What makes a fragrance pleasant is highly subjective — what appeals to one person may be objectionable to another. However, one thing almost everyone can agree on is that using natural ingredients is better than dousing yourself in synthetic ones. Providing an alternative to synthetic scents, Juniper Ridge has released a new line of gender-neutral colognes with nature on the label and in the bottle.
Based in Oakland, Calif., Juniper Ridge collects ingredients for its products on the trails of the Western United States. With a passion for the outdoors, Juniper Ridge’s team developed the cologne line in conjunction with a host of other products to bring natural scents into the home. This is done with essential oils created from locally sourced wildflowers, plants, bark, moss, mushrooms and tree trimmings. Many ingredients are hand-harvested, while others make use of waste, which would otherwise be burned, from the timber industry and the California Department of Transportation.
With only two ingredients in the bottle — steam distilled essential oils and organic sugar cane alcohol — this fragrance line stays true to its all-natural essence. Such a simple recipe doesn’t leave room for the chemicals present in most fragrances. In fact, the cologne line is missing a lot — meaning it’s 100% plant-based and free of parabens, phthalates, preservatives, dyes and animal cruelty.
The idea is that nature is vast, yet primitive; Juniper Ridge aims to capture that experience in a bottle with the scents White Sage, Desert Cedar, Coastal Pine and Redwood Mist. Each scent is also available as a solid perfume inside a metal tin. Juniper Ridge produces an assortment of other naturally sourced products including room sprays, massage oils, soaking salts and candles.
Juniper Ridge sent me samples of three of the four available colognes. I’ve had them for a few weeks, so I’ve had a chance to share them with family members and experience the scents in various ways. It’s difficult to provide a comprehensive review of something as personal as fragrance, but generally, I would say the colognes’ profiles range from slightly sweet to woodsy, with strong initial scents that diffuse quickly into overtones reminiscent of trees, salty breezes and crisp air.
White Sage was a favorite for my daughter and myself. Although the initial blast was overwhelming, especially for people with strong reactions to scents of all kinds, within a few minutes we found it to be subtly floral, with light earthiness and a dash of spice.
My husband favored Redwood Mist, a strong woodsy scent that transports the mind to the mighty and vast Redwood Forest. Having visited the region and currently living in Oregon, we can verify this scent captures the essence of evergreen forests.
My adult son immediately adopted the Coastal Pine, a cologne that initiates a flood of memories of forest walks and cutting down Christmas trees. After a few minutes of settling, the scent mutes into a subtle hint of fresh cut wood lingering in coastal mountain air.
All of the scents are a distinct diversion from typical perfumes and colognes, which have mostly been banned from our home due to sensitivities. I am happy to report that none of these colognes caused allergic reactions for anyone in the house so now our challenge may be tracking down bottles as they disappear into personal caches.
Images via Juniper Ridge and Dawn Hammon