Perfume Directory

Santos (1981)
by Cartier

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Santos information

Year of Launch1981
GenderMasculine
AvailabilityIn Production
Average Rating
(based on 236 votes)

People and companies

HouseCartier

About Santos

Named after the early aviator Santos Dumont, for whom Cartier created the first wrist watch. The fragrance includes notes of Lavender, Nutmeg, Vetiver and Sandalwood.

Santos fragrance notes

  1. Top Notes
  2. Heart Notes
  3. Base notes

Reviews of Santos

I wore the original santos frequently in the 80s and early 90s. I re visited recently. I purchased it on amazon. It is the latest version in the all black ribbed bottle. When i sprayed it i jolted back in uttermost disgust for what i thought was a fake. After a little investigation i realised that this was the real offering from cartier. The latest re formulation is a far cry from the original. It has an overbearing lavender cheap scent. I sprayed again the next day hoping I would change my mind. I did not. I wouldnt even give this away from fear of offending someone. What a dissapointment. This is a prime example of a perfume house cheapening the product over time thinking no one will notice.




04th November, 2017
I had the privilege of trying vintage Santos a ways back. I remember it being a very rich smelling fragrance, sophisticated, complex...it had a lot going on.
I recently tried one of the new formulations, the second to last one that has the integrated atomizer.
First impression is that it smells cheaper and a little crude. A very dry smelling fragrance and to me, this formulation is just very overbearing without any sexy, redeeming qualities, unlike the original.
Even if I weren't comparing it to the vintage I don't think this is a very good EdT.
I tried Antaeus recently, a men's cologne that shares the same lane as Santos, and although not for me, I respect it more, and it seems like that one has more character and a little more refinement than Santos.
19th October, 2017
A smoky, woody, herbal scent for men that is most representative of the powerhouse 1980s, which this scent helped to introduce.

The sweet, strong herbal notes of basil and lavender practically burst out of the bottle, followed by the spicy nutmeg and cumin. All settles down to the perfect blend of sandalwood (for which the scent is obviously named), cedar, patchouli and vetiver.

A simple note tree, as were most men's fougeres in the 1980s. So many of them smelled alike, it all came down to the quality of ingredients and the price. Santos dries down to a warm, woody, skin scent without any sharpness or interference, supported by the gentle spices.

Still a winner in my book after all these years! And, thank goodness, still available.
16th August, 2017
Sandalwood is still one of my most favorite notes. I cannot get enough of it. And it's just astounding how many fragrance variations can be made with sandalwood in the base.

I thought I'd wrapped it all up when I found D&G By Man and Gucci Envy. But then a vintage bottle of Santos de Cartier fell in my lap. This is the dressed up version with brushed silver metal casing and gold accents secured with flush faux screws. The very high end luxury presentation in Remy Martin like padded red faux leather box does not disappoint for what is inside.

Sandalwood and lavender go so well together. Add on some peppery spices, herbs, richness from amber, patchouli, vetiver, and a little sweetness of coconut and vanilla, and something magical happens. Bold and beautiful. I sampled the recent version and it's so sad what Cartier did to it. Definitely make a point of trying the vintage if you can.

Fragrance 9.2 / Value 8.5
06th April, 2017 (last edited: 07th April, 2017)
Okay, Lately I've been spending some quality time with Santos. I am partial to the more masculine fragrances and this is one of them. The first few times I wore it, I thought it was very similar to Lapidus. It does remind me of that, but it really is much more complex and refined. From what I read from some other reviewers, I had assumed that Santos would be a cloying, dated fragrance, being that it was launched in the 80's. This is not true. I have yet to wear anything quite like it, and if it is not a masterpiece, it's close. I think it really is very, very well balanced, somewhat linear, but that's okay because the notes are on target right out of the bottle. Spicy, woody, exotic..., just sweet enough, and not floral or "aqua" or "cloudy" at all. It has very good projection and silage (medium to strong), and it makes me feel calm and confident when I wear it. I wish I could trade my bottle of Lapidus for Santos. Love it.
06th May, 2015
I'm not really enjoying this one. It kicks off with a fairly standard woody chypre smell, but drenched in nutmeg. Given a few minutes, it dies down to hay-ish tobacco with a buzz of very chemical-smelling lavender on top. Eventually, as the lavender sharpness fades, I'm left with the smell of lumber mixed with old newspapers. Finally, a very oily, almost gasoline-smelling chypre base comes in.

Aside from the topnotes, I just haven't found Santos very pleasant. That buzzing fake lavender and the gasoline fumes are bad enough, but when fuzed with nutmeg, they take on a weird quality, like something delicious that's been laced with poison. I don't know how else to describe it - I just don't like it.
13th April, 2015

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