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Chergui by Serge Lutens


by Serge Lutens (2001)  
82 of 100%, 356 Ratings
Released in the year 2001, apparently still in production.
Perfumer: Christopher Sheldrake

Fragrance Notes

Amber, Hay, Honey, Iris, Leather, Musk, Clary sage, Rose, Sandalwood, Tobacco leaf, Juniper berry, Frankincense
82% (356 Ratings)
89% (251 Ratings)
75% (203 Ratings)
75% (185 Ratings)

Researched and submitted by DonVanVliet
1 Review Award
This fragrance opens with the sweetness of honey and the smokiness of tobacco leaf. The tobacco note is well-balanced and therefore adds only a certain edge to the fragrance, but does not overwhelm it. The tobacco keep it from getting too sweet as well. The head honey note gradually softens as the fragrance progresses and rose, amber and sandalwood blend together to create a very warm, soft, almost blanket-like fragrance impression. Whilst pleasant to smell and wear, I'd say this is a rather unremarkable offering.
Helpful Review - 03/14/2014
5 Review Awards
The hot desert wind
Wow! A thousand times wow! It is not often that I immediately am captivated by a fragrance, let alone a niche fragrance. I'm usually quite picky but when I received this bottle in a swap (thank you again Tomaz) just now and I took the bottle out of its very carefully packaged box, I got a very promising first whiff of what is inside this bottle.

So, I took off the cap and sprayed some on, carefully. Just a little. Carefully brought this to my nose, exhaled a bit and then softly inhaled..


This has a note that I recognize from Santal Majuscule, only it's softer in Chergui. More round, and sweet. Most Lutens' I've smelled were very strong, usually too strong for my taste. But this, wow! I'm so very excited by this! When I picture a Moroccan desert wind, it makes it even more beautiful. I am totally captivated by it and I can't stop smelling my wrist.

So yes, I know this has a vast group of people loving it but I was a bit scared that besides sweet it would have a particular note in there that would put me off. However, this is not the case. It's balanced nicely and the ingredients are pure. The quality is better than many mainstream or designer scents, though I can't imagine a lot of people disliking it. I think it's safe to say this is one of the more approachable niche offerings out there?

I'm somewhat glad I did not get a bottle of Santal Majuscule, as I have been doubting about that one for a long time. I really liked that, but sometimes I felt like I didn't want to smell like that. But now, Chergui has come along. Bringing me that part of Santal Majuscule I really loved but in sucha sweet, round and refined way. I am a VERY happy man!
Very helpful Review - 11/13/2013
7 Review Awards
Chergui - A mixed bag
At first try, the incense (or is it hay?) knocked me out and gave me a headache. The second time, it was still mostly incense but not overwhelmingly so. The third time, reapplied directly after the second, was LOVE.

I don't think I have a lot to say that others haven't said already. But I honestly thought I hated it for the godawfully persistent frankincense which I find entirely superfluous in such a nuanced, multifaceted oriental as this turned out to be. It started opening up quite slowly as the hours passed (I was working at home today, it was cold, so I decided to give it another try) and it got a chance to dry down... And there is such beauty in it, perfect for warming up on such a cold winter day. I still don't love the frankincense, and am docking one star for its dominance, but it doesn't put me off any more.

Even if it is one of the most approachable Serges around, it doesn't yield its beauty at first whiff to a beginner like me. I advise anyone who would try Chergui to do so when they can count on being alone most of the day, as it comes on quite strong for the casual sampler, and not wear it near people with tendencies to sensory hypersensitivity, but that's just me :)
1 Reply
Tnahowru 52 days ago
I like reading your reviews Sweet, and if you had a perfume blog would live to read/follow it. Do you?
1 Review Award
I love this perfume
I love this perfume, definitely one of my favourites ones.. Just really don't like the cup of the bottle, so out of proportion!

But the fragrance is amazing and great quality, I love it on my skin!!
Helpful Review - 03/16/2013
4 Review Awards
One of the best Lutens
Tobacco and honey.

Then a bit of incense and amber. Now you have this brilliant scent.

Chergui is one of the easiest Serge Lutens to wear.

Great for colder seasons, it's unisex in my opinion.

Pleasant and very well blended, it's lasting power is around 10 hours. Projection and sillage are moderate.

Updated January 2014
Helpful Review - 01/25/2013
6 Review Awards
some of its parts
Chergui is apparently one of the best sellers in the Lutens line. When I test it and read the list of notes, I'm a believer more or less. I can make out the notes I'm told are there. Yes, there is hay, tobacco, musk. But lord know I've nearly derailed going too far into the madness of a 'list of notes'.

'Notes' are in fact suggestions. But what lies behind a set of notes is an intent. Does the list of notes describe? Or do notes try to convince, that is, lie? Somehow, despite the recognizeability of the notes, I'm not convinced by Chergui. Testing, on blotter and on skin, I say yes to the notes but no to the whole package. It doesn't suggest a Moroccan wind, as the fable goes. Notes aside, Chergui shares the sensibility of many mainstream men's fragrances of the past 10-15 years. The strategy, for want of a better word, is Creedian. Sell it as nich-y, but aim for the height of the bell curve.

I don't mind the strategy. As I've mentioned about the current Guerlain line-up, the big sellers in a line should better the odds that the lower-selling oddball that I love will remain in the line. Either that, or the take-away for the perfumer is that the bell curve is a sales strategy and every perfume should should be a best seller. I try to be optomistic.
1 Reply
Greysolon 549 days ago
Excellent observation about the role/reality of "notes".
Very helpful Review - 12/20/2012
6 Review Awards
Hay, This Is A Good One...
Chergui opens with a sweet dose of sugary hay. The heart notes appear shortly afterwards, showcasing a deep pipe-like sweet tobacco amber combo, with clove-laced honey and incense accents. The scent winds down with the tobacco and amber combo receding, while joining a pleasant musk base finishing off the scent's development. Longevity is quite good, with average projection.

I am not a sweet scent fan at all, but I definitely like Chergui. The tobacco and amber combo is really addictive, and the incense just compliments it so well. I think the scent is very unisex and would work for just about anyone. I have only smelled a handful of scents from the house of Lutens to date, but I am quite impressed. Chergui is highly recommended to all, but a "no brainer" for sophisticated sweet scent lovers, IMO. It is a gorgeous composition earning an excellent 4 stars out of 5.
Very helpful Review - 12/14/2012
6 Review Awards
I'll never underestimate hay again
Most of the notes here seem sort of expected for a sweet oriental unisex perfume with massive sillage and longevity - the amber, leather, musk, tobacco, incense, etc., but I feel like the hay is responsible for that interesting little twist in Chergui's personality that makes it instantly recognizable.

That stuff lying around the barn that horses eat . . . who woulda thought?

Chergui accomplishes a unisex status by doing what lots of other unisex perfumes try to do but fail, which is to come right to the brink of femininity (or masculinity, depending on which side you start on) and then backing off mere molecules shy of going over.

I love the stuff.
Very helpful Review - 02/15/2012
5 Review Awards
Chergui by Serge Lutens
Chergui by Serge Lutens

Hay, Amber, Sweet Tobacco, Sandalwood, Russian Leather, Moroccan rose, Tuscan Iris, White honey.

Reading up on Chergui by Lutens will permit you to find diverse note listings. Almost every site has a different set of accords and as such, I decided to list the above as none of that holds much water anyway. The proof is in the smell.

Only recently have I purchased a sample, so I can assume that what I am reviewing is most likely the newest formula. I would like to start out by saying that Chergui has terrific presence and an envious swirl effect.
The opening of Chergui is an excellent earthy amber that doesn't display a resinous side just yet. The tobacco integrates within a few minutes and the result is a semi sweet, decadent ambacco accord.

There's a spicy aspect to Chergui that offsets the opening nicely. It's a mellow spice and its existence is realized about 5 minutes into the wearing. It's about this stage of transition that I admit to Chergui already being a winner. It begins to evolve a more pronounced sweetness, yet stops short of becoming cloying. The initial two accords have won me over and have me hoping I will enjoy the remainder of the scent.

Once Chergui begins to dry down, the sweet ambacco accord is still prominent on my skin. This tandem is so good that it has every right to still be walking point. The listed leather, sandalwood, honey and iris don't come to pass as individual or even identifiable notes. They seem to be a stacked entity that assembles itself to exist under the ambacco.
Their contribution adds a heady fullness to an already substantial fragrance. There's resin appearing at this stage of Chergui and along with the soft spoken spice accent the amber very nicely. By extended drydown, a full bodied and sensual ambery tobacco with spice and hints of musk envelope the wearer. This is a sexy perfume and would smell beautiful on either gender as far as I'm concerned.

I have had my differences with Serge in the past. I've also been fortunate in that my recent sample ventures of Mr. Eclectic's creations have been positive ones. Chergui, by far, has been the most appealing and pleasurable to wear so far. I thoroughly enjoyed Chene enough to put it on my future purchase list, but now that I've experienced Chergui, Chene must go farther back in the line. Big thumbs up for the Serge and his beautiful ambacco.
Very helpful Review - 01/08/2012
5 Review Awards
A hot, dry desert wind
One thing that I love about Serge Lutens scents is that so many of them paint a scene so vividly in my mind.

Chergui evokes the image of a ghosttown somewhere in the arid expanse of the American west, where a hot dry wind blows dust and tumbleweeds through deserted streets and abandoned buildings. I see this town at dusk, with the last remains of a blazing sunset. The feeling is eerie, but calm, and you can almost sense the life that used to inhabit the place.

If this aroma were a color, it would be red - burning embers, spices and hot baked earth. Honey and amber lend a golden sweetness that offers relief from the dry heat and almost desolate feeling of this scent.

Unlike some Lutens that I really admire but have trouble wearing (ie, Arabie and Douce Amere), I have no trouble with this one. It is a deep scent, but not overpowering and (perhaps owing to the musk) melds well with my skin. Just a beautiful perfume.
1 Reply
Pansylady 921 days ago
Hi Deb! I love your review far more than the fragrance- Chergui is way too masculine for my taste, and I just didn't "get it"! Your review reminded me of a De Chirico painting that always impressed me-"Mystery and Melancholy of a Street"

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