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.
A Wind from the East...
Chergui is a beautiful fragrance. The name itself means "Eastern" in Arabic (شرقى), and it is the name of a wind that sweeps across the Sahara desert and into Morocco. The idea here was to evoke that same wind, and all the various smells from the desert and the surrounding environment.
What I like about Chergui is that it is probably the only perfume I can think of with a note of hay. The hay note here is slightly green and earthy in the beginning, almost like damp soil, but it is quickly overtaken by the incense and wonderful orris-root powder in the background (reminiscent a little of talcum or old make-up powder). But this is quickly enveloped in a huge wave of honey and rose and dries down to clean musk on a bed of sandalwood. For me, the prominent note here is the tobacco. It is a dry tobacco mixed with the rose, hay, honey, powder and amber in the background. I am reminded of the old leather furniture in a classic Victorian gentleman's club... or an old drawing room, where you can smell faint hints of tobacco smoke in the leather and mixed with the smell of roses and old make-up.
Now, this isn't to say that this fragrance is unwearable. Far from it! This one is totally wearable! I see it wearing a little better on a man, but on a woman I think it would be very nice. Very chic too. It's definitely a warm, enveloping, almost cold weather scent. It's actually quite smooth and beautiful.
For one, I would recommend it purely for it's ability to change your mood and give you a warm, "cozy" feeling. It may remind you of childhood (if you grew up in the country or near hayfields). It's an interesting one, it reminds me in a few ways of Guerlain - Jicky (no lavender here, but a lot of hay and coumarin - a synthetic tonka bean derivation that smells like freshly mown hay). The tobacco note also reminds me of fragrances like Molinard - Habanita and Caron - Tabac Blond, with their powdery amber & tobacco drydowns.
Overall, Chergui is a fragrance that wears well on both men and on women. It's the epitome of chic, and I would recommend people to try this out in the cooler months. For me this is one of the better tobacco fragrances that I've tried, and I've never smelled another perfume with a "hay" note. I like it, I think I like this one quite a bit!
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.