Borneo 1834 – Serge Lutens

As if I needed more Serge Lutens in my modest collection – here I go blind buying again.
So, I had a patchouli craving recently that my Intrigant Patchouli wasn’t quittteeee hitting, and figured that this would reach the spot :)

Borneo 1834 opens with a wonderful blast of pure patchouli. The patchouli that I needed! It has that real head-shop stuffiness that I’d hoped for but without the hemp-like greenery and no sour accords like in CB I Hate Perfume’s scary patchouli…

There’s an instant sweetness from a wonderful cocoa that comes into play, and to be honest – this accord isn’t as “dark” as I thought it would be. It is almost milky chocolate to me, verging on gourmand, but no complaints – the combination is beautiful.
So patchouli + chocolate = Angel? Not quite. The patchouli here is lavishly sleek, whilst being familiar in its dank, deep scent – it remains tame and completely in control. The sweetness in Borneo, unlike the Mugler, is also in complete control, richer – more exotic, with a delicate camphor laying over the top – adding an almost medicinal astringency to the patchouli and cocoa. The camphor is far from the intensity of Tuberuese Criminelle (for example), and instead has the sheer, sharp aspect that some great ouds have. It adds an age and a chilling subtlety to the foggy atmosphere.

I get a very subtle tobacco, as well as a liquorice note – in the same, but more toned down, style of Parfumerie Generale’s Aomassai. All intermingled with the cocoa and bitter patchouli, Borneo 1834 is dark and perplexing whilst being light and delicate on the skin.
The fragrance remains relatively linear, with a wonderful resinous base acting like a dark, sticky veil. The resins give off that breathy/slightly sweaty feel that they sometimes do (I normally get this with myrrh), I’d almost have thought there was the tiniest bit of cumin in here, but the fragrance isn’t spicy at all.

Borneo 1834 never gets overwhelming with its intensity as it wears light up close, but scents the air all around you. I’m thoroughly enjoying it already and am sure I will grow to absolutely love it (as I have with my Chypre Rouge). Whilst I don’t have a great deal of experience with patchouli compositions, this combination is a classic and I’m sure I’ll be wearing it all year round. A sexy, mysterious fragrance that is slighty dirty, and almost edible – gorgeous!

Borneo 1834 50ml EDP Serge Lutens – 95 Euros

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12 thoughts on “Borneo 1834 – Serge Lutens

  1. I love it when blind purchases go right!

  2. Borneo 1834 is the “earthier” interpretation of this wonderfull note and a very good start, for a small patchouli collection. I would definitely include Reminiscence’s Patchouli or Patchouli pour homme (both great and both original), Chanel’s Coromandel (the spicier) and Villoresi’s patchouli (a fresh note of mint at the top gives it an edge).

    • Just realised my review is probably the only one online that doesntuse the word “earthy” :’) it is earthy, but no where near as muggy as I though it would be.
      I’ll be sure to check out the ones youve mentioned – I’ve been meaning to explore the Villoresi line.

  3. Undina says:

    I have to ask! Why did you decide to blind buy it? Was it a good deal?

    I’m still not sure about this perfume. It reminds me a lot of Angel (that I love but do not wear too often) but there is something that bothers me as well. Thanks to a generous friend, I have a small decant to figure out if I need more of it though.

    • I blind bought it becuase I generally click completely with Lutens, I find them safe to my taste. At the end of the day, Borneo is chocolate+patchouli, I imagined what it smelt like, and it’s exactly what I imagined – I mean, how far off can you get from these two notes, it’s a little safer than I imagined, but beautiful non the less. My first ever blind buy was a Lutens (Miel de Bois – which I love), and I figured I couldn’t really go wrong with this as it was what I was after.
      Borneo is suprisingly hard to find in the UK, NO shops sell it here and to be honest, I could have easily ordered a sample – but as I said I knew what it would smell like.
      It was a good deal, not a great deal – but better than I could ever buy it new (I bought it 98% full from the USA and with the USD to GBP conversion, I couldn’t really turn it down from a generous Basenoter).
      I’m not a huge fan of Angel, maybe due to it’s huge widespread and mainstream distribution, along with it’s overpowering sillage, berry sweetness and how instantly recognizable it is. Borneo is a tamer, more mature version and is just about stuffy enough to fill the gap of dank patchouli in my collection. Whilst Intrigant Patchouli is still my favourite – it is a much more elegant composition that I can’t wear quite as easily.
      And to be honest – I love blind buying. As with everyone though I believe I am calculated and confident in my choices, yes I’ve had some minor mishaps, but never anything to throw me off completely.
      Since writing my review, I have enjoyed it more so, the patchouli itself is a kalaidoscopic ingredient and Borneo has begun to give me absolute shiver – I’m loving it. :)

  4. Natalie says:

    This is a favorite of mine, so I fully approve of the blind buy in this instance. :)

    • Yep! It is no where near as harsh as I expected (and kind of wanted), but it was wonderfully wearable and much more elegant than I expected :) I love it more and more when I wear it – the last time I wore it to bed I picked up so much new facets of it and it left me gobsmacked.

  5. Mark says:

    While on a trip to Los Angeles, I sampled this at The Scent Bar, on Beverly Blvd. Although I purchased two other scents, I couldn’t stop thinking about Borneo 1834, and ended up calling in my order. It’s due to arrive tomorrow, and I can’t wait! How I love this patchouli/coco fragrance, and am sure I’ll be wearing it daily for quite some time.

    • Well, you’ve just reminded me about this one, I need to crack out my bottle more and wear it! It’s very subtle on me though – but it’s getting colder here so I think it’ll be perfect! :)
      Out of curiosity, what else did you get at the Scent Bar? :D
      Thanks for reading Mark!

  6. [...] from Smelly Thoughts, a great perfume blog, loved the perfume throughout all its stages and didn’t seem to note [...]

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