D.S. and Durga Deep Dark Vanilla
“Rich and smoky vanilla absolute is one the most beautiful materials in perfumery. It can secretly blend behind things in a way synthetic vanilla cannot,” says David Seth Moltz, the brand’s co-founder, and perfumer.
Month after month, fashion and beauty brands pronounce a new fragrance note or style as the holy and anointed one. So with great fanfare, the new chosen fragrance note for the Fall is you guessed it, vanilla! D.S. AND DURGA Deep Dark Vanilla appears in almost all the top editorial picks.
With over three thousand new perfumes launched last year, quite a few vanilla perfumes of high regard were released. And for that matter every year there are, so pay no attention to these so-called “fragrance experts.” Trust me, vanilla is not making a comeback. It’s never left.
Vanilla, used to flavor xocolatl, a cocoa-based drink, was the precursor to modern-day chocolate. The Spanish conquistador Hernando Cortez introduced vanilla beans to the 16th-century Spanish royal court. The vanilla orchid originated in Mexico and for centuries, it was the exclusive secret of the native Totonac Indians. The Aztecs, having conquered the Totonacan empire, added vanilla to a beverage consumed by the nobility. The Spanish conquest of the Aztecs in 1519 brought the fragrant flower to Europe. At the end of the 18th century, it was ushered into the greenhouses at Versailles at the same time as cocoa. Word has it that Madame de Pompadour would slip some into her chocolate before a rendezvous with the King.
What’s incontestable is that vanilla can be either seductive or sticky-sweet. Vanilla has been used as a natural aphrodisiac for centuries reaching back to the Aztecs. In fact, the vanilla orchids of that area (Vanilla planifolia) were taken to Madagascar to begin their production there. Research states that for men the scent of vanilla is associated with a greater increase in sexual arousal than any other scent. To no one’s surprise, vanilla is one of the preeminent scents that men find attractive in women and a powerful aphrodisiac for women as well but for contrasting reasons, it creates a feeling of comfort and peace.
David Seth Moltz and Kavi, Founders of D.S. and Durga
Let me state that after patchouli I love vanilla so let’s go and see how D.S. and Durga have envisioned these notes. First off, the vanilla note is certainly not a note I associate with the brand. David Moltz has used it in the past as a base for Burning Barbershop and Pistachio but, not as a centerpiece. D.S. AND DURGA Deep Dark Vanilla opens at the top with the Cabreuva note, one that I imagine most are not familiar with. He did use that ingredient once before in a fragrance that was discontinued a few years back), White Peacock Lily (2016), which I own (and love).
Dried vanilla pods and vanilla orchid via Depositphotos
Cabreuva which has a delicate sweet woody smell with a fruity nuance is used often, as a top note. Here I find a unique and challenging opening and I’m not secure in stating if it’s the Cabreuva that is sparring with the Orchid or the Pink Pepper, my guess is it’s the former. Give it a New York minute for it to pass and it starts to come together. Once past that, the greenness of the Cypress and Vine notes present themselves to level the playing field. An uncomfortable (would David Moltz like it any other way) warmth ensues. In the dry down of D.S. AND DURGA Deep Dark Vanilla, the patchouli is not the patchouli we all know so well, a signature of the hippie generation of the 1960s but a richer, longer-lasting scent than the light patchouli. The aroma here is extremely rich, deep, and earthy.
Synthetic vanilla, associated with sugar and spice and everything nice cannot be sneaky and blend behind the scenes like vanilla absolute. This is not seductive or sticky-sweet. Used here as a base note, vanilla absolute is rich and toasty which assists in smoothing out the rough edges. Overall, this may be dark but not in that mysterious way (what I was expecting). And don’t look for any amber here. For me, it might be a little too complex, and polite and missing in length. The fragrance does lean in more masculine. Autumn is here and D.S. AND DURGA Deep Dark Vanilla suits the cooler temperature nicely. On the skin, real vanilla takes David Moltz back to the jungle vines and good times.
TOP NOTES: Cabreuva Orchid, Pink Pepper
HEART NOTES: Vines Green, Vanilla Leaves, Cypress Root
BASE NOTES: Vanilla Absolute Dark Patchouli, Hay
Deep Dark Vanilla by D.S. and Durga is a unisex eau de parfum that is vegan, cruelty-free, and phthalate-free.
Besides their fragrances, I always look forward to the D.S. AND DURGA | Spotify lists for their fragrances. Always well-curated. Play it here.
Disclaimer: Samples of Deep Dark Vanilla were sent to me by D.S. AND DURGA My opinions are mine and only mine
Earlier this year D.S. and Durga opened their first LA store in Venice Beach and the first outside of NYC. Congrats David and Kavi! I’ll be out there later this Fall.
–Hernando Courtright ~Senior Events Contributor and Brand Ambassador
All Photos are courtesy of D.S. AND DURGA except where credited otherwise and cannot be reproduced without permission.
Thanks to the generosity of D.S. & Durga we have a sample set of three D.S. and Durga Deep Dark Vanilla for one registered reader in the USA ONLY. You must register here. To be eligible please leave a comment on what you enjoyed about Hernando’s review of D.S. AND DURGA Deep Dark Vanilla. The draw closes on 09/27/2023 and the winner will be announced within 10 days later.
ÇaFleureBon has written extensively about D.S. and Durga over the years.
Please read Hernando’s review of Rockaway Beach and his WE LOVE THIS STORE: DS & Durga NYC + NoLita Draw.
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Read Contributor and perfumer Michael Schrammel’s Notes from the Lab: Take a Deep Dive into Vanilla
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