Chergui - I don't get it?

broguesforsir

Well-known member
Aug 19, 2012
I don’t know why people refer to Chergui as a ‘tobacco fragrance’. As far as I can remember, it isn’t even described in Lutens’ marketing as a tobacco fragrance but as a perfume of dried, sweet saps and resins. If people approached it that way, maybe there’d be less disappointment and confusion.

I love Chergui and get some tobacco from it but it’s in a supporting role; it’s not driving the fragrance.
 

Andy the frenchy

Well-known member
Sep 16, 2018
l remember seeing some people post about a green-coloured version, as well.

Mine started out reddish-brown in colour & has turned more reddish-purple with age.

For the record, l wasn't enamoured with most of the Lutens fragrances l've tried, either. But l adore Chergui.
Yes, there have certainly been color variations over the years. What's very interesting is that I had an original-release bottle that was very deep reddish-brown in color ... but when I held it up to he light, it turned a deep green color. Very much a shape-shifter...
the first version looks so different! i wish i could have tried them all when they first got released. lutens stuff changes way too much
View attachment 179302
I'll admit I've never tried the green juice.

Just the early dark red stuff.
View attachment 179578I sold off much of my Chergui collection several years ago, but my brother bought one of my ‘green’ bottles and it now looks like this… according to him, it is as strong/ thick as the day I gave it to him.

But the color has definitely changed from the last time I saw it.
The difference in juice color has no correlation with any potential reformulations, since Lutens' fragrances (like most of the fragrances including commercial, niche or indie ones) contain added coloring agents. They could very well change the color of the juice without any modifications in the olfactive profile, and the opposite also is true.
Any change of color with time is very probably a degradation of the coloring additives, much more than the aromatic compounds. It might not have been true for a Guerlain fragrance from the early 20th century, but Lutens is a house who was born in the 'stabilizers-loaded fragrances' area.

I don’t know why people refer to Chergui as a ‘tobacco fragrance’. As far as I can remember, it isn’t even described in Lutens’ marketing as a tobacco fragrance but as a perfume of dried, sweet saps and resins. If people approached it that way, maybe there’d be less disappointment and confusion.

I love Chergui and get some tobacco from it but it’s in a supporting role; it’s not driving the fragrance.
Agreed. Lutens does not communicate olfactive pyramids. It is my guess that the olfactive pyramids found on various platform (and slightly diverging one from the other) are just 'words of mouth'.

While there is a distinctive hay-ish facet that might be perceived as tobacco, the latter is no main player in this one, and I'm not sure who first stated that, or where it comes from. Same story for the supposedly 'famous gasoline' note of Fahrenheit... which is famous only in the batch-talker world. (when I said that to an SA in Paris, they looked me with round eyes haha). It's all about interpretation.
 

Tigs7

Well-known member
Jan 8, 2021
To my nose, these are 3 very different Chergui’s. They happen to be 3 different colors, with 3 different lists of ‘ingredients’, with 3 different feelings on skin (oiliness, heaviness etc). No facts, only interpretation.
 

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Tigs7

Well-known member
Jan 8, 2021
To my nose, these are 3 very different Chergui’s. They happen to be 3 different colors, with 3 different lists of ‘ingredients’, with 3 different feelings on skin (oiliness, heaviness etc). No facts, only interpretation.

I tried to upload a lit photo that shows the green vs red vs purple/brown but BN says photo too large.
 

Andy the frenchy

Well-known member
Sep 16, 2018
To my nose, these are 3 very different Chergui’s. They happen to be 3 different colors, with 3 different lists of ‘ingredients’, with 3 different feelings on skin (oiliness, heaviness etc). No facts, only interpretation.
The list of ingredients varies depending of the regulations. Sometimes the ingredients don't change, but the list on the box changes due to increased requirements for disclosures. Sometimes the non-aromatic compounds change (the most common change), without impacting the smell.
What composes the aromatic part of a fragrance is only disclosed in part as required by regulations (like citronellol, limonellol or so, that might create allergies), but is mostly comprised under 'perfume' or 'perfume oil', which is something never disclosed, and that is the core of the formula.

I can't say about this precise Chergui case, as I have smelt it only from 3 packagings, with a juice that was amber-ish (somwhat lighter or darker), but never got any differences. I have never smelt green juices.
My statements are only based on my usual mistrust of reform talks, talks that are purely based on personal perceptions, and, in the best case, some perceptions that might be true - but likely caused by a juice degradation (like citric top notes fading and thus making the base notes more prominent, and the juice overall 'rounder/less sharp') more so than a real reformulation.
That said, aside of some saving by the brand on some expensive material (orris, maybe?) I wouldn't know what kind of reformulation would be needed in a fragrance that is under 20 years old, and coming from a house that uses plenty of synthetics.
 

Tigs7

Well-known member
Jan 8, 2021
The list of ingredients varies depending of the regulations. Sometimes the ingredients don't change, but the list on the box changes due to increased requirements for disclosures. Sometimes the non-aromatic compounds change (the most common change), without impacting the smell.
What composes the aromatic part of a fragrance is only disclosed in part as required by regulations (like citronellol, limonellol or so, that might create allergies), but is mostly comprised under 'perfume' or 'perfume oil', which is something never disclosed, and that is the core of the formula.

I can't say about this precise Chergui case, as I have smelt it only from 3 packagings, with a juice that was amber-ish (somwhat lighter or darker), but never got any differences. I have never smelt green juices.
My statements are only based on my usual mistrust of reform talks, talks that are purely based on personal perceptions, and, in the best case, some perceptions that might be true - but likely caused by a juice degradation (like citric top notes fading and thus making the base notes more prominent, and the juice overall 'rounder/less sharp') more so than a real reformulation.
That said, aside of some saving by the brand on some expensive material (orris, maybe?) I wouldn't know what kind of reformulation would be needed in a fragrance that is under 20 years old, and coming from a house that uses plenty of synthetics.
I understand what you are saying and I’m in agreement that it’s interpretation. SL does not say ‘we reformulated’. Without them saying that, it’s all interpretation.
 

Tigs7

Well-known member
Jan 8, 2021
irrelevant with this thread, but: now Chergui is also sold in parfum/extrait strength ('Confit de Parfum') and in hair spray/EDC ('Toison d'Or), same for a few other of their best sellers.

Yes, I saw, I’m probably going to buy the parfum strength just to compare to the early versions… but I don’t have high hopes, lol. It’s interesting that they are doing this though.
 

mrcologneguy

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Jan 2, 2009
I own a bottle of Chergui purchased from Barneys in the early 2000s. It was divine then, still is. It’s changed a little in color and smell, but still very wearable. Lots of hay in my bottle. A treasured favorite. Love it to pieces.

I have several other Lutens from the same period. All quite nice.

Seems to me that Serge Lutens lost the plot about ten years ago, after the L’Eau releases (2010, I still love the first one). Big price increases, discontinuations, the best fragrances available only in costly larger bottles. Unattractive new packaging. New, greedy and misguided corporate ownership wrecked the line, as I recall. As much as I love my early vintage bottles, I’m not terribly sad to see them leave the U.S. market. Come back when you’ve decided to return to some semblance of your former high quality and reasonably good value. Until then, there might be some decent older stock still available online, but I’d say shop very, very carefully. A sad state of affairs for a line that was once at the forefront of modern perfumery.
 

N.CAL Fragrance Reviewer

Retired
Basenotes Plus
Jul 1, 2011
irrelevant with this thread, but: now Chergui is also sold in parfum/extrait strength ('Confit de Parfum') and in hair spray/EDC ('Toison d'Or), same for a few other of their best sellers.
Yes, I saw, I’m probably going to buy the parfum strength just to compare to the early versions… but I don’t have high hopes, lol. It’s interesting that they are doing this though.
If I had to make a predictions the parfum would be equivalent to the strength of the early versions. Earlier juice was quite dense.
 

Tigs7

Well-known member
Jan 8, 2021
If I had to make a predictions the parfum would be equivalent to the strength of the early versions. Earlier juice was quite dense.

I hope so. Early reviews on the other SL ‘confits’ seem to indicate that the formula goes straight to the base notes (which is great if you love the base) and hangs on forever. It also doesn’t appear to be an identical formula to the edp. A very very interesting concept. I know some people might feel like this isn’t a new idea but it feels innovative. Feels like an oil/lotion but not quite. Is the house grasping at straws or are they pushing the industry to new ways of applying fragrance.

My only concerns are what is this oil base and aside from the strength, does the fragrance capture original Chergui or not. No way to know unless we try it.
 

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