No fragrance review today…

A Victorian ChristmasI am running behind (as always) and must finish a few holiday chores. Will be back tomorrow with reviews of the Armani Privé fragrances.

At the moment I am testing Borneo 1834 by Serge Lutens (see the notes here). It is beautifully done, like all the Serge Lutens fragrances, but if you were to set out to create a fragrance I would be sure to dislike, you could not do much better than this. It is stunning though, and if you haven't tried it, I would recommend that you do, even if, like me, you hate patchouli. The patchouli is dry and earthy, the chocolate is bitter and dark, and the whole is wrapped in a sheer veil of murky forest green. I've done my duty and given it three tries, so now I can put it away. There, that was sort of a review, no?

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Patchouli by SL = legitimate excuse to visit Paris

  2. Anonymous says:

    LOL — like you needed an excuse ;-)

  3. Anonymous says:

    It was chocolate that spoiled it for me. I can take the weirdness in the beginning and patchouli but not that chocolate note.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Got to agree with you about Borneo. I loved the wax sample but when I actually got a decant of the liquid, it was just dark and musty patchouli on me.

  5. Anonymous says:

    My favourite SL! I have to apply it with a light hand, mind you, or it takes too long to get to the delicious drydown. It just fits my chemistry, I suppose.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I love it! When I tested the wax sample I thought it was way too masculine for me, but the liquid stúff is so much better. Just wonderful :)

  7. Anonymous says:

    M, the chocolate is so nicely rendered here — deep & rich without any sweetness. I think I might like it on its own, or with just the green notes. Combined with the patchouli, it is *so* not me.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Yep, will vote for “musty” too.

  9. Anonymous says:

    S, the wax samples are like paper test cards to me. They are of course true to the scent, but utterly misleading in terms of what it is like to wear the actual fragrance. I wish SL would just send out samples!

  10. Anonymous says:

    I love this stuff! Not my favorite SL, but definitely in the top 5.

  11. Anonymous says:

    T, Glad you love it! It is in my SL bottom 5, LOL…

  12. Anonymous says:

    M, LOL — that is the perfect wording, actually. But still, I really can see why someone would love it, and that isn't true for all fragrances I don't like. The appeal of Dinner by Bobo, for instance, is entirely lost on me although I know that many people adore it.

  13. Anonymous says:

    I went to go try this a couple of weeks ago, with no luck, the place I thought would have it, didn't. I did however try Ambre Sultan, which I really liked. (they also didn't have the Rahät Loukoum, much to my disappointment). I have to get ahold of this to try it.

  14. Anonymous says:

    K, it is one of the SL “exclusives”, so you can only get your hands on it in the Paris boutique. You can try emailing them to ask for a wax sample though.

  15. Anonymous says:

    ahhh! Thanks for that info, I would probably keep making myself crazy looking for it. I will email for the wax sample.

  16. Anonymous says:

    I'm looking forward to tomorrow's review!! (You're lucky you don't use Typepad, which has botched up its users' websites all day! And still no word as to when they'll make things right.)

  17. Anonymous says:

    It's seriously shocking me how easily I forget just how much errand running this month requires. Most of them all tend to really fun errands of course, but they're errands nonetheless. Then there's so many places/parties/events/whatevers you end up having to at least make a showing at and pop in to say “hi.”

    Borneo really seems to nail down oil-less patchouli leaves I think. So smooth in texture to my nose the way it was accomplished.

    And thanks to LaureAnne about Typepad – I thought it was my computer that was mucking it all up when I tried to access some blogs. It's a relief to know it's on Typepad's end, not mine.

  18. Anonymous says:

    At the risk of stating the obvious — Borneo, Rahat, and almost every rare/niche/non-export frag I've ever wanted to try is available as an eBay decant. If you want to try more than one from the same seller you save on shipping. The only one I can think of I couldn't find was Vega, and I'm sure it'll show up any day! I can't judge anything from the wax.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Hi, Kim, sorry, I meant to attach my comment re: getting samples from eBay here — see below. It's a great way to try a lot of expensive perfumes without buying the bottle, and it beats the heartbreak of buying unsniffed. PS I'm not a seller, just an enthusiastic sampler, I've been very pleased with the results.

  20. Anonymous says:

    You can also usually find real (liquid) samples on ebay.

  21. Anonymous says:

    Ha — and I was just typing the same thing ;-)

  22. Anonymous says:

    L, have had plenty of bad days on blogharbor, so I sympathize. You won't like my review — barely tried the Eau de Jade & it is the only sample I no longer have.

  23. Anonymous says:

    K, and to make errand running more fun, my son's school is already out on vacation — bah, humbug! Yes, the Borneo is very smooth. Still don't like it though.

  24. Anonymous says:

    I recently obtained a bell bottle of Borneo and just love it. At one point I wore it three days in a row and never tired of sniffing my wrists. This scent is just so wonderful on me and I find it feeds my inner child and makes me want to run and play. Most scents don't affect me this way but there is just something special about Borneo. This has become one of my favorite fragrances right now and I feel like wearing it all the time. Unfortunately, I need to be careful with it as a replacement bottle is not easy to come by.

  25. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for that tip, I have been thinking of buying samples on eBay, I think this will get me to do that now. Either that or talk my husband into a road trip to Paris in the next week or so. But I think my husband is begin to be frightened by my perfume habit.

  26. Anonymous says:

    Dear Robin,

    I do love your reviews and your sort of reviews.

    I will be on holidays (at a sheep farm in Oz) and no doubt will be desperate for a fragrance by the time I get back in the new year. Sounds like 'Pom Noir' will do just fine.

    Merry Christmas to you all


  27. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for commenting; that is a ringing endorsement!

  28. Anonymous says:

    Thank you T! Hope your holiday on the sheep farm is wonderful — that sounds wonderful, actually. I've never been on a sheep farm.

  29. Anonymous says:

    R, liquid samples would really be so much better!

    Of course the wax samples are nice to get at least an idea of the scent – but then you always have to wonder what it will smell like on your skin…

  30. Anonymous says:

    Well, I've started my descent into the world of Serge Lutens. I've gotten five decants to start, and this is one of them. Actually, I was going to start first with Tubereuse Criminelle but the comments were disabled. Really, if you'd prefer I just leave these old threads alone, just tell me and I'll stop.

    Well, Tubereuse Criminelle's topnotes were not nearly as scary as I'd been lead to believe. Sure, it smelled much like mentholated gasoline, but I'm more horrified by things akin to Ed Hardy. Macerated fruits just aren't my thing. But the dry-down is exactly right. It's cold and creamy and silken, still dripping with it's top-notes. I haven't had it on for hours (I just got home after a really, really awful day and I needed some perking up) but it's heavenly. (A revisit: the top-notes have died now. I'm in love. =D) No one around me shares this sentiment, but I'm not surprised. I'm gonna have a hard time working it into the budget. Maybe I'll just get a partial bottle on The Perfumed Court. That'd save me a lot of time and effort. xD

    Now this one, Borneo 1834. I like it. It's sultry and dark. However, it smells like the highest quality dark chocolate caramel bar. It's not terribly sweet, but it's not as bittersweet on me as I'd hoped. In fact, it's kind of like the straight-to-dry-down Covet, if Covet had had a much higher budget. I can't justify my buying a bottle, though, even a large decant, though. Not yet, anyway. I'll keep testing it. I'll definitely go through my sample, though.

    And I also got ISM, Sarrasins (I went after the difficult ones, I really did. xD) and 5OG (which is nice, but I'm not sure how I'd need a bottle.)

    Alright, well, thanks for listening.

  31. Anonymous says:

    Eric, thanks for pointing that out — if there was ever a reason I closed the comments to that article, I no longer remember what it was. Guessing it was just a mistake. Anyway, reopened now. So glad you love TC, I do think it's gorgeous. I keep waiting for SL to make TC or ISM the export scent of the year, but it never happens, so I don't have a full bottle either.

    Borneo just isn't me — to much patch. I would have taken the high quality dark chocolate caramel if they'd left out all the patch ;-)

  32. Anonymous says:

    I think they'd have a hard time selling either of those to the rest of the world; I'd actually venture a guess and say that they're not pulling their own weight in the line anyway. Also, I seemed to have missed it — which one was released for export this year?

    Actually, I'd kill to have a bell jar, so I'd be torn if they were to be released; I have a connection up in Holland that I could rely on, should I ever need it. Except for shipping, the lines are pretty much similarly priced, right?

    TC does seem to have the least staying power, though; even ISM beats it, which surprised me. I really do like it. I'd probably rank it as my second favorite of the pack.

    I know there isn't any love lost between you and patchouli. I have not idea what patchouli smells like in isolation, but I think my comparison was close enough for what it smells of on my skin. It also strikes me as hilarious that the juice is a lighter color than TC. It's my third of the bunch.

  33. Anonymous says:

    I have not seen one announced yet this year. Asked at MUA, apparently it will be Borneo, starting in September.

    The bell jars are definitely more expensive, but don't know exact prices. More info here:

  34. Anonymous says:

    Now, Borneo would probably fly off the shelves, though, I wore some today and my friends said I smelled quite like pot smoke (that's another scent association I don't have). But it's very likable.

    Here comes the math geek:

    The Export range is $2.4 per ml (50ml bottle for $120), while the Export range is approx. $2.209 per ml ( 75ml bottle for $165.7328, as per tonight's conversion rate). It's certainly close, though, and, again, shipping from Europe would certainly tip the balance.

    Eee, forgive me! Proportions are just too fun to pass up.

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