French Cancan fragrance notes

  • Head

    • jasmine, lilac, violet, lily of the valley
  • Heart

    • may rose, orange blossom, iris
  • Base

    • patchouli, sandalwood, ambergris, oakmoss

Where to buy

Latest Reviews of French Cancan

The violet and iris dominate on my skin and it gets pretty powdery. It's very floral with indolic jasmine and lilac and also quite sweet underneath the powdery flowers.
17th June 2019
I must preface this review with a caveat; there are two versions of this juice. An American import and one made in France for sale only in Europe. I first sampled the American version in New York around 2006. It smelled like a strong amber and dead flowers. Then a year or so later, I discovered that only potable alcohol was used in European perfume- due to antiquated laws reaching back to Prohibition Era. US imports use cheaper, harsher denatured alcohol.This may sometimes affect the smell of the perfume. I got the idea to order 'French CanCan' based solely on the notes. I felt that it might be better than the sample I had had in New York.

I was not disappointed! The French version is a creamy and rich floral in which each note seems to jump forward. Amber and sandalwood support rose, violet, Lily-of-the-valley and jasmine- and all nearly simultaneously. I used to think there was heliotrope here but it's not listed. This is just a glorious floral that's not too sweet. It's dignified, yet joyful. The oak moss is still lovely, too even with every body breathing down their necks- this is still a chypre. As you can tell, I'm a fan of the Parisian juice- parfum. I guess the overall effect is spicy- carnation like, but it's more violet and jasmine, too. And rose- don't forget the rose! I feel dizzy.
30th June 2014

To my nose this is a sharp, acrid scent, musty and camphor-like at first exposure, then drying down to a potpourri-like, very old fashioned, very strong aura, that never loses its acrid note.

I am not surprised it is dated at 1936, but it seems much older than that and not very original. It has an enormous amount of materials, but the sharp notes, the violet, the lily of the valley, and the lilac, predominate and cover the white florals, the jasmine, rose, and orange blossom. Support comes from sandalwood, amber and oakmoss, but again the sharp note of iris (orris root), overwhelms the warmth of the base notes.

Reminiscent of Lili Bermuda's Jasmine perfume, another from the 1930s that is even sharper and more potpourri-like, as well as having the most misleading name.

Overall, not pleasant and decidedly off-putting to my nose.
15th April 2013
I had waited weeks to do an intimate sampling of Caron French Cancan. When a person gets something special like Djedi or vintage En Avion or, in this case, Cancan, it behooves said sniffer to give full focus to the experience. DH & DD are jogging down by the lakefront, and I am alone with a rich perfume.

The scent of the juice alone produced two flashbacks, both of which surprised me. Firstly, I was reminded of the smell of our homemade wine, which is aged dry on oak. Very pleasant. The second memory places me near the dime stores I frequented in the '60s. I don't know how, but I must have been exposed to some of the common scents of the day and their now-less-frequently used ingredients, which remain in this sample. Once on the skin, Cancan very much puts me in mind of the dusty carnation in Terra Cotta Voile d'Ete, an association I'd never made before with "drive-by" sniffing of Cancan. Now that I'm into the heart notes, the scent is mellowing and sweetening, which I prefer since the spiciness of carnation is right near my heat tolerance.

I'm going to luxuriate now, enjoying my solitude, the air conditioning and Cancan. It is really, really beautiful. Thank you, Kumquat, for these many moments of pleasure I will experience with full mindfullness.
22nd July 2012
You are sitting at the bar in a small jazz club in Paris, where maybe at some point in the place's now-remote past, a few working gals once did a French CanCan. But the place was renovated a while ago. It's twilight in the spring, and the early flowers are finally here.
The piano player flips open a notebook. He starts the intro, laying out a thick carpet of chords. A waitress walks by with a tray. And the singer steps up. He's tired, but in voice, and starts..

"The scene is set for dreaming, love is knocking at the door.
But oh my heart, I'm reluctant to start, cause we've been here before..."

You are thinking, what song is this? I know this song. But what is it? You order a champagne cocktail, and go back to listening.
What is the name of it this song? The singer sounds good, and continues...

"The night is like a lovely tune,
Beware my foolish heart..."

Oh right. Of course. It's My Foolish Heart. How quaint. How romantic.Well, let's see if this guy can pull it off. You stare out the window into the flat blue twilight, wondering, is there a garden around here? The singer's pitch is dead on, and he's sailing over the high notes...

"How white the ever constant moon
Take care my foolish heart"

You wonder, who is this guy? Have I ever heard of him?
The wind carries the scent of some night-blooming flowers into the room, so delicate and intoxicating. Jasmine, Ylang-ylang.
You remember you're in Europe, not New York, and take a sip from the glass.
This guy is killing. He's right in the groove...

"There's a line between love and fascination
That's hard to see on an evening such as this
For they both give the very same sensation
When you're lost in the madness of a kiss"

And you just start watching him, now more like as a fan, than a critic. And you notice, man, the band is good too. The bass and drums are so solid. Locked in, they are just laying it down. He's at the top again...

"Her lips are much too close to mine
Take care, my foolish heart"

Oh, geez, violets. That's the smell that's blowing in from outside. Are roses is season yet? The singer is smiling at you, so you smile back.

"But should our eager lips combine
Then let the fire start"

And patchouli. You notice your face is flushed, maybe from the alcohol. But this band is so good it's embarassing. Baby powder is wafting up at you from inside your shirt. You glance around. The room filled up quickly. The piano player tosses out the last eight bars, and the singer drives them home.

"For this time it isn't fascination
Or a dream that will fade and fall apart
It's love, this time it's love
My foolish heart"

And you wonder what you just experienced, at first you think you might know, but still you can't really describe it. How can such an old song with these goofy lyrics be so alive to you tonight? How can a thing transcend time like that? But what you do know is that it was pretty, and more than that, it made you happy. And you finish the drink, pay the tab, and walk out into the fading light.

3rd January 2012
I have read that this was discontinued and re-introduced again about ten years ago. I don't find Cancan to be a hugely original perfume in today's formulation. To my nose this comes across as a mix of Pois de Senteur (the talced floral accord with a clearly detectable muguet) and Alpona. Sillage is rather strong initially and it smells undoubtedly very 'Caron' to me. What bothers me in its base is most likely the violet and I am almost certain what is patchouli here. It's more wearable than Alpona for my taste, but it is not original. Most of all, it is nowhere near the class and finesse of Pois de Senteur.
24th November 2011
The bitter-herbal opening quickly dies down, allowing powdery floral notes to come through. l get mainly violet & something like heliotrope, & in this phase it reminds me a little of L'Heure Bleue. There's an earthiness to this fragrance, reminiscent of my garden on a wet autumn day, complete with damp soil & leaves. lt doesn't smell anything like it's name to me; it's more of a contemplative fragrance than an upbeat one. lt fades after about 4 hours. l'm giving this a neutral because, although l don't dislike it, l can't see myself reaching for it often.
13th February 2011
To me this is a soft, gentle scent in which the individual notes meld together so well that it's really hard to pick them out one by one. I do get the violet and rose, though, and then the oakmoss, and the overall blend reminds me quite a bit of "N'Aimez Que Moi", which is my absolute favourite perfume. If "old" means dreamy, nostalgic, retro-chic and harmonious, then, yes, it's an "old" sort of scent, but I think a better word would be "timeless". Anyone, any age, any season or occasion, could wear it and it would be appropriate. As you can see, I really love this scent and will be saving up for a bottle soon.
1st November 2010
There is only one aspect of this scent that keeps me from giving it a thumbs down and that is somewhere in the mid-notes there is a fizzy, sparkly champagne-like quality to it that I enjoy. That fizz reminds me of my Caron favourite Bellodgia but with more oranges and less cream. What I get from time to time with this scent is a stale musty odor and urine whiff combined-----that puts me off.
28th October 2010
Notes of jasmine, lilac, violet, lily of the valley, rose, orange blossom, patchouli, iris, sandalwood, amber and oakmoss.A strange but compelling . slightly gassy- bitter opening - much like Diamond Water by JAR ( hmm ... I wonder where the inspiration for DW came from.. ) but then French Can Can changes into a soft skin sweet meld of violet,lilac, iris and rose. Womanly, clean skin. Creamy ,delicious and soft.
20th July 2010
(Parfum review)Actual notes: jasmine, lilac, violet, lily of the valley, rose, orange blossom, patchouli, iris, sandalwood, amber, oakmossCancan unfolds like a night at a club. First you walk in and find yourself alone, and it takes awhile for other patrons to show up. Abruptly, however, jasmine and lily of the valley walk in, with a shaken bottle of champaigne that opens with a BANG and covers you with sticky, sweet bubbly. this phase i don't like, as the jasmine is too strong for me and in my head I was composing my first Caron epitaph. Around the 1 1/2 hour mark violet and lilac show up, which have the effect of two well heeled ladies that walk in and cause the roudies to settle down.But they don't stay nice for long. At the two hour mark the 'conversation' turns a bit salicious. I don't know what's causing htis, but the middle phase wears a bit 'dirty' on me, not stinky, but certainly not fresh. in a strange way the conversation remains interesting, and as the hours pass by i find myself returning to my wrist to satisfy my curiosity. The dry down is best, the opening is trying. As a floral this genre does not appeal to me, but as a Caron it is certainly worthy of the name and reputation.To love this you have to be a strong Jasmine fan. To appreciate this you have to be a true perfumista. To like this you just have to know how to enjoy a night on the town.
4th June 2010
Diptyque does a jasmine candle that smells like jasmine for a few minutes and then the magic falls apart and it smells of cloyingly sweet synthetic white floral + violet. This is exactly what French Cancan smells like. All of the highly evocative descriptions of beds of dark purple violets and va va voom vampy naughtiness that can be found on some other sites seem to be based on the listed notes + the name + highly active imaginations.
6th November 2009