Flasks from the Past

On my last trip to New York City, I discovered a hidden treasure at the back of a Greenwich Village boutique. Drawn to the accessories portion of the shop, I carefully picked up a small bottle of what appeared to be a remedy from an old apothecary. I inhaled and sensed nostalgia for another age, but also felt at the edge of a modern mystery, certainly different from the uniform perfumes of today.

D.S. and Durga’s methods are as pre-industrial as their fragrances. They create, bottle, and package each of their gems for a thoroughly natural product, down to hand-stamping their logo on every piece. D.S. (David Seth Moltz) grew up in a small New England town, surrounded by sights and smells that inspire his work. Durga (Kavi Ahuja), a native New Yorker, studied architecture and design in the U.S. and abroad, which she articulates through the couple’s worldly potions and packaging.

A year after randomly meeting on an East Village corner in 2006, D.S. and Durga (nicknamed by D.S. after a Hindu goddess) began creating potions for their friends out of flowers and spices, soon expanding to include perfumes and colognes. Now married and working out of their Brooklyn studio, they’ve collaborated with artists and craftspeople, including Erica Weiner, a friend and jeweler. With Weiner they created the “Perfume Locket Necklace,” inspired by women of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries who used these types of necklaces to mask city fumes.

D.S. and Durga’s fragrances have been praised for their uniqueness and balance, using herbs, oils and plant extracts from all over the world. Within their “feminines” line, the Moroccan rose and vanilla-infused “Five Step Waltz” is named for a popular 1840’s dance style. Durga’s favorite, “Cowgirl Grass,” is a mix of vetiver and sagebrush that D.S. made especially for her.

Their rich colognes speak to a sophisticate with a passion for the world around him. The popular “Boston Ivy,” is a blend of green moss, clover, and ivy reminiscent of the New England city. Fans have also lauded their “Burning Barbershop”, a smoky mix of vanilla and lavender inspired by an 1891 fire in a New York barbershop.

D.S. & Durga continue to make products that mirror themselves – whimsical, but rooted in modern daily life. True craftspeople with a passion for their work, they are creating pieces that in turn, inspire us.

– Denise Kitt