Photo by Lori Zimmer for Ecouterre
With a belief that fragrances should not be fake, Juniper Ridge is the world’s only wild fragrance company. Each of Juniper Ridge’s products are made by harvesting plants, bark, moss, mushrooms and tree trimmings from deep in forests and deserts. Calling themselves backpackers and hikers rather than high end perfumers, their scents capture the smell of mountains and forests, distilling natural ingredients to make fragrances that will transport you to the Mojave Desert or deep into the Pacific Northwest.
Ecouterre tagged along with Juniper Ridge for an afternoon of hunting wild fragrance ingredients in the heart of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, where the company has a rustic cabin-like pop-up shop that will be open through the end of the year. After scouring the area for suitable samples and trimmings of local plants, we headed back to Juniper Ridge homebase, where the distilling process began. Using an upcycled whiskey distiller, the fresh plant clippings were loaded into the tank along with a gallon of water. As the distiller heats up, it cooks up the contents, yielding a thick, fragrant liquid that can be used in lotions, oils, and sprays.
Juniper Ridge’s fragrances don’t smell like your average perfume. Instead, they work hard to capture the exact scent of places they find inspiring. A spritz of their cabin spray can evoke a crisp forest at the edge of a glacier, the wet earth on a forest floor after a dense rain, or the stark feeling in the Mojave Desert at sunrise. Their scents are authentic, wild and natural, making their colognes, cabin sprays, soaps and incense a total experience, not just a fragrance.