HYLNDS by D.S. & Durga is a line that seeks to recall the myth-infused lands of Northern Europe. Tracing legends from antiquity, the Iron and Viking Age, HYLNDS fragrances are made with an in-depth research into historical documents, aromatic analysis of real places, and the artistic creation of the Celtic, Norse, Manx and Anglo peoples. Through very real materials - rare plant extracts, precious balsams, and other choice ingredients - they are able to access haunting memories of a faded era.
Foxglove was the fifth fragrance is the HYLNDS line and was inspired by Oisin, the Irish warrior poet. The fragrance features notes of rose, iris, peach skin, champaca, citron peel, rosewood, Queen Anne’s lace, neroli, suede, immortelle and amber. It is an eau de parfum, edp.
An excerpt from an article from The Cut:
Brooklyn-based husband-and-wife team, David and Kavi Moltz, together create the charming brand of scents (David is the nose and mastermind behind the creative concept; Kavi is the graphic design genius). “I was reading Yates’s Wandering of Oisin, and this whole world opened up to me where I wanted to go into the writing and figure out what everything meant; so what I did is research all the myths associated with the region and find the aromatic components of each —definitely plants like thistles and ‘melancholy rose’,” David told us.
Notes of jasmine, Norway spruce, fir cones, and mead attempt to bring Celtic myths to life in Isle Ryder. “I’m generally not going to try and capture the smell of hope or fear,” says Moltz of his blending process. “So I’ll try to make an accord based on something, like the heather shrubs that are growing on this one mountain, some are natural, some synthetic, to kind of conjure that foggy feeling; you layer [notes] and it’s a lot like sculpture. For instance, it took 300 different iterations to get the one I wanted.”
An excerpt from a review by A Scent of Elegance:
Living here in Edinburgh, I choose to love the rain, wind, damp and unpredictable climate of these northern tropes. The skies are often low and glowering, the air moist with haar and hops. But I would live nowhere else. If I venture north into the Highlands, I am moved to silence by the sweep and towering awe of the landscape. The colours and textures can shift and change in moments as weather and shadows roll like raging moods across munro, loch and glen. HYLNDS perfumes reflect the hue and cry of these Celtic emotions: stone, lichen, iron, heather, berry, larch, woods, rushes, mist, rain and gelid romanticism. It’s a tricky subject, fraught with dubious Lord of the Rings danger and elven soft-focus nonsense. But the HYLNDS approach is one of chill and isolation, contemplation and stillness. The fragrances feel lost in time; they are scented armour, worn like talismans to protect us now in uncertain times.
An excerpt from a review by The Silver Fox:
Foxglove is the latest addition to the HYLNDS line and I bought it blind, convinced it would be extraordinary. It was, but not quite in the way I imagined. I think Foxglove might be David Moltz’s most concealed and dazzling composition to date. It is daring and poignant perfumery by someone who has assembled emotion, story, abstraction and desire into a scent of ephemeral power.
Foxgloves or digitalis (which means fingerlike) has lots of associative folklore, mostly with witchcraft and fairy folk. Their distinctive bell-shaped flowers have over the years led to numerous names such as Bloody Fingers, Witches’ Gloves, Deadman’s Bells and Gloves of our Lady. The tall and stately collections of trumpet-shaped bells come in many shades of speckled and smeared blues, pinks and lilacs. The flowers themselves are poisonous, the main component, digitalin is used to regulate irregular heartbeats, but can kill at higher doses. An old saying states that foxgloves ‘..can raise the dead and kill the living.’
HYLNDS’ Foxglove is about vigil. The desolation of lonely attendance over a love lost to time. The perfume is inspired by the story of Oisin, the Irish warrior poet, his lover Niamh and the mystical land of Tir Na Nog, the tempting Land Of Youth. Foxglove is Niamh, watching devotedly over the final resting place of her lyrical lover. David Moltz visited Oisin’s resting place and found a solitary foxglove about 20 feet from the grave. This lonely bloom, keeping vigil, was the catalyst for David’s perfumery imagination to wander, harvest and paint.
In keeping with the pattern he has set with previous HYLNDS fragrances, Foxglove balances myth and landscape in order to tell its misty story. This signature of the HYLNDS line of background and setting gives the fragrances weather, soil, climate, sound and texture. The environment is vital to David; he absorbs the elements like a olfactory sponge and then leaks them out in tones of ochre, lovat, cranberry, broom, heather, aqua, iron and lichen.
Reading the notes on paper, especially the suede, iris and peach skin lying deep in the base notes made me imagine something very different in style from previous HYLNDS pieces, but I couldn’t quite imagine how these notes would be assembled by David. I just knew it would be beautiful. It was. The opening burst of hyper-real citrus peel is huge, like a sudden Celtic shower. It has a heady polished aroma which is dazzling in its reach. Champaca and the Queens Anne Lace, a form of wild carrot lend bite and radiance to the swelling pelt effect of soft, supple suede. This note is amplified by the iris and to a certain degree by the weird carrot effect, which smells anisic and woody. It becomes obvious that Foxglove is something out of time and of the future, a masterly echo of classical French perfumery tenets with touches of haunting things to come. Everything is in place for the skin to murmur.. I am Foxglove, I bear Guerlain and Caron in my wild, Brontean genetics.
It is the remarkable peach skin note that really stuns me in Foxglove. I can’t get over how it has been rendered with such 3D clarity. The odour of ripe peaches is one of life’s most sensual experiences, a scent like none other, heightened I think by the blush velveteen pelt of the fruit. No other fruit has the same sensation. In fragrance it is the luscious anchor of Mitsouko, Jacques Guerlain’s spicy essay in sweet melancholia from 1919. Gucci’s porn-drenched trashy neon Rush from 1999 is soaked in an incendiary peach gauze thrown over the mix and then set on fire. Parfums Mugler used it beautifully in the heady cocoa flanker of Angel in the Le Goût du Parfum series in 2011. The oozing peach added a much-needed balance of tropical sweetness to the dense chocolate and caramel blend.
It is however virtually impossible in this perfumed day and age to create a peach and orris scent without noting echoes of Jacques Guerlain’s haunting and luminous chypré Mitsouko. His legendary 1919 classic was inspired by a character in Claude Farrère’s novel La Bataille about the doomed love affair between a British naval officer and the wife of a Japanese naval admiral during the Russo-Japanese war. Jacques Guerlain was apparently a friend of the author. Mitsouko was the one of the first perfumes to utilise a synthetic peach effect, more specifically C14 aldehyde, technically not an aldehyde, but a lactone: gamma-undecalactone. This revolutionary abstract note in many ways changed perfumery forever and many experts and fragrance historians consider Mitsouko the epitome of concise, exquisite chypré structure. Jacques Guerlain’s magical composition would not be Mitsouko without the orris though, the silvery powdered note extracted from the rhizome of the ghostly iris. It is the eau de parfum concentration of vintage Mitsouko that seems to haunt Foxglove, that Guerlain-esque balancing act between the actuality of sheer, breathing skin and bitter herbal aromatics. The sense of actual furred peach skin is quite distinctive as the rootiness of the orris settles through the jasmine, rose, spice and molten amber.
Persicol the famous peach lactone base has never really been matched in terms of its unique transformative effect in scent, its ability it create a shimmering sensation of fur and liquidity in the perfumes it was added to. This use of bases (like Prunol, Mousse de Saxe and the infamous Animalis by Albert Fraysse’s Synerome) resulted in perfumes of unparalleled depth, roundness and complexity. Creating the same intensity of effect now is very hard indeed, without the fragrance smelling cheap and empty. This is why David Moltz’s extraordinary handling of the peach skin effect in the base of Foxglove is so jaw-dropping. It smells so vintage, the call across time to Mitsouko is bold and beautiful and yet it is entirely its own olfactory creature, plush, vibrant and quixotic. Blended to perfection with the nuttiness of the wild carrot and soft glimmered iris.
The immortelle is important as Foxglove settles into its final beautiful stages, laying down stability and a warm shrubby licquorice facet. Mixed with the supple, cool suede and an extremely realistic ambergris effect, all these combine to anchor and draw out a scent with remarkable longevity and projection. There is tenderness too, in the incredibly graceful fade.
I sprayed Foxglove into the crook of a slightly fevered arm and drifted off into erratic sleep. After eight hours the residue was sublimely soft, a diaphanous peachy skein of worn hide, with a sigh of druggy champaca lingering like smoke. It was then I really felt the echoes of a desolate, skeletal Mitsouko, a ghostly presence of pelty skin that demonstrates David Moltz’s precise and imaginative control of his medium.
The mélange of wild carrot (smells a tad like ambrette…), iris and suede provide a swell of aerated texture for the melancholy flounce of peach fuzz and golden odour. Foxglove is quite simply the most captivating creation to wear and perhaps the most refined and surprising perfume to date from the HYLNDS line.
David and Kavi Moltz are very adept at avoiding the potential clichéd pitfalls of this kind of scented storytelling. Instead of sentiment there is bleakness and the odour of attendance. With Foxglove, there is a potent sense of classicism; we are smelling future skin, the scent of things to come. To all intents and purposes, David Moltz is a resolutely scented time traveller, pulling us back and forth with him in his quixotic quest to re-engineer our senses with didactic wonder. I will travel with him, the inhaling and scented weather will be unforgettable.
An excerpt from a review by Colognoisseur:
Brooklyn-based Independent perfume brand D.S. & Durga branched out in 2013 by producing the HYLNDS collection. The first four fragrances were evocations of the Highlands myths and folklore. The fifth release Foxglove continues that tradition as it is focused on the man who was considered the greatest poet of Ireland, Oisin. Perfumer David Seth Moltz was inspired by a visit to the gravesite. He says, “When I walked up to Oisin’s grave, I found one foxglove flower facing it 20 feet from the site. It was if Nieve was sitting watch over her lost love.”
One of the characteristics of the HYLNDS collection of perfumes is they all have a distinctive sense of place within their composition. When I smell all of these fragrances I feel very much aware of the inspiration surrounding me. Foxglove does a fantastic job of fusing the legend of Oisin with the idea of standing near his grave on a damp moor with a single bloom in front of you. Mr. Moltz has chosen a slightly vegetal citrus top. Champaca absolute centers the heart. Leather combined with immortelle makes up the base. It is a fragrance of open green spaces.
Mr. Moltz uses citron peel, rosewood, and Queen Anne’s lace as his opening trio. One should always remember that Queen Anne’s lace is a member of the carrot family and as such while floral it also carries a significant vegetal quality. The citron is well-chosen contrast for that with the rosewood adding gentle woody aspects underneath it all. Champaca rises to the foreground next and it is buttressed with orris and neroli. The two supporting notes help the champaca from being overwhelming as they temper the more boisterous qualities of the absolute. We are standing near a grave and should show some respect. The base is my favorite part of Foxglove as Mr. Moltz starts with a smooth leather. This is the leather of a saddle ridden upon often, well-oiled, and taken care of. The leather accord has a wonderfully broken in feeling to it. The choice of immortelle is also a great decision and it blends well with the leather accord. The final two ingredients in the base are ambergris and peach. These shouldn’t be as good with the leather and immortelle as they are. Together this carries a hint of the sea, the dampness of the highlands, and the leather of a warrior poet. This last phase of Foxglove is what I look forward to whenever I wear it. Foxglove is my favorite of the five and it is because of that leather and immortelle base as it conjures up its location as well as a perfume possibly can.