D.S. & Durga

I’m late; which is a great way to start my first interview in New York. I timed it out all wrong, underestimating the amount of traffic and stops that it would take to get to Brooklyn from Manhattan. David rings to check in and see if I am still on my way—which I share  that I am completely lost but hopefully somewhere near his location. We finally link up outside what looks like an abandoned warehouse (doesn’t every warehouse in Brooklyn?). He’s on the phone with what sounds like someone important. They discuss orders, customized scents, and a special item for a customer. I patiently pace back and forth, periodically stopping to snap a shot of David deep in thought while on the phone. I’ll admit, I was a bit nervous. I’ve been an admirer of D.S. & Durga scents since their beginning in early 2008. Their scents, to say the least, are the most unique I’ve ever experienced.

David and Kavi welcome me with open arms. It was as if I was the neighbor they’ve known for years. They, like you and I, are busy pursuing their passion for life and experiences. Well-traveled, Kavi and David continue to reach out to parts of the world for inspiration as well as to discover new oils and exotic scents. They married in June of 2010 and continued to build upon what they started two years before. It’s funny, they somewhat stumbled upon scent making.  They have this perfect, harmonious balance to their relationship. Kavi spends most of her time working the business side of D.S. & Durga; answering frequent emails, dealing with shipping issues, and designing most of the graphics. David, on the other hand, works relentlessly to perfect each batch of scents. He’s a jolly, young fellow, full of energy but never seems to be content with each scent he creates. “It’s almost there” should be a motto painted on the wall. I, on the other hand, thought every single oil and scent shown was in-describable. I thanked the high Heavens I didn’t have a cold that day.  David’s  inspiration ranges from music, people, sounds, food, travels, and poetry. Mid-way through my visit, he pulls out, “The Flower of New England” by Van Wyck Brooks. “I’ve gotta read this to you—the way this guy writes—it’s the most poetic ever.” David reaches into his book case and begins to skim through the pages to share with me one of his favorite paragraphs. A long pause is filled with the sounds of an old English harp on the record player. Kavi and I begin to discuss the neighborhood I live in and how in the world I became a writer. David meticulously searches through the book, not taking a second to involve himself in the outside world. He is deep into the text, skimming the pages looking for what it is he sought out. “All he asked is that the day should be for him as full of centuries loaded fragrant. He had various favorite walks, from the down the river to Peter’s Farm to the Ester-Brook Farm, where his strangling orchards where the apple trees attempt to hold their own against the encroaching forests to lake pond…” I close my eyes as I mentally travel to that field in New England full of nature’s scenery

David & Kavi are modern day poets. Each scent is created from small batches of the finest oils into perfumes and colognes that have the power to take you to a whole new world. Take, for example, Bowmakers. Its deep woods, masculine mahogany, burled maple shavings, amber pine rosin, aged walnut, and a blast of unique varnishes buried deep into the bottle transport me to a small pine shop in the late 1800’s. The scent is fresh, invigorating, and not like anything my nose has ever experienced. Hence, my deep connection with the scents from D.S. & Durga. It’s as if my eyes are closed, sitting in the musky woodsman shop in upstate New York (you know, that real “#menswear” stuff, right?).

David and Kavi are only looking forward. I had the opportunity to test a few of their Spring 2013 scents, and I will tell you now that they are by-far the best yet. Keep your eyes on these two. Thanks again to David and Kavi for letting me stop by (even if I was a bit late).



Christopher Dam

Christopher Dam is a senior writer/photographer with A&H Magazine