Thursday, November 26, 2015

Tobacco Giants: Chergui by Serge Lutens vs Tobacco Vanille by Tom Ford

Tobacco Giants
Chergui by Serge Lutens
Tobacco Vanille by Tom Ford

I have never considered myself a fond of tobacco perfumes but I always deeply savour of keeping nose on a good tobacco aroma, whether a cigar, a newly pack of cigarette before to pull the first out after you remove the tin paper of unpacking, or a premium tobacco perfume. Smelling a good tobacco makes my day like a mug of coffee or a cup of saffron tea. Tobacco potentially has stingy dry grassy smell but in the industry; whether perfumery or tobacco production; it is always cured to be an aromatic sweet fruity material. Tobacco industry is an ocean of chemistry and experience which is out of boundaries of my knowledge, so I participate the show by enjoying the smell and the smoke once a while for fun not addiction!

There are hundreds of tobacco perfumes in the markets from cheapest designers to high-end exclusives but in this crowd only those faithfuls to tobacco can touch the summit. Burberry London for men is still a top seller in designer world, however, this record could still be kept, as in 2007, if Mugler's A*Men Pure Havane has not hit the markets two years later in 2009. Mugler did what D&G could not strongly fulfill by The One in 2008. Parallel to this, the trend was following strongly by first class niches with several tens of challengers which indeed released powerful impact on the line. Serge Lutens' absolute art; Chergui; appeared in 2005, and Tom Ford's Tobacco Vanille from his fascinating jars of Private Blend joined in 2007. These two perfumes in fact has nothing to do with each other but the only common aspect that draws both in a review is their fame and being top sellers tobacco perfumes. Nevertheless, not being a tobacco-prominent perfume could be another aspect. Otherwise I would like to replace Tobacco Vanille with Tobacco Oud from the house and Fumerie Turque from Lutens.

Tobacco Vanille

Since the day it hit, in the collection, beside Tuscan Leather and Italian Cypress, Tobacco Vanille is an influential perfume that has great impact on bazaar. It's a plush and very dominant dose of sweetened tobacco.
Initially, the perfumes assaults with very thick and heavily-duty sweets-intimated, intriguing tobacco accord. Sweet and punchy as smell of apron of a pastry chef at night after a hard day work full of orders, the fragrance attracts with daring gourmand sweetness. It's cacao, spices, and tobacco, highly charged with vanilla, and the vanilla comes up step by step by setting spices down and decreasing edgy smoky vibe into rounded sweetness. The sweet accord of vanilla is like a twisted amber that in the process of creations, the nose decides to make something else and the result is a solivanille, extremely boozy and forceful. Of course, a considerable dose of coumarin is detectable in the heart of this accord but it apparently is not delighting this wave of magma. Formerly I had been surprised by Slomberhouse Ore which is a caramel/cacao bomb and the same tone of sweetness exists in Tobacco Vanille but in luxury tuxedo and bowtie.

Photo by CarlMacau from

The core and base of Tobacco Vanille is sensually warm and inviting. I'm dreaming a perfume with such opening. Anyway, the perfume has some distinct characteristics, one of which is its extremely flamboyant and screaming sweetness exposure. It's shouting sweetness, and it's angled honey-like and smoldering spicy vibe that overtones and defeats tobacco down. I would like to compare Tobacco Vanille for its intense dose of sweetness and cacao with Thierry Mugler Angel which is another sweet bomb, however, the two perfumes are miles distinct in details.
Tobacco Vanille is so realistic and smoky spicy/tobacco that I like to second Luca Turin's statement that says: "Smells great, but feels more like a cozy parfum d’ambiance than a real fragrance". Definitely not my cup of tea but still a nice fragrance if you're in perfumes that scream out! Very potent longevity and projection, be careful how and when you wear it. It's a cold weather evening and formal private party perfume, not an office cologne.


There's a sentence I have to engrave on a plate of jade and fill with gold saying: perfume must cruise you to a place, a memory, a time you always want to have it back. And this perfume deliberately takes me to matte sweet memories of past.
Chergui means Eastern (شرقی). It comes from North African French-accented Arabic language. But seems Lutens indicates to something else, a local desert seasonal warm wind, probably, when he says:
"...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...".
Chergui has took always place on top five of many professional collectors and bloggers which indeed deserves. Chergui is a very smart composition and a proof of how guys in the house of Serge Lutens are working on formulas. This perfume is certainly the most thoughtful and conceptualized tobacco composition ever made...

Photo ⓒ by Mohammad Aboutalebi
Thanks to Mohammad A. for this brilliant shut

It opens up with so yummy theme resemblance of what you can't easily bring out to words. Whatever it is, it is so sweet and lovesome. The composition, nevertheless, has soft and delight sweetness as cherry jam, which a dozen of best tobacco fragrances are famous for. Fruity, delightful, nostalgic and soapy. Soon after this unrepeatable opening, inklings of hay come up. This note shows how professional Sheldrake and Lutens are. Unlike many tobacco fragrances - made in extrovert and severe form, as Tobacco Vanille - here we have very delicate and very mathematical architecture of materials. Hay accord, in fact, duplicates tobacco. It has smoky, fruity, irregular herbaceous bitterness that amplifies tobacco and on the other side, honey gives it sweetness while iris appears and takes responsibility for powderiness. I wonder if my assumption of existing ambergris in the composition comes true, cause I acquire marine notes mingling with soapiness and iris in the dry down.
This is why professional perfumistas call Serge Lutens a real niche house not another high-end house! This house makes wonders with each creation and while others' take on oriental is a severe hot and mystical smell full of harshness and lots of oud and rose, how poetic Serge Lutens sees the beauty of a harsh desert wind! I should stand up and clap for his enthusiasm and knowledge of the east. Cherguie, is perhaps the house's top seller. It has soft moderate longevity up to about 7 hours on skin, and corresponding to this, it has mellow projection.

Carpe Odor!

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