D.S & Durga HYLNDS fragrance trio review

The perfume house of D.S & Durga was created in 2007 in New York City. Fouded by a musician David Seth Moltz and an architect Kavi Moltz (a marriage.) They collect floral essences and herbs from all over the world and then turn them into perfume. All scents are handcrafted and produced in small batches. In 2013 they started a new line within the brand. It bears the name HYLNDS and is inspired by the North European countries, their culture and legends.

Pale Grey Mountain, Small Black Lake (left bottle) opens with a lovely oakmoss accord. It has a woody character with dry undertones mingling in the background. There’s also an interesting sensation of the rocks warmed by the sun. After several minutes the fragrance develops an aquatic feeling. I tried to come up with an idea what kind of landscape could smell like this stage and it really makes me think of a lake in the mountains. Later on a heather note appears (never seen it in perfume before) taking a wearer to the wild meadow. At 30 minutes mark the composition turns earthy, soily and woody with notes of portulaca and beech. There’s a green and leafy feeling to this stage of D.S & Durga perfume. After an hour the perfume starts to smell fresh. There’s a lovely violet accord which is a little bit powdery and floral. Everything is candied a bit with aroma of blacberries. It’s a great perfume, pretty different from standard niche offerings.

Up pale grey mountain, through silver fog, bracken, bramble, dry heather shrub, past gravestone pile from forgotten time, facing west in whipping wind, the small black lake keeps witch’s ring, where the doomed king looked out to sea, Fenian blood in turf, the chilling quiet, the cry of hounds.

Bitter Rose, Broken Spear (middle bottle) is heck of a funny name. The perfume itself is not as approachable. This composition starts with a blast of roses of a medicinal vibe. In fact rose is almost undetectable under a layer of rubbing alcohol, lysol and cough syrup. After 15 minutes this fragrance develops a smoky feeling – just like something was burning out there. The accord of ember (how innovative!) reminds me of Burning Barbershop from the same perfume house. The feeling gets weaker with time, amber softens the sensation of a burned wood. A woody sensation appears close to the end of hour 1. There’s larch, thyme and nutmeg that bring a paper dry sensation to Bitter Rose, Broken Spear (someone give me a glass of water!) The drydown is pretty herbal with tailed pepper and an accord described by the brand as hot iron. This perfume is a scrubber for me from the very first minute. I say this fragrance is dedicated to people with steel nerves or to those who consider themselves freaky. For strong personalities only!

From Ulster fort to Argyll’s holy top, Red Branch nights, proud chiefs in wool, faded dyes – rowan berry, bitter rose, hunt in wood-of-wonders, melancholy thistle, for feasts, water-of-life, Caeawg’s amber wreath, smelted iron, wine-in-horn, now broken spear and empty hills.

Isle Ryder (right bottle) is the prettiest of them all in my opinion. This blend begins with a nicely saturated accord of jasmine that at first sniffs is a perfect mimicking of neroli. 5 minutes have to pass to actually realize that you smell jasmine. It’s a bit floral, bit indolic and bit animalic, a perfect 3-in-1. Wildflowers add a bright freshness to the composition. There’s a clean feeling similar to the one I get from Le Labo Iris 39. After a period of time Isle Ryder becomes aromatic in a very appropriate way. Fir smells resinous and green in this perfume while spruce has a vibe reminiscent of a winter forest. When I smell it with my eyes closed I can imagine lots of conifers wearing white caps. The perfume contains a note of Dyer’s Greenweed. I doubt I ever saw that in my life – the perfume smells floral now. Other notes include poplar buds and bulrush. I honestly have no idea how these smell. In the end there was a nice rose of waxy honey that also had a pollen vibe.

To the Blessed Isles, past the Manx seaman’s myst and thundering valour, past Balor’s blackened bulrush, the Summer Raider in ashwood shyp, his northern woods, saps, cones, honeyed mead, wax, golden gorse, meadowsweet, to inner loch, of inner isle, always ryding west.

These 3 fragrances are pretty unique, weird at some point and also quite demanding. These are not scents you buy blind and proudly wear since the day they arrived. You need to be convinced to wear these. D.S & Durga really must’ve travelled a lot to find such different perfume materials. Pale Grey Mountain, Small Black Lake; Bitter Rose, Broken Spear and Isle Ryder are characterized by a good sillage which after several hours shrinks to a skin scent. All of them have a longevity of around 6-8 hours. They were introduced in 2013 and for the moment I don’t know who created them. HYLNDS collection features one more perfume named Spirit of the Glen. I’ll try to get a sample.

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16 thoughts on “D.S & Durga HYLNDS fragrance trio review

  1. jilliecat says:

    Thank you for talking about another intriguing collection that I hadn’t heard of before. I think my favourite would be the Pale Grey Mountain, Small Black Lake as I would like the oakmoss and violet. It’s rather wonderful to think that there are such creative and innovative perfumers around, thank goodness.

    • lucasai says:

      You’re welcome Jillie!
      It’s an intriguing brand, many of their perfume have a vibe of something burning…
      From these three Isly Ryder was my fave, then Pale Grey Mountain. Bitter Rose was the worst one.

  2. Ines says:

    I’ve been wanting to try these since they came out. 🙂 They sound really interesting (considering their names)…

  3. Thanks for the reviews. I have read a little about this brand and was wondering about them. I typically like smooth and blended fragrances and am wondering if these are a little harder, like Kerosene or Slumberhouse which to me are more sensory than wearable if that makes sense.

    • lucasai says:

      Hi Houndie!
      I didn’t have much experience with Kerosene (only know Copper Skies) and Slumberhouse (don’t know any of those) but I think you’re spot on saying they’re a little bit harder than other niche perfumes.

  4. Lucas, have you reviewed Burning Barbershop? I’m intrigued by D.S. and Durga but none of these three sound quite me…

    • lucasai says:

      Hi Nancy!
      Yes, Burning Barbershop mini review is in of the latest Monday Quick Sniffs posts.
      Just find the perfume on the list in the reviews section.

  5. Mary K says:

    I had heard of these, but had not seen a review. I’m glad you sampled and let us know your thoughts. This perfume house definitely does some unusual things.

    • lucasai says:

      Glad I could be of help for you!
      I think D.S & Durga really does unusual, weird-ish perfumes. I definitely like the perfume names.

      Bowmakers?
      Five Step Waltz?

  6. Jordan River says:

    Lucas, you continually impress me with finding these non-mainstream houses.
    Music, architecture and demanding fragrances. Great!

  7. Undina says:

    What I don’t understand is why a relatively new and relatively small brand had to create yet another line not available from their main website. It can’t be to just [almost] double the prises… or can it?

    I’m mildly curious about them but I doubt I’ll get to test them. So your review is as close to my encounter of these as possible 🙂

    • lucasai says:

      Oh, that’s interesting! I didn’t check out their website and now you tell me that HYLNDS collection has a separate website? That’s somehow weird.
      The prices are higher probably because the concentration is higher – or maybe those “weird” perfume notes are expensive.

  8. hajusuuri says:

    Dearest Lucas, I KNEW the bottles looked familiar and sure enough…it’s available at Barneys! I just may have to brave the cold and take a walk to Barneys to try these out (well, except Bitter Rose, Broken Spear) and maybe, just maybe, wheedle samples for the scent twins :-). Their Beauty Event is coming up (I think) and it’s the perfect time for me to go sniffing since I usually end up buying something and shamelessly asking for samples.

    Your visual description of Pale Grey Mountain, Small Black Lake reminds me of Norwegian fjords and their surrounding greenery in the summer.

    Ah…and if Isle Ryder is anything like Le Labo Iris 39, it may just be a FB candidate!

    • lucasai says:

      Sweetie, you must have a good picture memory if you recognized the bottle. Great that Barneys has this line. If you feel like doing so – do check them out after your NYC working day. And try BR, BS too, just out of curiosity. Good luck with getting the samples too!

      I think thay Pale Grey Mountain could’ve been inspired by that region in Norway actually!

      I think you will like it and Isle Ryder – this one has a mild Iris 39-ish vibe.

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