Kanøn fragrance notes

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Like it's wooden cap, Kanon is fresh wood, unmistakable and unique without even a hint of anything close to sweetness. Dry as a bone with an astringent almost medicinal air, as if it's role as a fragrance emerged secondarily to its function as an aftershave that kills the bacteria and seals the pores. It is, alas, unfortunately extraordinarily weak and short-lived. I cannot detect it in any sense whatsoever a mere 30 minutes after application. I could bathe in it and indeed I have pretty much tried with a dozen sprays, to no avail. It will not linger.
1st July 2022
I have a long history with this 60s icon. I was attracted to the design and aesthetic of the bottle when thumbing through old magazines as a kid.

It started my love affair with classic and barbershop fragrances when I visited Colonial Drug at its original location in Harvard Square in Cambridge, 1999 (I was 20 at the time). I was entranced as soon as I entered, ogling all the old fashioned fragrances in their visually delightful bottles. Then I saw Kanøn on the counter. I bought it, and that’s where the obsession had its slow burning beginnings. I had since exhausted that bottle and picked up a newer formulation.

Most recently, I found a bottle closer to the original I had years ago (solid, darker wooden cap, silver label, darker juice), and had the opportunity to compare a vintage with a more recent formulation. What’s most striking was how much more oakmoss/fougere oriented the older was than the more recent, which is heavier in musk and woods. The latter projects more, too. I enjoy both and plan to layer!

Can we talk about the downgrade on the wooden cap, though? The original was a solid, substantial chunk of handsome wood. It's now some extremely lightweight piece of balsa wood that doesn't exactly evoke a Scandinavian forest. The desperate measures taken to cut costs for the sake of preserving a brand image, I suppose. The fact that they insisted on using *a* type of wood rather than revert to a plastic imitation is what is most amusing, if not admirable.
5th March 2022

Kanøn (1966) would be something of an anomaly in 1966. This Scandinavian-wrought masculine scent was very much not in tune with what the French design houses or UK barbershop perfumers were making for guys at this time. It wasn't really a citrus/animalic chypre and it wasn't a powdery lavender and vanilla bomb like a lot of popular "far east" fougeres making their rounds in the decade. Instead, the folks from the land of ice and snow bequeathed us an early framework of the scent combination that Yves Saint Laurent would later strip down to it's barest essentials and use for the legendary Kouros (1981). Both fragrances would focus on a bergamot top, a floral middle (muguet for Kanøn, muguet and orris for Kouros), and a mossy bottom with amber and animalic in the mix. The only difference here is the blending and complexity. Kanøn clearly has 2 or 3 times as many notes overall as most scents from the period, save maybe Estée Lauder Aramis (1965) or Fabergé Brut (1964), and is much more generalist in nature than a lot of stuff from this time as well. The advertising for this stuff was the most "stereotypical Scandinavian" thing imaginable, where they would go at length about how healthy and proper it was to smell good, and how a man should never miss small details about themselves, such as what cologne they use, which is where they insert the bit about what sensible Scandinavian men choose. I guess this was before IKEA made Sweden seem quirky or Volvo learned that vehicles could be fun and still safe or practical, so Americans bought into this stuff.

Kanøn is a woodsy floral scent with a moss base that goes for something manly and relatively complex, it is dry, with only a slight semi-sweet aura, and the same sort of trashy funk opening that screams "I am a male" that Kouros shares. The ride down into the moss base is a bit warmer and smoother than Kouros, but not as clearly masculine, as if the makers of Kanøn wanted to imply virility but surround it in that trademark Scandinavian brevity and modesty. It's less of a dripping, sweaty body rippled with muscle like Kouros and more of a strong, unshaven lumberjack body wrapped in wool and holding a smoke pipe whilst sitting next to a well-kept fireplace. This scent has enough man funk to be clearly what it aims to be (original box markings didn't call it for men, but "man's cologne"), but it comes off a little more welcoming, world-wise, and resolute. People were still wearing a lot of super-sweet vanillic barbershop scents at this time, and the aforementioned citrus/animalic chypres were still making their rounds in high-end circles, plus this stuff also launched the same year as Christian Dior's legendary Eau Sauvage (1966). Keep all that in mind when you take a whiff of Kanøn. Apparently the company thought it necessary to make a "light" version of this too, as it was seen necessary rather than having the person simply dial down their own application. It was a similar trick to Brut's "33" version, with less perfume oil but otherwise the same scent. Wear this wherever you dare, because it won't fit in anywhere you use it, period.

There wasn't much really like Kanøn in terms of personality on the market at the time, and it's "from Scandinavia" angle was also probably a seller, because guys are suckers for exotica if it attracts a date, so this stuff did well enough. It's been bought and sold, and sold again, changing manufacturers from it's homeland, to mainland Europe, to Canada, and eventually the US. The scent has admittedly grown super weak in new formulations, so the number of sprays will need to become ludicrous if you're using current, but the drydown is mostly the same, minus a bit of animalics and zero oakmoss in the post-2011 versions. It's hit prices under $10 from discounters so it's not a risky blind-buy, but if you're not a fan of the manly ambery and dry floral vibe this scent has to offer, you might want to stay away. If Kouros is a sharp-dressed man peeling off his suit to hit the gym, then Kanøn is his burly Swedish uncle coming in from the cold after hefting a cord of wood. I highly recommend this as a work-friendlier scent for the guy that loves a "man's man" scent, but doesn't want to completely steal all the attention in the room. By the way, Palm Beach (who owns the brand now) really makes some zany and nasty flankers that you should probably avoid. The "wood" themed ones are safest, but they still suck. Thumbs up.
20th November 2017
Stank of warm, powdery musks
And lumberjack woods.
29th October 2017
Awful stuff in my opinion.

The wood note is cedar which isn't bad,but it's a bit bright.There's a powdery note in this cologne that to me is unscented...not barbershop talc,baby powder,or vanilla just no smell.The powder serves as an absorbent to this disgusting green note that resembles a bland and dissapointing patchouli,but the other half of the green counterpart reminds me of a weakly pickled cucumber.

Spray it on and just it's a pungent green powder with a bright wood note.Took me 3 or 4 sprays on initial try to get anything beyond a skin scent from it and lasted 2 hours on me...I considered that a personal favor.You get what you pay for at $10 on a cologne with free shipping but Kanon is the worst value cologne to me.
21st January 2017
The Vintage was extraordinarily unique. It had fresh clean lines like my Grandmother's 60's Scandinavian hand rubbed wood furniture. It carried a perfume that
evoked a polished austere nobility. I wore it through the 70's and into the early 80's when my mood was that of being alone in a stark landscape, tuned with my Viking Warrior.
I don't know if I'd want to taste the contemporary as it could shatter the spell.
Thumb's up, certainly for the vintage.
7th February 2016
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