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
This is one interview that didn’t take too long on the clothing front. Obi Kaufmann is the real deal. As he joked with us, “ I have hashtag “Life on The Trail” man! This is it! It’s not a hobby!” When we asked about dress shoes he just replied, “Nope”. We love this guy.
For the past seven years Obi has been the ‘Chief Storyteller, Media Director, Wilderness Donations Manager and Field Lab Van Driver’ over at one of our favorite fragrance brands, Juniper Ridge. The company was founded 15 years ago by Hall Newbegin at a farmers market in Berkley and his cabin sprays, incense, colognes and soaps have been a hot ticket in the men’s world the past couple of seasons. You can read more about the company in a profile we did back in March.
We have met both Hall and Obi and their style is pure. Nothing forced, nothing trendy (well flannel may be trending but not in the mountains where they hike), just confident clothing.
We had a warm spirited conversation with Obi about his personal style and here is what he had to say.
Shirts: Indigo Fera makes most of my shirts as well as Outlier, a tailored tech company out of New York.
Coat: I wear as a shell Freeman out of Seattle. They are 110% made in Seattle. They know rain! I buy all my rain gear from them.
Base Layer: Icebreaker Merino Wool is what I wear when temperatures start to drop.
Shoes: I only have one pair of shoes and that is a pair of Danner Hiking Boots. Made in America (or somewhere respectable) is very important to me. It is all about connecting to the maker.
Accessories: I wear a man scarf that was sold to me by the owner of Mohawk General Store in Los Angeles. He has really overhauled men’s fashion in LA in a big way.
Bathing Suit: I have a pair of shorts from Outlier that are called the ‘Threeway Short’ for hiking, biking and swimming. They are super comfortable and quick drying.
Photo courtesy of www.matrickphoto.com
That is my picture in Men’s Journal this month. Certainly the best piece of press Juniper Ridge has yet to receive. The flowers are looking gorgeous, aren’t they? Want to come out with us? email me Obi@juniperridge.com