Perfume Directory

Borneo 1834 (2005)
by Serge Lutens


Borneo 1834 information

Year of Launch2005
GenderShared / Unisex
AvailabilityIn Production
Average Rating
(based on 373 votes)

People and companies

HouseSerge Lutens
PerfumerChristopher Sheldrake
Parent CompanyShiseido

About Borneo 1834

Borneo 1834 is a shared / unisex perfume by Serge Lutens. The scent was launched in 2005 and the fragrance was created by perfumer Christopher Sheldrake

Borneo 1834 fragrance notes

Reviews of Borneo 1834

A Patchouli between Coromandel and PG L'Ombre Fauve with a Fumerie Turque smokiness.
The overall feel has me much like FT feeling sepia non bright tone. Has the Chocolate of Coromandel and none of the Pastry. Dry Tobacco with a background of vague sweetness in the canvas. It captures a whisper of the animalic lactose sweatiness of L'Ombre Fauve with a slightly more complex finish. The glittery gold bits of Coromandel are absent ,however the Cacao puts this into the Gourmand. A fave of the Lutens for me, however the the other two fulfill my needs for this type of Patchouli.
20th October, 2017 (last edited: 21st October, 2017)
The opening of Borneo 1834 is most compelling. A wonderful semi-gourmand accord of patchouli and cocoa with sublime balance. The gourmand element aspect is perfectly abstract as it should be. This is followed by a camphoraceous phase that finally leads to the dusty, dry patchouli base that is cosy, and hints at the cocoa. There is no earthiness/dirt/head shop vibe, and hardly any tinge of green in the composition.

The problem with Borneo 1834 is that it dies down quickly, and is severely muted beyond the first hour, even though duration is acceptable. One star is deducted for this shortcoming. My experience is based on the old style 'Paris house logo' 50 ml export bottle. I'm not aware whether this drawback has been addressed in any later version.

13th March, 2017
The Third of May 1808 : Francisco Goya
18th October, 2016
Dark, rich, dusty combo of patchouli and cocoa. There is a sense also of freshly cut saw mill sawdust. There is also the sense of dry pipe tobaco. Very earthy and very subtle.

An excellent masculine. Some reviewers compare it to Coromandel, but I find it to be superior to that Chanel. Turin notes that silks from the orient used to be wrapped in patchouli leaves to repel insects and that this is how the West discovered the scent, which penetrated the fabric.

That said, I would imagine Borneo 1834 could successfully be sprayed on scarves, sweaters and other clothing with success, as well as on our persons.

Warm and comforting - one of Serge Lutens' best.
11th April, 2016
Comparing Borneo 1834 to Coromandel, yes, they are almost...almost...identical. But I find Borneo more dry and spare, less sweet and luxuriantly nuanced. Honestly, most of the people around you won't be able to tell the difference; but to my nose, Borneo is Coromandel's darker cousin, hinting at dense earth and shadows cast by leafy canopies. I'm glad to have both, even if their DNA differs by only 1%.
12th March, 2016
This was one of the first niche fragrances I ever bought, and although I don't wear it that often, it brings back a rush of good memories for me. First, its dark, musty, camphorous smell reminds me of the day I bought it - a cold, blustery day in Rome, walking in dark streets before they turned the street lamps, slightly drunk from the wine we had unwisely drunk at lunch. The scent of Borneo reminds me of that perfect day, one of those rare ones actually, when we are both happy and there are no undercurrents of tension between us. Smell this, I said, offering my collar - he sniffed, then thought a bit, then sniffed again, and said "Well, that's interesting." This, coming from a man whose sole comment on my perfume in over ten years was to exclaim to our son one day, "Hey, mama sure smells like flowers, doesn't she?" (It was Coco, by the way). So, this was progress. I bought it. How could I not?

I smelled it again today, after a too-long hiatus, and what struck me about it was how the dryness of this actually reminds me of the shut up rooms and papers in our old rambling house in Ireland where I grew up. Our decrepit old house, built originally as a forge the year the Irish Famine began in 1845, was impossible to heat. All the rooms were cold, musty and damp. My brothers and I all wore about five layers of jumpers to survive the winters, and we all looked like the Stay Puft marshmallow man. My mum, a teacher, kept all her school papers and homework in a study, where it was left to gently decay over the years. Borneo smells powerfully of this noble, gentle rot, like greenish-blackish spots of damp colonizing reefs of forgotten papers. It smells like wooden boxes opened up again after years lying in moldy attics. It is incredible. Evocative and emotional, for me. God knows, I was deeply ashamed of our house growing up, but now, this woman who lives in the arse end of the dusty, hot Balkans is nostalgic for the smell of home. Borneo is the one that takes me there.

I don't find it to be very wearable, though. It is quite pungent and singular in focus compared to Coromandel, which I prefer as a wearable composition. However, Coromandel does not perform the same memory trick for me as Borneo does, so it is likely that I will hang on to Borneo and bring it out every now and then to smell it and be transported back to happy times. I know that Borneo and Coromandel get compared a lot, so for the purposes of reviewing this, I sprayed one arm with Borneo, and the other with Coromandel. You might say I had a patchouli-off! Yes, I can see the two points of intersection (the patchouli and the chocolate), but to me they are utterly different in tone and effect. Where Coromandel is creamy, luxuriant as a cat, and comforting, Borneo is raw, dry, and confrontational. Coromandel is the better composition, in my opinion, because it arranges all the notes in a symphony, where Borneo is more of a haiku - sparse and to the point. But Borneo strikes me as the more genuine and sincere of the two, as well as clearer in focus. It also has that memory box effect on me that Coromandel does and can not. There is room in my heart and my wardrobe for both of these.

11th June, 2014

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