New Perfume Review DS & Durga St. Vetyver- In the Cane Fields of St. Somewhere

My version of summer camp was setting sail with one of my best friend’s family through the Caribbean. I had one of those infantile witty jokes I used to camouflage my ignorance of geography. I would call the islands we docked at Saint Somewhere. One of the great things of this life was Buddy and I would untie our bikes from the hold and go explore our new environment. Through that St. Somewhere became a real place. My ignorance would evaporate through experience. One of the consistent crops on a lot of these islands was sugar cane. I learned if I hacked a small piece off there was a sweet juice inside to quench my thirst. There was also a sticky green scent which remained on my hands. DS & Durga St. Vetyver reminds me of it.

Vetiver is also another significant crop on some of the islands. That was something I was only to identify as an adult once I started learning about perfume. Perfumer David Seth Moltz leads into his use of a specific source of vetiver through his own exploration of St. Somewhere.

David Seth (l.) and Kavi Ahuja Moltz

It opens with the bright sunshine of orange and the fresh green of grass. Baie rose uses its fruity and herbal sides to stitch the top accord together. Then we head out into the cane fields. Sugarcane grows in tall stalks which is harvested by cutting it down. Inside the stalk is the natural source of sugar. It is sweet but it is also green. Mr. Moltz finds that balance. This is not an overdosed sickly sweet but an unrefined version akin to an uncut gem. There is also a hint of the dark soil sugar cane grows in with some clove adding to the heart. So many of the cane fields are adjacent to a rum distillery there was always a scent of that overhanging the fields where that was so. An aged Haitian vetiver along with a rum accord forms the base accord. The older vetiver has a less acerbic green and a softer woodiness. The rum accord does not soak everything in a boozy glow. Instead it hangs above it all like the steam from the rum distilleries. Once all together this forms a compelling story of this part of the world.

St. Vetyver has 12-14 hour longevity and average sillage.

Even though it isn’t identified as such St. Vetyver feels like the island counterpart to last year’s Jazmin Yucatan. DS & Durga have, I think unintentionally made a set of perfumes which capture the Americas via twilight in Mexico or afternoon in the cane fields. Maybe we need morning in South America to complete a trilogy. This is as good as it gets for vetiver perfumes. The balance of the sweetness of sugar cane and the different type of that in the rum accord bring the vetiver alive. If you’re yearning to be on a Caribbean island let St. Vetyver be your destination.

Disclosure: this review is based on a sample supplied by DS & Durga.

Mark Behnke