Perfume Reviews

Reviews of Canoé by Dana

Total Reviews: 56
First of all, an admission. Canoe is right-now one of my all time favourites, both in the modern version, and the vintage which is richer, deeper and more complex; but both of them lack the fresh vitality of the reconstructed form held by the Osmothèque. It's like seeing a favourite oil painting after the restorers have stripped away the grime; the extra detail is exciting, and shocking in its clarity.

For a depression era perfume (1936) Canoe is curiously ambiguous; allegedly created with women in mind - which would have been a sensible thing to do in economically challenged and socially conservative times. But if it really was the case that Canoe started life as a feminine then Dana evidently had to rethink their marketing strategy because it started trending on the masculine market. That was possibly when the umlaut was dropped from the name and Canoë (can-o-way) became Canoe.

An aldehydic heliotrope fougère with pale tree fruits, Canoe also has a sweet powdery floral and hard woody and metal polish notes. And going by the Osmothèque sample, the original version had a strong bergamot and citrus tang in the head, and a lick of civet in the base.

I interpret the hard element in Canoe as having a domestic, household smell - rather like metal polish and waxed wood, which can also be found in other 1930's fougères such as Je Reviews and Blue Grass. This is what could be called a 'housewife' accord, a sort of 'feminine in pinafore' as opposed to the other floral accord - which we are all used to - the 'floral frock'. In Canoe the regular floral is augmented with a powdery element, softening it and giving it more contrast with the somewhat dour functionality of the (not only) aldehydic metal polish and the waxed woody notes.

The other, 'masculine' side of Canoe is the fougère, one of the few perfumery tropes normally reserved for men. The pronounced fougère character of Canoe, with its citrus & bergamot head, and lavender - geranium - coumarin body give it a defined structure, an architecture on which to place the two opposing feminine thematics mentioned above. The contrasts which inevitably arise from this create an interesting, and for the era, adventurous feel of gender ambiguity which I think is one of the strengths of Canoe, but it was also the cause of Dana's alleged difficulty with knowing who to market their product to.

The modern version smells quite different, neutered and less shapely, and it's also markedly old fashioned when compared to the Osmothèque re-creation. For whatever reason - maybe it's too different to today's perfumery, or too challenging perhaps; or just simply because of a debased formulation, Canoe is rather overlooked now-a-days.

There is one more point on formulation. To my knowledge (and thanks Bandit for the samples) Jean Carles created three very different versions of Shocking for Schiaparelli (1937) so it's possible that more than one version of Canoe was drawn up. Who knows?

Old fashioned - it may be, and largely ignored these days, but Canoe still has historical significance. As far as I can tell, the structure drew on three important strands of perfumery; the aldehydic, the floral and the (1930's subset of feminine) fougère, and in doing so it paved the way for what would become, some 50 years later, an undisputed phenomenon - the modern anisic fougère of Azzaro pour Homme and everything that flows from that.

Rating : between *** and ***** depending on the formulation.
19th April, 2019
dreese Show all reviews
United States
Smells remarkably similar now to the scent of the late 1970s and 80s. Starts out smelling like Brut, which is bad. During the drydown the offending patchouli-moss-cedar mixture goes away, and this fragrance becomes a lovely, dignified stroll down a lane lined by lavender, geraniums, and heliotrope in full bloom.
23rd November, 2018
My memory of Canoe isn't good after not having smelled it since the mid-80s. I liked it alright, but not nearly so well as my Uncle or my brother, who both liked it well enough to make it their signature scents.

I think of it as very dated at this point, but it's cheap now so you might give it a try as a budget cologne or try the aftershave.

I'd give it a 2.5 out of 5
05th February, 2018
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Canoe is most certainly the apex babershop fougère. 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 affable to the nose, but it quickly became the standard for American men moreso than the UK, 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, sold as such initially, but unlike Old Spice's original feminine packaging (when it was called Early American Old Spice), Canoe was never sold under a different name then rebranded for men, just adopted by them as they brought it over from France before and after WWII. Eventually sales figures convinced Dana that it fit men better and they began selling it in the trademark round bottle it's known for now. Oddly enough, Jean Carles would revisit his creation in 1955, tweaking it with heliotrope and additional florals for the ladies, creating "Ambush" perfume in the process, but the eventual promulgation of floral fougères for men and the discontinued fate of Ambush proved that acting on second thoughts doesn't always prove fruitful. Canoe 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, while its oily-powdery vanillic smell became synonymous with masculinity as barbershops adopted Canoe's use in powder or aftershave form. The man who wore Canoe eau de cologne in those days was a learned, cultured, well-traveled and sophisticated man, of the upper-middle classes bare-minimum, with their sons more likely to be seen in Jack Purcell sneakers than the standard Converse 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 exclusivity and prestige, suffering sales drops after growth plateaus, then price cuts cheapening the formula to keep them competitive as they slide downmarket, 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 juice 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, with a sharp and sticky green geranium that is only found in the barbershop scents of the 30's, 40's, and 50's; anyone who has smelled Avon for Men (1949) or Revlon That Man (1958) knows exactly what I'm talking about. It would be 40 years before geranium in any form close to this came back in vogue, but just for the 90's fresh fougères like Paco Rabanne XS Pour Homme (1993). The biggest difference in pre and post reorchestration 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 like all the classic fougères did, offering a richer vanilla and musk experience bonded to real, unrestricted coumarin and pasty oakmoss, imparting a scary sort of "plastic Barbie doll" smell many antique fougères have at skin level past all the flowers and citrus. Newer stuff finds a shift towards stronger top notes that dominate the fragrance for longer (particularly the lavender), making it sharper, less rounded and more linear, which seems sensible if Canoe was being realigned to compete with then-modern fougères like Eternity for Men by Calvin Klein (1989) or Curve for Men by Liz Claiborne (1996).

Both MK I and MK II Canoe have the same "freshly-slapped barbershop talc" smell, but MK I bottles plunge deeper into dark recesses of vanillic oakmoss and tonka, becoming something else entirely after the drydown, while MK II "pauses the transition" halfway and hangs there until you scrub it. 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 replacing the moss. 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 for me, without the warmth to pierce colder fall or winter air. Nothing done to the formula changes the basic and timeless barbershop vibe no matter how new your bottle is, so if you don't like powdery barbershop tropes, this is the granddaddy of them all so I suggest steering clear. Niche barbershop scent makers looking to be the next Pinaud and court the moustache-wax-eating hipsters Penhaligon's usually attracts often look to Canoe as their source of inspiration, and I'm pretty sure "Dad's favorite barber" in business since the 50's still uses old stock of Canoe talc on his hot towels after giving a buzz cut. Before stuff like Canoe, fougères 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 that made them "safe", fougères dominated, crushing everything else strait on through until present day, despite evolving long past that 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 your drugstore swill still comes in a glass bottle. Simply a must-experience classic, in any vintage.
23rd October, 2017 (last edited: 19th October, 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.

24th January, 2017
The current formula of Canoe (dark blue cap) is a pleasantly cool spring and summer fragrance.

This opens up with lemon sharpened up with by aldehydes. I get an herbal-green yet slight anise zing to this initially. This develops a lot of barbershop powder from lavender and gets a little sweet from vanilla. That lemon and aldehydes duo puts a coolness to the powdery effect.

Canoe has been reformulated and for the better. I had this back in the 90's when it had a grey cap and label. It was overly sweet and riddled with an amber note that stole all the freshness from it. The current formula reflects the fragrance name more accurately. Perhaps this fragrance was reformulated in the 1990's and this current formula reflects the vintage formula more.

20th November, 2016 (last edited: 27th September, 2020)
For as many reviews as I've read and my attempts to dissect various notes in various fragrances only to become completely confused, I find myself surprisingly in virtually complete agreement with zoghbi here. I got this one many, many, many years ago - I think for Christmas - and I just couldn't get over the cotton candy impression I got from it. The barbershop/Clubman, etc., comparisons just don't make the least bit of sense to me. It's a pleasant fragrance, all right, just not one that I would want to wear. It strikes me as rather feminine, actually, sweet but not floral, and so I'll give it a neutral in that regard. Whatever floats your boat - or canoe, as it were.
26th July, 2016
I give this a neutral rating because I guess there's nothing wrong with it really. It's just that I don't particularly care for it. It is very musky, and powdery. I find if you use Pinault Clubman aftershave or Aqua Velva Musk aftershave this compliments those very well as a cologne. If you love musk and that really powdery scent this would be the one for you. It's very affordable.
12th April, 2015
zoghbi Show all reviews
United States
Two notes. Very Linear.
Baby powder and cotton candy.
Of all the fine fragrances that have been discontinued, this one is still alive?
10th October, 2014
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
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
12th May, 2013
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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
studer Show all reviews
United States
Ahhh nothing special. Used to own it when i was younger a while back. Didnt really do it for me, but i do remember it being a weak safe scent maybe a barbershop smell.
12th August, 2012
Swanky Show all reviews
United States
I'm a huge fan of powdery barbershop fragrances. Canoe is nearly universal in its availability. Alas, with so many barber fougeres in my collection, Canoe is an odd man out. Specifically, the sweet vanilla in the drydown is too much for me. It's great that this is still in production and is a great introduction to classic men's perfumery, but I prefer Royal Copenhagen, Pinaud's Clubman or Jockey Club for the talc notes - the latter trio is less sweet and linear than Canoe and similar in price.
26th June, 2012
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 recently added Canoe to my wardrobe in honor of its iconic status as a reference aromatic fougere per Michael Edwards. I find the top notes to be a bit unsettling, alcohol, lemon and I'm not sure what else. Hairspray comes to mind. Fortunately, this fades fairly quickly. I get a definite Brut vibe with this one. The mid notes pass me by entirely. The tonka and vanilla base notes emerge and dominate early in the progression with a noticeable heliotrope note. No oakmoss to my nose. I rate this a neutral for its pleasant, persistent dry down and its long history of making guys smell pretty good. The new formulation, which is now (according to the box) "Made in China with Fragrance Oil Made in the USA", is the only version I've tried. I've smelled it on others years ago but never gave it much thought. I'd love to get my hands on the "Made in France" version.
10th May, 2011 (last edited: 30th November, 2011)
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
Sadly vile. I really wanted to like Canoe – at first blush it resembled an upscale, refined Pinaud Clubman, an oily, powdery lemon-butter talcum powder straight from the barbershop.

Unfortunately the drydown becomes rancid, piercing, and abominably cheap. Pinaud Clubman itself smells better and actually costs less. Poor Canoe must have been quite nice before reformulation degraded it into a chintzy mess.
06th February, 2011
man114 Show all reviews
United States
Very similar to Pinaud's Clubman but sweeter. Perhaps too much so. Whereas Clubman has enough of a dryness to not seem obtrusive, this one smells sweet. I think it is too much Vanillia that becomes too dominant in this one.
28th January, 2011
One of the few colognes out there so cheaply manufactured and packaged that it is simply overwhelming in even moderate doses because the patchouli is so suffocating. Yes, this is a classic and yes a true groundbreaking original historically speaking, but the scent itself induces headaches and depends far too much on powder and floral accents. The longevity of this frag is outstanding, but you may need to build up some sort of immunity in order to tolerate the actual scent. Although it certainly maintains some dignity as a masculine scent despite being a powder keg, this one should be taken in very small doses and only on occasion, and never on special occasions for that matter.

This is a femme repellent for any woman under 40, be warned. But she's still an old dame with a graceful history and for its sheer historical significance and extreme affordability it is essential inhaling material.
19th January, 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
I don't know what it is, but I've never smelled a bottle of Canoe that I liked. Something in the formulation always strikes me as coarse and unpleasant.... not even the vintage versions make me want to like it. Thumbs down.
21st September, 2010
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)
I haven't worn or smelled Canoe for quite some time, but I do remember it being in my collection as a youngster. From what I can recall, it was very powdery..but in a light refreshing way. One of the better cheap colognes out there. I may actually get a smaller bottle for old times sake.
05th March, 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