August 10, 2010

Brooklyn Perfumers - D.S. & Durga

D.S & Durga are a young couple whose chance meeting on Brooklyn street corner led to romance and creating beautiful perfume together. They are inspired by their mutual American and Indian experience. I have always liked the idea of a couple who work together to create one thing, or on aspects that make a whole, like the couples of the past used to do. As in the middle ages and the eighteenth and early nineteenth century, or like the farmer family who work together, couples have often built their lives and livelihoods together over the centuries and this model may well be experiencing a revival. The male and female aspects translate well in this case to scents that are geared towards masculine or feminine, even while a number cross over into both areas and I personally never let such gender demarcations keep me away. I had six to try:


Boston Ivy - A breath of air through dark green leaves, clinging to a brick wall that is drying out from a soaking rain. It is described as gritty Irish Boston, green ivy, moss and fresh clover by the seaside.

Burning Barbershop - Thoughts of the charred remains of the contents of an upstate NY turn-of the-last-century full service place. This is a mix of burnt shaving tonic mints, lime, vanilla and lavender. I smell smoke and cleanliness together, the clean wind whistling through the smoldering ruins.

Orris - Extract of iris root, cedar and violet resin, for dandies preparing to enter their personal night-lives. Gentlemanly, while looking for a wild time. The cedar and resin warm the cold iris, and the violet sweetens it infinitesimally. Like a well turned out Mark Twain after he got rich and clubbable kind of thing.


My Indian Childhood – Kewda and osmanthus, a very serious almost animal low note of sweetness that crosses both the floral and the gourmand style.

Shake, Shake Senora (limited) - I sense vanilla flavored gum, patent leather shoes, a little pineapple, a hot pink and lime green kind of olfactory dance. Marigold, heliotrope and vanilla orchid, a young fragrance.

Pettigrain Sur Fleur (limited edition) - Herbal scented clean fur, worn with a small strongly fragrant corsage. Notes of orange blossom wood and flowers distilled together, tuberose and lavender.

They all have a vintage-chic feel to them, witty and bright, and not painfully expensive (about $58). The masculine scents seem like a good choice for the bike riding young dandy set. The feminines keep a classically Indian tone of very soft sweet lushness. They are hand made in small batches by the two of them, using a high proportion of natural materials, some of which they distill themselves. Thereby they have a gentle throw and are somewhat fugitive, so safe for close quarters in public such as the workplace, and a need for re-application to be expected.

There are many intriguing titles I have not yet tried: Siberian Snow, Poppy Rouge, Silent Grove, Mississippi Death Cult, $, Resin, Cowgirl Grass, they've come up with lots of great names and ideas. They are to be found at boutiques such as In God We Trust, Steven Alan, Anthropologie, Matter, Hayden Harnett, Una, The Darling Room, Rural Residence, and others, and at their very literate website, which is also self created.

Photos above of themselves in their live-and-work space, from an interview in Refinery 29 taken by Nick Wolf.


Victoria said...

I guess great minds think alike, or at least crave the same fragrances :) I've been so intrigued with this brand after a friend's recent trip to NYC. He purchased something that smells like burning pine needles & tar. I fell hard for this one. My friend didn't mention any of the femme fragrances but they sound lovely and worth a try. I've purchased a few of the LE Anthropologie scents on sale. So happy with them!
I also didn't realize what a lovely couple they are! I know that is so shallow but I love the thought of a young couple creating something as lovely as a fragrance together. It's all very romantic.

womo531 said...

I can't seem to find Boston Ivy anywhere... help?wa

Perfume24 said...

Congratulations for the couple. They had a great work. They build a beautiful and great perfume together. I so love the fragrance of Burning Barbershop.Thanks :)
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Lucy said...

Hi Victoria,
yes, I belong to the party that says bring on the pine needles and tar!

There's one called Silent Grove described as dew on grass with ceder white tea and linden which I would like to sample.

I am struck by the romance of it all too. It doesn't appear to be PR or manufactured, but grown out of the meeting of like minds, so that's always great.

Lucy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lucy said...

Dear Womo,
Boston Ivy is marked "new" so I guess it hasn't hit the stores yet. Also new are Freetrapper (treebark black pine, snakeroot),
Osmanthus Cologne (a masc. floral) Cavendish Tabac (Civil war inspired, tobacco, hay, battlefield smoke) The Orchid Drinkers (orchid tea, saandalwood bergamot) Poppy Rouge (vanilla amber, jasmine rose old fashioned feminine) Five Step Waltz (ballroom fragrance five florals)
and Dakota - based on American Indian scents ( Elm, flute plant, sweet grass, I'm VERY interested to try this).

Sorry for the confusion, I should have noted that the word "new" might mean it wasn't quite out there yet.

Lucy said...

Perfume 24,

I agree!

Qwendy said...

Oh my, Lucy, what an intriguing bunch of scents, I can't wait to get my hands on some -- it's probably the description of the Dandies that really gets me, the scent might not! Thanks so much for finding them in your hometown and introducing us!

Lucy said...


Dandies are in high revival in certain parts of Brooklyn. I should send you some links...

Qwendy said...

Oh please do Lucy! My brother isn't one of them, but working in consturuction doesn't lend itself to interesting sartorial choices and attitudes ; ) It's a rather Beck style of Dandyism among young fellows I imagine?

Didn't your blog colors used to be darker and richer, more like it's content? My whole screen is filled with gray and white now!

Lucy said...

Qwendy, I will, over the weekend or even before, send some info on.
It's a steampunk type of thing, late victorian elements incorporated into the everyday articles of wear. Yes, I do need to work on this site again, i did want to change to something a little cleaner and more moderne but this may be too too -- I am using their templates...please bear with me.