Perfume Reviews

Positive Reviews of Canoé by Dana

Total Reviews: 34
Canoe is most certainly the apex babershop fougere. When people ask me how it smells, I tell them it's literally the smell of the powder that the old mom and pop barbershops put on your neck after a fresh cut. This review could end right here if I wanted to be that concise, but it does little justice to the juice and it's history if I do. Canoe started out as an export-only in the US market: troops fighting the Nazis brought it home from France and instantly loved it's light, musky, powdery ambiance, as it was nothing like the spicy and fatty scents they had to subsist with back in the US. The British loved this scent too, as their own leathery and herbal concoctions were not as fresh to the nose, and it quickly became the global standard for the male fougere going forward, but with a dirty secret: It was originally meant to be a women's perfume. Those who know the tale of Shulton's Old Spice (1937), will know how this plays out too: Canoe was developed for Dana by Jean Carles and it was intended for the female audience. But unlike Old Spice's original feminine packaging (when it was called American Old Spice), Canoe was never sold under a different name then rebranded for men, it was just decided that it fit men better and sold in the trademark round bottle it's been known for since day one. Oddly enough, Jean Carles would revisit his creation in 1955 and tweak it for the ladies, creating "Ambush" perfume in the process, but the eventual discontinued fate of that fragrance probably proved that acting on second thoughts doesn't always prove fruitful.

The scent eventually received global distribution and saw shipments to US stores sometime in the 50's, becoming a high-end alternative to the aforementioned Old Spice and other drugstore scents. The man who wore Canoe in those days was a learned, cultured, well-traveled and sophisticated man, of the upper-middle classes bare-minimum, or their sons more likely to be seen in Jack Purcell sneakers than the standard fish heads of the day. The rest of the tale is the usual mass market ubiquity and eventual downmarket dilution that happens to classic fragrances when they literally become too popular for their own good: they becomes too well-known and well-liked to retain their air of prestige and suffer sales drops, then price cuts to keep them competitive as they slide downmarket, eventually leading to reformulations to reduce cost, which was something Canoe suffered long before IFRA standards started affecting fragrances. It didn't help that Dana also crashed and burned, being reborn as New Dana (and eventually Dana Classic Fragrances) after it was absorbed several times into different companies that ate each other along the way. Canoe suffered it's first major stylistic shift formulation in the 90's, when it stopped being made in France, not to meet regulations but to appeal to more modern tastes (it's right in the company's history if you look it up). Afterwards, reformulations were just to mostly meet regulations so there really is no huge difference in the scent of this stuff from 1990's onward, just the stuff beforehand. Canoe from any decade opens mostly the same: there is a big rush of lavender, clary sage, and lemon, but the biggest difference is in the dry-down. Older batches with a white label and cap (made in France) will have much heavier heart notes and base notes, offering a richer vanilla and musk experience past all the flowers and citrus, while the newer stuff finds a shift towards stronger top notes that dominate the fragrance for longer, making it less rounded and more linear, which makes sense if it was aligned for then-modern tastes of the 90's.

IFRA now restricts moss, so the rich base notes could never be restored even if they wanted to, at least not without a surrogate note added. It's honestly fine and still wearable without the heavier base, it just doesn't feel quite as quality or all-season, and shifts more towards a spring-summer scent, without the warmth to pierce colder fall or winter air. Nothing I've said here changes the basic and timeless barbershop vibe though, so if you do not like powdery barbershop tropes, this is the granddaddy of them all so I suggest steering clear. very niche barbershop scent maker that doesn't want to rekindle moustache-wax-eating hipster-friendly Victorian kitsch and become the next Penhaligon's goes strait for Canoe as it's source of inspiration, and I'm pretty sure "Dad's favorite barber" in business since the 50's still uses old stock Canoe talc on his hot towels after giving a buzz cut. Before Canoe, fougeres stood toe to toe with chypres in the male realm, as not everyone was happy with how aromatic or floral they were, but after Canoe shifted in an almost oriental sweetness and toned down the bite, fougeres became the masculine standard, crushing everything else strait on through until present day, despite evolving long past it's now-archaic structure. Wearing this stuff in the 21st century no longer gives off the letterman jacket vibe of a mid-century ivy league alumni, and people will likely just think you enjoy smelling like your dad or buying your cologne from Walmart, but if you want to shut somebody up you can always tell them that at least it still comes in a glass bottle.
23rd October, 2017 (last edited: 03rd April, 2018)
A markedly pleasant and powdery affair that will offend very few with its mild barbershopish (lavender plus) manner. Somewhat sweet in a vanilla way but not cloying. Canoe is a very nice venerable creation that performs quite well on a small investment. It is old but does not small obsolete. A good barbershop never goes out of style, IMO. The only possible concern might be its high degree of exposure over many years.

Trying it for the first time now brought back an ancient memory of my first exposure to it in my youth. Amazing how strong those old scent memories are. An easy thumbs up for both my spouse and me.
02nd April, 2017
The fougère has been a yardstick of masculine perfumery since Houbigant released Fougère Royale in 1882. It is a slow moving genre that has sauntered from decade to decade with periodic touchups. The principle accord of lavender and coumarin can support a wide range of alterations. With a few compositional tweeks fougères have ranged from mossy or aromatic to oriental and aquatic hybrids.

The genre was created by the French, idolized by the British and democratized by Americans. Though Canoe was composed in the 1930s (actual release dates vary) in France, it came to epitomize a populist American style of a fragrance. Until the mossy fougères of the 1960s and aromatic fougères of the 1970s, oily-powdery musky lavenders were the masculine paradigm. The accord was ubiquitous, scenting a range of men's grooming products, becoming the scent of the masculine 'safe zone': the barbershop. (Paradoxically, a heliotrope-inflected version of this accord scented the baby powder of the era as well. Was the American man infantilized or were babies inculcated into the culture of masculinity?) Canoe's vanillic musk bears only a passing resemblance to the fougères of the present. On the other hand, it has much in common with sweet, powdery musks like Helmut Lang edp/edc, le Labo Labdanum 18, Kiehls Musk no 1 and even S-Perfumes S-ex.

Compared to previous fougères Canoe dialed down aromatics and woods and emphasized musky vanillic tones, making it as much an oriental as a fougère. A tart geranium accent steers the perfume away from custard, just as Jicky's dusting of culinary herbs does. Canoe ventures so far from 'pastry' vanilla that it lands in the infamous 'plastic doll head' territory. To the modern nose, geranium gives Canoe a dated feel, but it also cuts the softness and prevents a marshmallow effect. By drydown geranium loses its sticky, green sharpness. What remains is a lingering tartness and a slight rosy hue.

Jean Carles composed Canoe as well as its 1955 sibling Dana Ambush, a fougère marketed to women. The two were the sold as masculine and feminine bookends, though they are enough alike that the gender assignments seem arbitrary. Perhaps Carles took inspiration from Guerlain Jicky, which was launched as a masculine fragrance but became unisex by popular acclamation.

Since Paul Parquet's Houbigant Fougère Royale, each generation has had a version of the genre. There is an unbroken line off fougères nearly 150 long and no other perfume style has the old boy's historical momentum. Penhaligon's and Yardley preceded Canoe, which paved the way for Brut, British Sterling and Grey Flannel. Canoe is still produced, but lacks the roundness of earlier formulations. Fortunately, Canoe has been in production for so many years that large quantities are available on the cheap at ebay. The durable vintage musks and high alcohol content (eau de cologne concentration) preserve older bottles very well.

(from scenthurdle.com)
24th January, 2017
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If you had asked 20-25 years ago 'what do I think of the cologne called Canoe'.I'd say all I smell is vanilla and powder...nothing else among the notes therefore teetering between a neutral and thumbs down.Not offensive to wear just plain versus other cheap scents.That's coming from that dark blue/old label bottle pictured and the grey label and top version.I'm in K-Mart last year during the holidays and my wife spots a giftset of Canoe with each a 2oz. cologne and aftershave.So we bought it and figured I could stash it at work to apply at work for when I got off and the fam meets at a restaurant.To be honest I think Dana currently has got the scent right this time...

Splashing it on I get a strong and clean lemon and an herbal zip.That vanilla and powder surfaces but a little lavender in the powder colors it.That lemon note dies off some and the sage note is long gone after about 15 minutes.But that lemon is keeping that powder restrained and clean.I'd think I lucked out and maybe this was a fluke...nope.The 8oz. bottle I bought smells exactly the same.Still a sweet cologne but more in control and expansive by notes that should have been blossoming out back then.
20th November, 2016
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.
26th March, 2014
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.
22nd January, 2014
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.
18th April, 2013
Yesterday, I spotted a lonely bottle of this on the edge of the very bottom shelf of the discount scent case of a local chain drug store. I hadn’t seen or heard anything about Canoe in decades. Wow, how the mighty have fallen, I thought.

After lunch, I went back and bought that bottle. I wore it all afternoon.

Back in the late 1960s, when I would guess Canoe peaked in popularity in the U.S., it was a very sophisticated, slightly edgy, expensive French brand with all sorts of class associations. Canoe went with skin-tight Lacoste shirts with the little green alligator over the left nipple, madras patch Bermudas, pink dress shirts, penny loafers with no socks, crew regattas, Playboy, summers in Northeast Harbor. American men (and even American women) didn’t talk much about scents in those days, the way they didn’t really talk about sex. You were just supposed to KNOW, like you knew how to pronounce the name (can-OH-eh, in the French manner).

I couldn’t afford Canoe in those days and anyway had no interest at all in fragrances. Wearing it now, though, I realize it was EVERYWHERE in the preppy, affluent suburban circles I moved in in those days. Back then, it was the ONLY cologne for a certain type of young man. It was very much a part of a time when Bond-like sophistication, taste, and style and all that went with them, were briefly cool for American men. I’m actually surprised that Canoe hasn’t come up on Mad Men.

I did a bit of research on the company, Dana, and there was a long story there, too, in its slow progress from trendy Barcelona to 1930s Paris (probably to escape the Spanish Civil War and Franco) to a warehouse at the end of a street of split levels in Saddle Brook, New Jersey. Along the way, there was a former Harvard professor marketing guru whose idea was to buy up faded scent classics and take them downmarket. He died suddenly in the ‘90s. His company went bust and came back as “Dana Classic Fragrances.”

This explains how Canoe ended up in a small town RiteAid, looking like a rusty ‘60s Mercedes. Nowadays, like so much else, it is assembled in China. When I opened the box, the label wasn’t even on straight. But the bottle was still the familiar old smirky shape.

And, despite the fact that it was apparently reformulated once or twice during its long decline, the basic Canoe scent seemed to ring true. Smelling that old powdery smell, which reminds me somehow of the baby blue of a Brooks Brothers button down Oxford, I suddenly remembered that the classic all-male barber shops of my childhood actually USED powder on you. Canoe has the scent of coming home on a Saturday morning in June from a fresh haircut in the barbershop in the fanciest downtown hotel.

A classic for sure. I hope it sticks around and maybe even makes a little comeback, like those Madras shorts I never wore either

Since I wrote this review, I bought a 250 ml vintage bottle of Canoe on eBay, apparently preserved, like fine French wine, in the cool, dry cellar of a fanatic perfume collector in Ohio. The factory seal was still on the bottle, which was marked "BOTTLE MADE IN FRANCE." No Chinese assembly in this one. Cost was considerably below the retail cost per ounce of the contemporary Canoe.

Comparing the French and the Assembled in China versions, I confirmed that the Chinese scent profile had stayed pretty faithful to the original. The French version was far smoother and more elegant, however. The lavender of the Chinese edition suggested the cheap face power favored by elderly ladies in my childhood; the French juice had a softer touch of elegant 1930s barbershop. The Chinese version's vanilla suggests a sugar cookie from a supermarket; the French vanilla is like walking past one of the best patisseries in Paris on a late August afternoon.

I assume that most of the difference in the quality of materials in the original, but the lighter formulation (EDC vs. the current EDT) and the long bottle aging may have played a role as well. Not unexpectedly, the EDT was stronger and had better longevity.

These is not at all to say that the contemporary Canoe is unwearable. In some ways, it is a more comfortable fragrance, with a warm, comfortable dry down like sitting next to a gas range when a cake is baking. But the old French Canoe is you with a white dinner jacket and a martini, watching the sun set over the Pacific, while Brubeck plays somewhere in the background.



21st February, 2012 (last edited: 02nd March, 2012)
I've gone back to Canoe several times over the years and really wish I could stay with it. Somehow it attracts me after I stay away for awhile. Smooth and very nice to start, even refreshing. But then it becomes too heavy with sweetness. I'm sure I will try it again though. LOL
07th April, 2011
I rate Canoe a "thumbs up" with one qualification: IMHO it smells better in a person's hair than on his skin. After washing his hair a person could spritz on a bit then comb/brush the hair and let dry. It will smell like a trip to the barber.
30th March, 2011
Canoe is a classic and very much of its time too. 1936...think suave. Style. Classic clothes and slick hair. White V-neck tennis sweaters with navy and maroon accents. When a man went to the barber shop once a week. No wonder the fragrance is so distinctly a barber shop one. I have a bottle that looks like it's from back in the day. In fact, it says "Made In France". Now there's no way Dana makes fragrance in France anymore. So I must have a bottle of Canoe that was done the old fashioned way. That is to say, RIGHT. All of the criticisms here of the current formulation (with which I agree) are simply not present in the version I'm smelling right now. This French Canoe is outstanding. It is the epitome of what it its supposed to be. The penultimate powdery, citrusy, slightly herby barber shop smell. The quality remains throughout the drydown. The current Canoe seems to say "Canoe" from the topnotes then plunges into the mediocrity of mass market malaise. Such a pity. But even the best houses are guilty of this sort of thing. But even the mediocrity of today's Canoe is forgivable since it's coming from such a classic. It's like watered down Chivas...not as good; but still gives you a little kick.
05th March, 2011
Haha! Canoe, is probably the 'nicest' scent I know. It's so well done, so well-rounded and so classic-yet-tame that I bet it could diffuse a bad situation.

"I know I shouldn't have said/done/stolen/burned that, but...I'm wearing Canoe!"

"Oh...Well, it's okay then. Just don't do it again."

Just like that! It's so utterly pleasant you can't be mad at it. I must say I love the opening, so it's a disappointment that it lasts barely thirty minutes, but there doesn't seem to be a middle stage for me. It heads straight for the drydown and stays there, stalwartly refusing to fade away for hours to come. And what an enjoyable drydown it is. It's no wonder to me that Canoe is still in production - It's just so nice!
17th November, 2010
Canoe is one of those inexpensive colognes that is best worn on melancholy days. It has a light, powdery feeling to it that feels altogether comforting. If I lived in London or Seattle I would own more simply because it meshes so well with the prevailing climes in those cities. Canoe remains a classic staple in my wardrobe, and for the price it is an excellent value.
09th October, 2010
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Although Dana is a Spanish company, Canoe has always struck me as a quintessentially French fragrance. (Every bottle I've owned or seen says "Made in France"). It's subtle, yet immediately recognizeable, and murmurs rather than shouts. It reminds me of the piano music of Erik Satie --- unpretentious, compact, and introspective. I tend to wear Canoe on overcast or foggy days, or when there is a light rain, and something about the muted colors in that type of light seems to go very well with the understated fragrance notes in Canoe. It's been part of my collection for decades, and while my tastes have evolved over the years, I never seem to get tired of it. Unlike many other scents, Canoe adapts itself to a wide range of moods and occasions, and works equally well for all ages. A classic that has stood the test of time, for all the right reasons.
25th April, 2010 (last edited: 06th June, 2010)
shamu1 Show all reviews
United States
I owned a bottle of Canoe about 5 years ago, hated it, and poured it down the toilet. I don't know if Dana has reformulated Canoe or my tastes have changed, but the little half-ounce bottle I just picked up for $1.25 smells wonderful.

What I used to hate about Canoe was its lack of balance. I remember it having an awful plastic-smelling synthetic note that always lingered in the background, which threw the whole fragrance off balance and made it smell cheap. My wife told me I smelled like an old prostitute when I wore it.

What I am smelling now is simply delightful and truly classic. Gone is the harshness I remember in Canoe, and what I smell now is a perfectly balanced, pure fougere scent, which captures the crisp, clean freshness of a true fougere while being balanced on the other end with tonka and a slight hint of vanilla. The vanilla is used brilliantly in Canoe - it's not used to weigh this down into a syrupy slog, but rather to give the whole scent a buffed-out warmth. My only regret is that Canoe doesn't have any green notes like in Trumper's Wild Fern, but considering how reasonably priced this is, I cannot complain.

I would go so far as to say that Canoe should be a staple in any man's perfume collection. I'm now embarrassed about my earlier comments about Canoe, because this is really excellent.
11th February, 2010
Lavender and lemon come through strong in the opening. Think Brut but more refined. There is also a powdery-ness that makes itself apparent, but not overwhelming. It then slips away form the lavender and lemon, retaining the powder, and settles into a vanilla/tonka mix with a dash of heliotrope. It's solid stuff and could still be a show stopper if worn by the right man, the right way.
16th November, 2009
tanto Show all reviews
United States
This is an old classic that I really like. Yes, it's a powdery scent with some citrus. It's sweet but the dry down is real pleasant. This is not cloying at all and is never "too much". Actually, based on some of the horrible mens scents of today, this smells real manly and clean, too!
11th September, 2009
I am giving Canoe a "thumbs up" rating because it smells nice enough, lasts a long time, and is truly one of those icon fragrances that has stood the test of time. "Powdery", as others have said, is a good, short explanation of the Canoe smell. I haven't used it for quite a few years, but still remember it fondly. And at just a few dollars, it's an excellent buy and readily available. Would I purchase it again for myself? The honest answer is "no", but not because I dislike it. I've just moved on to other colognes.
06th September, 2009
Yes it's old and powdery.
But it's not bad powdery like British Sterling.
It's a sweet lemon scent with some light pleasant powderiness like Pinaud Talc.
Instead of old dead man powder type smell, it's more like that friendly old little WW2 vet at the diner that can't stop smiling.
I hate powdery scents but this one gets a pass.
24th June, 2009
I loved this when I was younger, it was sweet smelling, not threatening like what are considered the more masculine scents, which I still don't like. They always smell to me like perfume layered over sweaty body odor. I recently bought some for my 18 year old son and he likes it too.
14th March, 2009
If someone ever asks you, "hey, what's a fougere?" tell him to go out and grab some Canoe. It's a nice, basic, well-constructed classic fougere. Nothing more, nothing less.
09th December, 2008
Meta-everyday. Though now a budget scent, in its intentions, especially as a cologne that quickly becomes a base of tonka/heliotrope powder, it achieves an admirable linearity.
27th September, 2008 (last edited: 02nd January, 2015)
The opening tickles my nose. This works best on a cool day in my opinion. It takes me back a few weeks where the temperatures were below freezing and I only had a jumper and a t-shirt. I was wearing Canoe. It surrounded me in this cool calming cloud of powdery sweetness. I never shivered once. It was so refreshing; which is a strange paradox given the conditions. It also reminds me of a moisturizer I used as a child. So I do get nostalgic. I do hate how it smells cheap but sometimes cheap is excellent. This is the case.

Longevity; 6 hours plus
Sillage; 2-3 feet
Strength; Intense opening 1 hour, moderate to subtle dry down 5 hours plus)
03rd April, 2008
Very safe comfort scent indeed...

Sweet, smooth, soft, warm, powdery and somehow clean...

I wear this to bed and wake up with the smell having permeated through my pillows...

Simple and old-school. Too many people poo-poo it, which is good, because at least we wont be seeing EVERYONE wear it like with Brut...which is nice, but too many people wear it these days.

A nice at-home comfort scent. Could be used when walking the dog, gardening, doing the goceries, etc.

All purpose really, but be careful WHERE you wear it, no where to formal or businessy.

Nice stuff, but not in love with it.
11th June, 2007
wolf Show all reviews
United States
I do like this one...its a safe comfort scent..the base vanilla works hard..and lasts long..used with moderation this is a very good scent

june 2011--new formula...so sad...i will miss you...goodby old friend
25th January, 2007 (last edited: 20th June, 2011)
Canoe is a very nice smelling scent. Reminds me of barbershops and talcum powder, in the best possible way. The drydown is soft, yet masculine, and not overpowering. It also lasts quite a bit as well.
15th January, 2007
For me, the tonka dominates to the point of making this inexpensive classic pretty linear. (On the other end of the price scale, Thierry Mugler's frightfully abysmal A*Men does the same thing, only with more brutal force and the killing power of tar and chocolate thrown in.)

WANT to like Canoe, yes, but the strong tonka-ish notes just take it from powdery to overpowering in my book. I like powdery, less expensive fragrances quite often -- hence my fondness for Jockey Club and Tabac. Still, Canoe just goes a bit over the top for my body chemistry.

Giving it up a "thumbs up" only because a) most people DO like it more, and b) it's a great bargain, and c) I understand that my body chemistry may be very different from everyone else's.
07th September, 2006
I recently bought a bottle of this cause it was on sale for like $5 and thought what the hell!? Man was I pleased the best $5 I ever spent. I put it on and was instantly brought back to a time long before I was around(born in the 80's) hell long before my parents were around! You know how sometimes you smell something and you immeadly draw an image in your head well this cologne did it for me. What was the image you ask? Well I'll tell ya!!!!! I immeadly was reminded of men sitting in a barber shop talking away, or a man getting all dolled up to take his best girl out to the new jitterbug club for some dancing and dinner, a man getting on his best Sunday duds and getting cleaned up for Church and a man allways wearing a shirt/tie and hat to work no matter where he worked . You know classic 1920's/30's sterotypical man and the things he does, when times were simpliar and roles were well established. Basically when men were men and women were women(sorry femenist just the way it was can't change history)Now for what I acutully smelled well it's hard to describe but I get a real stong sent of Baby/Talcum powder and vanilla in this one with a little hint of a medaciney(sorry for my spelling)type note to it. It is now my most favorite cologne form any others I have and I have a lot, and the fact that it's so cheap just makes it all the sweeter!!!!! PS it last a good long time to!!!!!
15th June, 2006
Nice classic, light scent. Never overpowering. It does what a cologne is suppoed to do.I guess since my Dad loved this I love it too. I always feel like I just came from a barber shop when I splash Canoe on.
28th January, 2006

Speaking of barbershops, my particular olfactory memories of barbershops have to do with 3-in-1 Oil and electric-hairclipper-generated ozone and cheap talcum powder, so the supposed barbershop image of Canoe doesn’t mean a thing to me. Canoe reminds me only of Canoe… I began wearing it in 1968 and it, along with Eau Sauvage, a couple of Avons I purchased from my sister-in-law, a now and then splash of Old Spice after shave, were my fragrances for a decade. Canoe always predominated because I often couldn’t afford Eau Sauvage. Canoe begins with that opening blast that so many fragrances had back then, and many still have. Then the note that stands out the most to me is a soft, light lavender. The opening is a pleasant combination of lavender, lemon and sage – which, along with the geranium and carnation of the middle, are probably the accords that create the impression of barbershops. Today when I smell it, I don’t go all nostalgic, I simply wonder why I don’t wear it more often than I do. Canoe is nothing fantastic, but it has enjoyable, comfortable accords that move nicely from top to bottom of the pyramid, and that are fresh, clear, and natural smelling. Sprayed lightly, I don’t think it smells old fashioned even though it is often seen as a metaphor for past masculine grooming regimes. The geranium and carnation of the middle both smooth out the cedar and patchouli and lend more of a spicy than floral ambiance. The drydown is light, slightly sweet, and powdery with the powder and the oakmoss being the main cause of the accusation of old fashionedness. Canoe is a nice, inexpensive fragrance that delivers good value for those who enjoy the barbershop concept or just a plain, decent, excellently performing, inexpensive fragrance. I still keep a bottle around – not for nostalgia, but for wearing on those occasions when the mood strikes. (Edit of 20 December 2005 review.)

20th December, 2005 (last edited: 27th September, 2009)