When I first stumbled across the Instagram of Brooklyn-based perfumery, DS & Durga, I was immediately struck by the brand’s use of unusual and provocative imagery. Think a Dali-Esque photo of a foot holding a bottle of their perfume surrounded by geometric sand castles; another of a melting hand made of candle wax holding another bottle. I hadn’t seen anything like it, and I knew I had to give them a try. I asked for a sample of “Bitter Rose, Broken Spear,” a scent from their HYLNDS collection, immediately.
A few days later, my little vial arrived–in amazing, minimal packaging, nonetheless. I quickly spritzed my wrists, took a whiff, and… whoa.
First, this does not smell like a perfume–and I don’t mean that negatively. Let’s just say, if your idea of a perfect fragrance is Victor and Rolfe Flowerbomb, this probably won’t be for you. But personally, I hate traditional, “perfumey” perfumes. You will never catch me in Chanel No. 5 or Light Blue (no offense). Maybe I’m a weirdo, but the scents that have always intrigued me are the ones that feel real, not like they were manufactured to make one smell sweeter. I like scents that could be found in nature or organically smell like a person or place that you love. I’m into fragrances that tell a story. And that’s exactly what DS & Durgas “Bitter Rose, Broken Spear” does.
Imagine you are staying in a cabin in the damp, cold woods in Northern England. You walk outside, passing rose bushes, to grab firewood. You return inside, light the fire, and pour yourself a glass of whiskey. That is what BRBS smells like.
Once applied, the fragrance evolves like a story, too. Beginning with intense notes of burnt wood and moss, I admit, I was worried I may smell like I went camping for a weekend and didn’t shower afterwards. But, the musty, firey notes melt away slowly, revealing a darkly-sweet, peppery rose scent that is intoxicating, and almost screams “I read a lot of Edgar Allen Poe.” Whenever I wear this fragrance, I find myself constantly smelling my wrists throughout the day, to see how the scent has changed hour-by-hour.
All in all, this fragrance is a 9 out of 10 for me. The uniqueness is incomparable, but not so much that it is unwearable. Not to mention, it is very long lasting. It is non-traditional, unforgettable, and you can be sure that you won’t smell like anyone else on the subway.
[Photo: Shelby Rodriguez]