Bornéo 1834 2005

Bornéo 1834 by Serge Lutens
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Bornéo 1834 is a popular perfume by Serge Lutens for women and men and was released in 2005. The scent is earthy-spicy. The longevity is above-average. It is still in production. Pronunciation
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Fragrance Notes

Galbanum, Cocoa, Camphor, Cardamom, Labdanum, Patchouli, White blossoms

Ratings

Scent

7.7 (208 Ratings)

Longevity

8.5 (148 Ratings)

Sillage

7.1 (128 Ratings)

Bottle

8.0 (119 Ratings)
Submitted by Kankuro, last update on 11.10.2020.
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Reviews

CuirCuir

35 Reviews
CuirCuir
CuirCuir
   1  
Patchouli legend
Borneo 1834 is Serge Lutens in a nutshell. A highly unique scent at the time of its creation and it still is. Created by Christopher Sheldrake, Serge Lutens being its creative director. Shortly after Sheldrake joined Chanel, that house came up with Coromandel, their own patchouli take, no doubt had Sheldrake his nose in it. A dusty patchouli with chocolate, not as sweet or earthy as Coromandel, Borneo is the reference patchouli smell that is a legend for the ages.
8
Scent
5
Longevity
6
Sillage
5
Bottle
Oriane

109 Reviews
Oriane
Oriane
   1  
A Tour de Force Olfactory Illusion That Transports the Wearer to Another Time and Place
Serge Lutens and Christopher Sheldrake chose not to gild the lily, or in this case the patchouli, in composing Borneo 1834. Instead of a heavy, sweet, gourmand fragrance, which the house certainly can do if so desired, this is more of an intellectual fragrance if I may put it that way. It takes the wearer on a journey back to the olfactory environment of the trade route where the aromas of wonderfully fresh patchouli leafs and cacao permeate the surrounding atmosphere.

I have wanted to try Borneo 1834 for quite some time, and now I finally have done. Why did I wait so long to purchase a bottle? Well, I was a little worried about the camphor note. I also was worried that Borneo might be redundant in my collection since I already own several fragrances with pronounced patchouli and/or chocolate notes, including Chanel Coromandel, Mugler Angel, Guerlain Gourmand Coquin, and the surprisingly effective Avon Extraordinary. I am happy to say now, however, that I need not have worried about either one of these possibilities. Borneo 1834's camphor note does not spoil the fragrance, and Borneo stands quite ably on its own as a rather addictive combination of fresh patchouli and raw cacao that is unlike any of my other fragrances.

Since so many reviewers mention Angel in their reviews of Borneo, I eel the first thing to say is that whilst Angel is quite sweet and a bit fruity, Borneo is neither sweet nor fruity in any way. Some reviewers also mention Coromandel in their reviews of Borneol, so the second thing to say is that whilst Coromandel is a rather elegant, shimmering Chanel-esque creation, Boreno is more naturalistic, more "fresh" in the sense that I smell the patchouli as the leafs must smell whence picked fresh from the plant in the actual spot where they grow. Likewise, the cacao note is fresh but dark, deep, and unsweetened---this is not baker's milk chocolate but a rich, deep, very dark, and slightly dusty, raw chocolate.

I was also a bit worried about the camphor note in Borneo. I feared it might be medicinal in the worst sense of the word and totally ruin the fragrance for me. I am happy to report that it is not medicinal at all. In fact, it exists only as a fresh tinge to the edges of the freshly picked patchouli leafs and smells utterly natural and complimentary, so if like myself you are worried about a nasty, medicinal smell of camphor, or worse--moth balls, please be assured the camphor note in Borneo is a subtle and natural component of the patchouli leafs themselves.

I am sorry to say I cannot detect any white flowers in Borneo as I am a very great lover of white flowers. I also cannot discern any specific spice notes, only the merest hint of spice that seems to be a component of, and emanate from, the patchouli itself, as does the camphor note. However, despite my inability to detect white flowers and/or spices, Borneo is a very appealing fragrance indeed. There is nothing fussy about this fragrance. It is down to earth and earthy. It is fresh and refreshing but not in that artificial way of many after bath products on the market today. I truly can close my eyes, inhale this fragrance, and imagine myself somewhere along the trade route in 1834 with patchouli leafs and cacao all around me. Their natural, unprocessed smells mingle with one another and permeate the air around me.

Despite my reluctance to succumb to marketing copy, Borneo delivers exactly what it promises. It is neither too modern nor too contrived nor too over-worked. It is satisfying. It is simple but not simplistic. Sheldrake has not gilded the patchouli here, and that is all for the best. Borneo is unlike any other patchouli-cacao centric fragrance I have come across thus far on my perfume journey. Sheldrake has created a tour de force illusion that transports the wearer to another time and place far from his own.

Borneo is not a gourmand fragrance in the sense that it smells edible, but it smells edible in the sense that whilst smelling it I can imagine that the beautiful, fresh patchouli and cacao notes MIGHT BE turned into something deliciously edible. In that sense then, the notes are like delicious raw ingredients that I could imagine becoming many different delicious things. If the raw silks that were delivered to European buyers wrapped in patchouli leafs smelt like this, then it is no wonder that the scent awakened a fervent desire for more of it! As a woman, I can easily wear Borneo, but I would love to smell this on the right man. Ooh, la-la!!

Whatever fears or worries you may have about Borneo, I believe you will find they are unfounded. 'Tis true Borneo is a patchouli and cacao centric fragrance, but I find it very naturalistic, not artificially sweet, not medicinal, and not gourmand other than as being composed of notes that smell of possible raw ingredients for something that might become gourmand, much in the way the very best vanilla beans smell of a raw ingredient that will help to make many delicious foods and drinks. If you generally do not like patchouli in any form, then Borneo will not likely capture your fancy, but if you like patchouli and dark, rich, dusty chocolate as notes, then you will very likely enjoy this fragrance as much as I do.

Projection and sillage are soft to moderate. Longevity is average, and it wears fairly close to skin after the first 2-3 hours. If I fast forward to late 1930s Peru, Borneo is the fragrance that I imagine Dr. Henry Walton "Indiana" Jones, Jr. is wearing as he searches for the lost Ark of the Covenant. Do not ask me why exactly; it just fits.

I cannot imagine any venue where Borneo would be inappropriate. Only patchouli haters would recoil from this fragrance. I think everyone else would find it interesting and possibly even captivating, as do I.

Borneo is unisex in my opinion, but for those perfume lovers who like a more complex, more "embellished" fragrance, shall we say, they may wish to try Coromandel and/or Angel for their patchouli-cacao fix because Borneo is a no-nonsense, fresh, unadorned, naturalistic patchouli-cacao fragrance---utterly unique and totally niche, and I cannot imagine you will sniff it everywhere you go. This is not an unthinking, crowd pleasing, mass marketed fragrance but a fragrance that transports the wear along more of an intellectual and olfactory journey to a time and place that is wonderful and very far removed from our own.

Fragrance: 8/10

Projection: 5/10

Sillage: 6/10

Longevity: 6/10

Re the new skyscraper bottles, I do not find them particularly aesthetically pleasing to the eye, and I think their height is somewhat precarious as they could easily be knocked over more readily than a shorter, stouter bottle, but the black colour is excellent for protecting the contents from light, and the bottle feels very natural and comfortable in my hand and is easy to use.
Fleur
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Fleur
Fleur
   2  
There I was...
I can't really explain or understand this scent...I smell a very unpleasant mixture of old leather, perhaps something like incense and a note I don't know, which I almost find a bit pungent and biting. The patch is almost imperceptible, even though it is said to be one of the patch scents par excellence. I miss camphor, which I usually like to smell, completely. Nothing warm, "earthy" and pleasant that I would otherwise associate with patchouli and nothing cool, "cold" as would be expected from camphor. I did not find the great Bornéo 1834, which is praised for a lot of money. Too bad. And although I only drove with the lid of the atomizer over my wrist, the smell could not be washed away...fatally, as I was allowed to notice
9
Scent
ScentFan

327 Reviews
ScentFan
ScentFan
   1  
S.E. Asian Beauty
Top note is a blast of rich, exotic smell: chocolate, patchouli and spice. Then comes a bracing touch of camphor, luxurious labdanum and some flowers. Galbanum is strongly there throughout, adding greenness. This is a potent, delicious scent—the Sultanate of Brunei before the English and the Dutch.
7
Scent
Greysolon

88 Reviews
Greysolon
Greysolon
Helpful Review    4  
The almost lovable curmudgeon
Of all the essences that make up the vast vocabulary of perfumery few elicit as much mixed up, love-hate sentiment as patchouli. Examples of this can be found in reviews for patchouli-centric fragrances which read like regret filled soliloquies to failed relationships…

“I love patchouli, I really do, but…”

My love-hate relationship with the essence generally follows this pattern: I spritz on a patchouli rich fragrance and for the first hour or so it’s heaven. The seductive tendrils of scent are so exotic and alluring. But patchouli is also tenacious and it’s not long before the smell is omnipresent and clingy. Eventually this constant embrace leads to the feeling of an oily diffusion creeping over my skin making me itchy and claustrophobic.

I love patchouli, I really do, but…

…but I really do love patchouli and I wanted to find a scent that wasn’t a perfume boa constrictor. So I enlisted the braintrust of Parfumo’s “Fragrance Consulting Forum” for suggestions. I described my ideal patchouli perfume as having a dry, leafy setting of the essence. Serge Lutens Borneo 1834 was suggested by several members and it fits the description of my imagined fragrance perhaps just a little too well.

Borneo 1834 is -almost- a lovable curmudgeon of a scent. Like all lovable curmudgeons, it has a gruff, contrary exterior before revealing its warmer, slightly softer heart. But even when Borneo 1834 settles down it occasionally lets out a grumpy, contrarian harrumph.

This is not a fragrance for those seeking instant gratification. The first 20 minutes of development is downright rough and unsettled as cocoa, spices, patchouli and a dry, herbal accord vie for supremacy. When patchouli finally reaches its position of dominance, the cocoa and spices settle into an arid base reminiscent of other Christopher Sheldrake creations such as Santal Majuscule and Ambre Sultan. The difference is that Borneo 1834 also has the dry, herbal accord to create the illusion of withered patchouli leaves, which is the soul of the fragrance. Serge Lutens describes it this way: “Why did I pick 1834? That was the year Parisians discovered patchouli. In those days, it came wrapped in silk.” The island of Borneo was on the shipping route between the Asian silk producing nations and Europe and patchouli was folded into the fabric to repel insects.

Sheldrake is a genius at creating a sense of touch through perfume so the crinkly feeling of dried patchouli leaves is right at your fingertips. It's executed perfectly. But he could have made this a more approachable, friendly fragrance by incorporating the contrasting element of silkiness suggested by Lutens. Instead, the curmudgeony roughness of the opening stays with the fragrance and gives Borneo 1834 a vetiver like stoicism rather than the seductive, come hither quality usually associated with patchouli. Borneo 1834 is a wonderful creation, but it demands a particular sense of confidence and character from those who wear it. If you’re looking for a drier patchouli accord with a more inviting personality then something like Chanel Coromandel might be a better choice.
7
Scent
7.5
Longevity
7.5
Sillage
7.5
Bottle
WRoth

153 Reviews
WRoth
WRoth
   1  
Bornéo 1834
The first blast is dark chocolate and patchouli, as if I was smelling an exotic dark chocolate bar. On me the chocolate is the headnote, vanishing soon to leave me with the patchouli and the spices. I am sure the white flowers, albeit undetectable, do their part in creating a well-rounded, balanced scent. I would describe the scent as dark, dry, woody with just enough spices and flowers to not make it bitter or too dry. Due to the labdamum the dry down is very pale and sweet.
Deefit

33 Reviews
Deefit
Deefit
   3  
Patchouli, and some more patchouli. Oh, and there's cacao..
It opens very strong and the bitter cacao and patchouli are clearly present. However, after an hour or two, this scent reminds me somewhat of a church or castle. Perhaps this is the galbanum, I don't know. It smells of ancient places, very earthy and slightly musty perhaps.

It's very interesting but now I feel I cannot wear this fragrance because of this association. It seems strange for me to wear as it doesn't fit me as a person either. It is not a comfortable scent either, so beware. I tried my sample for the first time today, but I don't think I will ever use it again. This just is not for me.

I can see people wearing this and loving it, as it is very characteristic. But I would suggest sampling this, as it most certainly is not suitable for everybody. Although, this is a fragrance that is harder to find and wanted by a lot of people, so you probably would not have a hard time swapping it.
6
Scent
5
Longevity
5
Sillage
5
Bottle
Miaw2

339 Reviews
Miaw2
Miaw2
   2  
Dry patchouli
Thats a nice Lutens. Basically patchouli with a bit of cocoa.

Reminds me of Chanel Coromandel, but not as sweet and creamy.

Borneo is more earthy and drier than Coromandel, also the lasting power and sillage are not as heavy as Coromandel.

Personally i think Borneo is an unfinished job if compared to Coromandel.

Borneo also reminds me of Montale's Patchouli Leaves, which in my opinion is even drier and more earthy patchouli.

Borneo is quite linear: opens dry and earthy and then fades dry and earthy.

Updated October 2014
9
Scent
7.5
Longevity
7.5
Sillage
10
Bottle
TimeaZsofia

5 Reviews
TimeaZsofia
TimeaZsofia
Helpful Review    3  
"Patchouli cocholate"
Some weeks ago I got a wonderful wax(solid) sample-set from Serge Lutens. It was a really big surprise, so thus I can smell so many (25!) new fragrance from SL!

It takes weeks, until I've tested them. :)

One of my favorite of those fantastic fragrances was Bornéo 1834. First I found the name of the parfume very interesting, as "Another Perfume Blog" said: "Borneo has a complex history. From what I understand, in 1834 the island was home to several states (and even now, it is now divided between the countries of Brunei, Malaysia, and Indonesia), all of them involved to some extent in the power grabs of the Dutch and British, but at least some (including Brunei) still ruled by their own Sultans. I have struggled to understand why Serge Lutens would have chosen 1834 for the name of this fragrance, and the guess I like the most is that it invites us into a moment when West and East are contrasted with each other, in a place that is in tension but hasn’t yet broken."

And about the fragrance, as Rebella describe it perfectly, probably "the best patchouli ever."

I think patchouli note is beautiful, dark, earthy, woody and sweet, and with the cocoa creates a lovely smell! Simply love it.
10
Scent
7.5
Longevity
7.5
Sillage
7.5
Bottle
Rebella

16 Reviews
Rebella
Rebella
Very helpful Review    5  
Hello Darkness, my old friend.
I love, love, love Borneo 1834. This is simply the best patchouli ever. And since I am a die hard patchouli fan I´ve tried a lot patchouli based fragrances. Borneo is something of a shapeshifter to me, it can be interprented both as an exotic and adventurous fragrances as well as an dark, melancholic and gothic mood kind of scent.

Borneo isn´t what I chose when I´m in happy go lucky kind of mood, but what I chose when I want to embrase the darkness within, feel it, understand it and occationally even recognise it and like it. Because within Borneo´s darkness there is something caressing, gentle and calming, maybe it´s like being in the eye of a storm?

What ever feelings Bornoe ewoke, it´s a heavy, full bodied patchouli, cocoa, woody, tobacco (I smell it, do you?) fragrances that will scare away patchouli sensitive peps across the globe. You have to really love patchouli to walk this convincing. I think I do, not every day, but today. It makes my darkness sing and shine...
1 Replies

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