David Moltz wants to bring scent’s reputation to a new level. A self-taught perfumer, he wants to translate musical and literary spaces into scent, and has contributed work to fragrance exhibitions including “Perfume: A Sensory Journey Through Contemporary Scent,” “Botánica,” and “Wormwood.” His brand D.S. & Durga, which he crafts scents for while wife Kavi designs visuals, aims to create worlds with perfume, arguing the connections and memory scent can offer make it comparable to sight and sound. Starting from scratch in Brooklyn in 2008, the brand’s approach has been studying objects, plants, and places to create real and imaginary worlds. Moltz (D.S. stands for David Seth) as the sole perfumer, traveling the world to find unique notes but ultimately returning to New York to bring them together and finish with sustainable packaging.
February 2019 has turned out to be a major month for D.S. & Durga, holding both a scent launch and a flagship opening. The new fragrance, D.S., is the counterpart to 2017’s Durga and part of the gold label line. Since Moritz named the perfume with his own initials, it was bound to be special, and it accomplishes this with small batches of rare Indian ingredients. The scent is the perfect accompaniment for the new store, which just opened in the heart of Nolita, landing in good company nearby other independent and niche brands like Claus Porto. Fragrance fans can now take an olfactory adventure to India (and many other places) simply by heading to downtown New York, so Moltz explained the Indian cultural elements that inspired D.S. to convince you to go experience it for yourself.
If D.S was the star of its own movie, which actor would play the starring role?
What color does D.S smell like?
Which place in the world does your fragrance encapsulate best?
The back roads of Uttar Pradesh.
If you had to place your fragrance in an iconic decade past, which one would it be?
The 1630s, in the Mughal Empire.
What item from your wardrobe would you compare your scent to?
A pashmina scarf.
What genre of music do you think your fragrance most aligns with and why?
Ragas - both [the music and the fragrance] are hypnotizing and wildly expressive.
If your fragrance had a night out on the town, what drink would it order at the bar?
Fresh lime soda.
If you were to relate your new scent to a book, what would it be? Why?
Poetic transcriptions of the Ramayana. Flowery, ancient language that is inherently Indian.
If your new fragrance had a soundtrack, what three sounds would play once you spray the scent?
Sitar/Tabla on the wind, water gently boiling, and birds chirping in garden palaces of the Raj.
If it wasn’t called D.S, what would it be called?