Bornéo 1834 (2005)

Bornéo 1834 by Serge Lutens
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Bornéo 1834 (Serge Lutens)
Bornéo 1834 (Serge Lutens)
Bornéo 1834 (Serge Lutens)
7.6 / 10     184 RatingsRatingsRatings
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.

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Fragrance Notes

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



7.6 (184 Ratings)


8.3 (125 Ratings)


7.3 (104 Ratings)


7.8 (101 Ratings)
Submitted by Kankuro, last update on 05.05.2017
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Scent 9.0/10
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.
Scent 7.0/10
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.
Bottle 7.5/10 Sillage 7.5/10 Longevity 7.5/10 Scent 7.0/10
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.
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.
Bottle 5.0/10 Sillage 5.0/10 Longevity 5.0/10 Scent 6.0/10
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
Bottle 10.0/10 Sillage 7.5/10 Longevity 7.5/10 Scent 9.0/10
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.
Bottle 7.5/10 Sillage 7.5/10 Longevity 7.5/10 Scent 10.0/10
Very helpful Review    4
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...
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