11/22/13 9:00am

Avid nature hiker Hall Newbegin tries to bottle the smells of his favorite places on the West Coast through his fragrance company Juniper Ridge. Photo: Daniel Broadhurst

Avid hiker Hall Newbegin bottles the smells of his favorite places for his fragrance company Juniper Ridge. Photo: Daniel Broadhurst

It’s safe to say that when most of us are looking for a new signature scent, we don’t start our search by trimming the branches off a cedar tree on N. 7th Street. It was, however, where West Coast fragrance-maker Hall Newbegin started his search while trekking through the neighborhood looking for ingredients to wildcraft a new cologne.

His company, Juniper Ridge, forages for fragrances, inventing new scents using ancient techniques like tincturing (extracting scent by submerging plants in bottles of alcohol) or distilling essential oils, which Newbegin and Obi Kaufmann extract in converted bourbon stills.

“No one in the fragrance world uses stills anymore,” said Newbegin while clipping off a bushel of branches, tucking them under his arm and continuing to case the neighborhood for other natural ingredients. “They say that they use naturals, but I know the one [natural] fragrance…maker in the entire world. He lives in South Africa–it’s a barefoot guy on a farm who makes all the world’s [natural] fragrance oils.”

I’m hoping fragrance becomes, just like wine did, something people will take and run with and get weird with. We’re good at that on the West Coast. We take normal things and get weird with it, just like with cuisine and wine and coffee. –Hall Newbegin

“Years ago, you could buy stuff like this off the shelf,” he adds, pointing to a traveling still used to steam and condense essential oils out of organic matter upon our return to Barber & Supply, where Juniper Ridge will run a pop-up store until Dec. 21. “It’s utterly, utterly obscure and bizarre today. We spent a lot of time going back through old books and seeing how they used to do things. Really, there’s nothing terribly innovative happening here. The technology of this goes back to Alexandria. It goes back 2,000 years. We’re going back to the old ways and doing it in this weird West Coast way.”