Launched in 2001 by Serge Lutens, Chergui is named for the hot, dry, easterly wind that emanates from the Sahara Desert and wafts over the Atlas Mountains onto the southernmost part of Morocco. The air of a chergui is so hot it shrivels shrubs, fruits and berries, creating saps, resins and juices that are swept up with plants, insects and debris and carried over the land.
My current bollte is from 2020. The one with the black label.
Chergui opens with a hot, dry spiciness that pulls me right into the fragrance. It’s balanced with a note of honey, sticky and thick, joined by musk. I’m used to musk being at the base, but here it's powdery, earthy, a little sweaty and a little sweet. It adds complexity to the opening, making it exotic and alluring. As Chergui builds, I catch a whiff of dried red berries – a little wink from Lutens. Incense adds smokiness that makes Chergui smoulder, so when a note of immortal flower comes along, its caramel aspects extend the honey beyond one-noted sweetness with its creamy, toasty smell. The immortal flower has honey, resinous, hay, and tobacco facets and acts as a bridge between the honey and incense and notes of the green, earthy hay and warm, herbaceous tobacco leaf. The tobacco smells of smoke and leather, as if it has been kept in a soft leather pouch. It’s a smell I find haunting and compelling. I could linger here for hours, but then I’d miss the flowers: iris and rose. The iris is powdery and sweet with vegetal and earthy aspects that echo the hay. A soft note of lush rose joins it, bolstering the floralcy that adds balance to the fragrance. Over time, the iris blooms, becoming more powdery and pronounced. At the base, sweet, warm amber, and creamy, aromatic sandalwood give Chergui a dark, rich, exotic finish.
Chergui dries down to an elegant, refined fragrance that beckons with the promise of a new experience.
For many people, it is a cold-weather fragrance. I get that, but I like to wear it in hot weather when it blooms into a sultry seducer.
Notes: spices, honey, musk, incense, immortal flower, tobacco leaf, Russian leather hay, amber, iris, rose and sandalwood.