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D.S. & Durga - Sniff Fest

D.S. & Durga - Sniff Fest 7 years ago
Decided to get in the sample kit currently offered at LuckyScent by this very interesting house: http://www.dsanddurga.com/pages/about. Just the thought of "premium-sourced materials" and perfumes made only -in house, inspired by "outdated herbal wisdom, native ritual...lore and legends..and Americana" was intriguing.

D.S. is from England, Durga a world-traveler from New York. Let's see what they came up with:

BOSTON IVY

Wow! If ivy really smelled this good, I wouldn't have cut my calculus classes in those ivy covered buildings in favor of painting the Ohio countryside when I was a teenager. What a fragrance! It utterly seduces the nose, not a single note going wrong. I could smell this forever. It makes me want to stop the sniff-fest and put it all over me. It's a male scent, but no way I'm giving up this dream of a fragrance just because I'm a woman. You guys just have to share. I don't even want to analyze it, just smell! THIS is perfume! THIS is the reason I'm an addict--why I scour reviews, roam perfume counters and haul samples in, why I sometimes do blind buys if the notes beckon. Not sure I would have tried this if I'd read them first instead of smelled. Soil in the base? Hop blossom in the top? Okay, freshness comes from lime and green pepper also in the top. Oakmoss and Galbanum are in the base, too ... okay, wait, forgot what Galbanum smells like, grabbing perfumery kit; oh, it's the beautiful green. As for the middle: ivy, clover and marine notes. These folks are geniuses!

Guys, listen up. When I was young and [content censored by hubby's hmmm], if a guy entered the room wearing this, my nose would have followed him all night, if necessary. Good grief, can't believe I wrote that. See what this fragrance is doing to me? I don't want to smell any more right now. Off to eat something. I see I'm going to need sustenance to get through these samples. Even if the rest are awful (which I'm sure they're not), buying this sample kit was worth it, just to smell this. Love, love!

Back later.
Okay, one more.

BOWMAKERS

Though they don't seem to share any notes, this one reminds me a bit of Slumberhouse Jeke or Vikt, except it's less strong (a good thing). It smells like a violin! Ah, that's because one of its top notes is violin varnish. All I can say is it must have been intended for a stradivarius violin. The rest are beautiful, rich wood notes I've smelled for years because one of hubby's hobbies is wood-working. He loves exotic hardwoods and makes everything from them -- furniture, whimsical artwork, guitars with beautiful sound. The resins, varnish and woods here remind me of his workshop, so I'm probably not an objective judge of Bowmakers. These are scents I already love. To me, Bowmakers, a unisex scent, is more starkly male than Boston Ivy, though, but do gender labels really matter when scents are this beautiful? Either I'm getting anosmic or Boston Ivy projects more and is stronger than Bowmakers. Will report on their longevity later.

One more while dinner's cooking!

BURNING BARBERSHOP

This whimsical name put me in mind of burning hair--not an appealing idea for a perfume--but, lo and behold, they've pulled this one off, too. Spearmint and lime freshen fir in the top note then as it dries the lavender and rose bloom atop hay, vanilla and burnt oil. The result is another wonder, a fragrance that's authoritatively male, one I'd expect to smell on perhaps a UN Secretary General. These fragrances are mesmerizing! And just in case you're wondering, I never heard of D.S. & Durga until I saw the LuckyScent ad for their samples and ordered it. Burning Barbershop gets stronger and more appealing as it dries. It's taking a while to write this because my nose just wants to stay glued to my arm. It's a comforting, reassuring scent, yet has an edge of nonconformity. Something about the burnt oil note makes me think: there's more to this man than meets the eye.
Last edited by ScentFan on 01.03.2015, 05:02; edited 2 times in total
7 years ago
See previous post for Boston Ivy, Bowmakers and Burning Barbershop. 3-5 hours later and they've all turned into skin scents. Burning Barbershop is the strongest.

CORIANDER

This women's scent is lighter still. It's pretty much a skin scent from the start. For me, a lover of indolic orientals and crisp chypres , Coriander is pleasant--very, in fact--but not compelling. The notes are beautifully blended. The florals are geranium and magnolia. Spices are coriander, pepper, clary sage and mace. There's juniper needle, clove and musk. Nothing shouts, but there's the rub. Nothing even clears its throat enough for me. If you're a lover of non-aggressive, subtle scents I recommend it. As it dries, it becomes more beautiful.

COWBOY GRASS

I can almost see the sagebrush rolling by. What an original scent. Top: rosewood, wild thyme bergamot. Mid: sagebrush (good guess), basil, rose. Bottom: Vetiver, Grass Ambergris. This may not be for you unless a bull is standing by that you're about to ride. Personally, it wouldn't make my nose want to follow a guy around, but I'm sure there are cowgirls it would.

DEBASER

Nothing wrong with a little debasement now and then, I guess, as long as it's not serous. This odd mixture isn't. With coconut milk, fig and iris as the midnotes, bergamot, leaf green and pear stem on top and only blond woods, tonka and moss in the base -- it can only go so low. Love the green, the moss and the woods, which lend brightness, but the star is the coconut milk. I don't want to wear this myself, but I love smelling it. It's an olfactory experience. For me, it doesn't evoke emotion. It does entertain my nose.

FREETRAPPER

Oh, love! We're back in the woods--this time with a citrus, resins and an animalic. This is just a to-die-for male scent. Love the Frankincense, the Cedar, the bitter orange. Wait, what is snakeroot? Not sure I've encountered that note before. Checking...don't have it in my perfumery kit. Looking it up...it's a botanical with white flowers that, misused, has apparently killed people (including Abraham Lincoln's mother who drank milk from a cow who ate it), but it's good for stupor, toenail fungus and, of course, snake bite. Apparently it smells like rotting meat, if I'm looking at the right reference. Its contribution to Freetrapper is successful, whatever it is. However, whereas Debaser is still pumping out scent, Freetrapper is becoming subtle. Guess that's the downside of mostly natural perfumes. IMO, the sheer quality of D.S. Durgas balances this one negative.

More tomorrow.
7 years ago
Turns out, these are ENDURING skin scents. Next morning, they are all still detectable on my hands and arms to different degree. Coriander is the weakest, Debaser the strongest, the others are hanging in there.

ITALIAN CITRUS

A citrus with an inviting top note of mostly Lemon with Blood orange and Chinotto, sour fruit of the myrtle-leaved orange tree. The mid and base are unexpected, too. Green mandarin, violet leaf and Frankincense followed by Copaiva balsa, Ambrette and Oakmoss. The result is crisply elegant. Another wonderful men's perfume.

MISSISSIPPI MEDICINE

Uh-oh. Here come the aldehydes and right away my nose can tell the difference. All the other fragrances smell like scented spring air. This medicinal scent reminds me of a stuffy hospital room. Must say these fragrances are creative, though, able to evoke scenes and tell a story, WHILE being beautiful. With this, I can also see a monk lying on his pallet, incense burning, prayers rising, as nuns care for him. Lovely frankincense, cedar, prickly pear, pine, birch tar, et alia.

POPPY ROUGE

Poppy is prominent throughout in this one. I won't wear it because it has several notes I often don't love unless blended just right: petitgrain, narcissus, immortelle. Musk and vanilla in the base help, but cumin in the top doesn't, nor (for me) do the aldehydes. Violet and orange blossom are also in the middle with narcissus. Mind you, they've done a decent job offsetting narcissus' rotting vegetal aspect, they've gotten the sharp best out of petitgrain and immortelle is at its dusky, musky best, but the overall result doesn't rise to beauty for me though it surely will for some.

SIBERIAN SNOW

I grew excited when I saw these notes, so many of my faves are here: Frankincense and Labdanum in the top, Jasmine and Patchouli in the middle, Amber, Civet and Opoponax in the base -- a familiar profile done well, Spearmint in the top adding a unique freshness. Why buy this vs Clive Christian 1872 for Men, for instance? When I sniff it, I'll let you know.

SILENT GROVE

Beautiful! Immediate lovely woods and whatever's creating this luscious floral-green. Let's see. Top: Key lime, Cedar, Petitgrain. Mid: Linden tree, White tea, Rose otto. Base: White lotus, White musk, Dewy grass. A women's fragrance that's a buy for me. I think the White tea contributes so much to this fragrance. It's just gorgeous.

SIR

Last comes this distinctive chypre. Not sure how they accomplished it. It has an hypnotic funky note that I could almost swear is oud, but it's not listed among the notes. This beauty is another absolute buy. Not sure I'll wear it myself, though I just might, but ... wow! It's a chypre with Rose and Jasmine in the heart, Bergamot, Grapefruit and Mandarin in the top. It definitely has a little of what I call the zoo, but this is one I want to visit. For me, it's a total wow. Base is Oakmoss, Patchouli, Labdanum.

CONCLUSION

Sniffing through D.S. & Durga has been the olfactory version of having the tasting menu at a Michelin-starred restaurant, a wine tasting in the Rhone Valley. These are perfumes for the connoisseur. They are magnificent. Congratulations are due to the designers. I feel lucky to have found them. Off to buy Boston Ivy, Silent Grove, and Sir.
7 years ago
Excellent review. Mine are in the mail. Can't wait. I have been waiting for Luckyscent to get some of these for years.
7 years ago
ScentFan, thanks for the wonderful reviews. The two fragrances that have always intrigued me are Bowmakers and Freetrapper. Both would be very biographical for me. The only reason I've resisted a sniff is that I'm afraid of falling in love and facing the financial reality of the relationship... sigh...
7 years ago
ScentedSalon, do feel free to post reactions here, if you like. I enjoy and learn from reading different takes on perfume.

Thanks for your reviews as well, Greysolon, especially of Chamade, which prompted a blind buy.
7 years ago
I sure will. I was disappointed to learn that their HYLDNS perfumes are not in the sample pack. Those are based on Scottish landscapes and stories and are supremely unique.
7 years ago
Thank you! Great comments, I have been so curious about this whole line for months now!
7 years ago
It was great fun, Flavorite.

Scented Salon, I ordered direct from the company and begged for samples not in the LuckyScent pack. Fingers crossed.
7 years ago
Well, I got my samples but for some reason, they are all so weak on me. I better test them on another day before giving any impressions.
7 years ago
Yes, they're pretty much skins scents. Now I'm wondering if my hyper-detecting nose responded to what others won't even smell? They might need a warm day.

ScentedSalon:
Well, I got my samples but for some reason, they are all so weak on me. I better test them on another day before giving any impressions.
7 years ago
If they are skin scents that would take away a lot of their appeal. Definitely won't be buying any full bottles. I don't know when we'll get a warm day but I will test them then.
7 years ago
I think I said in the comments they are skin scents, though not sure what that means except little projection. For me, the appeal is in the brilliant composition itself, even if I have to reapply. When they arrive I'll do a full wearing and report again.
ScentedSalon:
If they are skin scents that would take away a lot of their appeal. Definitely won't be buying any full bottles. I don't know when we'll get a warm day but I will test them then.
7 years ago
Did you end up with any full bottles?
ScentFan:
I think I said in the comments they are skin scents, though not sure what that means except little projection. For me, the appeal is in the brilliant composition itself, even if I have to reapply. When they arrive I'll do a full wearing and report again.
ScentedSalon:
If they are skin scents that would take away a lot of their appeal. Definitely won't be buying any full bottles. I don't know when we'll get a warm day but I will test them then.
7 years ago
ScentedSalon:
Did you end up with any full bottles?

Ordered 3 from their website. They're on the way.
7 years ago
The three arrived and I've been wearing Silent Grove for the past four hours. I sprayed generously. Far from fading, it's still giving off an intoxicating reek of citrus, green and woods with subtly beautiful rose, lotus, musk and petitgrain. Now and then when I bring my hand to my nose I get a newly rapturous woodsy-citrus whiff. This fragrance is fresh as the outdoors, bright without being sharp and beneath the high-flying notes are lovely woods and musk. At least, that's the report of this particular nose. This scent can be worn by a man or a woman. Will post reviews of it as well as Boston Ivy and Sir when I wear them.

Included were samples of their HYLNDS line which I'll delve into tomorrow. I'm not at all disappointed. Silent Grove isn't a sillage monster, but it lingers. You have to get closer for the full effect.
7 years ago
I now see there's a category of scents my nose falls so in love with that I want to smell them again and again, but I don't actually wear them much. Slumberhouse is in that category. I own all but one of them, I think, and hope to own each new one ever made. To me they are olfactory achievements, celebrations, joyful evocations of the remarkable. Several strong "male" and unisex scents are like this for me, too. Perhaps D.S. and Durga scents will prove the same. Just received samples of their HYLNDS line. Here goes:

Bitter Rose, Broken Spear
Whatever they intended, what came through first was the beautiful rose accompanied by a very funky, complex oudish sort of smell. The wonderful other elements develop beautifully--embers, thyme, thistle, smelted iron and more and Cubeb. What is that? A pungent pepper grown in Java and Sumatra. My nose LOVES this fragrance. However, if I wear it out I fear people will think I didn't bathe and doused myself in rose water to cover it up. The funk does settle, but I think I'll hang onto my sample to sniff when the mood strikes.

Foxglove
A beautiful and distinguished scent. Citron, rosewood and carrot in the top make for a delicious opening and the heart is beautiful, beautiful from iris, neroli and champaca. The base ought to win an award: suede, peach peel, immortelle, ambergris, a deftly sophisticated blend that makes this fragrance just rock. FB for me. This I'm gonna wear.

Isle Ryder
The top is gorgeous fir, poplar bud and meadowsweet (a rose-like flower), but soon the strange mid and base notes rise, spoiling it all for a while. Broom, Jasmine, European spruce, Mead, Woodruff and Bulrush are more interested in exploring sour dourness together than supporting the beautiful top, ruining the fragrance for me until much later when the notes coalesce--if never quite wonderfully.

Pale Grey Mountain, Small Black Lake
Amazingly, they've actually captured the smell of standing on the shore of a mountain lake. This smells like the humid, woody outdoors, like mud and lake water and what washes up onshore. It's a very pleasant smell, one I'd love on a man. It's subtle, not potent. I might not think he was even wearing fragrance, but was just a great-smelling outdoorsy kind of guy.

Spirit of the Glen
First sniff yields boozy sweetness from whiskey, pear, grass and pineappleweed in the top. Hay and oak are detectable in the heart and perhaps the wild chamomile, too, but the base of barley malt and the casks of bourbon and sherry amplify the booziness. This isn't a glen but a roadside inn beside it and everyone's drinking malt whiskey and ale.

All the D.S. and Durga scents I've sniffed take my nose on a more or less splendid journey, a few less agreeable, but authentic. I want to be able to smell them because doing so is an experience in itself. Will I wear them? Some yes, occasionally. They are geographic scents, just as their names and themes imply. They show precisely what it smells like to be in the Scottish Highlands. In terms of the art of perfumery, they are mesmerizing accomplishments. My guess is that more men than women will want to wear them, but I want them in my house the way I want great books and great music in my house so I can go to them when my heart yearns to.

Because they use raw materials, they don't always deliver the volume of powerhouse commercial perfumes, but if you have a nose that yearns for the exquisite in scent, D.S. and Durga is worth owning. Sniffing them has been a treat.
7 years ago
I've found a shop locally that sells D.S. Durga so I was able to sample some scents in person with large testers instead of small dabbers. Surprisingly, the only one I liked was Sir. I don't remember liking it when I first tested it. It is rich, ambery, dark and herbal. I will come back to it a few times and if it lasts, I will definitely get it.
Last edited by ScentedSalon on 21.03.2015, 19:25; edited 1 time in total
7 years ago
I really like Sir -- a funky chypre. Changing my mind about Bitter Rose. I may just get it.

ScentedSalon:
I've found a s shop locally that sells D.S. Durga so I was able to sample some scents in person with large testers instead of small dabbers. Surprisingly, the only one I liked was Sir. I don't remember liking it when I first tested it. It is rich, ambery, dark and herbal. I will come back to it a few times and if it lasts, I will definitely get it.
7 years ago
Just realized that D.S. & Durga produced one of my newest favorite Jasmines--Rodin, for Linda Rodin. Amazing. It's stunning and potent, right up there with Ramon Monegal's Kiss My Face, another Jasmine stunner. Both greatly outdo the current formulation of my first Jasmine love, Creed's Jasmin Imperatrice Eugenie. I'll have to resniff DS&D with this perspective in mind. Did it create any powerhouses for itself equal to Rodin?
7 years ago
Keep us informed. I'm now going to go on a hunt for a sample of Rodin!
6 years ago
Footnote: I've come to just adore D.S. & Durga's Boston Ivy, Silent Grove and Foxglove (for myself) and Sir for hubby. I find them beautiful, almost beyond description, because of the high quality of the ingredients and genius composition. In cold weather, they last and last. I think they also did in hot weather. Will pay attention when things warm up and report.
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