Chergui, named after the wind that blows through Morocco during the summer is Serge Lutens’ very spicy oriental fragrance with a big dish of sandalwood.
In Bottle: Spicy and honeyed very sweet with a tickle of sandalwood. Smells absolutely beautiful.
Applied: Flare up of spicy honey with a slight sweetness and a very warm sandalwood scent that lingers in the opening creating this beautiful woody, spicy, oriental fragrance. As Chergui ages, it loses a bit of its honeyed quality and takes on more of a smoky vanilla scent and turns more towards the woodsy aspect, maintaining levels of its spiciness while the woods amp up and the honey slowly dissolves. Chergui takes on a strange transformation that shifts it from one fragrance family to another. As it leaves the honey the amber clings to the rest of the raft but doesn’t really match up in beauty compared to the honey. This turns into a sweet woodsy scent with a hint of spices in the mid-stage. The dry down is much of the same, as I see dry vanilla mellowing out in favor of more powerful woody notes and a lingering hint of spiciness.
Extra: Chergui was composed by Christopher Sheldrake. Chergui’s concept was to invoke images of that hot dry desert wind. I’m not sure I get desert wind from this fragrance so much as a fireplace in a cozy cottage in the middle of winter.
Design: As usual, bottled in a highly attractive tall glass flacon with a simple label that identifies the fragrance’s name and house. I love it when a line makes matching bottles for their perfume. Kind of gives the collector in me a little bit more urge to get them all and line them up in a neat row.
Fragrance Family: Woodsy Oriental
Notes: Honey, musk, incense, tobacco leaf, hay sugar, amber, iris, rose, sandalwood.
There’s a lot of disappointment about Chergui in the fragrance community and I noticed many of the disappointed reviews noted that this was a fairly banal oriental fragrance. I thought Chergui was lovely, a bit ordinary perhaps, and certainly not the desert-invoking fragrance it was toted as being. But it was a valiant attempt, I love its story, and it’s a good fragrance that smells fantastic. Sort of like a milder version of Opium.
Reviewed in This Post: Chergui, 2010, Eau de Parfum.
I’ve been eying this one for quite some time now. And you make it sound so good, I might actually venture out and try it. 😀 I LOVE honey perfumes. Also, I like Opium, but it’s waaaaay too much for me, so Chergui sounds like it would be perfect. I already have Un Bois Vanille on my to-buy list. What’s another one, right? LOL
Yeah, totally give this a try! I thought the honey was fairly dominant in Chergui so if you like honey then this stuff has plenty of it. Un Bois Vanille is beautiful too. I need to smell her again one of these days. 😀
I like it a lot. Chergui is very wearable, surprisingly so for a Lutens, and maybe that is why people tend to dismiss it. But I’ve read plenty of reviews where people just say, as you did, that Chergui just smells beautiful, and about sums it up.
I find it has a relatively gentle sillage (much gentler than Opium!) but that it lasts hours and hours. I really appreciate that in a fragrance.
I tend to classify it along with Tauer’s Marocain, but that is dryer and more challenging, I think, much as I love it.
It seems that what a lot of people like about Lutens fragrances tend to make them difficult to wear. But I, like you, thought Chergui was both functional and well-composed. I didn’t note the likeness to Opium, but you are very right!
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