It feels indeed very mediterranean. But it only pleases me for the first hour. Afterwards it loses its grip, becomes indifferent - a major fault in a fragrance, I think. Of course it smells "cheap" compared to the great houses. Don't get tricked by the good reviews. If you've ever smelled something upscale from Frédéric Malle or Serge Lutens you will be horrified. That said it is useful from time to time to calm down from abundant use of niche perfumes.
It's an eccentric one. Like most of the Creeds I own it doesn't last properly. Therefore it doesn't satisfy completely - maybe just for two or three hours. Would it only had been denser, thicker... The drydown is so explicitly "creedish" (the infamous Creed base not) - it bores me. It is nice to wear it from time to time, but nothing one could rely on. Malevolently spoken: The whole pretentious "Creed thing" (marketing, 'reputation', list of celebrities etc.) has its incarnation in Acier Aluminium: It pretends to be art on a high level, but at its core it is only snobbish. Sad to say so!
Now this is a fragrance - an olfactory opera of the Fin de siècle; think of Richard Strauss, e.g. the most sexual "Salome" - I can wear almost exclusively on evening or night occasions. Fumerie Turque, at least to me, always seems willing to escape the unholy sun which spotlights all the undeniable ugliness of the world and its people. Not so at night... Worn then it is a sheltering scent that gives the wearer utmost self-confidence (if he lacks the last mentioned).
However, it seems to be subtle, although longlasting. The effect on others, we may call it "sillage", tends to be low. If applied sparingly it will speak only exclusively to the wearer, not to his environment. But once noticed by others it certainly conveys the message: "Leave me alone, don't interfere with me." So Fumerie Turque, like many of Serge Lutens' fragrances, communicates a concept that is rather not communicative: The concept of self-chosen solitude, of break-away from fellow creatures. "Garnering compliments", an often used phrase, is not the agency of Fumerie Turque.
On the other side: This is n o t a scent of ennui or Weltschmerz. This is the one that creates an entire world for the one who is wearing it.
A world, better than ours...
I bought Chergui in Rome as the first of my permanently growing collection of fragrances by Serge Lutens. As much as I appreciate all the others: This is the one I love, and this is the one I barely use because the situation has to be so special that it's on the height of the fragrance. "If I could have only one..." - you know how this phrase should end. But this time it's true: Chergui i s my holy grail, the most precious one - regardless of availability or price - in my collection.
I have made the experience that, although others describe it as "sunny", it doesn't suit me on warmer days. Much of its magic get's lost when the fragrance mixes with something so worldly like sweat.
You know these sunny days, when you wonder where all the people around you come from. Where have they been during winter? Why do they have to be there? Chergui is not worthy to be worn among the crowd. It's holy character get's spoiled by the plebs of mind. I save it for lonely winter days, for pensive moments full of memory. This fragrance is my ultimate consolation.
At a perfumery in Venice I once talked to a salesman who held the fragrances of Creed in highest regards ("Green Irish Tweed is probably the best fragrance ever made") while bashing A*Men for its tasteless vulgarity ("This one is a mess."). I have to agree because I agree with his premises: From the viewpoint of "high perfumery" this one i s an olfactory monster that cannot be judged in comparison with fragrances from e.g. Creed and, most of all, Serge Lutens.
It has its own dignity. If one accepts wearing something utterly popular and mass appealing, one can grow to like this one. I turn to A*Men from time to time when I get bored by wearing my other scents (which doesn't happen all that often), when I don't feel strong enough to put on something more superior (like any of the Serge Lutens'). And then the gourmand aspect of A*Men seems to me a revelation. It's always new to me. But I usually go through the same development: Initial joy vanishes and then comes this not to chase away feeling: Guy, you have put on something which protects you from being taken serious. It's true: A*Men is a "fun" fragrance, but not one you could wear to make a statement other than that you are a clown.
Therefore I have had "olfactory success" with women. Many contemporary women tend to like the clown aspect of a man, because it makes controlling him easier. Many fear self-conscious men that are wearing something brutally regardless of what others think. A*Men, applied lightly, might make you a conquerer: But be aware that your conquest is rotten from the beginning!A*Men is the ultimate fragrance of self-deceit.