Almost Newcomb’s Paradox

Everybody knows that people in the Perfumeland* are wonderfully generous and kind – towards friends and oftentimes to other members of their group who they don’t know too well.

I got my first sample of Serge Lutens Chergui from Suzanne of Suzanne’s Perfume Journal (she had a perfect explanation why to wear Chergui in summer; unfortunately, after her passing the blog isn’t accessible any longer).

I liked this perfume though until recently for me it was a cold weather perfume. I finished Suzanne’s sample, then one more sample and was thinking of getting a decant, when Vanessa (Bonkers about Perfume) sent me her partial bottle of Chergui as an unofficial present for my birthday. I was happy to get it in a bottle: even though those take more space than decants, in the last years I noticed that I tend to favor actual bottles.

Several months later, while we were discussing samples exchange, Vanessa wrote to me that she would also send a box from Chergui that she recently found… As I read that e-mail in the office, I was anxious to get home: I clearly remembered that the partial bottle had come with a box…

I got home, confirmed that I wasn’t confused and even sent Vanessa a proof of having that box.

Rusty and Serge Lutens Chergui

Vanessa had no recollection of how she came to own that second box; and since she had no use for it she used it to send samples to me, making the answer to the post office clerk’s question “Are the bottles in their original boxes?” at least partially truthful: the box was original indeed.

Chergui is one of rare perfumes honey in which does not go urinous on my skin. As I started thinking about this post, I wore Chergui a couple of times, and I have to agree with Suzanne: it wears nicely in the hot weather. Too bad I cannot use a back-up box to even better protect perfume from that heat. I’ll have to rely upon a more conventional method – an A/C. I couldn’t even interest Rusty in checking it out: he clearly didn’t think it was that interesting the first time around when I tried to make a “proof of life” picture shown above.

Serge Lutens Chergui - Two Boxes

Speaking about back-ups… Are you getting any for your Serge Lutens favorites pre-repackaging/reformulation/moving to the Exclusives Collection?

Images: my own

* Of course, Perfumeland isn’t unique in that respect: people inside other groups with similar interests behave that way. But I’m writing about my current interests, so forgive me this … hmm… what would be the right antonym for “generalization” in this context?

** Here’s the link to the Wikipedia article about Newcomb’s paradox


30 thoughts on “Almost Newcomb’s Paradox

  1. I’m sure you remember I have many issues with SL fragrances. When I thought I found the one for me (Fourreau Noir) after some time I realised I never wear it and gave it away.

    I’m not 100% sure if I ever tried Chergui. If I did and don’t remember it, then it must mean I didn’t like it. I’m sure you’ll enjoy your partial bottle


    • Even though there are at least 5 perfumes that I like, own and wear and at least 5 more that I wouldn’t mind owning, in general I’m rather not a Lutens fan, so I understand you completely: unless you have an easy access to try them all in a slow pace, there’s a good chance that you’ve tried many of those that didn’t work for me either.
      Now you’ll just have to try Chergui ;)


  2. I had never heard of Newcomb’s Paradox, though I have probably seen its principle deployed on a game show. I still have no clue how I came by that extra Chergui box…! Weird that it is also in my summer sale too – not because I don’t like it, but because I thought it might appeal to would-be buyers and I could just about bring myself to let it go! (Not yet the case with some things in my collection.)

    The only Serge I own otherwise is Un Lys, which is nearly gone. I shan’t replace it, though I love it dearly. Before I discovered Songes, it might have been my favourite floral (or in the top few!).


    • I noticed that item on your sale, and since I was working this post (I waited for the proper time in terms of lighting to take a picture of 2 boxes), I smiled and thought that probably something was in the air.

      Newcomb’s Paradox is an interesting brain teaser if you try to wrap your mind around it. I thought it was fitting to our two boxes riddle :)


  3. I cannot bare Chergui. I had a bottle and gave it to Dr Fox. Something about it on my skin …… Nope. Not stocking up on any Serges, I have more than enough. I would very much like to try Une Voix Noire, and nearly ordered a bottle of it unsniffed. Nearly 😁. Hugs. xxxxx


    • I remembered your comment on Vanessa’s post and that I was glad that V. couldn’t accommodate your request even had you won back then :)
      You and I definitely have differently reacting skin since many of the perfumes that you love turn just awful on me – and with Chergui it the opposite. So you should definitely try Une Voix Noire – I disliked it :)


  4. Undina, how terrific to hear that you’ve grown to love Chergui and now have a partial bottle of it! That was a really generous gift from Vanessa – I think lots of people who would be thanking their lucky stars for such a gift (I believe it’s one of the most popular Serge Lutens scents and it’s certainly beloved in my family: both of my sisters have more or less made it their signature scents.)

    Being very much out of the loop in terms of perfume news, I hadn’t heard about the repackaging of some of the Serge Lutens fragrances until you mentioned it here (so I just did a quick search on it). I won’t be buying any backups for myself but I will continue buying Chergui for my sisters, assuming it continues to be available here in the US. Hm, sounds like I will have to buy it now in larger bottles at a higher price … ?


    • Thank you again: without you I might have never tried this perfume.

      The bottles will be bigger and more expensive – so you might consider stocking up on the current version, at least for the closest gifting event. And I just do not believe that they won’t reformulate it while moving to the different format. And even with prices going up, something tells me they won’t be replacing cheaper ingredients with more expensive ;)


  5. I won’t be buying any SL bottles even if they are being changed up/discontinued…but this post brings to mind that I also discovered a great honey to wear in the summer which smells completely different from how it smelled in the winter…Absolue Pour Le Soir…the heat amps up the honey, resins and creaminess…in the winter it was pure naughty and skank-LOL! it is funny how a drastic change in temperature can make a perfume behave completely different on your skin….I also enjoy SSS Winter Woods in the summer…the amber/vanilla accord is amplified.


    • Interesting… I think I still have Absolue Pour Le Soir sample so I might dare to try it once again this summer though on the previous approach it was just horrible.
      Winter Woods I like as is so I probably will keep it as a winter scent but it’s an interesting idea to try perfumes in the opposite weather. As I recently discovered, Byredo’s La Tulipe that I always considered to be a summer scent proved to be wonderful in cool weather.


  6. I just read Suzanne’s write-up of Chergui, thank you for linking it. I had the same experience with Chergui. I didn’t think much of it on my skin until wearing it in hotter conditions. It really did “bloom” and come into its own with some heat. Good to know I’m not alone in that experience!

    Always love seeing a photo of Rusty, whether he’s interested in the perfume at hand or not!


    • It’s interesting that several people discovered this “heat” trick with this perfume. I should venture further into experimenting with my “winter” perfumes in warm/hot weather: since I like the former more, I have more of them and not enough time to wear.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Ah Chergui, the most bought and sold-on fragrance in Perfumeland. I bought and sold it twice.
    Great to hear it works well in warm weather, like Coromandel.

    I’m wondering if I should buy a back-up of La Fille de Berlin in case it’s reformulated.

    The real brain-teaser is how V got a bottle of perfume out of the UK through the Royal Mail!


    • That’s easy: she didn’t :) My friend, a.k.a. Perfume Mule, brought it from the business trip to the U.K. office.

      Think about LFdB this way: do you use it often enough to finish in the next couple of years? If no, you probably do not need it: in the next 3 years you’ll find more roses to love without risking that a bottle would turn. If yes, and your bottle if more empty than full, do you see yourself buying a 100 ml bottle of it (provided it’s NOT re-formulated)? Now, regardless of the answer to the second question, go and find a good deal on that back-up bottle and buy it! :)


  8. When I first tried Chergui, it was from a small atomkzer that I was able to charm from a Barneys SA. I used 2 sprays and hated it because it smelled like bug spray. Some time later (a few months), I went for broke which meant 4 – 5 sprays and i sang hallelujah. I then went for a split and then finally got a FB for cheap at Fragrancenet. I will answer your question about buying back- up SL once ai return from vacation!


    • After you do the final tally of the bottles from you trip? ;) I do not need any Bu bottles (I think) but I’m still considering a couple of FBs for decants that I like wearing.

      I don’t remember changing my attitude towards any perfume dramatically but on more than one occasion it moved one way or the other on closer encounter.


  9. Many years ago I debated between Cherui and Fumerie Turque, as I could only afford one bottle. This was very early on in my perfume slide to borderline hoarding issues. I chose Fumerie Turque, which I love, but it has to be dead cold. I can’t really remember Chergui anymore; will have to find my old sample which is around somewhere. Now I’m curious about the honey note.


    • I agree about cold as a prerequisite to wearing Fumerie Turque: I tried it in warmer weather and I got so tired of it that I couldn’t go back to it for a long while.


  10. I actually sold quite a few of my SLs because I realised I didn’t wear them. I kept a few more for sentimental reasons and I think I have enough ambre sultan in the one bottle I have. De profundis, however, I should like to get before prices go up, as I feel those 10mls in my bottle is not enough, and I keep contemplating Bas de Soie, which I have a soft spot for.
    Talking of heat and perfume, I was reminded that when I first tried Opus V it was a warm day in Munich, and it was devine. Wearing it now it just doesn’t sing, and I kept wanting to wear it on a really warm day, but forgetting it. I guess I just discovered my SoTD :-)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bas de Soie is one of the perfumes, about which I’m currently thinking: I liked it – not enough for a full price full bottle purchase and definitely not enough for a Bell Jar pricing (or even the new 100 ml pricing) but probably enough to pick up a bottle at a discount…


  11. I have to echo Asali here. I used to own a number of Serge Lutens: Un lys, Sa Majeste la Rose, Sarrasins in a decant, and briefly Daim Blond. I sold all of them in the end. Only Sarrasins has stayed with me. But Chergui I do not remember-how awful for a tobacco maniac!

    Shouls have bought: Rose de Nuit, Santal Blanc, Vetiver Oriental-but that’s life.


    • Since I’m usually very slow with my decisions on new perfume purchases, there were many SL perfumes that I didn’t mind and even wore from time to time from decants but they never turned into FBs. And now, since I still have not finished those decants, I can’t justify buying a bottle. Hopefully, I won’t regret it in a year or two.


  12. Chergui is such a wonderful perfume, and definitely my favorite bug spray SL. I usually wear it in the fall and winter, so it is still a cold weather perfume for me but maybe one day I’ll pull it out in the summertime :)


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