Sampling Scents from D.S. & Durga
When it comes to scents, I gravitate towards the unusual and unexpected. I like layers of woodsy moss and bergamot, Italian citrus notes next to rosemary, gasoline and sagebrush. I’m not one for simple fragrances or anything too sweet or overly floral. So when I discovered D.S. & Durga’s collection of complex, alluring perfumes and colognes, it was more about narrowing down which of their lineup to exclude, because frankly I wanted them all.
So to start what will surely become a new fragrance obsession, I sampled four scents that most sparked my curiosity. Alongside the scent profiles provided by D.S. & Durga, here are my very scientific findings.
Top Notes Rosewood, wild thyme, bergamont
Heart Notes Sagebrush, basil, rose otto
Base Notes Vetyver, grass, ambergris
D.S. & Durga calls this the fragrance that put them on the map back in 2008, and with its curious combination of herbs and grasses, I can see why. I wanted (and expected) this scent to be my favorite of the bunch. I tend to like scents that skew “masculine,” so one described as “dirty leather” and the “Wild West” sounded right up my alley. And I definitely like Cowboy Grass, a lot actually, but its particular level of muskiness didn’t quite suit me. However—gentlemen take note—if I passed some rugged dude on the street wearing this, I’d be immediately intrigued.
Top Notes Russian coriander, pepper, juniper needle
Heart Notes Geranium, clove stem, clary sage
Base Notes Musk, magnolia, mace
Having read several fragrance forums on D.S. & Durga, Coriander stuck out as a fan favorite. It’s described as fresh, green, and cool. The brand says it smells of the “hills above Odessa,” and honestly I had no idea what that means except that Odessa is a city in the Ukraine bordered by the Black Sea. I found it to be the lightest of the four, and its strength tends to fade to a hint of the spice that blends into the warmth of my skin, making it perfect for layering with other perfumes or for wearing every day. It also doesn’t feel seasonal, in that it’s neither too floral for winter nor too peppery for summer. I ended up buying this one in the 50ml bottle.
Tope Notes Bergamont, petals, lemon oil
Heart Notes Linden, rose accord, dune grass
Base Notes Muscone, salt water, white moss
I’ve been looking for a floral perfume to fall in love with for a while now. I find most of the time that I end up smelling too much like my grandmother or a powder room in some Victorian home. Rose Atlantic, with its combination of salt water and dune grass alongside the petals and rose, seemed promising. I love that it evokes the smell of the ocean, and after a few hours of wear, it relaxes into a softer scent. However, its initial strength is still a bit too much of a bouquet for me. Next time, I’d love to try their Lilac City and Duzina Rozi scents while I’m still in search of a favorite floral.
Top Notes Bergamont, green leaf, pear stem
Heart Notes Fig, coconut milk, iris
Base Notes Blond woods, tonka bean, moss
Debaser is the dream fragrance I never knew I wanted. I expected the fig and coconut to make it too sweet, or the moss to make it too woodsy—but the actual result is a beautifully balanced, humid, sexy scent that is now my absolute favorite. It is named after a Pixie’s song and is therefore so appropriately rock ‘n roll, like the smell of an outdoor concert in the summer in the rain. I am so absolutely in love that I bought the biggest bottle. I can’t wait to wear it to dinners in dimly lit restaurants and cocktails in the back of dark bars (when we can do that again someday, of course).