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D.S. & Durga Coriander – Peppery and green and summer-fresh – June 18, 2017

Coriander bottle -

In the summer, I have my private space where I can disappear during the day to sit and read or just let my mind wander. It’s the front balcony off our second-floor bedroom. In late spring, big garden pots are placed around the perimeter filled with herb seeds or flower bulbs and by this time in late June the foliage has reached the top of the railing, becoming lush and dense.

By mid-summer, I have a secret oasis. I can see and not be seen, watching daily life on our little street unfold while I sprawl on the lounge. Tall spider lilies, colourful clematis, morning glories, mandivillas, oleander, fuschia, chrysanthemums, dahlias attract bees and butterflies, and the waft from big pots of basil, oregano, sage, coriander, mint, and lavender scent the air. My balcony is a little piece of heaven.

Which brings me to Coriander by D.S. & Durga, the Brooklyn-based artisanal niche line created around 2009 by a very talented husband (D.S) and wife (Durga) team. They make scents in small batches using balsams, resins, plant oils, and premium perfume ingredients (D.S. & Durga packaging notes) and have a style that feeds directly into my olfactory pleasure zone, so whenever I see their name on a bottle I pay attention.

Coriander was one of their early scents, and is still included in their line, but on the periphery – it hasn’t received much attention, not much is written about it. And that’s probably because it’s odd, it’s one of those quirky scents which evoke “time and place”, it’s genderless, enigmatic, difficult to classify, and therefore totally worth a closer look in my book.

Fresh-picked coriander is the bright green leaf that completes an Asian or Indian or Mexican dish – earthy and peppery and green tasting. Known as cilantro in North America, the leaves have a light tangy, slightly herbal but perfumey scent that becomes part of the flavor when eaten with spicy food. I happen to love the flavour, and the smell. For some, it’s a no-go. The coriander seed is a little different from the fresh leaf – it’s more salt and peppery, aromatic and nutty rather than green-earthy floral.

D.S. & Durga Coriander is all of the above at different times through the dry-down. It starts out tangy and salty, like an ocean breeze over beach grass, then the aquatic sensation transforms into a dry peppery resinous herbal accord, with notes of juniper and geranium, deepening with hints of woods and aromatic spice as it dries into the heart. I love this strong uncomplicated herbal rush – which is totally devoid of sweetness!

In the base, Coriander softens with floral and musk notes, but remains aromatic and very natural-smelling in the best possible way. I will be wearing Coriander on hot humid days, hot dry days, rainy days, all summer in fact, simply because it is different  – clear, uncomplicated, tangy, then musky, but always non-sweet, cool, and sparkling green. Although the scent sits lightly on skin, it lasts for several hours, and I can tell you from experience that it smells great on men and women.

My friend gave me her bottle of Coriander because it wasn’t what she expected. It wasn’t what I expected, either. Well, actually, I didn’t have any expectations because her gift was a surprise, but I LOVE surprises, especially when they’re from D.S. & Durga, and they are as fabulously different as Coriander.

D.S. & Durga Coriander is listed in our Decant Store. Decants are $6.00 for 1 ml.