This week I stumbled across the website of Californian perfumery Juniper Ridge and I had to say I liked what I saw. They specialise in capturing nature's odour. Growing up in Central Otago we spent a lot of time climbing hills, at the lake or on the farm. All these places have particular smells that are stored in my memories. A particular favourite smell that stands out for me is the scent of thyme. I am always reminded of my home, walking my dog in the summer time on the foothills that surrounded the township where I grew up.
Another favourite activity in my teenage years was going away camping, Lake Hawea was usually the destination of choice. There is a romantic idea we all hold of camping; however the reality may be far from the image we hold in our head - of quietly unwinding by a lake sipping a beer with a group of closest mates. In nature there is a whole heap of shit you have to contend with! To begin with you can't find a flat spot to pitch your tent, it's getting dark and the sky is quickly filling with ominous looking clouds, you probably don't have enough food and on top of that you still don't have any wood to start a fire while mosquitos try to suck you dry! If things could get any worse your mate has left one of the tent poles at home… None of this probably sounds like much fun! However, away from the the distractions of everyday life while surrounded by nature, you are likely to have some of your fondest memories. Every now and then I will smell something that reminds of a trip away. With Juniper Ridge you can be one of those modern day manly guys who lives in the city working a 9-5 job and be reminded of those weekend trips away. The hard work is done, they have bottled all those smells up so you can spray them on yourself, close your eyes and suddenly be in the wild (not to mention you'll smell pretty damn good).
Traditionally the perfume industry uses fake fragrance, the team at Juniper Ridge are on a mission to change this! They go out into the wild and collect plants to extract their fragrance and then blend together them with other scents, bottle it, then name it after real places in the western United States. They do all of this using preindustrial techniques just like the Romans did 2500 years ago, employing: juice presses, converted whiskey stills and copper pipes.
We agree that you can tell a region from the its smell, hopefully one day Juniper Ridge will extend their offering to something that might smell of the the antipodes! Maybe something Lake Hawea Campground Cologne! Until then you can buy their products online at www.juniperridge.com