Bois de Borneo. Finally an organic Borneo Oud! I have been waiting for this for a while now. I always want to use some Borneo Oud in my perfumes–but when my Borneo collection consists of vintage oils that originally cost around $500, I begin to have second thoughts. At $350, Bois de Borneo offers a more affordable price-tag than its legendary predecessors and may solve my perfumery dilemmas. But more importantly, how does it smell?
Bois de Borneo is a classic Borneo oil. Sweet, smooth, and sensual, Bois de Borneo quickly meets my expectations for a quality Borneo Oud oil. Light but tenacious, this oil wears nicely on my skin with its aroma still perceptible hours later.
Bois de Borneo opens with the most pronounced and sensual vanilla note I have smelled in a Borneo oil so far. For a while, all I can smell and think is vanilla. But rather than being a nice accent or top note, the vanilla odor surrounds and pervades the body of the fragrance, enriching it from inside out, top to bottom. The fragrance of vanilla is so clear and persistent that it is even comparable to smelling a bottle of vanilla oleoresin or absolute.
Paired with this now-balmy vanilla aroma is the amazing sweetness that lends Borneo Oud its popularity. Bois de Borneo passes the sweetness test with flying colors, becoming one of the sweetest Borneo oils I have smelled. I find its aroma to be surprisingly addicting with great allure.
In the dry down, this oil reveals a more woody character, as a note of cedarwood begins to emerge. The woodiness seems to sparkle in this oil. I particularly like the way the woody tones come to life in the dry down phase, without dropping any of the sweetness from earlier. Instead, the fragrance fuses together as it unfolds. The honeyed-sweetness sits on top of a fresh earthiness that is not too pronounced. It is the subtle fragrance of the outdoors just after a rain. Imagine blending a few drops of Mitti Attar in a Borneo oil and you can approximate the aroma. Moist, somewhat grassy, and earthy-sweet. The earthy element of Bois de Borneo is definitely a unique and welcome twist.
A pleasure from start to finish, Bois de Borneo is perfect for a hot summer day and has a noticeable uplifting effect. With their smooth airiness and sweet aroma, I’ve always found Borneo oils to be an almost immediate mood enhancer. And Bois de Borneo is one of the first oils I’ll reach for on a summer morning. I can even see myself swiping this oil more than once on any given day.
While some may wonder how this oil compares to more legendary releases such as Borneo Kinam and Borneo 3000, I must say that Bois de Borneo deserves to be smelled in its own right. What I can say is that Bois de Borneo has a very well-developed aroma that holds its own quite well.
Bois de Borneo is the first organic Borneo Oud I have seen, but I certainly hope there is more to come. I hardly find much merit in making organic/wild distinctions anymore, because these organic Oud oils are every bit as enjoyable as the wild vintage oils in my collection. In fact, there is an aspect of the organic oils that I enjoy even more, because they are cheaper, and a step toward sustainability and right cultivation. When I smell a vintage oil, I know I am smelling the past and the last of its kind. But organic oils impart a feeling of hope for the future of agarwood. With the devastation of wild agarwood trees in Borneo, I am relieved to see an organic distillation of such quality. May there be many more oils like this one!