Provenance: D.S. & Durga
Let us introduce you to our latest, much admired and anticipated, fragrance brand. Step forward DS & Durga and your wonderful world of innovative perfume.
DS and Durga are a real life, actual couple. The titular DS is David Seth, former musician and writer, turned self taught Nose. The eponymous Durga is Kavi Moltz (Durga is David's pet name for his wife, the protective mother of the universe in Hindu mythology so let's hope she doesn't take the responsibility of her namesake too seriously). Kavi trained as an architect and designer and brings her strong visual background to the aesthetics of the brand. DS & Durga, founded in 2007, is based in Gowanus, Brooklyn and has recently opened a flagship store in Manhattan.
DS & Durga started by making individual, highly personalised fragrances for their friends and they are still made by hand in small batches. These are very complex and multi layered perfumes. David began to see and develop the connection between his previous life as a musician (using music and lyrics to create and tell a story) and his new found career as a perfumeur. He and Kavi describe their work as:
“All that we love in music, art, nature, and design told aromatically. Our scents are fragments of half-remembered myths and imaginary landscapes that invite exploration. They are an invisible soundtrack that you can carry on your body throughout the day.”
The inspiration is rooted in Americana (both historic and modern day) and each fragrance carries an evocative description of its genesis.
The Bowmakers story is almost an Eastern seaboard history lesson:
“Amongst the transcendental woods of the 1900s craftsmen from the Massachusetts Bay Colony built violins and bows in the tiny towns of the Pioneer Valley. The shops were riddled with old growth mahogany, buried maple shavings, amber pin rosin, aged walnut and their unique secret varnishes”
The Pixies are not generally cited as an inspiration for perfume. Debaser, one of DS & Durga's most popular fragrances, is described as “the wild shrill of Black Francis coming through the radio in the August heat”. Rose Atlantic is an interpretation of Frank Sinatra's voice in 'Summer Wind'. Their charged, floral Vio-Volta is paired with The Jesus and Mary Chain song 'Head On'. David Seth is a master of synesthesia, able to translate memory and stories in music, art and nature into an olfactory experience; using the sense of smell to evoke particular times, songs and places. As you would expect from such seasoned music lovers, David and Kavi are very exacting when it comes to creating the playlists for their Manhattan store.
DS & Durga scents are crafted by hand in small batches using balsams, resins, plant oils and premium perfume ingredients. The formulas are 100% vegan. All the boxes have been engineered to be foam-free and recyclable. Brand spanking new to The Hambledon are the body lotions and body washes (in Rose Atlantic, Bowmakers and Debaser), with no parabens, sulfates, silicones and phthalates.
This is the very trickiest question. Victoria loves Italian Citrus. Rob is very partial to Bowmakers. Annie adores Rose Atlantic. Finn likes Debaser (but this may be because she loves The Pixies). Lucy loves Coriander. You will have to make up your own mind.