienced this issue, let us know which of your bags it affects how Hermès handled it in the comments.

P.S. Please consider supporting our small, bag-loving team by clicking our links before shopping or checking out at your favorite online retailers like Amazon, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, or any of the listed partners on our shop page. We truly appreciate your support!

Share Your Thoughts With Us

  • Roshi

    LOL this is the funniest s*** I’ve ever read.

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  • Katrina

    So there is something other than the price that stinks about Hermes! Hope this is figured out soon otherwise it is really gonna hurt their sales. No one wants a stinky 20K handbag.

  • Stina Sias

    I’ve been wary of Hermes and their business practices since I read Bringing Home the Birkin. Don’t get me wrong I definitely love the Birkin and I hope to own one someday, but I’m definitely going to be buying used.

    • Elisa

      If you buy it used, you may end up with a Peppy L’Peue Special :)

      • Stina Sias

        That’s true but if I understand it right, hasn’t this only been happening on the newer bags? Seems like ones a few years old would be safer

    • I bought 2 bags – ‘pre-loved’/EUC (excellent used condition) in 2008(?) and they were like new(no wear, grossness/odors). I didn’t want to go through the kowtowing and flaming hoops etc described in BHTB and on TPF. I briefly toyed with the idea getting a fresh-from-the-boutique bag for the ‘experience’ but I’ve yet to bother. After this fiasco, I think I’d go second-hand from a reputable seller again.

      The other thing that put me off the boutique path was that it somehow took a *year* to get a canvas strap made for my Kelly. I guess I’m an EUP (extremely unimportant person) with Hermes (the bracelets, fragrances, & scarves bought there were of no help.) lolz

      • Stina Sias

        “kowtowing” is a perfect word, how ridiculous!!!

    • MrDPrize

      After I saw your post I went out and got a copy of ‘BHTB’. What a crazy story!

      • Stina Sias

        I’m so glad you read it!! It’s like the Almost Famous of handbag stories XD

  • Sonya

    I had to check the date to make sure it wasn’t April 1st after I read this article!

    In all seriousness, that’s atrocious from such an expensive brand.

  • Jenny

    Skunk leather LoL -kidding never know about some of these brands.

  • laura

    I wouldn’t like to be the owner of a bag that stinks, regardless of the brand. Please forgive me but I think this article is in fact a little amusing like it’s hard to believe this is happening. I would expect it from a knockoff bag from Target maybe… but Hermes?

    • dawn

      I would totally expect it from Hermes. Theirs is the kind of arrogance that comes from forgetting that customers and buyers are the reason of their business’ success – a company might sell the most amazing and stunning products but if no one bought them, that company would not have a business.

      • Anj

        Totally agree! They have an arrogance uncomparable to any store… They treat customers as if they are very unimportant and unwelcomed.

  • kevinKK

    well if it smells like weed … ..

    • Patricia

      Go check out Customers Returning Marijuana-Scented Hermès Bags: Taking the High Road

  • kindled

    Haha, I love watercooler articles like this. Hopefully Hermes is willing to swap the bags with minor fuss.

  • kemilia

    Though I am not a Birkin owner, I cruise around the Purse Forum site to see what’s happening with other brands and saw this months ago. What I find objectionable is the wait that ensues once the stinky bag owner gets the store to take back the bag. They are not that unique, for pete’s sake–replace the stinkers quickly!

    • me not you

      There is a wait list a year long. They are hand made so it takers awhile.

  • Adrianne

    That problem is quiet old though….My mum had the same problem a year ago, more less, well Hermes replaced the bag as expected , but the new bag came with the very same ( or probably worse) horrible smell….Well nothing is perfect.

    • Sofia

      For the price that they sell the bag for, it better be perfect

      • dawn

        That’s right! And if the bag they sold you stinks – they should offer to replace it pronto with profuse apologies

  • Renee

    Umm, anyone experiencing this problem can just send that Birkin MY
    Way! Haha. I’ll take it off your hands, and I won’t card about the stench!

  • shueaddict

    is bizarre and slightly hilarious …
    not so funny for the ladies with smelly bags living in sunny California

  • kathy

    I got a 35 capucine birkin in togo leather around end of September 2013. After I noticed that it smelled like skunk, I brought it back to Hermes and told them about it. They sent it back to Paris. After a few weeks, they called me and said that there was nothing wrong with the bag; and they would be sending it back to me. I refused the bag and asked for a replacement. After writing a few emails to complain and talked to the repair department many times, they decided to give me another bag. It took about two months for this decision to be made. The Hermes store that I returned the bag told me that they had never heard of a complaint like mine. It wasn’t until today that I read about other hermes lovers encounter the same problem.

    The smell was so strong that I just couldn’t stand it. It is more than skunk smell. It gave me and my office girls headaches having the bag around. When I was driving, I put it on the passenger front seat and I had to open the windows to air the strong smell or else I feel sick.

    I am glad they replaced my bag.

    • alice

      I am very sorry for what happened to you, not to be believed is hard. What is not easy to comprehend for me is how a so famous and luxurious company could refuse to believe their customers and so easily say “there is nothing wrong in the bag”. Now in your shoes I would come back to the same store and ask if “I was the only one with this problem”. Moreover two months to replace the bag is not acceptable. The level for luxury should be higher.The customer is not only a person who buys and when goes out the shop becomes a nobody.

      • Elisa

        Remember the ol’ saying: “the customer is always right?” Perhaps that’s only an American meme? At Hermes it’s “Buyer Beware.” This would not have been a story if Hermes had taken the bags back and/or exchanged them no questions asked. I was a Nordy (Nordstrom sales person) for several years. We never asked the reason for a return, we just tried to save the relationship with the customer by being polite and accomodating. Nordstrom valued relationships as well as sales. We needed both to be successful in the long-run. Perhaps Hermes ought to read the Nordstrom sales handbook. It was one-page long, and read, “The Customer is Always Right.”

    • Chanelchic

      My capucine So Kelly also stunk. Perhaps it was that color leather….

      • Mandee

        What happen? Please share? Did they replace yours? Were you able to get the same???

    • Mandee

      OMG! I’m so glad you have determined that my CAPUCINE Togo SO-KELLY bought in Oct 2013 is victim too. How could they suggest to return you the bag? So did you end up getting the ‘same’ 35 ‘capucine colour’ Birkin?? Could you share whom I should write to if they refuse an exchange?

  • me not you

    It pays to be stinkin’ rich.

  • missarewa

    This is beyond ridiculous. I noticed from TPF stories that exchanges/returns were something a few of them had to struggle for and I got irritated. No one is above mistakes but how Hermes is dealing with those stinky bags tells a lot about their brand and the value they place on their customers! If this happened at Gucci/Fendi/Ferragamo, I know those guys would be going above and beyond to make things right!

  • Janice

    No , not at all! I have no complains about the smell in my Birkins, until now…thanks, God!!!!

  • Janice

    My bags were bought before this date.
    Only a KELLY ! Very perfumed I must say, honestly, was bought in March 2014, erlier this year

  • Nivia

    Mine and my sister’s Birkins and Kally , they’re only all perfume of good leather

  • Nivia

    KELLY , sorry. :-))

  • “Actually, this is neither a new nor unique problem with leather tanners. The curative’s main ingredient is a form of acid akin to uric acid. Some producers don’t mitigate foor the stench. Now, being a dog, I can just pee on it….”

    • greenfairy

      That is true. It can smell like pee. I had a very nice fur coat that started to smell like a combo of urine and something else. Smell the fur, smell the leather, after it warms up. It isn’t that abnormal for it to smell, but it isn’t pleasant. Even a cheap bag is unacceptable with a scent like that. Don’t spray it! So not cool, Hermes.

  • Alison M

    Its meant to be an inferior batch of skins they used but still not acceptable as they should be able to trace the batch (and therefore the bags) made and offer a replacement….unless of course its a BIGGER issue than they are letting on and not just one rogue batch of leathers!

    • Sara Morgan

      @Alison, from the many Togo and Clemence being complained about and the large number of Hermes handbags made from these leathers, I am starting to think you are correct and there is a BIGGER issue and more than one batch of leathers. I wonder if this is what happened to the 5P Pink Birkin one of my friends special ordered several years ago—never did come in in Clemence although she was offerred a 5P in croc—but then the croc is finished in Singapore and different process. Guess we, the consumer, will never really know.

  • Theannanomaly

    2 of my recently purchased Garden Party totes smells yucky when in direct sunlight. And not just the bags, my Ulysses notebook too! I even ended up spraying it lightly with my diptyque cologne to slightly tweet the smell.

    • Sara Morgan

      Hi, may I say you should not spray any leather goods with cologne or parfum—not good for the leather. Try taking it back AFTER the cologne spray stops masking odour or do whatever you want.

  • Natalie K.

    So if the bag starting from 2013 is authentic it should smell like a skunk? LOL

  • sheisme

    I have a Hermes birkin and mine never had an odor (and still doesn’t) it may be in the way someone takes care of their bag.

    • Sara Morgan

      Here again, blame the victim for not taking care of her bag properly! I went to great lengths earlier to explain the tanning process and errors in a batch that can result in leather goods smelling like skunk/weeds/urine. My Kelly Lakis smelled within 1 month of buying it. I do not put leather on top of radiators, stoves, etc. and having worked in haute couture and leathers and furs, my handbags are all in their sleepers after 24 hours of airing out. If it is a bad batch of leather, then Luxury Hermes should admit to it and respectfully and quickly replace the bags that have been affected.

      • AC

        Ma’am, your braggy, first world problem posts have gotten tiring. And now you’re a “victim”?! I think you need to get outside of the bubble you have encased yourself in while buying $10K ($10 K!!!!!) handbags. Good Lord!

      • Sara Morgan

        Well you are a simpering uneducated fool. Several members of this forum have asked for (and thanked me) for a description of the tanning process and what can go wrong. And the phrase “blame the victim” is frequently used in sociology and psychology, especially regarding problems for which “the victim”–rich or poor, white, black or yellow is blamed for causing. And the day that you spend over 25 years working with and living in so called Third World countries on projects to raise living standards, stop female circumcision, establish viable micro enterprises, then you will have ventured out of you very own “bubble” from which you jealously point your finger at anyone who purchases Hermes or other luxury products! We are not all to be painted with the same brush as air head blondes or mistresses of rich men who loll about eating grapes while their poor manicurist comes to their homes. FYI–I only buy in Euros!

      • AC

        We can all do without the name-calling. Thanks.

        I’m not jealous of people who buy luxury products. I buy plenty, which is why I’m on PF to begin with.

        At a certain point, your posts became less informational and more of a showcase for bragging about your “VIP client” status. THAT was what I was responding to.

        I am truly surprised that someone who claims to have worked in 3rd world countries for 25 years would consider herself a “victim” because she has a pricey handbag with an odor. One would think that the term “victim” would have a new meaning after seeing people living in these situations. I would say you missed something important, lol. And then bragging about all the good you feel you have done? You might re-examine the reasons for your service to the less fortunate.

        If you don’t want to leave a negative impression of yourself, then re-consider your comments.

      • Sara Morgan

        @AC, I am glad that I have been too busy to read your continuing nasty comments. No one likes to be chastised by someone so clearly jealous and self important–with your LOL you sit in judgement against women who have worked and saved to purchase Hermes and/or women who have bought Hermes because of its reputation as a luxury, artisan brand. I will NOT reconsider any comments because mine are truthful whilst yours are petty and judgmental—you sound too much like a champagne socialist to be taken seriously.

  • Handbaglover

    Not all bags from this time frame smell and some are really not that bad. This should be made very clear because everyone wants to focus on the worst case.

    Instead of everyone writing about the problem, why doesn’t someone write about a solution. I recommend the following: First, don’t leave a Birkin in a non-air-conditioned car in a hot climate. No one would do that with fine cheese. Second, use an odor eliminator; it will reduce the smell to some extent. Third, tell everyone that this is what an authentic Hermes bag smells like. Really, one of the tests of authenticity of a Birkin is the smell.

    True, Hermes will take the bag back; but there is no guarantee of a substitute. People have been waiting a long time for a replacement and since bags are on quota, who knows when a replacement will come, if ever. Plus, any replacement is not likely to be the color of the smelly bag and that is a real problem if it is a great color.

    • j9

      Not, not, and again, not. None of what you’ve said is the earmark of a LUXURY BRAND…not ONE customer should be treated as an outcast by a renown couture fashion house such as Hermes…period!
      And I would certainly not spend that type of money on a bag, and feel that I needed to be the one to FIX the problem by deodorizing a bag that stunk by no fault of my own! I’m a firm believer in getting what you pay for…a STINKING BAG isn’t worth 10-cents in my book – back it goes, and, yes, I’d be expecting a replacement PD damn Q!

    • Sara Morgan

      Madame, clearly you have not had the “pleasure” of owning one of these defectively tanned handbags and its pungent odour. And do you really “blame the victim”?? I find your instructions for handbag care quite rude and not at all funny. Most Hermes customers I am sure do not want to walk around with a skunky stinky handbag and I have never never owned anything with a care tage that said use in sunless fully air conditioned rooms only. And in France we eat our cheese at room temperature and most of us do NOT have air conditioning! Return your smelly handbag and demand a colour of your choice!!!

      • Handbaglover

        I think your experience says a lot for Hermes and in the end you opted not to be a customer and they opted not to have you as a customer any longer.

        That was your trade-off.

        I opted to remain a customer and I love the color of my stinky bag. And, they did not guarantee a replacement. I’ve worn it and no one has claimed that I or it smells offensive.

        My suggestions were done with a bit of satire but the stories I heard of the worse smells were of people who kept their bags in their cars during the afternoon in the blazing sun.

      • Marie

        You’re starting to sound like you work for Hermes’ PR to be honest. No one in their right mind would defend a hand bag that smells like urine, no matter what the cost, unless they worked for the company, were being paid by that company, or had marbles for brains.
        That’s fine (strange but fine) that you don’t mind spending thousands of dollars on a stinky bag but trying to justify to others in the same situation is just ridiculous. Obviously you care more about labels than legitimate quality.

      • Handbaglover

        Wow! One person defends Hermes and I’m considered to be a traitor (which I gather an Hermes employee is regarded).

        And how did it go from smelling like weed to smelling like URINE. This just demonstrates how things get blown out of proportion.

        I’m getting the impression that you all are a bunch of envious people who can’t get a Birkin or Kelly and just want to diss the brand.

      • Iris Gris

        AGAIN, it’s the people who HAVE BOUGHT the bags, who notice the smell. They have ALREADY spent the money for something they wanted to own. Why would they “invent” the stink?

        By the way, I have spent a crazy amount of money on handbags, and I certainly don’t think that makes me special. It might even make me a bit foolish. “You must be too poor to buy Hermes” is a really pathetic insult.

    • Leah

      This is a really weird comment.
      You suggest that we treat the Birkins as though they are a fine cheese? Sorry but I’d like to use my bag, not leave it inside my refrigerator all day.
      What’s the point of spending 10,000$+ on a bag just so that it can be kept in a cool, dark place or it will spoil?
      Bags are typically used to transport daily and essential items with you throughout the day, not be quarantined and unable to be used.
      Also, ‘that is a real problem if it is a great color’. I think the bigger problem is a smelly handbag that costs as much as a car that you can’t even take out of the house.
      ‘Why doesn’t anyone write about a solution?’ Because these bags cost an arm and a leg and the least the company who sells them can do is fix the issue themselves. LOL. PS Odor eliminator on leather that hasn’t been tanned properly is like suggesting febreeze at a pig farm.

      • Handbaglover

        You obviously do not own a Birkin.

      • Iris Gris

        But the people who DO own Birkins are the ones who are noticing the smell, so your comment doesn’t make sense.

        If a luxury house– any house– tried to convince me that the problem was with ME because I didn’t enjoy the odor of a weasel’s anal glands, well, that’s some Kool-Aid that I just won’t drink. You’re welcome to my share.

      • Leah

        And you obviously do not have any common sense

    • lh

      This comment sounds like a plant from Hermes.

  • Gail Demarest

    Lolol,arevtheynkidding me

  • Gail Demarest

    Is that with the Evelyn’s Epsom leather too?Just bought one

  • Gail Demarest

    Geeeez,skunks Hermes,that’s awful..Well my lv and Chanel’s are not skunky

  • Margaret

    I experienced this with a pair of handmade leather shoes I purchased while in Morocco from a local vendor. It took me a while to figure out where the skunky smell was coming from. Tried to air it out but did not make a difference at all. Then I discovered after doing some research that when leathers are not treated properly during the tanning process, it can result in skunky smell. The smell is very hard to tolerate and there should be no fix to it because the leather itself was not done right. S9o it sounds to me that is what happened to the batch of Hermes handbags.

  • Pearl

    Buy vintage, it smells great.

  • Kate

    Holy crap! I was driving in my car and freaked out by the skunky smell of my 2014 Birkin 40. I thought someone put weed in it because weed and skunk are similar in smell, right. I drove with the window opened. I don’t know what to do being it was purchased in Paris!

    • Sara Morgan

      Kate do you have an Hermes boutique near you? Do you have your receipt from Paris? I would go to your nearest Hermes boutique and complain and ask them to return it immediately to Paris. Give them a deadline for when you want a response and/or explanation. And be very clear, you do NOT want the exact handbag back—you want a new handbag, same colour, same size. Be polite but strong and determined. If boutique refuses to help you then send bag back to FSH yourself with proof of mail and receipt (sorry not sure what it is called wherever you live) and a letter of complaint and dis-satisfaction and demand a new replacement bag within 2 months—with some kind of doc so you do not have to pay import tax again. Hermes should stand by its customers and its merchandise we all certainly paid enough for our purchases! Good luck!

  • Sara Morgan

    As far as most Hermes bag owners are concerned we did not pay for smelly handbags! This is a serious defect that Hermes should NOT be ignoring. Nor should they be treating their “valued luxury customers” as garbage once they have our money and our loyalty.It is important, actually essential, to note that the skunky smell is not the first problem Hermes has had with a group of handbags. The fabled SO-BLACKS which only the very top Hermes customers were offered—I have one Kelly and one Birkin—also had serious production problems with the fancy black hardware. Hermes politely and discreetly wrote each of us and followed up with phone calls, asking this VIP client to bring both So Black bags into FSH for examining. Hermes worked on correcting the hardware for nearly 2 years at which point most of us had brand new So Black handbags with the brand new solid but graceful hardware attached-I did say BRAND NEW handbags. None of us that I know of screamed at sales associates; None of us lost our faith in Hermes craftsmanship; most of us felt, well treated and the hand delivery (at least in Paris) was charming. An expensive process for Hermes but one that the company could easily afford!

    In 2013 I returned my 3 month old Kelly Lakis because it had a peculiar odor. Up until that point I was always treated as a VIP customer—my mom and my grandmother were customers too. After about 3 months of me phoning Paris FSH once weekly I was finally given an allegedly new Kelly Lakis as a replacement. I took it out of its sleeper in the boutique and simply screamed “no” and handed it back to my usually genial salesman–it was the one and only time as a French woman I have ever raised my voice in FSH! It smelled too–not as strong but then it was still in its sleeper!

    Firstly, no one should have to wait 2-3 months for replacement of a defective product, waiting list or no waiting list, the REPLACEMENT HANDBAG SHOULD BE PRIORITIZED BEFORE ANY WAITING LIST ITEMS ARE MADE!!! Secondly, not one word of apology for a clearly second class/inferior/stinky handbag (actually 2)!!! Thirdly, the nouveau riche may be the new Hermes target customer but smart companies such as GOYARD realize how important customer loyalty is and they have not tried to re-create the brand in some off putting image with some absolutely absurd and insulting rules (more on that later!).

    It was insulting enough to get that infamous look of disdain from sales associates and the manager of the department—as if I am dumb enough to do something on purpose to a 13,000 euros handbag! Many of us in France and Europe do NOT have air conditioned homes or cars. Many people travel to hot climates—and to me the Kelly Lakis would be the perfect bag for travel with that long zip for passport and tickets. Many of us put our Hermes handbags on top of tables or desks not aware that the sun may hit the same.

    And Hermes was also dealing with the wrong person in the wrong way because I have worked in couture, including both furs and luxury leather goods. So I basically knew that the skunk smell comes from IMPROPERLY TANNED LEATHER–A BAD TANNING BATCH WHICH YOU CAN TRACE THROUGH THE SYSTEM AND RECALL ANY OF THE HANDBAGS BECAUSE THE LEATHER IS TAGGED WITH TANNERY NAME BATCH ETC AND BAG SOLD TO YOU IS ALSO TAGGED FOR THE RECORDS WITH THE SAME NUMBER (one of the ways Hermes can tell when you bring in a copy bag for a spa and they confiscate and destroy it).

    So I did surrepticiously check with some of the tanneries Hermes uses and was met by a deafening silence!

    It took another 6 weeks for me to receive credit on my card for the return. Worse yet, my special order for my newest birkin in 30cm ultraviolet has suddenly and completely “disappeared” from all record books. And I seem to have fallen off the VIP list entirely—not even receiving my invite to the twice yearly madhouse sale!

    So what can you do? I now shop for my Hermes scarves in London at Selfridges where I find the sales associates polite and informative and I do not have to fight bus loads of tourists. I have not bought any handbag directly from Hermes since then and seriously doubt that I shall. So they have lost both my daughter and I as regular customers (and my baby grand-daughter too!).

    I am sure that the new management team does not care or even notice that we are absent from FSH! No towels, baby clothes, ashtrays, ties, scarves, throw pillows, nada! And this young MBA management team is part of what will ruin Hermes as a luxury brand! They do not either really know the brand or its history and definitely do not recognize the importance of customer loyalty!!! They have broken the cardinal rule of marketing which is simply “do NOT mess with the brand”!!!!

    So what am I using now? The Hermes handbags that I have already owned—definitely have alot of these and they are all better made than my two most recent purchases before skunky! My tote is by GOYARD and I am now buying it in several colours because it does not hurt my back as much as my heavier Hermes handbags.

    Best yet, I am having wonderful handbags designed and made by a French atelier using the finest vegetable tanned leathers that money can buy. I not some stupid system details the colours I want inside and out and for stitching, the hardware, the size. I have a discrete place sewn in for my NAVIGO transport card and a larger pocket for my Samsung Galaxy Note (while Hermes still only acknowledges the existence of an I phone). My handbags for dressier times are smaller and neater and slip into my custom made more lady like briefcase so I do not have to carry my work around all day! A bonus, I did not have to wait the 3-5 years even VIP Hermes customers wait for an exotic skin handbag!! So I have it to wear this coming holiday season and it even has an additional amethyst strap if I don’t want to use the skin or as a clutch!!

    Best yet, I do not see myself walking up and down every street as a “Keep up with the Kardasians” consumer!!! Perhaps I was ready for personalization or whatever this new trend is called. Or perhaps I was tired of seeing copy/replica handbags that looked as authentic as what I had bought??

    Actually, maybe the best yet is that my friend from the Sorbonne and our two daughters actually went off to Thailand to a wonderful 10 day spa experience with the money we saved by NOT buying another Kelly or Birkin!!! Plus some great shopping!

    Luxury should feel like luxury–valued, original, well made, artisanal heritage, beautiful skins that have no odor or any other defects. So now one of their biggest fans is enjoying the freedom of experimenting and only smelling wonderful leathers! Good luck and fight for your refund or a totally NEW handbag from a DIFFERENT leather batch. You would not want the people at the next table thinking it is you that is stinky,non?

    • helen

      Sara. I plan on checking my latest bag for any scent. I also have a question regarding the So Black. I have one and never noticed defective hardware, can you please tell me what I should look for as I plan on checking it? Thank you for your post, and was very informative.

    • Jen

      Wow, this is eye opening. I love your thorough response and honesty. Maybe the powers that be will listen and realize as you stated how important loyal customers are. Shame on them. And–good for you for putting your financial resources to better use on experiences and a brand/company that appreciates your business.

    • Leslie

      You Go Girl!! Bravo!

    • Guest

      Sara, thanks for wring your reply here and add to my Hermes info in very different angle. I have been thinking of jumping into Hermes train and this info effectively stops any thoughts of purchasing Hermes. Recent Forbs’s article show had a interview with new heir, didn’t know what he meant was this substandard services from the premier luxury brand, so sad!!

    • adanpry12 .

      Sara, thanks for wring your reply here and add to my Hermes info in very different angle. I have been thinking of jumping into Hermes train and this info effectively stops any thought of purchasing Hermes. I read the recent Forbs’s article of interview with Hermes’s new heir, didn’t know what he meant was this substandard services coming from the premier luxury brand, so sad!!

  • Marie

    Wow ! I got better service from Coach! I was immediately given a number from Macy’s. I called the coach customer service number and spoke to a real person. I was sent a postage paid slip.
    The damage on my purse could not be repaired and coach had recalled them. I was given the opportunity to have a full refund or a choice of two other bags.
    THAT’S Service. :)

  • Chanelchic

    I had 2 So Kelly bags that stunk like a skunk. My sales associate was great and helped me exchange them without a problem. I refused to try a third So Kelly though!

  • Anna Maria Novella

    ..well…in high society situations this may be a problem. In normal life it may not but, probably, in normal life you rarely can afford to pay for a new Hermes bag.

  • Maria

    Indeed! In April 2014 I purchased a Birkin 35 Togo bleu eléctrique from an Hermes boutique in Europe. When out of its box it smelled really bad. The boutique took it back and replace with another one completely new after three months of waiting…

  • Janie Freeman

    I don’t own a Hermes bag, but I had to return a wallet to Macys because of the skunk smell. I’d sure like to know what causes this.

    • Sara Morgan

      Janie, I am not an employee of Hermes or any other leather goods manufacturer or tannery. May I refer you to my explanation yesterday–I tried to explain it as a tannery explained it to me.

      • Janie Freeman

        Thank you so much Sara!

  • Tingeling

    Wow, I have a Black Togo Birkin 35 from 2013 and a little ulysse pink lipstick…never noticed any stank, but then again I am from Norway and I have never placed the bag in sunlight…..(not so often warm i Norway lol) Well, this is so bad, and I am soo sorry for all you guys with defect bag. Hermes should really deal with this and give all customers with stinky bags a replacement bag ASAP!!! Don’t give up, and demand that customer service you deserve after buying such an expencive bag!!

  • Esali

    OMG I just got 2 ????

  • Gabrielle

    “”…or weed, depending on who you ask” LOL

  • Jayne

    If the buyers didn’t feel “skunked” after paying an obscene amount of money for a handbag from Hermes, they most certainly will fell skunked now! Sorry, I love the design, but even excellent workmanship can’t account for those prices…

  • OMiGosh!

    Regarding ‘skunk leather’ bags, I had the same problem with a bag on
    ebay a year ago. I don’t remember the brand, but my yorkies were afraid
    of it, hated it. One of them was growling at it and about to attack it.
    Luckily the seller allowed returns.

    • Iris Gris

      Funny, my yorkie would bark at two things only: possums and skunks.Trust the yorkies– they are terriers, after all!

  • Kenna

    This proves….waste of money. It’s like dumping cash in the garbage.

  • It’s a good thing I read this article. I used to Kelly on my bucket list, but after reading this I rather buy a purse from ysl, dior, etc.

  • Sara Morgan

    Moving men are 2.5 hours late and only thing I still have is my Internet connection!! I took all my non skunky Hermes to the new apartment myself in their boxes and sleepers and more orange boxes. Guess I can build an orange mountain but only if it does not stink. I just re read the original article and all the comments. I also phoned two tanneries that produce leather for luxury brands. What I now find upsetting besides Hermes increasing arrogance is the fact that “problem seems to be most common among bags made of the brand’s popular Togo leather, although Epsom and Clemence leathers have also been identified as skunky. As the Post points out, Hermès makes many different models in the affected leathers and ships them worldwide, so the issue is not limited to a particular boutique or region.” Togo and Clemence are the most popular of the Hermes leathers and along with Epsom represent many customers first purchases. Sadly maybe these new customers think that skunk/weed/urine is the “special smell” Hermes leather. Or they may be too far away or to embarrassed to ask for explanations and/or exchange—“loss of face”. Therefore, these odour problems may be much larger than we think and definitely much larger than Hermes will admit. It is especially troubling to me that Togo and Clemence leathers are involved because these are used so much that it is hard to understand how a “bad batch” could occur. But I think we can only speculate unless Hermes admits publically to a problem which I doubt they will. Sorry

  • Elisa

    There’s SPAM on my comment’s comment!! Please ignore…

  • Heidi

    I don’t understand this sentence? “If you’ve experienced this issue, let us know which of your bags it affects how Hermès handled it in the comments.”

  • Demand Quality

    Is Hermes possibly doing the unthinkable, and trying out leather tanning and manufacturing in China? If they are fighting fixing this problem, it may be the case, sadly. Rich Chinese from China are most likely the ones driving the demand for new bags in recent years, so perhaps they are attempting to move production of parts of the bag to the far less quality conscious Chinese, themselves? Especially if they seem to be resisting the issue. If this is the case, I believe the brand should be boycotted until they shape up and return the brand to the quality it once was with French manufacturing, including all leather and hardware production. They need to be taught that they can not cheapen a product, yet keep raising the price. The only way companies learn is if customers show them what they want. we ultimately have the power to drive markets, always remember that. Write letters, demand perfection. Demand that tbey fix the problem. Question the manufacturing. Make them answer.

    • Sara Morgan

      I don’t work for Hermes but I did work for YSL and Ferragamo and I still write about furs and leathers and judge fashions designed by young creators in these materials. So I do know many of the tanneries in France from whom Hermes buys its leathers. They have used the same Singapore tannery for at least 30 years for exotic leathers and I know the family personally and there have been no problems with their exotic skins—they also produce skins for LVMH, Dior. No comment from me on Hermes manufacturing in China but I do know they are the backers of a company called Shang Xia which has a store in Shanghai and one in Paris across from the newest Rive Gauche Hermes boutique.

      Sorry, my computer must be more tired than I am–larger font does not mean anything. But I do agree with you—Hermes has acted very poorly toward its customers on this major problem.

  • Mandee

    I’m located in Hong Kong and have read about this concern lately. To my sheer amazement I never would have guessed my 2013 October Paris boutique purchased SO-KELLY small size in CAPPUCINE became the victim today. I took it out to use for the first time in sheer disappointment when I left the bag on passenger front seat in heat and sun for about 10 mins to find upon opening my car door that I thought for a minute I rolled over a ‘skunk’ and then further reminded myself there are no skunks in HK ??!! Slowly traced it to be coming from my bag. Since, I have approached the main flagship store in Hong Kong and as soon as I discreetly ask to speak to the store manager and expressed quietly my concerns of an ‘door’ seeping from the bag I found myself shuffled me to the downstairs VIP lounge to discuss. They offered to immediately take it off my hands and it will be couriered to Paris a.s.a.p for assessment and to expect a month turnover just to get results to then discuss the following course of action. – Will update as this drama continues. My biggest fear is they cannot replace me the same colour : (

    I would like to know how to resolve this and what’s the turnover for victim others??
    Has anyone been offered to buy a Birkin and pay the difference in lieu of this mishap??

    • Sara Morgan

      @ Mandee, it is very interesting that there seems to be a “cluster” of Hermes handbags in Capucine colour plus other colours purchased in September and October 2013—my Kelly Lakis was bought at FSH at that time too. Kindly see my earlier comments on my totally negative experience with my return and also my suggestions to some other women who live far from the boutique(s) where bags were purchased. Good luck! I really do not know what you are asking in your last sentence, sorry. But I certainly would NOT pay the price difference between the 2013 handbag and any current replacement—that cost should be borne by Hermes not the consumer. Having lived/worked in Hong Kong for many years and still travelling there frequently, the climate is too hot/sunny even with air con to keep a handbag that smells like skunk/weeds/urine. But each of us has to make her own choice.

  • Jade

    This made me laugh. I have a 35 Togo. I love the smell, but my husband insists it smells like a skunk. And once in an elevator, another woman commented that the elevator smelled like skunk. Can’t wait to show my husband this blog post! The smell doesn’t bother me at all. It smells like rich leather to me.

  • Lisa

    Hi Sara Will the smell goes off after afew months of airing in cool place?

  • Tash Choi

    My kellybag is same as this situation.what should i do???

  • z

    Hermes quality is going down for sure. they are not behind their product. I just bought a bag and the leather turn sticky, they charge me close to 400 to clean it but still the handle is sticky.. who want to spend thousands to buy a sticky handbag.

  • Maliha

    where can I write regarding Hermes leather belt quality that’s stucks after being replace once and the new one which is less than a year old worst than the previous leather
    Any help appreciated

  • Maliha

    Where can I write regarding poor quality of Hermes leather belt