Perfume Directory

Chergui (2001)
by Serge Lutens


Chergui information

Year of Launch2001
GenderShared / Unisex
AvailabilityIn Production
Average Rating
(based on 1275 votes)

People and companies

HouseSerge Lutens
PerfumerChristopher Sheldrake
Parent CompanyShiseido

About Chergui

Chergui is a shared / unisex perfume by Serge Lutens. The scent was launched in 2001 and the fragrance was created by perfumer Christopher Sheldrake

Chergui fragrance notes

  1. Top Notes
  2. Heart Notes
  3. Base notes

Reviews of Chergui

Smelling Chergui for the first time in 2020 is a disappointment for me. Sure it's well made, and it's exactly the genre of fragrance I like, but there's nothing special about it, when one has known Amouage, Tom Ford, L'Air du Désert and countless other interpretations of the same themes.
08th September, 2020
At first, Chergui's not bad;
like dried meadow hay,
moistened with glyerine from tart glacé cherries.

But it's linear, and,
as it loses nuance and savour
boils down to an herbaceous-bland-oriental with a sharp cutting overtone.

They don't harmonise too well,
and by the end, it
gets a bit

04th May, 2020
Honestly, there's nothing groundbreaking here, and you know it. (yes, you). It doesn't smell bad, but it's a big meh for me. This perfume is the definition of overhype.

Neutral leaning towards thumbs down.
28th December, 2019
There is an interesting "cola" type smell in the background, maybe the tobacco, honey, and incense/amber? I would like to smell more of it, but a boot full of powder(iris?) is curb-stomping it into submission. This is not the "makeup bag" Dior Homme type of iris(my preference), but a tin dish full of powder type of iris.

Unisex is an overstatement, this is full on feminine. I'm not waiting for the "cola" smell to reveal itself from under iris' boot, this is getting scrubbed....
18th December, 2019
Chergui smells "niche" (read: expensive) and still has an unusual scent profile even though the tonkabacco genre it belongs to to has been run into the ground. But it's also a minimalist, extremely linear, very sweet composition, with no secrets or nuances to discover after the first minute or so of wear, so it quickly becomes tiresome.
07th August, 2019
Chergui (2001) by Serge Lutens is one of those niche scents that is basically used as a gateway to the house that made it, much like Musc Ravageur by Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle (2000). It is a deceptively simple and straightforward tobacco and tonka fragrance that would end up getting copied and modified dozens of times over again in the designer perfume sector after its release, with the style of tobacco it represents effectively replacing the older leafy kind found in predecessors like Aramis Havana (1994) or Versace The Dreamer (1996). Christopher Sheldrake is the main nose behind this, like all early Serge Lutens fragrances not made by the man himself (which is in fact most of them), so there is quality here even if the style is rather direct. For me personally, I understand why this is revered so much, but with the expansion and proliferation of this idea throughout the 2000's, I think there are enough better options for less on the table. I don't hate Chergui, but I think most of the appeal it has is carried by reputation alone with a bit of peer pressure from colognoisseurs.

A sweet pillowy cloud of iris and rose on just a tiny speck of lemon is carried along by a massive dose of tonka absolute large enough to take away one's breath. Folks who hate tonka bombs will immediately need to leave the area upon spraying Chergui because it is very intense and follows all the way into the base with no reprieve. A honeyed tobacco and amber are next, setting up the experience of Chergui for the duration of the wear. This is a powdery amber mixing with that honeyed tobacco, with some olibanum causing a bit of that, but the base of musk and scratchy woods is where the real dealbreaker lies with me. Whether this is norlimbanol or something earlier in the same vein, it mixes with the white musk to cloy up the rest of the scent and make it itch upon the nose. For fans of this semi-oriental "proto-tonkabacco" composition, winter time and dimly lit clubs are where Chergui shine brightest, as use in any kind of casual day time setting or warmer weather would feel morose to me.

Stuff like Gucci Pour Homme (2002) and McGraw by Tim McGraw (2008) would run with the style of amber here while L'Occitane Eau des Baux (2006), Tom Ford Tobacco Vanille (2007) and Calvin Klein cK One Shock for Him (2011) would lean on the tobacco style, so I guess if you wanted them combined, this might be an option, especially since the Gucci is gone and the McGraw can be something of a lark to find outside holidays. This one is a bit too heavy and itchy for me, plus extremely linear once it "locks in", although I can't complain for performance since sillage is insane along with longevity. The sheer hype on this scent among men especially has me a bit disappointed but not surprised, as this is an easy-to-understand fragrance and thus more accessible to those uninitiated to niche with quality being ipso facto to performance, but it just doesn't twirl my knobs in the way I prefer from this genre. Compound this with Creed-style price gouging direct from Lutens and the appeal for Chergui weakens further, especially in light of more sophisticated and graceful options having arisen in its wake. Still, I give it a neutral for being influential.
18th May, 2019

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