When you get down to it, most of our soaps and colognes are made in places that look scarily like laboratories. Even the ones that proudly exclaim that they’re all-natural. Not so with Juniper Ridge. The company makes soaps, colognes, and sprays that smell great, but they do it in a decidedly non-laboratorial manner. In fact, they concoct many of their fragrances using a vintage whiskey still, though sometimes they go moonshine style, over a campfire. These people are, as we found out firsthand, a bunch of bourbon-loving, beer-swigging, meat-grilling Californians who just happen to have a thing for tracking down and capturing the scent of the woods.
They’ve got a gold miner’s mission, a sommelier’s nose, and a distinct appreciation for the wilderness of the American West, all of which were on display when we hitched a ride with Juniper Ridge this past July on the trail in the Tahoe National Forest. We were there to concoct a new scent, or an “aromatic snapshot,” as they like to call it. You see, the ingredients the company works so hard to find aren’t just specific to their locations but also to the season — some flowers they use bloom for only a few weeks each year.
Oh, and yes: Juniper Ridge is all-natural. Doggedly so. Bark, sap, leaves, twigs, grass, flower petals, stems — these ingredients come courtesy of the wilderness. And there are no synthetics in the mix, either; it’s either pure sugarcane alcohol or organic duck fat (the company is definitely not vegetarian). Because of this, each batch of products is entirely unique, a reflection of the season’s bounty that captures a moment in time in much the same way a good bottle of wine does.
writing by Matt Bell on Instagram
photos by Mat Rick on instagram