By far one of the most interesting exhibitors at this season’s Elements Showcase fragrance trade show was Juniper Ridge. It’s a small brand that’s run by backpackers who harvest things like wild sage and downed pine boughs and then steam distill their essences to create hardy fragrances that invoke very specific places in Northern California and the Pacific Northwest.
“A lot of people are going to hate our fragrances because they aren’t the standard lavender, rosemary, bergamot, etc.,” Juniper Ridge’s Hall Newbegin told me at Elements. “But guys love it because it’s different and really outdoorsy. My test for our fragrances is this: does it smell like the place? Does it smell like Big Sur?
“Our cedar is nothing like the cedar you’re used to. We’re getting completely different fragrances because we’re using totally different ingredients. While everyone else is using the same European and synthetic cedars, we’re making our own from wild American cedar.
“There’s no perfume in the world that smells like this,” Newbegin boasts. “I’m not a perfumer, I’m a hiker and backpacker.” And, he might add, a wild plant gatherer and a backwoods fragrance distiller. He uses a converted whiskey still and he even made a giant bong to infuse his distilled plant and tree essences with smoke.
More on Juniper Ridge later.