Two notes. Very Linear.
Baby powder and cotton candy.
Of all the fine fragrances that have been discontinued, this one is still alive?
A classic men's fougere from 1936.
First I get a blast of anise (must be the lavender/clary sage combo). Then a blast of green, just green. Finally lemon takes over. Five minutes in it has evolved into a classically balanced fougere of the old-style. It is soft and classy without being powdery, very subtle, very European.
Top notes: Lavender, Lemon, Clary Sage
Middle notes: Geranium, Patchouli, Carnation, Cedarwood
Base notes: Vanilla, Tonka (Coumarin), Musk, Oak Moss, Heliotrope
Barbara Herman notes that 20 years after Canoe, the Dana perfumer, Jean Carles, took the same formula, replaced the cedar wood with sandalwood, eliminated the patchouli, oak moss and musk, and added bergamot and rose to create a female version, called Ambush.
I'll try this next. Canoe is meanwhile a true classic men's fougere.
canoe has a vanilla powdery musky fragrance similar to jade east with a moderate strength. canoe is a classic along with the other dana brands english leather and british sterling.
This has an excellent opening but turns into a, to me, too sweet of a vanilla musky like smell which does not suit me that well. I hardly wear it and prefer the better Pinaud Aftershave/Cologne which gives me the same vibe/smell but less sweet and more fresh. Mind that I have a current version of this reformulated stuff which is most probably not that good as it used to be. Rating: 5.5/10
I know and love Canoe from its popularity resurgence in the 1960's as those were my high school days. When I think back, it, along with my other favorites of that time of adolescent awakening, Jade East (originally by Swank), English Leather (Dana), my mother's Quelques Fleurs (Houbigant), Shocking (Shiaparelli) and Quadrille (Balenciaga) which I discovered myself on a student summer trip to Paris, was surely what sparked my interest in making fragrances.
I don't know how many times Canoe had already been reformulated by then, but surely it was a different animal than it is today. For one thing, unless imported from somewhere like India, I doubt that it still contains nitromusks.
I was blessed to live in beautiful Barcelona years ago. I rented a room from a fascinating eighty year old grande dame, half French and half Catalán, Sra. Lucienne Ruiz. Her life was a veritable novel. For instance, during the Spanish Civil War, she heroically smuggled much needed medicine into Spain from Switzerland in the gas tank of her car. She was smart and attractive and charmed the boarder guards to gain passage. She knew Jean Carles, and told me the story of his invention of Canoe, some intrigue tale about the temporary misplacement of its formula, and the founding of the House of Dana in Barcelona in 1936 just as war broke out.
It's always safer for critics to thumb one's nose at inexpensive, popular fragrances than to say that a perfumer (and a company) did an excellent job of producing a beloved, bestselling fragrance on a shoestring budget. Also, perhaps it's difficult to impossible to take a particular fragrance out of its era and understand the effect it had on people when it was something they hadn't smelled time and again before. I'm actually referring more to Jade East here. It certainly was as fake green as lime Kool Aid, but for that it was unique and unforgettable in its day.