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D.S. & Durga’s Fragrances Are Worth More Than The Hype Highsnobiety

D.S. & Durga has mastered the art of storytelling with perfume. Smell has a transportive effect, reminding us of once-forgotten places and people. Brooklyn-based fragrance house D.S. & Durga understands this intuitively. Pulling from art, music, architecture, food, personal memories, and famous myths, the brand builds Miyazaki-level worlds using nothing but invisible olfactory chemicals.

It’s what makes D.S. & Durga my favorite niche perfumer and what has contributed to its 15 years of success. On Feb 1, 2024, London-based Manzanita Capital acquired a majority stake in the brand, a testament to its appeal. 

D.S. & Durga’s Manzanita Capital Acquisition  

Manzanita has had its hands in several high-profile beauty brands, including Diptyque, Space NK, Malin+Goetz, and Susanne Kaufmann. The VC.’s most significant success in the world of fragrance was the acquisition and sale of Byredo to Spanish beauty giant Puig for a rumored $1 billion. 

Though Manzanita has not divulged the specifics of its D.S. & Durga deal, it reportedly hopes to expand the Brooklyn brand’s retail footprint internationally. (If that means D.S. & Durga is coming to Berlin, I can’t complain.). 

D.S. & Durga was founded by partners in life and business,  self-taught perfumer David Seth Moltz (D.S.) and Kavi Moltz (Durga), a trained architect. The duo’s passion for perfumery is apparent in everything they do, from the fragrance-inspired playlists they’ve compiled to their helpful e-glossary of notes.

In the wake of D.S. & Durga’s acquisition, we’re reminiscing on our favorite scents from the brand. 

Pistachio

perfume-bottles
D.S. Durga, Press

Shop at Harvey Nichols

Concentration: Eau de Parfum

Release Year: 2022

Notes: pistachio, cardamom, more pistachio, roasted almond, patchouli, vanilla crème

Editor’s Notes: On my first trip to Naples, a local restaurant blessed me with my first pistachio tiramisu. I was initially skeptical, as I assumed the dish might be too sweet for my liking. But after my first bite, my eyes widened, and an imaginary camera panned to my stunned  facial expression, à la Danny DeVito in It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia: "I get it."  

D.S. & Durga’s Pistachio? The same experience. 

Debaser

perfume-bottles
D.S. Durga, Press

Shop at ssense

Concentration: Eau de Parfum

Release Year: 2015

Notes: leaf green, bergamot, fig, coconut milk, iris, blond woods, moss, tonka bean, white musk 

Editor’s Notes: Hot, humid, and sexy, Debaser is a summer romance in a bottle, minus the heartbreak. Think nighttime walks in the park, packed cocktail bars, and repeat visits to East Village’s food scene. It’s bold but never unfamiliar — consider it a statement piece in your perfume collection. 

St. Vetyver

perfume-bottles
D.S. Durga, Press

Shop at ssense

Concentration: Eau de Parfum

Release Year: 2021

Notes: pink pepper, bitter orange, seagrass, Caribbean sugar cane, clove leaf, palm straw, Haitian vetiver, rum breadnut 

Editor’s Notes: If you’ve even traveled to Jamaica, you’ll find St. Vetyver deeply nostalgic. No, it doesn’t smell like the West Indies’ famous oceans or sandy beaches — instead,  St. Vetyver is intimate and a little grisly, like a rum-soaked night at an electric dancehall. 

Deep Dark Vanilla

perfume-bottles
D.S. Durga, Press

Shop at Harvey Nichols

Concentration: Eau de Parfum

Release Year: 2023

Notes: cabreuva, orchid, pink pepper, cypress root, vanilla orchid leaf, vine, vanilla absolute, hay patchouli 

Editor’s Notes: There’s nothing sweet about this vanilla. Deep Dark Vanilla is, well, dark, earthy, spicy and brooding. Think of the fine line between Batman and Bruce Wayne — I wouldn’t be surprised to see this scent in the caped crusader’s bat cave, placed on a shelf somewhere next to his utility belt. 

Amber Kiso

perfume-bottles
D.S. Durga, Press

Shop at D.S. & Durga

Concentration: Eau de Parfum

Release Year: 2018

Notes: frankincense, sawara cypress, cryptomeria, Japanese maple, iris patchouli, leather, hinoki cypress, tree moss 

Editor’s Notes: Inspired by Japan’s Kiso forest, Amber Kiso transports you right to the country’s misty mountains and historic shrines and temples.  If you’re a fan of Japanese workwear, you’ll love this scent. 

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