D.S. & Durga $65
How to transport yourself with fragrance.
Written By FLORENCE KANE
What counts as an easy little “escape” most days? In this digital era, it’s usually something visually and/or auditorily stimulating, ie. a quick scroll through Instagram in the elevator; a podcast on your commute; ending the day with an episode or two of that just-dropped Netflix show everyone’s talking about. But David Moltz, co-founder of indie fragrance brand D.S. & Durga, says one of the more underrated of our five senses could lead to a more soul-enriching “sojourn.” Moltz (he’s the nose; his wife Kavi designs the company’s signature bottles and packaging) believes so strongly that scent has the power to transport us through time and space that he coined the brand’s tagline: “Perfume is armchair travel.” He adds,“I love to capture a specific moment in time, or a very specific geographical location. It opens up your mind to something much deeper.” Here, he breaks down just how to let a fragrance take you away.
A fragrance’s notes can certainly offer up a whiff of nostalgia, a memory or a place or person. But none might be as specific as D.S. & Durga’s scents. Take Tomb of the Eagles, for instance; its description reads: “Where Orkney eagles carried Stoneage souls beyond the jagged cliffs,” referring to an actual Neolithic chambered tomb discovered on a cliff in Scotland. Whether you’ve been to the Scottish isles or not, notes of cold sea, island moss and bones will take you there. Same goes for another extremely precise scent called Big Sur After Rain. It’s what you’d smell when walking into a damp eucalyptus grove off of Highway One. “There’s an unbelievable freshness and sweetness to it,” Motz says, not the medicinal tones we associate with the tree.
But it doesn’t always have to be about “travelling” to a place, says Moltz. His Portable Fireplace candle is meant to add the scent of a cozy hearth to any space. “It’s something that draws everyone back to a sort of primeval sense of warmth and security.” Maybe you don’t have a fireplace, or are traveling somewhere that doesn’t either. “Keep it lit throughout the day and use it as a special time to chill out, read, or meditate,” Moltz says.
WHEN IN DOUBT, ADD MUSIC
D.S & Durga has a Spotify playlist for every scent. Songs that go with Portable Fireplace, for instance: Simon and Garfunkel’s “The Only Living Boy in New York,” “Wild Horses,” from the Rolling Stones, and, with a wink, Bing Crosby’s “Winter Wonderland.” Big Sur After Rain, suggests highway rock, from Led Zeppelin’s “Going to California,” to B.B. King’s “The Thrill is Gone.” Light a candle, put on a tune, and you could be whisked away anywhere around the globe instantly—from a sun-ripened fig grove in the Greek Isles to the heart of the Amazon Rainforest—with just one whiff.