DS & Durga: An Interview With Perfumer David Seth Moltz

DS & Durga Cowboy Grass EDP

When husband and wife, David Seth Moltz (a musician) and Kavi Moltz (an architect) launched DS & Durga in 2007, they did so without a plan in mind. Twelve years later, the perfumer and creative director’s NYC-based company is a well-respected (I would say “very cool”) niche fragrance brand that produces perfume, candle, body and car products.

DS & Durga - David Seth Moltz

SELF-TAUGHT: David Seth Moltz didn’t go to perfumery school, but taught himself the tools of the trade.

It’s easy to be a cool brand, but a cool brand with longevity is something else altogether. DS & Durga have achieved this through distinctive (often unusual), high-quality fragrances that take their inspiration from music, art, nature and design.

I got hold of self-taught perfumer David Seth Moltz via Instagram and these are his replies to my questions.

DS & Durga Italian Citrus EDP

What makes DS & Durga stand out in an increasingly saturated niche market?

We are perfumer- and designer-owned. Our scents are a true reflection of our ideas and are not filtered through another perfumer.

You’ve been labelled a “hipster” fragrance brand. What are your thoughts on that?

Not sure what that really means. Doesn’t sound too positive, though.

DS & Durga Radio Bombay EDP

What was your goal when you originally launched DS & Durga in 2007? Has that changed at all?

At the beginning, we were just flying by the seat of our pants. We were surprised by the response and excited to make something with our own hands. We still have the same desire to create, but with more tools. Ultimately, it’s about spreading joy to as many people as possible.

“We still have the same desire to create, but with more tools.”

You and your wife, Kavi, founded DS & Durga. Why do you have such a strong working relationship?

We respect each other’s spheres of expertise.

DS & Durga - Kavi Moltz and David Seth Moltz

AREAS OF EXPERTISE: Kavi Moltz (creative director) and David Seth Moltz (perfumer) are the husband and wife team behind DS & Durga.

You didn’t study perfumery. Has that been an advantage for you?

I think so. I have my own systems of how aromatic materials work.

Where does your creativity come from?


You’ve recently opened your new NYC store. Why should we visit it?

It has everything we make in one place the way we want you to experience it. You can talk to the founders or our small team and get deep inside what we do and how we do it. Nolita is also a great neighborhood to visit.

DS & Durga store

BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT: The interior of the new DS & Durga store in Nolita, NYC.

One of my favourite DS & Durga fragrances is Debaser. I know the Pixies reference, but I wasn’t expecting all of that delicious fig and coconut for such a rock n roll-referenced fragrance…

Yep, it’s a reference to my youthful understanding of that provocative music on hot summer nights.

On the music theme, you collaborated with Duran Duran last year to celebrate their 40th year in the music biz. What do you remember most from that collaboration?

Working closely with Simon [le Bon, the band’s lead singer] on the fragrances.

DS & Durga El Cosmico EDP

Tell us about your latest fragrance, DS & Durga EDP?

The DS scent is part of our gold label line where we use ridiculously expensive materials without worrying about the retail cost. It is a modern take on an Indian attar with frangipani, gardenia, lotus, sandalwood and vetyver.

“The DS scent is part of our gold label line where we use ridiculously expensive materials without worrying about the cost.”

Where do you think niche is heading?

Perfume as an art form will only increase. There will always be a market for perfume focused on the artistry of the juice first.

  • DS & Durga fragrances are available in South Africa from Skins Cosmetics. Tel: 011 883 1350. 


8 Replies to “DS & Durga: An Interview With Perfumer David Seth Moltz”

  1. I became straight-up obsessed with Mississippi Medicine last year, and I’m so happy to see this interview! I can’t wait to try D.S. after reading about it here, it sounds so incredibly lovely.

  2. I know about this brand but haven’t tried a single perfume from them yet since none of the stores around here carry this line. But sooner or later I’ll get to try them all: I have respect for brands that started before the current “niche” boom.

I look forward to your comments.