Call it the Proust effect: Memories are often triggered by smells. Scientific studies confirm that out of all the senses, smell offers the best recall. In Scent Memories, the Cut asks people about the scents they associate with different times in their lives. Next up is David Moltz: Co-Founder of Brooklyn-based perfume house, D.S. & Durga. They specialize in creating small-batch fragrances in-house, like Amber Kiso with its notes of “rare woods, temple incense, and leather bushi armor.” They recently opened a new store at 251 Mulberry St. The Cut spoke with Moltz about pale yellow roses, Tibetan incense, and toast.
My first scent memory is: The ocean. I’m from Swampscott, Massachusetts and the ocean was just so prevalent in my childhood.
Happiness smells like: Pale yellow roses. It’s so hard for a perfumer because I don’t think of things in terms of emotion very often, you know? But yeah, it has to be pale white or yellow roses, they’re so happy.
Love smells like: That one’s really tough. I just think it’s everything mixed together. It’s all love.
Friendship smells like: Something sturdy, like cedarwood or oak.
Heartbreak or loss smells like: Guaiacol. It’s one of the chemical compounds that makes that sweet smell of smoke, like a snuffed out candle or beeswax. It has a smoky connotation without a roasty-toasty effect, but it’s also on its way to smelling like vanilla. With heartbreak or loss there’s always a silver lining, and I think guaiacol isn’t a wholly unpleasant scent.
Regret smells like: I’m just not a regret person, so probably something boring? I think this is the only one I can’t answer.
Vacation smells like: Coconuts and rum.
Success smells like: A really sophisticated, bone-dry, ambergris vetiver cologne with lots of expensive musk in it. I have a scent coming out in February called “DS” which is just all of my favorite scents combined and it smells like a rich dad.
Sunday morning smells like: Toast.
Monday morning smells like: Lunches, tea, toast. [Laughs] Lotta fuckin’ toast.
My home smells like: Tibetan incense. I burn that all the time.
A pleasant surprise smells like: Aldehyde C-12 MNA. it’s in Chanel No. 5 and it smells like sunshine. It’s surprising and it brightens everything up.
If I could have one smell on my hands forever, it would be: Nothing. It would be really hard to work if I had a scent on my hands all the time. If my hands smelled like, jasmine or something, I’d be screwed.
I smell like: Whatever I’m working on. Currently, it’s oud.
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