Joanna Kawecki: Coming from a background of hiking in the California mountains, how does your personal knowledge of nature and the wilderness inspire Juniper Ridge?
Hall Newbegin: It’s everything. I’m not a traditional perfumer, I wasn’t trained at Grasse Institute of Perfumery as many others, and I don’t really care much about that whole French system for making a “well-constructed” perfume. If I made a “well-constructed” version of our Big Sur cologne, it would be all nicely constructed with top-middle-bottom notes and a balance among the floral / chypre / oriental notes, but it wouldn’t smell anything like how the Big Sur smells. The deep experience of quietness in the mountains is my muse. That feeling of being out on the trail for a few days and laying down for a nap in a meadow in the Sierra Nevada and waking up deep in that place, with bees buzzing above your head and the smell of wildflowers in the air and the blue sky blazing. That’s it, that’s what we’re always going for, and we aim to put that meadow and that experience in a bottle. I didn’t have a business plan, philosophy or anything planned when I started, I just wanted to make something beautiful. I had my truck, my clippers, my copy of Jepson’s guide to California plants and I just spent time out there, learning, smelling, crawling around on the ground and sticking my nose in the dirt. Luckily I had many great teachers who took me under their wings and taught me all about plants. For me it’s all about the plants, the places, and that quiet feeling that I get when I’m out on the trail. Come to think about it, that’s it. That’s the germinal idea that that inspired the beginning of Juniper Ridge - that rich quietness that descends on you after you’ve been out backpacking for two or three days, I live for that feeling.