December 17, 2015

D.S. & Durga Hylnds: Pale Grey Mountain, Small Black Lake

Loch Lomond via Wikipedia Commons
Road to the coast by Gogoye on Flickr.
I've been in a a Scottish frame of mind recently.  I'm not Scottish and I've never been there, but, the images above are what I expect and long to find when I get there.

The D.S. & Durga perfume line Hylnds is a series of olfactory tributes to the Highlands, long lost to the inhabitants. As has happened to many through history long and not so long past, the natives were driven away from their ancestral birthplace to the edges of the country, in this case out to the edges of the coasts, by the aristocracy who wanted it all for themselves.  It is now a largely uninhabited, a place that nature reclaimed, abundant with native flora and fauna.

Many of the displaced came to North America during the early European settling of the Northern and Mid Atlantic East Coast, gravitating to the mountains. Known as fierce fighters back in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries, there remains a quietly strong force of nostalgia for the old landscapes, often expressed in folk music. Many who live in the U.S. to this day relate to this kind of essential longing, and this perfume is an olfactory candle-lit flame to a lost place and past.

Could be the feeling of exile from something of significant beauty that was once a source of sustenance. Collective unconscious images of expressive spaces filled with dramatic earth water and sky, touched with atmospheric effects of mists and fog, lichen, low growing northern shrubs, brambles and wildflowers, all held within this perfume.

Pale Grey Mountain, Small Black Lake delivers this longing in a form of ephemeral reality. The quietness is suffused with the breath of air surrounding the bracken, suffused with a moist silver fog. It holds the chill of a black lake reflecting a black sky, quiet spaces alive with active nature and fast moving cloud formations, sudden glimpses of sunlight detailing the majestic beauties made of simple and plain things like stones, and water in all its forms, mixed with leaves and woods.

The perfume has a bracing fresh opening, listed as fog on stone, water, pepper and lichen, the clean pure air of the great open North Atlantic spaces.

Later the central core comes out, a woodiness tinged with pepper.  Notes are listed as heather shrub, beechwood, bramble flower and marsh violet.  A wooded tone, branches dissolving into rich mulch, chilled by cold water and air, and purslane, a rare use of that plant in perfume.

As is often the case with natural/botanic materials, this perfume is subtle, rich and  beautiful but not long lasting or big.  It has tremendous dimension, complex and poetic, more of an olfactory art piece than a commercial perfume, but very wearable by both men and women.  It's a special form of aromatic experience that requires quiet attention and is best appreciated at the freshest course of its application, in the first hour or two.

Robert Burns:

Farewell to the Highlands, farewell to the North,
The birth-place of Valour, the country of Worth;
Wherever I wander, wherever I rove,
The hills of the Highlands for ever I love.

My heart's in the Highlands, my heart is not here;
My heart's in the Highlands a-chasing the deer;
A-chasing the wild-deer, and following the roe,
My heart's in the Highlands wherever I go.

Farewell to the mountains high covered with snow;
Farewell to the straths and green valleys below;
Farewell to the forests and wild-hanging woods;
Farewell to the torrents and loud-pouring floods.

This  poem,  sung to the Arvo Pärt music by Else Torp and Christopher Bowers gives an aural way to sample the spirit of this perfume as a tribute to the Scottish Hylnds.

Sample set of the Hylnds line is available at Twisted Lily and more information or to order directly from the perfumers online and at many other niche perfume retailers.

Above images borrowed from Wikipedia and Flickr.
Please visit the active links for more information.

Copyright 2015, Lucy Raubertas, All Rights Reserved.

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