Borneo 1834 by Christopher Sheldrake for Serge Lutens 2005

Heya Perfumistas,

I have had a decant of Borneo 1834 for some time. I would look at it and pass it over for something else. I don’t know why, clearly its pedigree is good and people rave about it but it just never got picked. An interesting name, Borneo is divided by 3 countries Indonesia, Malaysia and the Sultanate of Brunei and I think they plucked 1834 out of their arses because I can’t find anything interesting to do with that time and Borneo on the net. (edit: It was the year patchouli first arrived in Paris, and thus perfume, from Borneo)

Photo Stolen

So today I bit the bullet.

Fragrantica gives the featured accords: Patchouli, white flowers, cardamom, galbanum, french labdanum, cacao

Photo Stolen Fragrantica

Someone somewhere wrote that this is like chocolate covered raisins and I can’t get the scent image from my head. It’s uncanny! I love the uber bitter chocolate here with forestry patchouli, this is not sweet at all to begin with. The cardamom and crackly green galbanum work double time under the radar to keep the whole dusty, smoky, murky; like being in a cold furnace with only the memory of woods or being in an underground cellar. I completely miss all traces of white flower on my skin until about an hour into the fragrance life and then just almost wafts, like they are outside a window. The labdanum is slightly vanilla but still not sweet until about 3 hours in when it gets an extremely low hum of a bakery feel to it but very quietly, just huffs every now and then, like those chocolate sea shells that are vanilla chocolate. Borneo 1834 is gloriously bitter sweet and has a dark resinous quality that is maintained through the 7+ hours I get of real and fully apparent lifespan, I feel like I’ve made a new friend. Sometimes you just have to wait for the right time to test something.

So now it’s 16 hours after I triple spritzed, I’ve worked, slept, woken, done my emailing and breakfasted and there is still a fabulous soft spicy vanilla presence on my skin, astounding.

Will this be a full bottle in my collection? I have a feeling it will be very soon gracing the fragrance fridge here in Sydney.

Photo Stolen Fragrantica

TheNonBlonde does as great review as does AnotherPerfumeBlog
FragranceNet has 50ml for $112 after discount
SurrenderToChance does decants starting at $3.99/.5ml but for only $12.99 you can have a 2ml spray.
Thank you for dropping by. I’m not sure if you know how happy it makes me that you do? Very Fecking Happy!
Don’t forget to come check out my Guest Post on ThePerfumePosse it’s one of the biggest frag blogs on earth and I am so proud and honoured to be a regular contributor.

Till tomorrow, loads of love,

Portia xx

31 comments on “Borneo 1834 by Christopher Sheldrake for Serge Lutens 2005

  1. Natalie says:

    Ah, one of my favorites! I’m always so happy when someone likes a favorite. I hope it does join your fragrance fridge. Thanks for giving me some notes to think about when I wear it next, too. I want to try to recognize some of these effects you describe.

    Thanks for the link, too!

  2. ElizabethW says:

    And I am happy to have found your blog. Borneo 1834 has been on my must-try list for a while, so thanks for the reinforcement. Happy weekend…

  3. Elizabeth Watson says:

    …and I am happy to have found your blog. Borneo 1834 has been on my must-try list for some time because I love patchouli. I don’t have more than one or two decants of anything SL but am working toward more. Thanks for the links. Happy weekend!

  4. Connie says:

    Hi Portia, what a wonderful review. I’ve had a sample of this fragrance for a while and I don’t think I’ve properly tested it. You make it sound glorious and I will be testing it is weekend. Happy weekend to you. Xox

    • YAY Connie,
      Pleaqse come back and tell me your thoughts on Borneo 1834, I’d love to read what you think too.
      Thank you,
      Portia xx

      • Connie says:

        Oh my … You are an evil enabler. And I mean that in the best way!
        I had read this was the precursor to Coromandel ( which I love ) and I can see that but this is very beautiful in its own right. I’m getting the bitter chocolate and patchouli right off the bat and am anxious to see how it dries down on me. Oh great … Another lemming!

  5. ann-sofie says:

    hmm..the name not so much out of their arse, actually. if my memory serves me right, 1834 was the year when patchouli from Borneo first reached Europe, causing fragrance hysteria cravings.

    thanks for all your lovely fragrance writing – poetry in motion!

  6. I am so glad you discovered this! Not being a big gournand friend this is my ultimate chocolate scent. And another interesting thing is that you are the first person who reports a “bakery note” to my knowledge. I have always thought Borneo 1834 (I love cryptic numbers in perfume names and I would contribute the same information as Anne-Sofie) smells of rustic bread crust to my nose. We make similar associations.

    • YAY! Is it because we are both mental Lanier? I like to think it is. The happy kind. Warm rustic bread crust, exactly now that you mention it, thank you.
      How is your weekend? You’ve made me hungry for rustic bread, off for breakfast.
      Portia xx

  7. Undina says:

    Every time I read that somebody loves this perfume I feel happy … because Natalie (Another Perfume Blog) who shared a decant with me likes it and I cannot make up my mind about it – so I feel better when I see another fan 🙂

  8. Lily says:

    Portia, I followed your Posse post over here – I’m so glad you like Borneo. Borneo was my first bottle of Lutens and a blind buy when I was first getting interested in fragrance. It remains one of my favorites, I like touch-applying it rather than spraying. I experience it as an angular scent with a real “in-the-forest” vibe. Thanks for your review!

    • WOW!! Your first bottle of Lutens bought blind. This could have been a heart breaker, I’m glad it wasn’t, Do you have other Lutens now?
      Portia xx

      • Lily says:

        I have a bottle of Un Lys (of course!), quite different than Borneo. Lutens bell jars came this week to the NYC Barneys (and reportedly at a bit of a markup), so perhaps Boxeuses or de Profundis will join my shelf, someday.

      • Of course! Is Lily then also your favourite note? I love lilies personally, Casablanca, asiatic, day, and now you!
        Portia xx

      • Lily says:

        I should have also asked: what are your SL faves?

      • HAH! I am seriously enjoying the Borneo and I have a bottle of Mucs Koublai Khans. That’s as far as I’ve delved. I found 3 others in the SL line didn’t last so well on my skin and I didn’t really get the water ones.
        Thanks for asking. I find the line compelling though and want to try more.
        Portia xx

  9. laniersmith says:

    I had a chocolate and cherry tart for desert tonight at The Elite cafe tonight and then I come home and read this!! Gotta get me some of this luscious juice. Great review Portia.

  10. Dionne says:

    I’ve always just heard that Borneo was a chocolate patchouli, but I’ve never read the part about *bitter* chocolate before. I’ve got a decant of TokyoMilk’s Bittersweet that I adore for it’s unsweetened cocoa facet, so color me intrigued….

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