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Canoe Cologne Review: Can Inexpensive Also Be Exquisite?

It’s said there’s no sense as potent or evocative as the sense of smell.

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A whiff of cinnamon rolls at a bakery is usually enough to make you crave the delicious cinnamon cookies your grandma used to bake, while a single spritz of the inexpensive Canoe cologne is enough to charm your way into that special someone’s’ heart.

canoe cologne dana

But what exactly makes Canoe by Dana special?

If you’ve been thinking of adding it to your collection but are unsure what you’ll be getting yourself into, you’re in good company. We’ll disclose pretty much everything you need to know about it, so you can determine whether it’ll tickle your fancy.

Who Makes Canoe Cologne?

Canoe cologne spray is a classic fougere manufactured by Dana. It has been around since 1935 and is part of the Smithsonian collection displayed at the National Museum of American History. It was first created in Paris but brought to the U.S. by American soldiers during the Second World War.

Although the inexpensive Canoe cologne is manufactured by the Dana brand, it is the brainchild of Jean Carles, an incredibly famous French perfumer of the early 20th century.


He was the founding father of the Roure Perfumery School, and his remarkable feats in the perfume realm despite losing his sense of smell toward the end of his career. Due to this, many people compared him to Beethoven. Jean Carles’ reputation exceeds him not just for the success of Canoe by Dana, but also for the long string of fantastic scents he created.

He is also renowned for the positive light he shone on every brand he rubbed shoulders with during his career. Some of the brands he worked with include modern A-list fragrance companies like Hermes, Dior, Schiaparelli, and Balenciaga. Many crème de la crème perfumers we know today, such as Marcel Carles, Jacques Polge, and Monique Schlienger, also mastered their art under his belt.

canoe cologne

Carles is famed not just for the exceptional fragrances he brought forth, but also for his simple, inexpensive yet exquisite, and sophisticated perfume formulas.

Looking at the legacy he left behind, it is no wonder Canoe by Dana remains one of the most sought after colognes for men, despite being around for over a century. Besides Canoe aftershave, Jean Carles is also the force behind two other coveted Dana perfumes: Tabu and Emir.

Scent Notes

As an aromatic fougere with summery vibes, a whiff of Canoe by Dana first exudes bergamot, entwined by a burst of petitgrain, lemon, and clary sage.

The heart reveals sweet and bright floral scents of lavender, fougere, and geranium, while patchouli and musk add a rather refreshing and laidback base to the stunning fragrance of the inexpensive Canoe men’s cologne.


Packaging and Presentation

Humans are visual creatures and we’d be straight up lying if we claimed we aren’t swayed by looks. In that light, a perfume might smell great, but if the package and presentation are tacky, we’ll, unfortunately, pass it up for a fancier option.

However, we’ll make an exception for Canoe by Dana. Why? Well, the packaging isn’t a work of art. Neither is it as fancy as what you’d expect to find in the market today, but for a cologne that dates back to the 20th century, the bottle designer did well.

The Canoe cologne packaging is all about simplicity and practicality. It is housed in an iconic spherical clear glass bottle, revealing its light brown contents.

Put simply, the packaging and presentation of Canoe by Dana are straightforward, iconic, and a reflection of its fantastic summery scent. It’s slightly playful, with a practical, nomadic edge since you can place it on pretty much any surface, or carry it on the go and not have to worry about accidentally breaking it.

sage canoe cologne

Personal Impressions

As with every scent that features bergamot, clary sage, petitgrain, and citrusy top notes, a heart of lavender and geranium and musk base notes, Canoe cologne is sweet to the nose, yet seductive.

It is an aromatic scent guaranteed to make you stand out, but with moderate silage so it is not overpowering. It strikes a perfect spot between class and sexiness. This cologne is undoubtedly an excellent addition to your dresser if you prefer stunning, seductive, but subtle masculine scents.


Canoe man cologne is a masculine scent set to enable any wearer to stand out without overpowering those around them. The top notes, that is bergamot, clary sage, lemon, and petitgrain, last about five to ten minutes. The middle notes set in after about fifteen minutes and can last for an hour or more, while the base scent notes will have you smelling nice for about five to seven hours.

Canoe by Dana has a clean and refined, yet woodsy and musky dry down. It is long-lasting but has moderate silage, and an excellent fit for every perfume lover who appreciates vintage fragrances. If you love it but prefer stronger scents, it can be layered with Canoe’s splash. Also, make sure to store it sealed all the time for a longer shelf life.

Who Would Like It?

Smelling good makes one irresistible and memorable. A nice smelling man is especially a charm to most women. However, not every man wants a loud, high silage fragrance. Some prefer a subtle yet fantastic scent that only they, and those who get intimately close to them, can enjoy. Canoe cologne spray is that type of fragrance.

The unique combination of aromatic fougere notes is tantalizing and long-lasting but has moderate silage. It is seductive and masculine, but at the same time, subtle enough to be worn by a lady who doesn’t like girlish scents.

It is a moderate concentration perfume blend, perfect for guys who would like to smell good and feel good about themselves but not fill up an elevator with their fragrance.

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canoe cologne

Born and raised in Austin, David is a dedicated writer and avid fragrance lover. When he's not trying out perfumes, he enjoys traveling and exploring new restaurants.