The holiday season: it has begun. If you’ve entered any place of retail in the last, oh, week or so, you already know this.
I’ve never really been into Christmas, but I’ve always been really into the tree: going outside on a cold, dark evening, firing up the chainsaw, dragging the tree back and wiggling it through the door. And the smell...that musty, tangy spruce scent that hangs in the living room long after the last of the fallen needles have been vacuumed.
So imagine my delight when Juniper Ridge sent me a bottle of their new seasonal release: Christmas Fir Cabin Spray.
Juniper Ridge is one of those companies that I wanted to dislike, simply because its entire philosophy and aesthetic is, well, so appealing to me: it's run by hiking and wilderness enthusiasts, it uses wild-sourced ingredients, and many of the products are limited runs. Their mission is to capture the essence of a certain time and place, and share it. They also donate 10% of profits to small wilderness conservation groups in the Pacific Northwest, which is pretty impressive for a smaller company.
I bought their Sweetgrass Campfire Incense at a health food store I worked at a few years ago, I confess, because it was on sale. I was skeptical--but then I burned it and my cabin was filled with the scent of a hot summer day and baking bread.
Like the rest of Juniper Ridge's products, the Christmas Fir Cabin Spray is made entirely of tree and plant material--no dyes, no synthetic fragrances, just steam-distilled pitch, sap, needles, and bark. It has this clean simplicity that sets it apart; it doesn't slap you in the face like other winter tree scents.
With top notes of sharp resin, cedar leaf, and fir, it’s fresh, but not nearly as woody as I expected. The heart is a balance of juniper and pine sap, with hints of dill and white grapefruit. The spray fades to an earthy base of petrichor and sweet fir boughs--like a quiet forest during a snowfall.
Though enchantingly complex, like many natural fragrances, it’s fairly ephemeral. But a few sprays scented my cabin all day, which seemed reasonable to me. I’m not keen on fragrances so powerful that I smell it for days after, so I’ll take it.
- How do you feel about place-based scents? Another favorite of mine is Demeter’s New Zealand (obviously).
- I don’t want to talk about Christmas, promise, but: do you buy or cut down your own tree? Real or fake?