At school I had an art teacher who was obsessed with Joan Miró. As a kid I couldn’t quite see what he was on about as the works were all squiggly lines and blocks of colour. Now I get it – it’s the perfect balance of elements in a Miró work that is his signature. Remove or shift one squiggle or dot and the composition deflates.
I was reminded of this when trying Cowboy Grass because it has notes I love, but they somehow fail to sing together. Earthy, smoky vetiver, dry bark, a touch of mould, boot polish and bits of leather, a bouquet of somewhat medicinal herbs with a bright basil (which smells almost pepperminty) sparkling in its midst, sweetish hay-like tones – what’s not to love? And yet the end result refuses to lift off. This would smell perfectly decent scenting a rub for sore muscles, but as a perfume it languishes in the corner marked ‘aromatherapy mix’. Indeed my partner arrived home and began sniffing the air and wondering if I’d spilled a bottle of essential oil somewhere.
After a few hours, many of the herbal colours have faded and the rich and natural vetiver dominates with finally a glimpse of the sweet rose otto mentioned in the declared notes, before it too gets swallowed by the dark vetiver.
Cowboy Grass smells more convincing on a paper strip than on my skin, grassier and the notes blending much better, so maybe there’s a skin chemistry issue at play.
There is instead a lot of grass packed into this product, and I get it straight from the beginning. Initially a brighter fresh grass with elements of it reminding me of Geoffrey Beene's Bowling Green at times, enhanced by bergamot; it develops characteristics of dried grass and hay further into the drydown. Thyme, basil and whiffs of sage mean that later on a herbal mix is added that further gives the grass core some interesting nuances. At stages I get a nigh-balsamic aromatic undertone that is rather pleasant.
The base very much belongs to a vetiver impression that starts developing at the earlier stages of the heart notes and grows stronger in the base. It is a fairly earthy vetiver that it not too dark and not as gorgeous as Molinard's gold standard vetiver, but nonetheless it is quite convincingly done.
The sillage is moderate, the projection very good, and the longevity is a brilliant eleven hours on my skin.
Great in spring, a nice country scent that is well made and performing excellently. Not only for cowboys. 3.5/5
Vetiver combined with herbs, greens and the smell of a saddle blanket – salt, sebum and leather. A bold and unique draft on vetiver.
With vetiver in its center, the evolvement of the composition seems linear, still it follows the standard sequences unobtrusively. In the opening the green facets are highlighted. There are linalool and other common green top notes but in an unusual high concentration, strong and harsh. A bite that does not curry favor with one, it rather shows attitude. The key and allure of the whole perfume.
Within 15 minutes the bite leaves, green stays and the brute (animal), dirtier shares are emerging. They mingle and bounce against each other, slowly fading towards the end (which is the next day) leading into a fully and roundedly rendered, blazing, aromatic, fruity aspect of vetiver. Very pleasing.
From a sample...
Cowboy Grass is a somewhat original take on green, earthy vetiver root. The vetiver is slightly sweet and faintly reminiscent of the vetiver tone from Malle's Vetiver Extraordinaire, except that Cowboy Grass adds bergamot and spices (basil) that send the entire fragrance in a different direction. From the opening until fading several hours later, I constantly got the scent of beeswax. It's a slightly sour, yet dry resin type scent that I just couldn't warm up to. It's very different, and if you are looking for different in a outdoor avant-garde sort of way, Cowboy Grass may appeal to you. While this has some nice notes and is high quality, with excellent performance, I would've preferred a more pure vetiver composition. Well done, but not a scent for me.
11th July, 2015 (last edited: 16th February, 2016)
D.S. & Durga seems to excel at combining natural elements that effectively evoke real settings, and Cowboy Grass is no exception, the emphasis being on grass.
Spice, grass, wood, vetiver all seem to contribute to Cowboy Grass, which ends up coming off not as strong / wintery as Burning Barbershop or Bowmakers, but certainly not as light as some of the greener fragrances. So in that respect, it has an interesting all-season versatility to it. Decent longevity and projection, but not terribly impressive in either, this might be a worthwhile try as it does not remind me of anything I've smelled recently.
6 out of 10