FIVE SCOOP: Juniper Ridge is the world's only wild fragrance company.

Despite claims of orchid this and ambergris that, most fragrances are petroleum-based and synthetic—they chemically manufacture things that try to smell as close to real as possible.

But Juniper Ridge makes real, place-based fragrances—the kind that comes from plants, trees, moss, and bark—the type that rearranges your insides and transports you to the stillness of the outdoors.

Juniper Ridge makes 100% natural colognes and perfumes crafted from their favorite Western wilderness regions. The company founder Hall Newbegin, is a hiker, mushroom-forager, and all-around nature freak. 

What Juniper Ridge does is sustainably harvest plants and trees, then distills their aromatic oils in their California workshop. They blend the oils into fragrances that capture the quiet beauty of the outdoors. I recently tried their “cabin spray” and was instantly transported from the City by that unique scent. 

The process of harvesting plants and trees, and blending their oils is a hundred years ago tradition—one that every perfume house in Paris used to use until cheap, petroleum-based synthetic scents appeared in the 1960s. With these technological “advancements,” the perfume industry abandoned the techniques and ingredients they’d used for thousands of years and stopped making real fragrance.

Hall Newbegin began Juniper Ridge by spending the week harvesting plants up in the mountains, make natural fragrance, soaps, and wild herb teas in his kitchen, and then sell his latest creations at the Berkeley (California) Farmers’ Market.

He discovered that people who normally steered clear of fragrances fell in love with the stuff Hall was making. "It smells like my favorite hike!" they'd say. "It smells…real!" Word began to spread.  Smell is the oldest of our senses. It bypasses reason and goes straight to the ancient parts of our brains…right to our emotions.

The folks at Juniper Ridge believe that “real” fragrance stirs up profound, complex things in us that we can’t even begin to understand. People respond to real fragrance - the nose knows. People are willing to pay a bit more for real ingredients. They say their soap is a fragrance delivery vehicle, for that moment in the shower when you can get away from everything and experience a quiet moment that is authentically derived.

The folks at Juniper Ridge believe everyone has an intimate, direct connection to plants from our evolutionary past. It’s the famous biologist E.O. Wilson’s theory of biophilia: we’re hardwired to love nature—it’s inside of all of us. When we breathe in the wilderness, we awaken that dormant part of ourselves, and tap into something beautiful and deep. You don’t need to use our products to experience this. It's free for the taking and it's your birthright as a human. Just spend some time on the trail, slow down, and smell the plants and wet earth beneath your feet. That’s why at Juniper Ridge, their fragrances are created by spending months in the backcountry, drinking beer and crawling around like squirrels, smelling all the plants and dirt so they can bring you the real feel of the real place.

This core essence of smell makes their products perfect for both men and women. Traditional fragrance philosophy says that floral is feminine and musky is masculine. Where do sages and cedars fall on that spectrum? It seems that the Juniper Ridge fragrance experience is transportative and genuine and that supersedes gender.

‪Over the years, Juniper Ridge has grown from a one-man operation into a staff of 12 like-minded hiking enthusiasts who harvest the plants, blend the fragrances, ship the products, and head out on backpacking adventures together. They say that even though the company is bigger, but the heart of what they do is still the same: They make real fragrance from the quiet places in the mountains and deserts they love. Here’s how they put their company philosophy:

Look, we are a company, and you should never trust companies because they’re trying to sell you something. Of course we want people to buy our stuff. But more than that, we want folks to experience the happiness you can get from being—and breathing—in the wilderness. You don’t need our products to get that feeling. Do what we do—get outdoors, crawl around on your hands and knees, smell the wet earth beneath your feet. Or if you’re worried about embarrassing yourself (which you should be since people don’t normally crawl around on trails), just start by crushing tree needles and plants under your nose. Stay with it, keep breathing it in. You may notice yourself feeling things, feeling something about the quietness of the place—that's the power of real fragrance.

So, head out to a mountain trail above Big Sur or a campfire in the Mojave desert or a rocky pass in the Sierra with the smell of winter right around the corner—by soaping up with a little something from Juniper Ridge.


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