Brooklyn-based perfumers D.S. & Durga were hired to create four new fragrances for Anthropologie. People who like their fragrances light, bright and “modern” may find these perfumes too heavy and “retro,” but I have a taste for ‘liquor-y’, natural-smelling, artisanal fragrances of this type. I was pleasantly surprised that Anthropologie chose perfumes that match the vintage/quirky style of its clothes, furniture and house wares.
(iris, ginger lily, patchouli, musk)
Judging from the reactions here at Now Smell This, patchouli is a love-it-or-hate-it perfume oil, so let me start by saying 1538 Rheims is basically an invigorating patchouli fragrance. 1538 Rheims presents resinous, dense patchouli — not modern, cleaned-up, re-configured patchouli. Iris and ginger lily can’t stand up to such patchouli, but I do smell a “green”/daisy-like floral note during the perfume’s opening. 1538 Rheims dries down to a soft musk-patchouli blend. (Note: I’ve written the word ‘patchouli’ seven times in one short paragraph.)
(opoponax, birch, frankincense, cassia bark)
Smoked Amber smells like a spice cake made from caustic materials. The fragrance starts off as if all listed notes (“raw” and a tad harsh during the opening) are whirring in a blender and melding into one accord (to my nose, opoponax stands out most forcefully). The “smoke” (birch) in Smoked Amber, thankfully, does not remind me of a charcoal grill, but of an outdoor campfire over which some marshmallows are charring. As the scent calms, I smell a sweet, “taffy”/toffee note, but for most of the fragrance’s ‘life’, cinnamon dominates Smoked Amber. I asked a friend to wear Smoked Amber, and she compared it to “old Opium.” I won’t go that far, but there is a similarity between the two perfumes. Smoked Amber is the strongest perfume of the bunch; cinnamon lovers — check it out.
(roses, mandarin, saffron, cardamom)
East MidEast is my favorite of the Anthropologie perfumes; it’s a rich, almost-oudy fragrance — rose, citrus and spice blend seamlessly and produce an “apothecary”/medicinal feel during the opening. There’s also the sharp aroma of saffron bubbling under the surface of the fragrance, and it keeps the perfume from becoming too sweet. As East MidEast dries down, its fragrance reminds me of scented leathers (“young” leathers rubbed with floral oils). The base notes are muted, with a dark-rose note predominant.
(fig leaf, pine, cedar and cypress)
Royal Purpure is a mellow, sweet and resin-y wood fragrance with a hint of fig leaf in the opening; this is a great layering scent (try it with rose, orange, tea notes). Fear not: there is no ‘household cleaner’ vibe to the pine note, which is more “antique pine chest” than fresh pine needle in character. As the fragrance dries, the cedar-cypress accord has a bit of the peppery, “sweaty” aroma some of us love (and others dislike). Royal Purpure wears down to a silky-smooth wood/light musk aroma; it’s a “base note” fragrance and I’ve enjoyed wearing it.
All four Anthropologie fragrances are limited edition. They are described as “feminine” in the marketing materials, but not one of them would be out of place on the men’s fragrance counter. The D.S. & Durga Anthropologie Collection fragrances are well made, have good lasting power and mild sillage; they are available in Eau de Parfum, 18 ml for $48. For buying information, see the listing for D.S. & Durga under Perfume Houses.