Borneo 1834 by Serge Lutens: …and other colonial goods

I dreamed to try (at least just to try) this masterpiece from 2005 by Maestro. I am a big fan of Monsieur Lutens and all of that he’s done and doing so in the beginning of my perfume fever I was spending hours reading fragrances descriptions, imagining how they might sound. Borneo 1834 enchanted me with an enigmatic name and rich accord description. Now I finally own my personal 1 ml of a treasure.


You won’t believe but I’ve been to Borneo. I remember the smell of the jungle on Mt Kinabalu sides and what I could not doubt was that Lutens’ Borneo is not gonna smell like mine one (and I’m not surprised, I was there in 2008 not in 1834). Borneo 1834 is not about a subequatorial forest. It’s about a journey.


Borneo 1834 belongs to the Palais Royal Exclusive Collection and is distributed in these gorgeous bell-shaped bottles. Wish I could have one. Also, according to Serge Lutens, 1834 was the year Parisians discovered patchouli (and used them to repel moths).

The accord includes notes of patchouli, white flowers, cardamom, galbanum, french labdanum and cacao. As for my nose and skin, first I smell smoky wood with a strong earthy patchouli note. It’s really one of the most beautiful patchouli fragrances I’ve ever tried, earthy but not dusty. After an hour or two, it turns into sweet uncertain tobacco. And lasts, and lasts, and lasts… Borneo is not about the island, it’s about a journey to the island or, to be precise, a journey back from the island on a vessel is full of tropical spice, rum and tobacco. Or perhaps, it’s a scent of Somerset Maugham’s novels.


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