Perfume Reviews

Reviews of Chergui by Serge Lutens

Total Reviews: 195
Hazzle77 Show all reviews
United Kingdom
Teetered just on the right side of sweet for me - thick, honeyed tobacco scent and I got great longevity too.
10th April, 2021
I realize what Im about to write down does not align with the fragance pyramid above but I have to be honest about what I perceive. For me I get the notes of vanilla extract, resin, benzoin, juniper, hay, Sandlewood and tabacco. I owe a lot to Serge Lutens. His fragrance Fille En Auguilles sent me on a fragrance journey for years and I'm still reeling. The rest of the SL scents dont take me so far, including this one. But dont get me wrong, I like Chergui and I think it is a fragrance more personal in style, and that it was created to serve a purpose rather than to impress or call attention to itself. For those who treasure balance and consistancy in their lives, I think this fragrance will serve them well. As is stated on his site Chergui "creates an effect that involves suction more than blowing". So, obviously Lutens is aware that it does not have a big projection and that it is instead rooting a person, having a settling affect. It does have good longevity, leaving a warm resonous aroma for hours that sort of hovers very close to your body and blends making it feel very natural as if it is your own actual body's smell. For that reason it is comforting and grounding. This is a scent I would layer, I have not done so yet but I think it might serve very well as a base that would nicely project and involve other fragrances.
07th March, 2021
A honeyed up amber and tobacco with a hint of powdery iri. And sandalwood in a supporting role. It's sweet and boozy out of the gate but the tone gives way to the lighter iris and sandalwood features, which for me spoiled the potential. I like most of what I've sampled from Lutens and there is no doubt Chergui is a high quality and popular scent. Not one I'd wear often though and I prefer the amber-resinous Amber Sultan over Chergui. The wife likes it more than me, but I can still give it a thumbs up.
31st December, 2020
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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
Released the same year as Tauer's iconic and still beloved L'Air du Désert Marocain, Chergui is the also-ran "desert wind" fragrance. For a while there, this was upheld as a standard-bearer for Serge Lutens, but I suspect that has more to do with Chergui's relative accessibility compared to weirder things like Fumerie Turque, coupled with the fact that it was a "discounter" darling for a while. Now that prices have gone up, it gets considerably less talk, and, admittedly, at present-day Lutens prices it now has a lot of competition.

Chergui is a simple composition, but its emphasis does shift from wearing to wearing. Sometimes the hay and sweet cherry tobacco is dominant, other times it seems to be mostly about tonka and powdery, makeup-style iris, and others the incense and synthwoods take center stage. This seems to be the way many of the dense Sheldrake-authored Lutens creations function: an amorphous blend that lacks overt structure, but reveals different colors and shades over different occasions of wear.

That said, it's still fairly linear and straightforward. I've always found it a bit sweet for me, and still do. Sweetness is highly subjective, so your mileage will almost certainly vary, but there's something about the sweetness here that goes right up to the point of being irritating. This makes my relationship with Chergui a kind of love-hate thing, since the way that it foregrounds that hay note does have me longing for it in the harvest months.

Another note in Chergui's favor: it is still unique. Unlike stuff like Tobacco Vanille and Red Tobacco that spawned a host of imitators (a number of which are arguably superior to them), it's hard to point to any Chergui 2.0s on the market.

To bring this to a close, I'll now make an obligatory comment regarding the reformulation talk. I have a decant of "old" Chergui and don't find it meaningfully different from this newer bottle, so if you want to try Chergui, no need to hunt around.
07th August, 2019 (last edited: 23rd May, 2021)
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
I need to expand my Serge Lutens collection. The opening of this is exquisite: light honey and whiskey notes coupled with rose, hay, and amber: a hint of powder but not enough to make it a primary element. Tobacco and hay come through more after the first 15 minutes, well-blended. It's gently sweet and light: I could wear this at any and all occasions. It is, unfortunately, a bit ephemeral: there is light to moderate projection and the sillage is 4ish hours. As the drydown occurs, it becomes lighter, straightforward/linear: hay and amber take the stage until the scent is gone altogether.

This is very good: unisex, leaning a touch masculine. For $55 dollars for 1.7 ounces, it's a wonderful scent that works in both formal and informal settings.


07th March, 2019
There’s probably nothing I could say about Chergui that hasn’t already been said at this point, but my newer bottle of this perfume is still just as amazing as I expected based off of other people’s experiences.

I get a smoky honey tobacco from start to finish. It’s quite linear on me but I happen to enjoy the scent from the initial application so I don’t mind. It’s when the scent starts out a mess on me that I quickly lose my patience. This starts out beautiful and doesn’t need to try too hard from there on. It’s totally unisex, I could see many different people enjoying this, the only prerequisite is that you enjoy tobacco in fragrances. The honey gives it that sweetness to balance with the smoky herbs, but it’s not sickening and most importantly (to me), it doesn’t go animalic.

It has some perseverance, longevity is great and it lasts on me all day (8+ hours). Projection/sillage is not as powerful as I thought it might be, but it is a modest amount of projection that will not offend anyone, which I actually am grateful for. I’d rather a scent be closer to me than assault someone across the street, but this one is a happy medium of the two.

I must stress again that this scent could work for anyone of any age. I consider myself to be young(ish), and recently into niche fragrances and I didn’t find this one to be too out of my comfort zone. Tobacco fragrances are really prominent in designer fragrance houses at the moment so this one wouldn’t be too outrageous for anyone to test that is just coming from that background.

Solid like! Might not use it all up but I'll use it later in the winter a couple of times and decide whether or not to pass it on.
26th February, 2019
Sumptuous, spicy, sweet, creamy, earthy. This is an absolutely beautiful fragrance, one which I fell in love with upon first sniff. What else is there to add that hasn't already been said? The hype is absolutely justified here in my book. Bar none, one of the best Serge Lutens and tobacco fragrances period.
24th February, 2019
ad_scott Show all reviews
United Kingdom
A luxurious version of Eau des Baux; creamier and smoother. I get the hay, tobacco and honey more than anything else.
De luxe.
23rd January, 2019
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Classy and luxurious sweetness it is unisex for sure, depending on your PH.

It is linear and with good longevity. Maybe too much tobacco for my taste but the honey solves this problem after the dry down

11th September, 2018
This is a really beautiful niche fragrance that smells to my nose of the scent of honeyed amber with sweet tobacco and the unique note of hay. It smells like a sweet ambery drink on a rainy day in a farm stable. Although that may not sound that appealing, it smells fantastic in my opinion. Sillage is moderate while longevity is quite good at over 6 hours. This is one of the best amber offerings out there as far as quality and uniqueness of scent goes.

27th June, 2018
Sweet, spicy, powdery opening. The powdery iris continues into the drydown, almost completely taking over but I still get the honey and hay notes. It evokes the sensation of smelling flowers with powdered vanilla or cocoa sprinkled over them. Leans feminine the further you go into the drydown.

Not as dry as LDDM but kinda similar.

Average projection but good longevity, lasts all workday.
04th May, 2018
The Birth of Liquid Fears by Salvador Dali 1932
29th April, 2018
Very loud and sweet. No performance issues with this one.

Supposedly unisex, but I get a mature woman vibe from this one.

Big disappointment considering the hype.
15th April, 2018
A really exotic, rich EdP that stands in the league of intricately crafted fragrances like Tauer's L'Air du Desert Marocain, JHL by Aramis, Declaration by Cartier, Patchouli Absolu by Tom Ford, and A*Men Pure Malt by Thierry Mugler, among others.

Chergui is heavy on the dry scent of hay and tobacco, accented by the brightness of iris, sweetness of honey, warmth of amber, and woody smoothness of sandalwood. Chergui stays constant in strength and keeps a bold, aromatic quality that lasts for many hours. This one may take some getting used to, and if possible, a test spritz would be in order.

Chergui is not a scent for everyday casual occasions, but rather for times of personal exploration and solitary enjoyment that others may appreciate, too.
10th April, 2018
To me, this is an iris-based scent, and the best I have ever smelled. A very powerful, yet wearable combination that is easily FB worthy, imo.

EDIT: My enthusiasm has waned somewhat. This is very nice in the winter. In warmer weather, Chergui becomes too sweet for my taste.
28th March, 2018 (last edited: 03rd May, 2018)
Not necessarily my taste, but very beautiful and interesting.

Sugar, tobacco, syrupy amber, incense.

Very dry, but rich.

And for the price you can get this at, you'd be silly not to go for it.

It's really gorgeous.

Performance is powerful.

02nd March, 2018
I adore the tobacco leaf in this. Reminds me of my childhood when my father fired up, his pipe. Holiday-ish, with its amber, rose, and musk. Semi-sweet balsamic, with its incense. A honeyed hayfield. Powdery iris compliments. All of this makes my head swirl. I have become a Cherguiholic.
07th January, 2018
This isn't the east wind that picks up spices, dust and heat. It is the east wind that infiltrates nomadic tents and absorbs the odours of honey, tobacco, animal bedding and dusty iris and rose.
Chergui is a cozy, dusty blanket seeping sweetness. From afar it stays linear, but as i am want to do when i wear this, i cannot stop smelling close and recognising its various elements taking turns at showing themselves.
Moderate projection and excellent longevity.
Try this in warmer weather as well. It blooms.
06th January, 2018
This is very nice. I get hay, sugar, tobacco and some powdery notes. Very easy to wear. Smells very elegant. Borderline masterpiece. Maybe too feminine for me though??
08th November, 2017 (last edited: 05th November, 2018)
Iris, honey, amber, powder, spices, wood. Been there, smelled that. It's great (more for men), but nothing special for me. You've smelled other perfumes like this before. The musk (sneezing type) might be a bit too much at times.

Edit from neutral to thumbs up: I’m pregnant and it made me change my mind completely about this one. It became special, rich, sweet, seductive! I need a bottle of it right now.

New edit: I shouldn’t have bought it while pregnant. I dislike it again now. I might start to use it as a pregnancy test.
29th April, 2017 (last edited: 17th December, 2018)
A stunning scent IMO. Very much a winner with amazing longevity and projection. One of the strongest scents I own. For the price and quality this is a buy for sure (even blind buy). I would say the best part of the scent... well all of it from beginning to end. No complaints here... the strongest notes I get are Hay, Honey and Tobacco... to my nose the other scents lay in the back ground showing here and there. Nice for fall/winter day or night. Amazing. Enjoy!
09th August, 2016
This is a pretty good sweet, powdery and somewhat masculine fragrance. If you've ever smelled Fleur du Male from JpG, then you've essentially smelled this one as well. The notes are different in each, but they smell alike after drying down.

Projection: 7
Longevity: 7
Overall: 8
04th July, 2016
Like most fragrances I hated this on the blotter but on the skin it's another story entirely. As a woman I feel it is slightly on the feminine side of unisex. I can see ow this fragrance could be quite divisive as it's very heavy and rich, not the most wearable and definitely more winter appropriate. It would be a great Christmas scent as it is warm and spicy with a hint of sweetness. On me it smells like warm woody amber-y incense, like a Cathedral or a Catholic church in winter, which I love. Fantastic silage and projection, lasts and lasts, powerful stuff!

08th June, 2016 (last edited: 14th June, 2016)
poor performer and overrated!
26th April, 2016
As a matter of personal preference, I do not quite like Chergui, but I understand its popularity, a sweet and sour wood fragrance.

Update: I have changed my rating from neutral to positive. Wearing a heavy dose and having it last all day won me over.
28th February, 2016 (last edited: 20th May, 2016)