Perfume Reviews

Neutral Reviews of Borneo 1834 by Serge Lutens

Total Reviews: 13
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
Cardamom very noticeable. A hard landing. Smelling like a lot of people that have a structure that bends the nose.
      Middle notes of mint greeted us when we came to a resinous. Perfume does not appeal to the public. Certainly not everyone will like structure.
      When we come to the end of cocoa used very weak and uncertain. Patchouli is not very pronounced in the same way. The smell of cardamom and pepper are progressing in weight. Does not show much change.
23rd April, 2014
Polo's twin

This is not a decent review. And I can't give this Lutens a fair chance because it simply reminds me too much of the original Polo--which was the everyday scent of a past SO. Perhaps I am the only person who makes this unfortunate connection.(Between it and Polo, not between it and my ex!) And perhaps you love Polo! I, too, used to think it an excellent fragrance until I smelled it all day, everyday in the company of a not-so-nice human being. So...

Truthfully, I am not a huge fan of patchouli. I love it in Bruno Acampora's musc and as an accord with other notes, but here it is definitely the star, so to speak. If however, you love patchouli and bitter chocolate and Polo in the green bottle, this could the fragrance for you!

Pros: hmmm
Cons: too reminiscent of my love life"

03rd October, 2013
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Five minutes ago this would have been a definite thumbs down. So, I logged in to write my review. NOW, after waiting, it's starting to morph into something better. I gave it a "neutral" only because the beginning is sooo bad ( on me ) ...It starts out smelling like the bottom of Grandma's bag, then it morphs into something that smells like GRANDPA'S bag. Finally, after about 10 minutes it smells ok. Less like camphor and sweaty man berries, but more like incense and sour crotch. I'm guessing that my chemistry is playing a huge part in this. Oh well, better to have loved and lost....SL is still one of my fave houses and i will find the right one.
03rd August, 2011
It took me quite some time to finally purchase a full bottle of Borneo 1834. This perfume is such a love it or hate it. The 1st time I gave it a try, I thought it exactly what I'd stay away. It's so dusty and earthy, it reminds me of the smell of the soil after a rain, I guess that's the way the patchouly be. I do get the cocoa note, dusty and bitter cocoa powder particularly. The cocoa note doesn't stay all along though, it's like a dash of cocoa powder and then it gone. I don't know what camphor is, at least it doesn't pronounce on my skin, or maybe it's so pale that I barely notice it. When the earthy blast o the topnotes is over, the fragrance turns into something that is... so sweet. Is it just me or anybody finds it smell like patchouly leaves drenched in honey? To my nose (and on my skin) honey is definitely there. The scent is still earty but now it's quite smokey and warm. i'd like to wear it on rainy days, it perfectly suits that kind of wet and chilly weather when you need some raw-material-like scent to shock your nose and then makes you feel so calm and warm inside ^^. @those who's curious about this perfume, still be weary since it's not an easy-to-please. It's intoxicsting but not easy. Right at the moment, I'm wearing it (in bed, and my mom can describe it with no other word: EXTREME. She can't decide wether it smells good or not, but jus extreme ;)
07th September, 2010
Dark cocoa -- check. Camphor -- check. Dry patchouli -- check. I enjoy the opening and heart of Borneo 1834 even though, unlike most Lutens scents, I don't get any sweetness or syrupy spices. Just dry chocolate, patchouli, and that very interesting camphor that makes the back of your throat cold when you sniff.

So, my problem with Borneo 1834 is not the opening but the dry-down. The combination of the dry patchouli plus the labdanum doesn't create the dry, textured incense I typically love. All I get is dust. Dry silk dresses in a trunk that haven't been moth-eaten (thanks, camphor) but have become really, REALLY dusty over the years. Where the camphor makes the back of my throat cold, the patchouli + labdanum just unpleasantly tickles the back of my throat and makes me want to sneeze.

I also agree with the other reviewer who noticed that the sillage on this one smells different from its up-close scent. I get the dust up close. I get just great, dry patchouli from the sillage.

Because I can't slavishly sniff my wrist and get all up-close and personal the way I love to do with other Lutens scents, this one gets a neutral. Personally, I prefer ELdO's Nombril Immense. No dust.
07th July, 2010
shamu1 Show all reviews
United States
This is a very dark, dusty patchouli and chocolate fragrance that could have been great if it were better constructed. I love scents with prominent patchouli, and the patchouli is very strong in this. I also am glad that the chocolate note here is dark and bitter, not sweet and cloying like in some gourmand fragrances (yuck!). But Borneo 1834 smells like two separate fragrances sitting adjacent to one another. I find myself savoring the patchouli note, and then savoring the chocolate note. These two main notes are poorly blended and fail to create a seamless accord. I feel like I'm turning my head back and forth in my own mind, trying to smell two different scents consecutively, over and over. Smelling this over time is frustrating and annoying.

Borneo 1834 could have been so much better, but turned out to be yet another self-indulgent, overrated niche release.
14th January, 2010
I'm glad he made it, and I'm glad I've smelled this, but I don't need to smell it again. I went through my sample slowly, waiting, waiting to love it, but no. For me, the anise is very off-putting. And the patchouli. Actually, the more times I tried it, the less appealing it became. It's not a scrubber by any means, but it's not right for me. And yet, I can see why it's beloved by many. No blind buys on this one, understand me? Sample first.
16th December, 2008
I seldom do this (seldom if ever), but here's where I have to step in and say, "Basically what foetidus just said." Really.

The chocolate/patchouli mixture in Borneo 1834 is very handsome, granted, but the chocolate itself falls short and the patchouli just smells like good quality, uncut patchouli oil. I just kept expecting more from this fragrance, esp. since it's from Lutens' ultra-premium non-export line.

Those who know me know how much I am repulsed by A*men, and it's true that Borneo is a stripped down version thereof. But what's missing (obviously) is that vile burnt tar note that makes A*men so utterly unwearable for me. (Small doses I can take -- witness Black Jeans. Huge doses make me ill, esp. when coupled with tonka.)

The camphor doesn't bother me, but it's not even strong enough to notice -- at least not on my flesh. Same with the honey, and it's something that I usually love. Here (as opposed to Miel de Bois, obviously), it just barely factors into the equation.

I really, really want to love this Lutens frag -- it got me lots of compliments today! (And I AM a frag whore deluxe.) Still, though, I just find it lacking at the end of the day, especially for the exorbitant price it commands.
16th January, 2008
zztopp Show all reviews
United States
Notes: Indonesian patchouli, white flowers, cardamom, camphor, cistus, galbanum, cannabis resin, cocoa accord

Too many Lutens offerings adhere to the following design template:

candied fruits + honey + hay + benzoin + amber +

That so called rich oriental arabian inspired perfume design pattern has exhausted my nostrils, and theres only so much candied someone can take. I wonder what an eau de cologne from Lutens would smell like? *shudder* Eitherways, Borneo 1834 joins my short list of SergeLutens fragrances that dont send candied shockwaves to my brain and make me fear their uber potent sugar coated wrath. Borneo is not a particularly impressive fragrance though, but what it does it does with grace.

Right off the bat, I will state that there are similarities to the now legendary A*Men. Sure, they arent the same fragrance, but Borneo smells like a less complex, muted version of A*Men. The patchouli, cannabis and especially the cocoa form an appealing yet linear dry accord which forms the heart of the fragrance. I also detect delicate hints of spice in the mix. By contrast, A*Men opens with a rousing start, displaying attractive notes of lavender and mint(much needed in gourmand fragrances to offset the sweetness), with a stronger heart of coffee and patchouli and "that caramel, chocolate and vanilla drydown" which has won it many fans. The more I compare the two, the more I realise how much better A*Men is (for a fraction of the price). Borneo's longevity is average too.

Borneo is a nice but unspectacular "exclusif" fragrance. Its a dry cocoa scent which isnt particularly complex, and suffers from average longevity. It smells decent enough, but its definitely not worth a plane ticket to Paris to pay homage to the wacky den of Mr. Lutens. I gave A*Men a "neutral" rating, and although Borneo isnt a "terrible" scent, its definitely not as good as A*Men thus warranting a "thumbs down" rating. But I guess it would somewhat work for people who find A*Men a little too much to handle, so heres a neutral rating for Borneo 1234.
20th February, 2007
As a spicy/floriental tendency person, I was both delighted and a bit put off by the gourmand elements of Borneo 1834. The chocolate and coffee/cinnamon overtones delight me. The camphor... too much. I want perhaps peppermint instead. But is there a way to do this without smelling like a bakery? Inquiring minds want to know.
28th October, 2006
Um, I wore Angel when it was new and interesting. But now that everyone wears it, what am I going to do with this one? I'm sure there is a better way to wear patchouli.
12th October, 2006
I was hoping to be wowed, but instead I was simply pleased. Rich patchouli set against a raw cacao bean note. I was surprised that the fragrance didn't last longer on my skin, but nevertheless enjoyed wearing it.
15th January, 2006
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