Chergui was a total disappointment for me, after hearing all the rave reviews I was expecting a fragrance that would knock my socks off, and what I get is this linear sweet tobacco scent that is nothing out of this world.
For a sweet tobacco perfume, Desert by Fragonard beats it by a mile. Not only is more complex, but it offers a nice development while Chergui is linear.
Desert by Fragonard not only smells better to me, but is a higher quality perfume and has this beautiful Oud note in the drydown that in not there in Chergui (I was expecting Oud on a S. Lutens fragrance).
But I can't complain about the sillage and longevity of Chergui.
150 bucks for 1.7 oz of Chergui against 50 bucks for 3.4 oz of Desert by Fragonard, it is a no brainer.
Chergui is my first from the lutens,I get hay and talcum/nose powder smell, I have yet not had the opportunity to try in winter/cooler months, but I feel it will be much better for winter months, as I can detect a strange warmth in it.
Chergui's opening is all spices, woods, and sweet resins. The spices in Chergui are so well blended that the individual notes are hard to distinguish, but I'm pretty sure I catch coriander, clove, and black pepper in the mix. However, an immense wave of syrup crashes over the arrangement to wash away the woods and carry Chergui through its drydown, though the final stage is lent some counterpoint by the faint cries of the drowning cloves and black pepper.
To my sorry nose, Chergui shares a base that's very similar to several other Lutens scents, including Arabie, Fumerie Turque, and Ambre Sultan. It starts out as a rich and interesting spicy oriental, but winds up overwhelmed by the out-of-balance and overly sweetened base notes.
Turin describes this as a tobacco oriental, but I disagree. I would call it a woody oriental (I am getting Aoud and Cedar) with the pungent spices (Cinnamon, Clove and Nutmeg) that are in Boucheron's Jaipur Homme, all rounded out by Amber, Vanilla and Tonka.
I got the tobacco and honey on my first application spray, but these notes have not emerged since and I've sprayed many times. The Aoud is there in the dry down, but just short of being harsh, tempered by the Cedar.
It is excellent and although copying a great deal the Jaipur, which preceded it by four years, can still stand on its own.
I do appreciate the sheer talent of Monsieur Lutens and Chergui is probably my favourite fragrance of all time. This is not a fragrance I wear to be noticed, or to project some kind of image or identity; this is a fragrance I wear for me and me only.
Almost gourmand in nature, it envelopes me with its beautiful, warming, and unique oriental self. There isn't much more I can say. Absolutely incredible.