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Before I go into detail about Santos, I would like to point out that my comments refer to the current version with the new bottle design (see Must de Cartier). Santos de Cartier has become my absolute fixed star in the perfume sky for some time and has become my signature fragrance far beyond. This was not always the case and took his time, a first acquaintance was followed by a tender appreciation and ended in a love of perfume. Anyone who has read my commentary on L´Homme from Versace will soon have noticed that I am a fan of the eighties and a bit beyond that I am also "retrospectively" inclined. Santos is for me since then an absolute giant in the men's scent sky. Luca Turin once used the attribute "blessing perfumery" in his book "PERFUMES the A-Z Guide" in relation to the older fragrances of Guerlain and I would like to attribute this attribute to Santos as well, but not without explaining how it came about, thus back to objectivity. Santos is a fragrance that initially attracts attention and tries to bribe by its appearance alone. I have rarely experienced a more consistent reduction in the appearance of a perfume bottle. Every sweetness, every playful detail is alien to the bottle and is consistently left aside in favor of a monolithic appearance. So there is a pitch-black, heavy and extremely high-quality hundred milliliter bottle in front of you, whose deep black appearance is only broken through by a small silver band with almost tiny inscription and you suddenly know that the scent does not want to play. Modernity, showmanship, uniformity and playfulness are not what you look for in Santos and you don't just notice it on the outside. Santos knows what he wants (certainly not unlike the name giver) and makes this clear immediately on first application.
Santos opens with a deliciously fresh top note of moist basil, dew-wetted juniper and a delicate dose of lemon verbena. In general, Santos seems to me at this early stage quite warm and spicy with a "tropical" slightly moist start. To my surprise, the top note can last a relatively long time, because only after a little more than thirty minutes do you notice how the spices slowly take over the direction. Here nutmeg is most succinctly represented, of course not ground, but rather reminiscent of a nutmeg, flanked by fresh rosemary twigs and a hint of cinnamon stick. The green-fresh basil and the light citrus notes of the top note still serve as the basis for the beginning spice round. A combination that is both fresh and woody and spicy at the same time and which can certainly be attributed above all to the wood, instead of the grated spice. The heart note is of a durability that I have rarely experienced before, because it lasted for over five hours on my skin, which seems record-breaking to me personally. Only after about six hours comes for me by far the most beautiful and perfect part of Santos. The base note of Santos finally takes its wearer into tropical climes, for the remaining hint of the heart note is "warmed up" once again by wonderfully warm and at the same time dew-wet aromas of coconut, but not by the sticky sweet flesh, but rather by the woody shell of the coconut and fine notes of sandalwood and vanilla. After more than twelve hours Santos sounds absolutely woody and warm and spicy and, thank God, not at all gourmandig-sweet. The durability is therefore beyond all doubt and I do not perceive the sillage as room-filling or overwhelming.
However, I am surprised at the rather divided opinion on this fragrance, especially the attribution of a dubious aura, which has already been mentioned several times. For me, a fragrance cannot be "dubious" if it is the wearer or his attitude to life. But this seems to be an almost typical phenomenon for Cartier, at least if you look at Santos and Pasha, that you combine these two grandiose fragrances with the demimonde or a pronounced macho attitude. I can't judge how well known semi-world or underworld greats smelled at the beginning of the eighties, but I want to make it quite clear that they had more style than today's suburban Strizzis with their miasmatic 1 million cloud. Cartier's chosen testimonial Alberto Santos Dumont and its origin go wonderfully with this fragrance, because I imagine a striking gentleman of the best age flying through the still early and wet morning mist, which carries all kinds of aromas of his tropical home. A man and I mean a real man, and this is not a question of hair, but of attitude, head, behaviour towards his environment, who knows how to behave and who has long since decided not to follow any more trends for himself. Santos is simply remembered as a statement, is striking, stands out positively, can convince and certainly anything but arbitrary. Santos is a monolith that outshines many of today's overly penetrating, chemically enriched and uniform fragrances