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How to Smell Like the Wilderness

17 Oct

ImageWe found this post at Esquire Magazine (the issue with Scarlett Johansson on the cover). We are not going to say that she isn’t sexy…but sexiest woman alive is a bold statement and a title worth deserving. Does she? We digress. The article caught our attention with the title “How to Smell like the Wilderness.” Sounds manly! It sure is. You can follow the whole process of how the scents are crafted, complete with images, at

How to Smell Like a Man


When you get down to it, most of our soaps and colognes are made in places that look scarily like labratories. Even the ones that proudly exclaim that they’re all-natural. Not so with Juniper Ridge. The company makes soaps, colognes, and sprays that smell great, but they do it in a decidedly non-laboratorial manner. In fact, they concoct many of their fragrances using a vintage whiskey still, though sometimes they go moonshine style, over a campfire. These people are, as we found out firsthand, a bunch of bourbon-loving, beer-swigging, meat-grilling Californians who just happen to have a thing for tracking down and capturing the scent of the woods.

They’ve got a gold miner’s mission, a sommelier’s nose, and a distinct appreciation for the wilderness of the American West, all of which were on display when we hitched a ride with Juniper Ridge this past July on the trail in the Tahoe National Forest. We were there to concoct a new scent, or an “aromatic snapshot,” as they like to call it. You see, the ingredients the company works so hard to find aren’t just specific to their locations but also to the season — some flowers they use bloom for only a few weeks each year.

Oh, and yes: Juniper Ridge is all-natural. Doggedly so. Bark, sap, leaves, twigs, grass, flower petals, stems — these ingredients come courtesy of the wilderness. And there are no synthetics in the mix, either; it’s either pure sugarcane alcohol or organic duck fat (the company is definitely not vegetarian). Because of this, each batch of products is entirely unique, a reflection of the season’s bounty that captures a moment in time in much the same way a good bottle of wine does.

Read more: Juniper Ridge – All Natural Grooming Products Juniper Ridge – Esquire

Alternative Uses for Bourbon

25 Feb

Have you ever sat down and through to yourself, “I wonder what else I could do with this bourbon?  I mean…It’s tasty but does it have any more practical purposes?” I thought so.  Well even if this post does nothing else than provide you with some interesting conversation piece at your next sausage-fest, the March issue of Esquire Magazine provides us with the answer to that very question! Here are a few alternative uses for that bourbon that has been on your shelf since you bought your house:

Mouthwash. Ethanol kills the bacteria that live in your mouth by denaturing their proteins and dissolving their lipids.

Local Anesthetic. Interferes with neutral signal transmission, slowing the function of your nervous system but can cause tissue damage due to its ability to break down cells, so it should not be poured on open wounds.

Cough Suppressant. A hot toddy can help beat a cold. The vapor breaks up mucus and honey soothes the throat.

Temporary Vivaciousness. Easy.

Esquire Rules of the Day: 7-12

24 Feb

Well here we are again.  More rules of life by Esquire…rules of life, because being a man has gotten much harder.

Rule No. 7: Wow is not a verb.

Rule No. 8 : Sitcom characters watching porn always tilt their heads.

Rule No. 9: In movies, Italians can play Jews and Jews can play Italians, but neither Jews nor Italians can play Lutherans.

Rule No. 10: Actors are short.  Comedians are shorter.

Rule No. 11: There is nothing that can be marketed that cannot be better marketed by using the voice of James Earl Jones.

Rule No. 12: No talking at the urinal.

Esquire Rules of the Day: 1-6

22 Feb

Esquire has compiled a fantastic book called “The Rules: a Man’s Guide to Life.” complete with the tagline “revised and updated – because being a man has gotten much harder. The book is phenomenal…they could actually be tweets (get on that, Esquire!) because they all seem to be under 140 characters.  Some are serious how-to-behave rules and others are just comedic.  My plan is to release one page worth of rules every day, and today are rules 1-6.  I hope you enjoy this recurring segment on manliness!

Rule No. 1: When Aliens talk, they never use contractions.

Rule No. 2: Old people always have exact change.

Rule No. 3: Do not trust a man who calls the Men’s Room “the little boys’ room.”

Rule No. 4: When someone says he is “pumped” about something, it really means he is about to do something stupid.

Rule no. 5: Women who sound sexy on the radio weight 377 pounds.

Rule No. 6: For every Tom Hanks, there is a Peter Scolari.


And there you have it!  I hope you enjoyed the first post on the random and humorous RULES by Esquire.  Check back every day to learn and laugh with each new rule.

The Alternative Oscars

22 Feb

Here in this post, we (and the march 2011 issue of Esquire Magazine – the one with Liam Neeson on the cover) are making up for all that the academy ignores: the villainy, the sex, the other severed limbs – and the, uh, acting…


Beard of The YearJeff Bridges’s

Ever since its breakthrough role – coated in White Russian in The Big Lebowski – Jeff Bridges’s beard has been his most expressive instrument. On Rooster Cogburn (True Grit), it reeked of whiskey, tobacco, and life experience. And in Tron: Legacy, it was a testament to his character’s humanity, a contrast to his eerily smooth-cheeked digital avatar.

Future Best ActorAaron Johnson

Artist-director Sam Taylor-Wood took a gamble when she entrusted the 20-year-old Johnson with the daunting role of young John Lennon in Nowhere Boy, in which he turned in one of the best biopic performances of all time. (Later, she would get engaged to him and have his child.) Then the makers of Kick-Ass cast Johnson as the world’s scrawniest superhero. Beneath his downy, adolescent exterior seems to lurk the weathered spirit of a Johnny Depp or a Daniel Day-Lewis, with commensurate awards to come.


Most Unnecessary Technical Virtuosity In a Comedy or MusicalThe Other Guys

The superfluous but masterful montage in the otherwise straightforward buddy comedy The Other Guys, in which scenes of orgiastic debauchery at a bar are frozen in time as the camera moves freely through them Matrix-style.

Most Unnecessary Technical Virtuosity in a DramaThe Social Network

Casting one guy, Armie Hammer, to play the Winkelvoss twins when, presumably, a real-life pair of twin actors would have worked just fine.

2010 Special Award for Achievement in ProfanityColin Firth, The King’s Speech

“Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuckin’, fuck, fuck, fuckin’, fuck. Bugger, bugger, buggedy, buggedy, fuck, fuck, arse, balls, balls, fuckety, shit, fuckin’ willy, willy, shit, and fuck.  And tits.”

Best Special EffectUnstoppable

In the age of computer imagery, director Tony Scott realized that the best way to make it look like you derailed a train is to derail a train.

Most Convincing LesbianJulianne Moore, The Kids Are All Right

Moore’s two takes on homosexual attraction – one torrid and illicit, the other domestic and well-worn – couldn’t have been more different or more effective.

Villain of the YearMark Strong

Mark Strong looks like the evil version of that other guy, who, in case you’re wondering, is either Andy Garcia or Stanley Tucci. His villainy is elastic, a function of his multipurpose, vaguely Mediterranean ethnicity. (His father was Italian and his mother was Austrian.) Strong can play everyone: Arabs, Eastern Europeans…he topped himself last year, playing a traitorous English knight (Robin Hood), a ruthless Italian-American mob boss (Kick-Ass), and a lily-livered Russian windbag (The Way Back). He brought humility to all those performances. Not that his characters were humble – quite the opposite – but it takes a certain self-effacement to seek the humanity in the most wretched evildoers.


Best Leonardo DiCaprio Movie About DreamsShutter Island

Unlike the clinical logic of the dreams in Inception, Leo’s tormented, surrealistic nightmares in the overlooked Scorsese film are actually dreamlike.

Best Supporting NonagenarianEli Wallach

His performances this year – in Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps and The Ghost Writer – were short but in no way cameos. As sharp opposite Josh Brolin and Ewan McGregor as he was opposite Clark Gable and Steve McQueen.


Least Erotic CunnilingusRyan Gosling and Michelle Williams, Blue Valentine

Even if you think you’d enjoy watching a miserable man go down on his miserable wife in a kitschy motel room in a last-ditch attempt to save their once beautiful but now disintegrating marriage, you won’t.


Judge Reinhold Award for Achievement in Masturbation

By a Male – Zach Galifianakis, Due Date

By a Female – Natalie Portman, Black Swan


Best DocumentaryJackass 3D

The most fascinating examination this year of a man’s courage, stupidity and genitals.


Best Comedic Performance By a NewcomerSean Combs, Get Him To The Greek

He steals most of the honest laughs in his scenes. Either he was making it all up, in which case he’s a much better actor than we thought, or he was playing himself, in which case he’s a jackass.

Best Movie Nobody SawAnimal Kingdom

Take The Godfather, reserve all twisted notions of family loyalty but rinse off the sepia tone and discard any sense that there’s honor and glamor in crime. Replace Italian-American stereotypes with naturalistic Australian grit. Add Aussie actress Jackie Weaver’s brilliant performance as the clan’s saccharine-voiced but ruthless matriarch.

The New Jack Black, Seth Rogen, Johnah HillJosh Gad

As the sarcastic but lovable pudgy roommate in Love and Other Drugs.

The New Chris Farley, Will Ferrell, Zach GalifianakisCharlie Day

As the alarmingly unhinged roommate in Going The Distance.

Best Line in a Bad ScriptJeff Bridges, Tron: Legacy

“Every idea man’s ever had about the universe suddenly up for grabs…bio-digital jazz, man.”

Least Expendable ExpendableDolph Lundgren

The most generous thing you can say about the expendables is that by casting all of those over-the-hill ’80s action heroes, director Sylvester Stallone was intentionally going for that era’s good-bad cheesiness. Lundgren was the only one who didn’t seem to get the irony of it all – and who therefore succeeded in recapturing that spirit.

Best Black ComedyFour Lions

Chris Morris’s farce about inept suicide bombers in England is a hybrid brand of comedy – at once broad slapstick and upsettingly dark and relevant satire – not seen since Dr. Strangelove. It’s also the first movie yet to have truly humanized terrorists. Which is what makes it so terrifying.

Rob Roy: A Drink You Can Depend On

25 Feb

In the March 2010 issue of Details Magazine, the one with Leonardo DiCapprio on the cover, there is an article entitled “A Drink You Can Depend On” which discusses the Rob Roy.  They say that it is a tribute to the drink, as it is one that is rarely screwed up:

Here we are, ten years into a revolution in the way America makes and drinks cocktails, and it can still be damned difficult to get a good one.  Sure, you can go to one of the new speakeasy-style boutique cocktail joints.  By now, almost every city of any size has at least one.  Your drinks will be good.  You’ll probably even meet interesting people.  But you’ll pay a lot of money for those drinks, and – the real problem – you’ll miss out on one of the greatest things a bar can offer.  Patina, let’s call it: that intangible feel of comfort and security that drinking in a place that was open for business when your grandfather was barely legal gives.  The modern speakeasies will get that one day, but if you wait for it, it’ll be a long time between drinks.

Unfortunately, the modern cocktail place can be a picky one, and in our experience most places that have been around long enough to get that patina are, let’s say, not obsessed with current trends in mixology.  In joints like that, we order a Rob Roy.  We might, all things considered, prefer a manhattan, but something has happened to manhattan-making out in the wild that has rendered it a risky choice.  You would think that two parts rye or buurbon, one part red vermouth and a couple dashes of bitters would be hard to screw up.  But most non-geek bartenders, reasoning from the dry martini, seem to believe that vermouth is toxic and use only a tiny splash, leaving you with a big glass of (often) lukewarm whiskey. (Whiskey is not gin; it needs vermouth and can stand up to it perfectly fine.) Then, realizing that this isn’t all that appetizing, they attempt to fix things by splashing in the yuck from the maraschino-cherry jar, thus compounding the error.

Rather than argue with an otherwise-wonderful bartender, we’d rather make an end run.  A Rob Roy is nothing more than a Scotch manhattan.  But that’s the last way you want to order it.  Just say “Rob Roy.”  If the bartender knows it, he’ll make it the way it is in the book.  Good.  If not, simply say, “two parts scotch, one part red vermouth, couple dashes of bitters.”  Done.  And if you are offered a cherry, decline that offer.  Twist.  Now, drink in hand, you may take the generations’ worth of crap on the walls, enjoy the story the old-timer next to you is telling, and appreciate the polka records on the jukebox.  Best of both worlds.

How to make a more interesting Rob Roy:

Mix with cracked ice:

  • 1.5 oz. of Compass Box Asyla blended Scotch (or Johnnie Walker Black)
  • 1.5 oz. of Carpano Antica vermouth
  • 2 dashes Regan’s Orange Bitters number 6
  • Strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with an imported, Luxardo-brand maraschino cherry.

Hey Dads: Holiday Gift Idea #82

25 Nov

In the December 2009 issue of Esquire Magazine, legitimate gift ideas are sprinkled throughout.  Some are typical: Bose speaker systems, iPod touch, Esquire subscriptions, etc…but there was one that caught my eye.  The plain, big, round ball.  The reasoning is quite compelling. “It’s the perfect gift. The reason is, you can’t really play ball alone – you have to make friends to play with them. Playing is where all the kids learn what they need to succeed as grown-ups: how to cooperate and share, what’s fair and what isn’t. Video games don’t do that.  Not even educational ones.  And you know what? Neither does homework.  More balls, fewer books: Now you’ve got a New Year’s resolution, too.  Plus, ball-playing happens outside in the fresh air, so they are running around getting exercising while they are having the time of their lives.  I mean that.  What wouldn’t you give to be 10 years old, running across a field, laughing with your friends, kicking a ball?” Well-said.  In fact, I don’t have kids and I would consider buying one for myself or a friend as an excuse to see old buddies more often.

Champion Sports 10-inch playground ball, $7;

A Punch That Will be Welcomed

20 Nov

The Gift of Punch.  In the December 2009 issue of Esquire magazine, the one with Robert Downey Jr. on the cover, there is an article about the things you need to do this holiday season, in calendar form.  One of the inserts is a piece about how to make a good punch, and one of the recipes had me ready for a group to come over so I could make a GIANT batch.  For a horde of people, put together this “Spread Eagle Punch:“This American classic (the recipe from Jerry Thomas’ 1862 How to Mix Drinks, the world’s first bartender’s guide), is a foil for the fruity swill that so often passes for holiday punch.  Dry, rich, and both smokey and lemony, it leverages the healing power of whiskey to create something that’s masculine enough for your uncle but not so intense that your co-workers won’t lap it up.

Procedure: Forty-eight hours before your party, put a gallon bowl full of water in the freezer.  The day of, use a swivel-bladed vegetable peeler to peel a dozen lemons, trying to get as little of the white pith as possible.  Put the peels in a 2- to 3-gallon pot (one with a cover) and muddle them with one cup of sugar. Let sit for half an hour, muddle again, and add 2 bottles of smokey single-malt Scotch (Bowmore Legend is good and affordable, but Laphroaig will work well, too) and 2 bottles of straight rye whiskey. (The sazerac rye is particularly fine here.) Stir and then add 1 gallon boiling water.  Stir again until the sugar has dissolved.  Cover and let cool.  To serve, unmold your bowl of ice (you may have to run hot water over the bottom of the bowl) and put it in a punch bowl.  Pour the punch over teh ice, add 4 thinly sliced, de-seeded lemons, grate half a nutmeg over the top.  Serves 48.”