Lutens promises the exoticism of the east with Chergui (ascending from the name onwards...) but delivers a quite restrained composition that is not too challenging. It melds with the skin and complements it, plus it's mildly sweet (very popular with modern audiences) and subtly powdery like a greige sweater that's comfy enough to hide one's melancholia behind.
The Lutensian story behind the fragrance is certainly highly visual:
"A fire fanned by the wind, a desert in flames. As if bursting from the earth, Chergui, a desert wind, creates an effect that involves suction more than blowing, carrying plants, insects and twigs along in an inescapable ascent. Its full, persistent gusts crystallize shrubs, bushes and berries, which proceed to scorch, shrivel up and pay a final ransom in saps, resins and juices. Night falls on a still-smoldering memory, making way for the fragrant, ambery and candied aromas by the alchemist that is Chergui."
The facet which is dominating on my skin is the coumarin (what we refer to as mown hay). Indeed hay absolute plays a prominent role in the composition, but it's still pertinent to stress that on my skin Chergui by Lutens is not a pipe tobacco dream oriental with masculine proclivities as sometimes described, but a cuddly roll in the hay that sticks on you for long after the deed. It's soft and warm and lasts for a full 48 hours, which is quite impressive and a good recommendation for people who have longevity issues with fragrances in general.
It has been remarked upon before but the shift from the rather medicinal opening (in the older formula) into the fluffier hay core is a point of tension. It's the one and major change that happens in a fragrance that remains mostly linear on my skin. Still it presents its own "a ha!" moment.