Perfume Reviews

Reviews of Santos by Cartier

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

This is the distinction between the men and the boys. SANTOS DE CARTIER is a sophisticated Oriental-Woody blend that beautifully incorporates exotic wood and spice notes.The top notes has a very distinct smell which peaked my interest enough for me to try this EDT.Classic,Warm,Rich,Strong,Passionate, Classy, Gentlemanlike and Very Oriental.

Herbal and fresh notes of basil,lavender and bergamot sit over a spicy heart of pepper,nutmeg and geranium while a rich base of woods,patchouli and vanilla bring masculinity,strength and also sweetness to this lovely classic and makes it an intense and great choice for the confident and perfect man.

SANTOS DE CARTIER is reserved for the Winter Evenings.It is not seemly for a young or teenager and I highly recommend this real Orintal-Woody fragrance to a dandy man 30/50 years who wants to smell great before a big event.CARTIER never disappoint you indeed.


Longevity?Very Good on my skin.

16th December, 2014
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Trying a sample of this over the past 120 minutes, simply gauging its relative strength along with three other newly acquired scents. Trouble is, I've reapplied yet another decent dose of Santos three separate times, and still, it is being forced into whimpering non-noticeable submission by the three other scents, all of which were applied only once, as well as the three being classified as light, sporty type scents. An earlier reviewer claimed the reformulated version of Santos to have been a product of disembowelment from an original version. Almost certainly, that is truth. The initial smell, all 15 minutes worth, conjures a rich spicy goodness that must have once been a scrumptious pleasure to behold. Ahh, but now? Reduced to an utter tease.
04th March, 2014
Puts all these punk kid scents to shame Santos is in a class of mature men scents. A cold weather evening scent that will drive women to delite with one whiff. Put down the dept store nose clogging, headache inducing juice, And put on some real classy edt. Santos, there is no substitute!
22nd January, 2013
I am writing this post because I recently tried Santos last version .... I was very happy to see him on the shelf, but just sprayed already noticed the difference in intensity and for sure the ingredients are different. I do not know why they are no longer utilizabili or is no longer worthwhile to produce with certain things, but not free to criticize the new Santos is a very faded away copy of the first ... sure who has lived with the first note the similarity but also notes the significant difference .. thumbs up for the old man no comment for the new
07th January, 2013
The old formula was one of the best fragances ever... and lasts 24 hours.

The new formulation it's horrible and lasts about 15 minutes on my skin.
Cheaper and awful.

I will never buy a fragrance from Cartier.

For me, this is a DISASTER!!!!
07th April, 2012
I love the smell of the 80's. Back then, scents were loud, in-your-face and unique. Santos de Cartier is the best example of a raw, edgy, incredibly masculine scent from that time period.

Compared to those more modern scents, some may think Santos de Cartier is too strong, too earthy and too different to be worn by anyone today. I tend to disagree.

This fragrance hits you like a surprise punch in the face. For the first few seconds, it's bitter, green and herbaceous. As it settles, it begins to smell somewhat leathery and sweet. I find Santos de Cartier a stronger version of Chanel Antaeus.

There is a definite hint of vanilla and incense, particularly in the drydown, which makes this fragrance suitable for women to wear as well. Personally, I wouldn't feel ashamed to wear such a bold, manly scent like this one, and honestly, I'm fussy.

The rich, dark woodsiness of this fragrance is divine. In lots of ways I'd rather a man smell like Santos de Cartier than those non-descript citrus aromatics that tend to flood the male market these days.

The man that wears Santos de Cartier, is mature and sensible. Honestly, I can't imagine this being worn by or being bought by any young man. This fragrance is for real men.

There's nothing to fear in terms of lasting strength and sillage. Santos de Cartier is quite possibly the powerhouse fragrance of the century. I highly recommend.
01st March, 2012
Elzéard Show all reviews
United Kingdom
It is certainly dry, and with its herbal woody notes it's sat somewhere in between Tuscany and Polo Green in terms of style, but lacking the heavy smoke or chest hair of the latter. Not bad, but not particularly inspiring.
03rd February, 2012
There is a difference between old-fashioned and out-dated, and to me Santos definitely falls in the latter category..

Seriously..this smells like it belongs in a different geological era entirely..

Inexplicable to me how this may be worn today
06th June, 2011 (last edited: 12th June, 2011)
shamu1 Show all reviews
United States
I'm not one to complain about reformulations, but Cartier really disemboweled Santos when it changed the formula. I remember this being a rich, dark and complex old school fragrance, but now we have a weak, watered down, spare and dull woody chypre with poor sillage and very little character.

Santos is certainly not terrible, and the dirty, dusty smell underlying the fragrance is still present. The problem is that there's so little "meat" to this fragrance, and it comes across as an overly simplified, lifeless wood and citrus scent with an animalic touch. It just smells flat.

I'm satisfied with most reformulations of fragrances, but Cartier has managed to suck the life right out of Santos, leaving us with a pretty boring scent. Don't waste your money on this.

06th May, 2011
Elegant and conservative this fragrance is a real epitome of the 80's, an old formula performing an eminent example of elegance. It's dark-boise as the aroma of a dark forest, it's vaguely rubbery, musky with a weird hint of fruity incense. The inizial whiff of earthy patchouli, woods and fruity resins conjures a bit the original Aramis that is "complicately" leathery like this one but with a different type of ostensibly fruity after smell (myrtle oil plus an obscure, vaguely berrish, fruity touch, spices and flowers for Aramis). Three are in my opinion the key elements of Santos: the gummy-incensey galbanum, the earthy patchouli and the spicy orangy neroli. A well dosed initial lavender provides that discreet, traditional touch of aromatic virility. Nutmeg and vetiver keep a fair dose of mild earthiness till the end of development. The combination of galbanum and vetiver produces a sort of earthy but resinous dark-green incensey sort of "aura". The deeply woodsy temperament is supported by juniper, heavy woods and green vegetal notes while an addition of dirty dustiness is blown around by "molecular" cumin. The slightly acid after-smell of the latter is barely perceivable by brave noses far more expert than the mine. The final outcome is a sort of velvety, vaguely oily-resinous and leathery aroma of deep forest and smoky orange with a touch of incensey "mist", some earthiness and "organic" ambergris. A pillar of classicism.
21st April, 2011 (last edited: 13th June, 2014)
this is beautiful, can be used in hot weather and it is virtually inoffensive. However it doesn´t last for more than 2 hours. Be aware that santos is totally different of concentree version. Concentree is highly male scent, its drier, less smooth, much more herbal/woody and lasts for 8-12 hours swithing notes and do not just fade away. This version has a powdery drydown. Concentree has a resinous base plus the herbals that stand till the end. Antaeus is more similar to this standard version. Concentree is more in the drakkar dry way, some told me concentree smelled i little of polo green, showing me that concentree is good, bad maybe people nowadays would feel Conc. more agressive because of the marine/toilet aura that rules market today...
07th October, 2010
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Vampire Weekend - Diplomat's Son (2010):

It's not right but it's now or never
And if I wait could I ever forgive myself?
On a night when the moon glows yellow in the riptide
With the light from the TV's buzzing in the house

Cuz I'm gonna cut it where I can
And then I'm gonna duck out behind them
If I ever had a chance it's now then
But I never had the feeling I could offer that to you

To offer it to you would be cruel
When all I want to do is use, use you

He was a diplomat's son
It was '81...

10/10 for Santos
11th August, 2010
I had it ... back in the 80's
I also was young and full of Ideas or Dreams ...
Notions of what I thought made me feel Rich,Sophisticated and Elegant...
Van Cleef & Arpels pour Homme along with fave Santos Cartier...
created that illusion for me...
wow.... who knew that a long-lasting,
sweet-strong sandalwood, mix of lavender, basil, vetiver, carnation, patchouli..
with a dry down that is an exquisite mixture of ambergris in a deep-down leathery/smokey/incense-like chords
would make me long for those youthful days .. now!
07th July, 2010
Top notes are astringent sandalwood and leather. There's a strange "emptiness" to the leather that makes it seem old man-ish. There's another note in it, perhaps cinnamon, that reminds me of Bond no. 9's "H.O.T. Always." I don't hate it, but its nothing mind-blowing. I'm generally not a fan of leather, I should note.
22nd November, 2009
An eminently wearable fusion of fresh, crisp top note components with warmer edgier elements. The opening seems dominated by the presence of the Bergamot, which combined with Basil creates a tightened, astringent yet surpisingly pleasant accord. The real delights occur further into the Santos experience, when some real masculine staples enter the fray. The warmth from the woods married to the the condiment components in the middle notes creates an attitude of strength and success. This may not be the best in the Cartier showroom, but it more than holds its own.
11th April, 2009
The best moments in Santos remind me fleetingly of Ungaro ll- and that is saying a lot. The sweet lavender opening is among the best in my recollection. Though the drydown is a little too subdued and common for my liking.
26th February, 2009
very strong that is awful .... i sprayed a little on my hand and i could not wait for long to wash it off ....
18th January, 2009

I was surprised at testing this one. I don’t believe that I have ever smelled it before although I have worn and loved Santos de Cartier Concentrée for years and years. I tested the two side by side. I was surprised because the opening on this one is smoother, fuller, and more attractive than the opening on the Concentrée version. I didn’t expect that, and for a while I was concerned that I might have been using the wrong fragrance all these years. The opening is a green, sweet, citrusy accord with aldehydes and a bare touch of lavender. It smells like an excellent version of the all too common green / citrus / lavender accords of so many ‘90s fragrance. After about ten minutes, the two Santos’s smell the same, the better accord in the opening was just a flash in the pan for the regular Santos. The heart notes for the regular Santos are pretty much the same as with the concentrated version: green, aromatic, a little bit spicy, and floral to round it out. After a little over an hour, this regular Santos, has already moved into the mossy, coniferous, drydown while the Concentrée is still spilling out its excellent heart. Two hours later, the regular Santos is almost done – the last gasps of aroma are wimping off the skin. The Concentrée, however, is still going strong. I like Santos, but I’ll stick with Santos Concentrée.

17th October, 2008
Meat. That's what I get. OK, that is a little extreme, but just as with Declaration, I get a meat association with Santos. In declaration, it is more of a spicy salami. With Santos it is the same salami but as a dried 'jerky'. Outside of that, it is a very manly 70s larger than life frag, recalling G. Ferre, Antaeus etc. Please don't let the meat association scare you off, its just the spice and lavender that does it. My nose also tells me Carolina Herrera frags smell like fried food. So maybe it is just me.
20th September, 2008
I tried both the regular and concentrée versions of Santos. Counter-intuitively, I find that I don’t like the regular but can appreciate the concentrée. That is because of the role of patchouli and how it is treated in each version. In the regular version, patchouli dominates. Perhaps in concert with the juniper, I get a most vile scent! To me, it seems quite obnoxious. Pungent, sweet, metallic in an “airy” style, medicinal, harsh, perfumed, pongy, irritating. Tangy cheese? Something going dodgy on an aluminum plate in the hot sun? Stinky sneakers in an old gym locker? You get the picture. This one doesn’t work on my skin, folks. End of story.
03rd September, 2008
Strong herbals and a genuine scent of lavender without the use of vanilla, that gets high points in my book. Slightly peppery which is reinforced by cedarwood. Strong masculine scent. Best of the Cartier mens fragrances.
09th August, 2008
SANTOS,what can i say,tuxedo and a rolex,very 007.ciao!
14th December, 2007
Wow - I'd never have thought it possible, but I smell two classics in this - Aramis-like notes at the top, and Lagerfeld-reminiscent notes at the bottom - infact, after ten or 20 minutes, it smells like those almost stuffy turkish tobacco, vanilla and sandal notes in Richard James that Lagerfeld Classic originated...Those notes remind me especially of Richard James...But my opinion is that Lagerfeld does them in a far, far superior fashion, despite the formula having changed somewhat - they smell less stuffy, more sensual.

But to me, Lagerfeld and Aramis are wonderful on their own...I love each, and seek both out when not readily available...however, whilst Santos is 'different', it certainly doesn't smell like something I'd go hunting for like I do with others.

I dunno why. It fits the description of a new cologne to add to my growing collection - but it just doesn't make me feel that I should just go ahead and buy it...I'm not entirely sure why. Maybe its the semi-stuffy basenotes? Maybe its that it doesn't smell entirely original?

Maybe its because in Santos, I smell Lagerfeld Classic, Antaeus, Aramis and Richard James all at once - all fragrances that I own in my personal collection (not in my wardrobe here - that needs a good updating!).

I'm not entirely certain, but I can't seem to bring myself to purchase it, even though I like it...

I have very mixed feelings 'bout it, and don't know what to think - it confuses me a bit! lol.

Well, that's my 2 cents worth. And I'd say I'd give it about 5.5/10, mainly because of the confusion it has caused me.

Cheers, and happy smellin'.
07th July, 2007
oolong Show all reviews
United States
Last night my girlfriend nuzzled up to me and asked what fragrance I had on? Santos, and she told me how much she liked it on me. Strongly masculine but also smooth and sophisticated. If you have the presence to carry it off, get it. If money is no object, get the Santos Concentrée, if money is an issue the standard Santos is almost as good.
29th June, 2007
Alongside Declaration, this one is one of the best masculine scents by Cartier. It is named after Santos Dumont a dandy and aviator who lived at the turn of the 19th to the 20th century and truly smells like conservative elegance. Stylish chypre scent with citrus and green notes. Starts floral and herbal, especially with a touch of lavender including all the chracteristic sweetness and warmth of this note, then it tends to end in a very leathery way, but inspite of the drydown, the citrus( almost lemony, Mediterranean note) is still very powerful, but mixes perfectly with the more potent, woodyand chypre ingredients. Literaly an old-school and old-world scent, luxurious and discreet, designed as if someone had the refined and elaborate pleasures of the Parisian dandy or the high-end resorts of the French Riviera in mind. Being a fan of citrus and chypre scents- as it is easy to notice- i truly was impressed by this one.
30th December, 2006 (last edited: 06th April, 2008)
I have the older packaging - dark brown glass bottle instead of black plastic. I have compared the two side by side and the old formulation is superior IMO. It's all wood & spice with a very warm leather?/tobacco? drydown. Sillage and longevity are both very high. The new formula is weaker, with an extra (or perhaps missing) note. the new one is also gone in a few hours. The old one lasts 8+ hours for me. I save this one for fall and winter - mostly evening wear. I don't know WHAT I'll do when I run out - maybe try Antaeus! I do feel rich when I wear this - Donald Trump would smell at home in this, as would James Bond. This is definitely a dressier scent for the older (35+) "Man Of The World", type. You will get comments on this!
01st December, 2006
Definitely a power scent. A real winner. But I really dont remember it this way from when I was young. Maybe I used the After Shave back then since it was cheaper. It is any way a great scent. Not far from my nr 1 favourite Antaeus.
17th October, 2006
LOVE this fragrance, but just wanna be honest here and say that this yummy stuff is, IMHO, really just Halston Z-14 after it's wiggled out of jeans and gotten dressed in a tux.

The concentree is a little stronger and a little more complex, granted, but there ya have it.
01st October, 2006