Chergui by Christopher Sheldrake for Serge Lutens 2001

Hello Stink Monkeys!!

This fragrance I’ve had a decant sitting in my cupboard for a while. I often see it for a good price and read reviews but it has never reached my skin until recently. To be truthful I was a little Ho Hum about it and wasn’t sure that it would be my thing. Honey, hay, dust, sweet tobacco and balmy amber, hang on, that sounds exactly what a fragrance should be made up of…

Chergui by Serge Lutens 2001

Chergui FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords in one line:
Tobacco leaf, honey, iris, sandalwood, amber, musk, incense, rose and hay

I love the entrance to Chergui, the super honeyed tobacco and amber rise up softly and gracefully on my skin. It is sweet and dusty at the same time, like an old forgotten second hand bookstore in the desert at dusk. The smell of wood and paper and earth and that chill as the daylight leaves. I only get the merest hint of hay, though there is something like it hiding behind the honey/tobacco sweetness which is amplified on my skin. Has anyone else had the honey/tobacco take over during the first hour or so?

Chergui Serge Lutens Leakeys Secondhand Bookstore TripAdvisorPhoto Stolen TripAdvisor

Once the sweetness burns off for me the whole fragrance becomes more dessicated and interesting, like dried out greenery snapped or crumbled in your hands with a very cool smoky incense, before you light it, and here I get a little spicy rose and a whisper of something that smells like orchid.

For some reason I had it in my head that Chergui was a difficult fragrance but I find it pretty and wearable. Not too strong, not too outrageous in the cool of Sydney late Autumn and definitely wearable by both sexes. On my skin this is reminiscent of some of the best vintage women’s fragrances and some of the 1990s excellent mens, all of which have been discontinued or reformulated out of even a whisper of themselves.

I wish I had taken my decant of Chergui to LA with me because I think it will bloom even more beautifully in the warmth. As it is I’m getting moderate life of about 4-5 hours and moderate sillage. This is only my second wear though, I can’t wait to wear Chergui to work and see if people love it.

Dust Storm DailyTelegraphPhoto Stolen DailyTelegraph

Further reading Olfactoria’sTravels and Kafkaesque
FragranceNet has $97/50ml and with the oft available 15% discount that’s around $83!!
SurrenderToChance starts at $4/.5ml

How did Chergui live on your skin? Was there a note that really stood out and was surprising? Did you have a similar experience to most others?
Please join the conversation, I love it when people tell us how a fragrance affected them,
Portia xx

26 thoughts on “Chergui by Christopher Sheldrake for Serge Lutens 2001

  1. I like Chergui and used up my small decant of it pretty quickly. I considered buying a bottle but haven’t yet. It’s a dry ambery kind of scent on me. It’s easy to wear but I’m not sure if I love it. I thought I did but then some other ambery scents made me rethink it. I only tried it in cooler weather but I think I have a sample I could try in the warmer temps. Maybe that might turn it to love for me.


    • Hey Poodle,
      There is a huge range of ambers from everywhere aren’t there. Warm, cool, sweet, dry but none so interesting with such a fun story for me, for specific times.
      Portia xx


  2. Hi Portia

    I have a full bottle of this and have used more than half of it. I cannot however, decide whether I like it or not. Hmmmm. It is absolutely definitely better in the summer. That much I do know. Sometimes I think that all of our noses are so busy with other fragrances, that we don´t notice how gorgeous some are. Of which this is, I guess one of them. You know what I mean?? If you gave this to a non-fumehead, non-junkie, normal sort of person, they wold probably be blown away. I have just taken a hit of it. Yep. It´s rather nice.Mmmmmmm. BUT, like with all Lutens magic potions, not to be oversprayed, as that can, actually, kill you.

    CQ xxxxx


  3. Thank you for the referral link, Portia. As for Chergui, I love it and have a full bottle. Like you, the sweet honey/dry tobacco leaves combination dominates on my skin in the first hour, but that’s part of why I love it so much. I definitely think it’s one of the friendliest, most approachable, versatile Lutens fragrances. (It’s also one of the biggest sellers in the line, I believe). And everyone to whom I’ve recommended it has fallen in love and bought themselves a bottle. It’s definitely something for both men and women, as you pointed out. 🙂


  4. I love the syrupy, smokey dry down, I used to wear this all the time but now I prefer it on my husband. He loves it and has been known to spray it on his friends when they visit! I agree with Cookie Queen, too much of this stuff could kill you! One squirt is enough for me 🙂


    • I love that your husband sprays his mates with Chergui. What a wonderful male bonding visual. he he he.
      I’m not afraid of an overspray, it’s rare that they last at any strength on my skin for mopre than a couple of hours, I just have to time it.
      Portia xx


  5. I am a Chergui survivor. A few years ago I zealously oversprayed (which would have been just 2-3 squirts, acually) from a blind-bought full bottle, and thought I would suffocate and die from the smoky tobacco note. I felt depressed and headachey… and sold the bottle to a more robust friend quick-smart. Despite that, I actually think Chergui’s a really lovely, comforting scent, if sniffed from the sprayer or a tiny dab. (By the way, I’m obviously a slow learner re. the killer potential of Lutens scents, because I did *exactly* the same thing with both Fumerie Turque and Borneo 1834).


  6. One of my all-time favorites. I get a lot of honeyed tobacco that becomes more floral and powdery with time. I love that this sweet yet witty cocoon lasts for hours, because it is nothing short of delicious.


  7. It’s all honeyed tobacco on my skin but that’s why I love it. It eventually reminds me of amber and grains of hot sand. It’s excellent stuff. you’re going to get lots of compliments at work 😉


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