I seem to remember this being a poor man's CK Obsession. However, when I recently got some samples of Bond No 9 Cooper Square, I KNEW I had smelled it before and couldn't place it. It was definitely 80s. I got the Cooper Square because it was said(here, no less) to smell very similar to original Calvin in the blue bottle(RIP). But that wasn't it. It smelled spot on like Santa Fe, or at least my memory of Santa Fe. This did not make me want a full bottle of Cooper Square, but I am now looking for a cheap Santa Fe.
Alcohol laden opening quickly cools into a vanilla, cinnamon spiced nutmeg fragrance that relies heavily on the vanilla. Certainly does take liberal inspiration from Caron's Third Man and lesser so from Calvin Klein's Obsession but it does seem to dig deeper into 1970's mandarin, powder and spice giants like Lagerfeld for its inspiration.
Santa Fe is certainly not a head-turner and is dangerously close to cloying and may not work for some skin chemistries. I wouldn't suggest it for a night out or a clutch evening when an impression can go a long way. It lacks the complexity of its influences but it is a decent, casual scent with excellent value given the somewhat organic smelling elements and low price. Still, the blending itself does imply a certain cheapness but that can easily be overlooked given Santa Fe's lack of pretension.
Santa Fe doesn't evolve too dramatically, moving towards a linear vanilla and powder bomb five minutes into the initial application. It sticks around fairly long for its price, with 4-6 hours not uncommon. Projection is not overwhelming, but it certainly is detectable and doesn't seem to slip into the realm of skin scent until midway through the drydown.
A pleasing enough scent for those who enjoy vanilla and a little bit of spice that should only be used sporadically, as this one can be very cloying. For the price fairly enjoyable and worth the investment as a change-up in an already loaded arsenal. Nothing exceptional, but for those on a budget a tremendous bargain. Simple and a bit too powdery to work as a signature scent.
I wouldn't so much consider Santa Fe for Men a clone of The Third Man. It's more like a cruder Obsession for Men/Tiffany for Men with its powdery florals, cinnamon and vanilla. For under 10 dollars, and even under 5 at some big-name discounters here in the U.S., it's not bad. As an Eau de Cologne, it lasts 4 to 5 hours on my skin. The bottle is awkward and has an uncomfortable texture like pottery made in art class before it's been glazed.
I remember sampling Santa Fe back when it was first available, and it struck me as an imitation of Obsession For Men more than Caron's Third Man (or Troxieme Homme, to be more precise). Not bad for a drugstore fragrance, but not nearly as good as Obsession, as it only captured the more obvious notes. The packaging and design was quite good, but I think somebody just decided that because Southwestern design motifs were fashionable, they would use the name and design. It doesn't really conjure up the Southwest for me at all --- a true "Santa Fe" fragrance ought to have some pinon, juniper and smoky notes in it, as well as spicy and wood notes. I'll give it a thumbs up because the fragrance itself is nicely balanced for what it is.
Vanilla. Powder and Vanilla. I put this on, and this is absolutely all I get out of this one on my skin. Lots of Vanilla with a tad of powder on the drydown. Someone mentioned Sandalwood? Can't smell it on my skin. I don't mind Vanilla or Powder. Just seems overly simple.