The Simple Magic of a Soap Bar

For many people around the world soap is the only scented product they’d use. Fine fragrances are out of their reach. I remember my grandmother Dasha using strawberry-perfumed soap to scent her clothes and linens. Dasha was frugal, and she wouldn’t dream of spending money on anything but the most basic clothes and accessories. A fragrant soap bar, however, was her only indulgence.

When I began my perfumery training, soap projects attracted me because I imagined that my creations would delight someone like Dasha–a person reluctant to spend money but who enjoyed scents. Eventually I too became a soap lover and whenever I traveled, I first visited local pharmacies and markets to see what kind of detergents people used. These days I have a special soap basket loaded with soaps from around the world. They reflect local tastes and traditions, such as the birch tar soap from Siberia, rice and turmeric soap from Thailand or pomegranate scented soap from Iran. The little bars of fat, solidified by being treated with lye, delight me as much as fine perfumes.

In my recent video, I describe several of my favorite soaps. Most of them can be found online or at stores catering to Asian, Indian or the Middle Eastern clientele. None of them are expensive; my favorite Mysore sandalwood soap costs around $2.

Aleppo soaps are likewise affordable. They are made according to an old Syrian recipe from olive oil and bay leaves and are among the best soaps for skin. They’re moisturizing and gentle, and their subtle earthy fragrance is pleasant. Many soap factories in Aleppo have closed because of the current conflict and the soap makers have moved to other parts of the country or abroad. Today Aleppo style soap is made in France, such as the jasmine-scented Aleppo soap by Najel.

Rather than follow my list, I encourage you to explore your own local offerings, small brands and artisanal soap makers. Their products are typically much more original and interesting in terms of fragrances and styles.

As always, I’d love to hear what soaps you like, scented or not, and what is in your own soap dish right now. 

Photography by Bois de Jasmin



  • Rohini Sharma Mishra: What a delightful article. I love Mysore sandal soap too 🙂 June 5, 2020 at 8:12am Reply

    • Victoria: It’s so good, isn’t it? June 8, 2020 at 9:49am Reply

  • Riv: Loved the post, and the video <3
    Soap may seem such a mundane thing, but add a little something, & it can turn into a nice olfactory experience 🙂 I personally always try to use bar soap (boyfriend always uses liquid soap so we have both). I am just about done with my Dr Bronner's rose soap bar, & have a nice Korres one waiting, I think it was with chamomile. Next time I go to a trip, I will try to remember your recommendation and bring back some soap – it's a consumable, and it's (generally) not expensive 🙂 June 5, 2020 at 8:21am Reply

    • Pike: What is it with boyfriends and liquid soap? We’ve had years of this tug-o-war: I want bar soap, he wants liquid : D
      Perhaps you have the answer there: we should get both! June 6, 2020 at 3:51am Reply

      • Riv: Haha 😀 I think maybe they think it’s an old fashioned thing that only grandmas use? But we are getting along fine having one of each, & if he is out of his liquid soap, he does use my bar soap with not much complaints. 🙂 June 6, 2020 at 7:41am Reply

        • Peter: I’m a (girly) Man who only uses Bar Soap. There is something so sensual about using a nice scented bar of soap! June 6, 2020 at 6:18pm Reply

          • Riv: High five. It’s also so much better for environment 🙂 June 8, 2020 at 7:15am Reply

    • Victoria: Mundane and yet so important. I agree with you, it can really give you a boost. June 8, 2020 at 9:50am Reply

  • Nancy Chan: Oh I am really loving this post about soap. I am currently using Santa Maria Novella, The Weekend soap, an Iris based soap. They also do a great Violet soap.

    I also have Roger and Gallet carnation soaps and some Mysore Sandalwood soaps, as recommended by your previous posts. June 5, 2020 at 8:59am Reply

    • Debi Sen Gupta: I picked up a santa Maria novella cologne in Florence. The violet one and it smells amazing. Kind of earthy and I really love it. June 5, 2020 at 1:10pm Reply

      • Nancy Chan: It is absolutely gorgeous! June 5, 2020 at 3:19pm Reply

        • Debi Sen Gupta: Have you used it too? I note regret not having picked up more. They’re was an iris which was also divine. June 5, 2020 at 6:05pm Reply

          • Nancy Chan: Sorry, I was referring to the Violet scented Soap. I did try the Violet cologne, but it was not to my tastes. I prefer sweet and powdery. The Santa Maria Novella products can also be ordered online. June 5, 2020 at 6:09pm Reply

            • Debi Sen Gupta: That’s alright. It’s a bit different.

              And I am in India. So don’t get it here online. June 5, 2020 at 6:11pm Reply

              • OnWingsofSaffron: But you do get all those lovely Mysore sandalwood soaps we don’t get here! I had the pleasure of visiting Trivandrum 2 yrs ago, and we packed stacks of Sandalwood soaps: so lovely! June 6, 2020 at 2:01am Reply

                • Debi Sen Gupta: True. And first essentials products too. Try kama Ayurveda. I find their products better than FE June 6, 2020 at 11:41am Reply

              • Nancy Chan: Hi Debi, Perhaps a future visit to London? There is a Santa Maria Novella boutique in Piccadilly. June 6, 2020 at 3:42pm Reply

                • Debi Sen Gupta: Thanks. I didn’t know that. I have friends in London too. June 6, 2020 at 3:51pm Reply

    • OnWingsofSaffron: Ever since reading Victoria’s post on the Roger & Gallet carnation soaps (Oeillet Mignardise) I have been on the random look-out for them. However, here in Germany they have completely disappeared. And then I’ve read that the new soaps have been watered down considerably, so to say, which would be a pity.
      Still, perhaps I’ll stumble over a packet some time? June 6, 2020 at 2:11am Reply

      • OnWingsofSaffron: Addendum: what you can buy here in Germany is clove soap. I haven’t as I think it might be a bit harsh. Perhaps I should though? June 6, 2020 at 2:14am Reply

        • Tourmaline: It could be a little harsh, but then, if it’s not too expensive, it might be worth a try.

          Fortunately for me, clove and carnation scents are not identical, because my dentist uses clove oil for its disinfectant properties, leading me to associate clove odour with the dentist. I love the fragrance of carnations, though. June 6, 2020 at 8:40am Reply

      • Nancy Chan: Hi OnwingsofSaffron, Yes the Roger and Gallet carnation soaps are almost elusive. I happened to have spotted them in John Lewis department store in London. It seems that the Roger and Gallet website no longer stocks the carnation soaps. June 6, 2020 at 3:51pm Reply

    • Kittygo: Thank you Nancy Chan for your recommendation for SMN Violet soap. i will try it. I am looking for a replacement for a Violette soap i bought in the megeve market. i use SMN mint and pomegranate soaps but never bothered to try anything else. June 6, 2020 at 5:15pm Reply

    • Victoria: Their iris soaps are heavenly. June 8, 2020 at 9:50am Reply

  • Perfumelover67: I started exploring scented soaps a couple of years ago. It is now my second scented hobby after perfumes. Most of my collection has come from family and friends as birthday or Christmas presents mostly. I appreciate it greatly!
    I don’t want to overwhelm anyone with a long list, but affordable brands that I enjoy are Pre de Provence (linden and rose bars my favotites), also the Goatboy bar soaps, and Indigo Wild Zum bar soaps are great and highly recommended. June 5, 2020 at 9:11am Reply

    • Victoria: How nice! Thank you for these options to try. June 8, 2020 at 9:50am Reply

  • Nancy Chan: I have also used Scottish Fine Soaps, my favourite is their milk soap which contains cow’s milk and shea butter. The scent is very comforting, close to the scent of the old L’Occitane milk shea soaps.

    I am always on the look out for new soaps. June 5, 2020 at 9:11am Reply

    • Tourmaline: Oh, Nancy, I so agree on the milk range from Scottish Fine Soaps. I have the Au Lait Bathing Milk and Hand Lotion in the glass bottles, and they smell wonderful. June 5, 2020 at 11:14am Reply

      • Nancy Chan: Hi Tourmaline, the Au Lait range is excellent. I really love the packaging too, in particular the smaller soaps packed in a milk carton box. June 5, 2020 at 3:30pm Reply

        • MJ: In Portugal you can find excellent soap brands. My favorite of all of them is Ach. Brito’s Fado soap. The soap leaves the hands clean and soft and I love the Jasmin and lavender scent June 5, 2020 at 6:54pm Reply

    • Deanna: Victoria, last year following your recommendation for Mysore Sandalwood soap, I bought a big batch from Ebay. As well as enjoying the strong sandalwood fragrance for washing, I also used it as a month repellent! It is a very much cheaper alternative to moth sachets filled with herbs and flowers. I just put the bars amongst my clothes. Seemed to keep the moths well away!
      The odd thing this year though, having bought a new batch of soaps, I find they smell different. Not so strongly of sandalwood, but with an added honey scent, although they look identical to the previous batch.
      Perhaps weather affects the sandlewood supplies. June 5, 2020 at 1:32pm Reply

    • Victoria: I like that kind of creamy scent. June 8, 2020 at 9:51am Reply

  • Julie F: Big fan of Indigo Wild Zum goatsmilk soaps, and always, since childhood, Mysore Sandalwood soap, never without it. Use it to scent clothes, baskets, any small spaces. June 5, 2020 at 9:22am Reply

    • Victoria: Me too! I always have a bar on hand. June 8, 2020 at 9:51am Reply

  • Matty1649: A lovely post. I like Bronley soaps especially if there’s a sale. At the moment I’m washing my hands with Dettol soap because of the virus. June 5, 2020 at 10:12am Reply

    • Tourmaline: Hi Matty,

      I like Bronnley soaps, too. I have fond childhood memories of receiving one of their life-sized lemon soaps, wrapped up in tissue paper, as one of the gifts from my mother one birthday morning. Also, I recall that, one year when I was in primary school, she gave each of my teachers a Christmas gift of a Bronnley set of soap and hand lotion.

      Tourmaline June 5, 2020 at 11:19am Reply

      • Bettina Douglas: Hi Tourmaline, I have vivid memories of the lemon shaped soap. I loved it and still like a citrus based soap to brighten my shower!
        I agree that scented soap is an underrated simple pleasure and one of life’s little luxuries. And I have a Mysore sandalwood soap tucked in with my woollens. June 5, 2020 at 4:42pm Reply

        • Tourmaline: I must buy another of the Mysore sandalwood soaps. The fragrance is so rich. June 5, 2020 at 10:37pm Reply

    • nozknoz: I used to have a South African Dettol soap that smelled wonderful! It wasn’t at all harsh, either. June 7, 2020 at 9:52am Reply

    • Victoria: I do like the scent of Dettol soap, the classical one. June 8, 2020 at 9:51am Reply

  • Tatiana: I’ve been loving Japanese Oketani soap. Alas my stash is running low and because there aren’t many flights from Japan shipping has been curtailed or completely stopped. No possibility of picking any up in person either as we are denied entry into Japan for the time being. I look forward to exploring options for a replacement. June 5, 2020 at 10:15am Reply

    • OnWingsofSaffron: Do try the Aleppo soaps instead. Most probably completely different to the Japanese soaps. Yet most rewarding and satisfying in their down-to-earth way, like a salad made with boiled fresh beetroot, topped with peppermint leaves, black pepper and good olive oil. June 6, 2020 at 2:06am Reply

    • Victoria: I’m having the same issue ordering my sunscreens. Hope that the postal service will resume soon. June 8, 2020 at 9:52am Reply

      • Tatiana: Gah, I haven’t even tried ordering any of my Japanese sunscreens lately. I still have a decent stash from our last trip. I dread running out of my sunscreen. The offerings here in the U.S. are awful in comparison. June 8, 2020 at 12:58pm Reply

  • Silvermoon: I am passionate about soaps – even before I developed my fascination for perfumes. I love my morning shower because it allows me to envelop myself in the scent of whatever soap I am using, the swirling smell in the steam of the bathroom is a real pleasure.

    I have commented on Forest Essentials soaps here before so what a delight to see you mention them. My favourites are Bengal Tuberose, Nargis (narcissus), and Jasmine. There other lovely ones too. I also love Mysore Sandalwood soaps from India – They smell great and yes, they mostly don’t use the real thing anymore (thankfully).

    I also really love Italian soaps from the gorgeous packaging of Nesti Dante to the more clinical looking Santa Maria Novella and many more. The thing about soaps is that wherever you go even local popular (often inexpensive) ones can be excellent quality and smell great. I am curious about Aleppo soaps, but not sure where to find them where I live.

    Finally, I also love to buy soaps when I travel. I don’t mind having many because I scatter them in my drawers amongst my lingerie, socks, etc. The perfumed cloud when one wears something from the drawer is another moment of pleasure. June 5, 2020 at 10:50am Reply

    • Tourmaline: I have only ever bought the beautiful Nesti Dante soaps to give as gifts. I should buy one to use myself sometime! June 6, 2020 at 9:05am Reply

      • Silvermoon: Hi Tourmaline! Yes, they make beautiful gifts that one doesn’t even need to wrap (you know what I mean). I highly recommend you get one for yourself – they are a worthwhile indulgence. The difficulty is going to be choosing one (or maybe three!). June 6, 2020 at 10:13am Reply

        • Tourmaline: You are SO right; choosing will be difficult! June 7, 2020 at 9:56am Reply

    • nozknoz: It’s great to see Forest Essentials get a mention! Their Oudh and Green Tea body mist smells fantastic on a man I know. I like the refreshing Iced Pomegranate with Kerala Lime. To me, the Nargis smells like orange blossom.

      FYI to those in the US, according to the Forest Essentials website, they are now shipping directly to the US. June 7, 2020 at 9:44am Reply

    • Victoria: You and my friend K have been responsible for me exploring this line, so thank you. I love everything I tried so far, especially their soaps. June 8, 2020 at 9:52am Reply

  • Tourmaline: Hi Victoria,

    What a delightful post and video! I fondly recall reading your post on Mysore sandalwood soap, and enjoying both using the soap and smelling its long sillage wafting down the hallway from my bathroom. I agree that for a minimal outlay, soap can provide much joy. I love opening a fresh cake of soap and hearing the bright clink as it lands in the porcelain vanity, or the soap recess in the shower.

    I also remember your September 22, 2014 post, Roger & Gallet Oeillet Mignardise Soap, where I told you that a set of three of those soaps was the last gift that I bought for my mother prior to her death in a nursing home in 2011. I still have the one soap left from that set, and it still smells good.

    At the moment, I’m using a bar of inexpensive “Fresh Linen” soap, from a box of five purchased at my local grocery store. Not surprisingly, it’s a White Linen wannabe. I keep telling myself that I should use up my “good” soap, some of which I’ve had for 15 years or more, before it turns rancid. Fortunately, all of it still smells good from inside the wrapping.

    I must confess to having three entire drawers devoted to soap, two in the bathroom and one in my bedroom accommodating the overflow. The oldest bars would be those from Guerlain that I’ve gleaned from gift sets over many years. They include a curved, golden Shalimar bar, an identically-shaped olive green Mitsouko bar; and two of the three, small 25g Jardins de Bagatelle bars I originally had. Yay, I’ve used one! I also have a large, gold bar of Poison soap, a medium-sized bar of Clair de Jour (Lanvin, 1983) soap – which might be as old as the Guerlains, come to think of it – and small bars of Paris and L’Air du Temps soap. I originally had two of the Clair de Jour, but I used one.

    Then there are the numerous bars of rose soap, most by Yardley but one from Crabtree and Evelyn (a gift from an aunt), two types of violet soap (Yardley and Somersby Violets, the latter having a gorgeous rich shade of purple), and some transparent red strawberry soap from The Body Shop. The Paris and L’Air du Temps each came in their own little plastic cases, but for all the others, I have found dedicated containers worthy of the contents, e.g. the Shalimar is in a transparent container of tortoise-shell colours, and the Mitsouko is in a plastic container of a matching olive green. The rose and violet soaps are all in pink and purple cases.

    One of my current favourites is the neatly-cut, rectangular bar of bright pink-tinted Mystic Musk soap from Tilley. I also like their soaps in Lemongrass, Lemon Myrtle, Orange Blossom, Strawberry & Oatmeal, Coconut & Lime, Lily of the Valley, and Basil & Mint. I’ve tried quite a few over the years! My experience with their deep burgundy-coloured Pomegranate soap was memorable; the colour was so rich that, in the shower, it looked as though I was bleeding onto the white of the shower tiles!

    I must seek out another bar of Mysore sandalwood soap; it’s been too long…

    With kind regards,
    Tourmaline June 5, 2020 at 11:08am Reply

    • OnWingsofSaffron: Hello Tourmaline, that is a very impressive soap collection indeed! I envy you. Do enjoy them and I like the way you describe the “clink”of the soap bar: very evocative. Thanks! June 6, 2020 at 1:59am Reply

      • Tourmaline: Thank you, OnWingsofSaffron, I’m glad you enjoyed reading about my rather excessive soap collection. I really must stop saving them for “a special occasion” and think of every day as special. I just love that clink! June 6, 2020 at 3:15am Reply

    • Victoria: What a delight! You have the most fascinating collection. Sounds like a mini-soap museum. June 8, 2020 at 9:53am Reply

      • Tourmaline: Yes, it is, rather. Perhaps that’s the main reason I haven’t used many of the soaps – I’ll be sorry to see them go… I’ll just have to take photos of them and then enjoy USING them! June 8, 2020 at 10:08am Reply

  • Andrea Grant: What a delight to read your post on soap! This was such a relatable subject as I have been collecting soap for years and my drawers are bulging with my collection. I also love finding local soaps while traveling and those are usually my true souvenirs. Since then I have found another soup collector who had been hiding the fact she also adores soap and keeps many bars. I bet there are many more out there! June 5, 2020 at 11:21am Reply

    • Victoria: I was so happy reading the comments to see that I am not the only one with this soap obsession. 🙂 June 8, 2020 at 9:54am Reply

  • Tourmaline: P.S.

    I also want to try making my own soap. It sounds so simple to do, and I’d be able to experiment with creating my own fragrance mixes. I don’t know why I’ve never done it before. June 5, 2020 at 11:28am Reply

    • Victoria: It’s not too complicated, although you need to exercise caution working with lye. The easiest first step is to find unscented liquid soap and to play scenting it. Then you can make real bars, having acquired some experience on dosage, etc. June 8, 2020 at 9:55am Reply

      • Tourmaline: That’s a good idea about starting with liquid soap – sounds like fun. I shall do my due diligence in relation to the lye; it sounds a bit like working with the very caustic Drano. June 8, 2020 at 10:17am Reply

  • Christine Funt: What a happy post! Thanks

    Since I was in my 20s (I’m 69 now), I’ve loved using Maja soap (Myrugia) to scent my drawers.

    Also love all the wrappers. They are beautiful. June 5, 2020 at 11:45am Reply

    • Silvermoon: Hello Christine! I also like Maja and always have some bars tucked away between my bedsheets. I enjoy using a wide range of soaps and always happy to try new ones from around the world. And it’s an extra pleasure to buy soaps with beautiful wrapping (the outer appearance can enhance the inner beauty in this case). June 5, 2020 at 12:25pm Reply

    • Kittygo: I also love Maja!! Incl the orange blossom – from the soaps to talc. I’m glad i found someone who loves it too! June 6, 2020 at 5:11pm Reply

    • Victoria: I love that soap! June 8, 2020 at 9:55am Reply

  • Austenfan: My favourite soap is a very fragrant Alep soap that smells a lot like Une Rose Nacrée du Désert. It’s from a German company that specialises in soaps from the Middle East.

    And I adore soap and have a totally ridiculous amount of it. June 5, 2020 at 12:03pm Reply

    • Silvermoon: Hello Austenfan! Please could you tell me the name of the soap company you mention? Also where can you buy them? I might visit Germany later this year and would like to check them out. Very curious!

      Like you, I love soaps and always have tons of bars lying in my drawers. June 5, 2020 at 12:17pm Reply

        • Silvermoon: Thank you for forwarding the link. I have already looked at the site. Looks very good and am tempted indeed. June 5, 2020 at 3:27pm Reply

        • Silvermoon: So an update: based on suggestions from you and onwingsofsaffron, I decided to order some soaps from Zhenobya. I chose sheherazade, Mardin, Damascus rose and Jasmin. Very much looking forward to trying this type of soap. June 7, 2020 at 10:23am Reply

          • Austenfan: I hope you will enjoy them! Jasmin and Alep are a great combination! June 11, 2020 at 9:59am Reply

      • Martina: If you are visiting Berlin and have the time, take a look at SAUBERKUNST, they have at least two shops in Berlin. Palmoil–Free soaps, many wonderful scents. June 12, 2020 at 5:41am Reply

    • OnWingsofSaffron: Do you have a link for the store? That would be lovely! Thanks June 6, 2020 at 2:16am Reply

      • OnWingsofSaffron: Oh bother, one comment later, and you mention the link: I’m sorry! BTW, how nice to see that it’s the Zhenobya products you are referring to. I did so too in a comment further down: the Mardin soap. June 6, 2020 at 2:20am Reply

    • Victoria: I’m so tempted! June 8, 2020 at 9:56am Reply

      • Austenfan: My guess is that you would love both the Scherazade and the Malek. I think mine is the Scherazade, but I’m not absolutely sure. It’s a long time since I ordered it and I’ve no “record”. June 8, 2020 at 1:45pm Reply

  • Aurora: What a cheerful post and video, younow look very vivid and comfortable on camera. Here in the UK, Yardley, Woods of Windsor and Bronnley are very popular and usually triple milled, so they last a long time and I am also faithful to Pears, the clear soap… At the supermarket you can get Imperial Leather meant for men. I also purchase soaps when I am in France, my savon d’Alep is made in Alep, Syria, Qualite Royale, -wathever that is – 20%.
    I have fond memories of the soaps I used in the US, pink Dove and Dr Bronner mint and also rose and Pacifica gardenia soap smelled divine. June 5, 2020 at 12:54pm Reply

    • Tourmaline: I’m so glad that Yardley, Woods of Windsor and Bronnley products are easily available in Australia. I have been a fan of Yardley, in particular, since I was a girl – especially their April Violets range, and also their Rose products and Lily of the Valley products.

      For me, “the one that got away” was Yardley “Sea Jade” perfume. As an adolescent, I coveted a bottle, was given one by my mother for Christmas, and adored it. I used it all up fairly quickly, and I haven’t smelled it since. I have only a vague fragrance memory of it, and would love to smell it again. Over years of searching, eBay has netted me only a Sea Jade soap and bottle of talcum powder, which don’t smell familiar, and seem a little “aged”. By now, of course, the juice probably wouldn’t be as I remembered it, either. Ah well, can’t win ’em all! June 6, 2020 at 9:25am Reply

      • Tourmaline: I can’t believe I forgot to mention that, this year, Yardley celebrates its 250th birthday! You can read about their history on the website. June 7, 2020 at 10:05am Reply

      • Aurora: Hello Tourmaline: How nostalgic you sound, I have a small bottle of Sea Jade, it was so affordable, I didn’t know it was HTF Do you live in the UK? I could send you a sample. June 9, 2020 at 2:17pm Reply

        • Tourmaline: Hi Aurora,

          Unfortunately, I live in Brisbane, Australia. But thank you anyway; that was a very kind thought. Do enjoy your bottle! June 10, 2020 at 3:55am Reply

  • Nina Z: I’ve only recently come to appreciate the deep comfort of bathing with a beautiful perfumed soap. Right now I’m cherishing the bar of orange blossom and olive leaf soap I bought in Seville last September from a local brand Bendita Luz that uses local Spanish ingredients for their beauty products. June 5, 2020 at 1:05pm Reply

    • Tourmaline: That sounds like a captivating fragrance. I love the scent of orange blossom, but so far I only have the discontinued Yardley version. I must find some more. June 7, 2020 at 10:09am Reply

  • Jacqueline Goughnour: I love several of the Claus Porto highly scented soaps, particularly Voga, a floral, which is my favorite. They are wrapped beautifully and are the hardest milled soaps I have come across – although I’m sure there are other just the same….
    Claus Porto has variety boxes with smaller size soaps that make beautiful gifts! June 5, 2020 at 1:09pm Reply

  • Debi Sen Gupta: Soaps are my indulgence too and I have picked up different types from my travel. I had got a goats milk, and a nettle soap from Portugal. Forest Essentials and Kama Ayurveda are my go to soaps otherwise. June 5, 2020 at 1:12pm Reply

  • MaureenC: What a wonderful post and such great comments too! As we are all washing our hands as often as Lady Macbeth at the moment it’s good to make it as enjoyable and experience as possible. June 5, 2020 at 2:04pm Reply

    • Tourmaline: It is indeed; good point! June 6, 2020 at 9:27am Reply

  • Peter: Mahalo Victoria for the refreshing Bar Soap post. My favorite Department Store soap is Fresh “Sugar” (now discontinued). It smells like Jujubes candy. Luckily I have a few bars stashed away. I’m very envious of Tourmaline”s extravagant soap drawers! Since I’m only an armchair traveler, I’m looking forward to searching out treasures via post. June 5, 2020 at 4:54pm Reply

    • Silvermoon: Hello Peter! Armchair travel has its pleasures too! Especially if one can get purchases delivered to ones door (without having to lug them in suitcases through airports). So, I am not sure where you are based, but two small scale local British soap makers have lovely ranges of bar soaps that one can shop online. Others have mentioned the Scottish Fine Soaps already. I shall add the Yorkshire Soap Company. Their botanical soap bars are great (my husband likes the liquorice roots one and the orange, carrot and calendula; I like the lavender flowers and the walnut and almond one). They also have other lovely ranges, as well as fun decorated cupcake shaped soaps that make wonderful gifts. June 6, 2020 at 8:19am Reply

      • Tourmaline: Oh my, liquorice root soap, walnut and almond soap, soaps shaped like cupcakes – so much to explore! June 6, 2020 at 9:43am Reply

      • Peter: Hi Silvermoon. Thank you for the information. I’m a total Anglophile when it comes to my mystery books and DVDs. Why not soap? I live in Honolulu and there are some shipping concerns. I have ordered perfume from Luckyscent before. I think they do carry some international soaps, so I’m planning to peruse their website. June 6, 2020 at 8:19pm Reply

      • Peter: Hello Silvermoon. I checked out the Luckyscent website and while they don’t carry any UK soaps, they do carry a few of your recommended Santa Maria Novella soaps. They also carry Claus Porto which another reader mentioned. Some other Luckyscent soap brands are Rance, Senteurs D’Orient and Oriza L, Legrand.
        Aloha, Peter June 7, 2020 at 9:59pm Reply

    • Tourmaline: Hi Peter,

      If it makes you feel any better, I’m 58 and I’ve never been overseas. (With no money spent on overseas airfares, I’ve had more to spend on books, perfume, jewellery, CDs and DVDs – my main indulgences!) The vast majority of my soap collection has been purchased here in Brisbane, with a few items being obtained on trips to Sydney (the Shalimar and Mitsouko gift sets, if memory serves).

      I forgot to mention that I like the fresh fragrance of Lux soap, and the fact that it stays firmer than most other inexpensive shower soaps, so it doesn’t leave much “mush” in the soap dish. I prefer the pink one, to go with my pink and white bathroom décor.

      With kind regards,
      Tourmaline June 6, 2020 at 9:39am Reply

      • Theresa: My sister lived in Australia for many years, and she brought me (in the U.S.) presents of “Cleopatra” soap, since I was studying the Classics. I loved that soap – still have one unopened bar of it in my soap drawer – it must be 30 years old! June 6, 2020 at 7:06pm Reply

        • Tourmaline: That’s interesting; I can’t recall ever hearing of Cleopatra soap, but I searched online and found that it is hard to get at the moment. On a single bar costs $52.06 in Oz dollars ($36.28 USD).

          As I was searching on various sites, I came across Mermaid Milk Bath, Grateful Dead Sea Salt Bath Soak, Straight to Heaven By Kilian Bath Oil, Bard Bath Bombs (e.g. The Antony and Cleopatra), DIY Bubbly Bath Bar, honey bar soap, gemstone soap, juicy watermelon soap (shaped liked a chunk of same) and Rainbow Whipped Soap, to name just a few. Is it any wonder we love to indulge in this cornucopia of delights! June 7, 2020 at 9:16am Reply

      • Peter: Hello Tourmaline, fellow Armchair Traveler! I was born in Territorial Hawaii (mid 1950s) and except for (barely) attending College in New Orleans, I’ve been “rock” bound. My father did work for Pan American and we were lucky to travel as children. I have fond memories of Polynesia: Fiji, Samoa and Tahiti. We also visited Europe, so I have some Art and History references. But as an adult, I rarely travel. I also don’t drive, which is another way to save for perfume!

        Like yourself, I also have large collections of CDs and especially DVDs. I love British mysteries (I just finished “Dr Blake” from your Homeland), Bollywood, and International films. We can travel through Cinema.

        I do have a question. With such a large collection of soaps, how do you use and then store them for later use? Do you let the soap dry out and then rebox it? It seems much easier to sample perfume.

        Aloha, Peter June 6, 2020 at 8:56pm Reply

        • Tourmaline: Hi Peter,
          What an interesting childhood you had! The travel must have been fascinating at that time.
          Dr Blake got great reviews here, but I haven’t seen it – yet. I, too, love International films, and we’re lucky to have a “World Movies” channel that has all manner of interesting offerings 24/7. I have seen a few Bollywood films and look forward to more – they are so colourful and joyous! I agree; we can indeed travel through cinema. (My personal view is that the most important movement we make in our lives is not physical, but mental – the development we make intellectually and emotionally, and perhaps spiritually. Can’t believe I’m getting all deep and meaningful in a soap post! Having said that, I’m glad there are others who do travel physically, to provide us with great journalism and photos and so on, e.g. Victoria.)
          My favourite Australian movie of all time is Picnic at Hanging Rock. If you haven’t seen it, I would encourage you to get the DVD with the original version (the best, in my opinion), not the director’s cut, which removes several of my favourite scenes. I first saw it as an almost-14-year-old on a class excursion to the cinema, and it made a big impression on me; it’s so very beautiful. My favourite foreign film is Morgiana, a Czech phantasmagoria from 1972. I love its Gothic quality, the clothes, the settings – everything!
          Great question about the soap. If I want to use one of my special soaps rather than the one that is currently in the shower recess, I put the current one in a spare soap dish on the bathroom bench, and after using the special soap, I allow it to dry – either in its own case or in the spare soap dish – prior to putting it away.

          It certainly is easier to sample perfume than soap. My new rule is not to buy soap in an expensive range (e.g. Guerlain), unless it comes in a gift with purchase or something. Given that so much of the fragrance in soap goes down the drain, perfume is a superior investment. Besides, there are plenty of less expensive soaps to enjoy, such as the ones mentioned in this post and all the wonderful comments.

          Tourmaline June 7, 2020 at 9:43am Reply

          • Tourmaline: Sorry for the lack of spacing in the above. Forgot to edit, except at the end. June 7, 2020 at 9:47am Reply

          • Peter: Hello Tourmaline,

            Your response on the sampling of bar soaps makes sense. You just need a little patience to dry out and then re-box.

            Growing up in Hawaii is a flower lovers dream. We probably share certain tropical flowers since Brisbane and Honolulu are both somewhat close to the Equator. We were lucky to live close to the mountains where it rained everyday. We had a plumeria (frangipani) tree, whose blossoms are used to make every local kid’s first lei. There was also a lush gardenia bush and both white and yellow ginger near the stream. Unfortunately I now live in a walk-up apartment, but there is a tiare (Tahitian gardenia) bush nearby where I can sneak a sniff.

            I just checked my “Picnic at Hanging Rock” DVD. It is a ‘Criterion Collection’ which I picked up when our DVD rental store closed. I haven’t watched it yet, but will soon. ‘Criterion’ prides itself in releasing the best possible copy of the film. I have enjoyed some other Peter Weir films, especially “The Year of Living Dangerously”. One of my International favorites is the 1959 “Black Orpheus” which introduced Antonio Carlos Jobim”s bossa nova music to the world.

            The first Indian movie I watched was “I Have Found It” (“Kandukondain Kandukondain”). It is a Tamil language film, but very ‘Bollywood-esque’. It has fantastic songs composed by A.R. Rahman, outrageous dance numbers, two of the most beautiful actresses (Aishwarya and Tabu), and the story is based on Jane Austen. Somewhere in one of Victoria’s posts she included a photo from “Devdas”, which could be the ultimate Bollywood film. Completely over-the-top with the most lavish budget and production values. Also stars Aishwarya and the equally glorious Madhuri Dixit, along with Superstar Shah Rukh Khan. At the other end of the scale, my favorite ‘art’ film is “Mr and Mrs Iyer”. It’s a very touching glimpse of two strangers thrown together during a small scale terrorist attack. A lot of Film Talk on a Perfume Blog!

            Much Aloha,
            Peter June 7, 2020 at 9:39pm Reply

            • Tourmaline: Hi Peter,

              We certainly have many frangipani trees in Brisbane. I’ve smelled “ordinary” (wonderful-smelling) gardenias, but not tiare.

              I always recommend to people “The Year of Living Dangerously”. In fact, I mentioned it in a section I cut out of my 15-year anniversary tribute to Victoria (because it was getting too long…). I kept my draft, though. The section is as follows.

              “I think that art is a valuable pursuit in its own right. It is part of the darkness and light you mentioned, the yin and yang, the bad and good, the sadness and happiness, as acted out, for example, in the Indonesian shadow play. I vividly recall a scene from The Year of Living Dangerously (1982, Peter Weir), which I first saw upon its release, and have revisited numerous times. The character of Billy Kwan, played brilliantly by Linda Hunt, tells two other characters about this traditional form of puppetry. He explains how the shadow play represents the ongoing struggle between darkness and light, a struggle that is seen as eternal.”

              Alas, the Criterion Collection version of “Picnic at Hanging Rock”, which I have also, is the director’s cut. As Wiki says, “Picnic at Hanging Rock was first released on DVD in the Criterion Collection on 3 November 1998. This release featured a director’s cut of the film with an entirely new transfer, a theatrical trailer and liner notes about the film. The same year, the film was also re-released theatrically, with Weir removing seven minutes from the film that apparently detracted from the narrative.[4]”

              In my opinion, they don’t detract from the narrative at all, and they certainly add to the film’s beauty.

              If you like, you can look for one of the more recent releases that have both versions, e.g. “The film was later released in a special 3-disc set on 30 June 2008 in the United Kingdom. This set included the director’s cut and a longer original version, interviews with filmmakers and book author Joan Lindsay, poster and still galleries, a 120-minute documentary and deleted scenes.”

              That is the version I have – the deluxe edition. Here is one on eBay – so you know what it looks like.


              The film is unique, and it doesn’t surprise me that, in 45 years, nobody has attempted a remake. It simply doesn’t need it. However, in 2018, someone dared to make a 6-part TV mini-series out of it. For someone who has seen the original film at least 25 times, though, the mini-series is an entirely different beast. Don’t even THINK about watching it until you’ve seen the film!

              Hmmmm…. You can see that this film made a big impression on me!

              I haven’t seen any of the other films you mention. Aishwarya is certainly very beautiful. It’s a coincidence that a film you have seen – “I Have Found It”, has Aishwarya and is based on Sense and Sensibility, and a film that I have seen – “Bride and Prejudice” (2004), also has Aishwarya and is obviously based on Jane Austen. It was directed by Gurinder Chadha, who made the wonderful “Bend It Like Beckham” two years earlier. She also made the superlative “Viceroy’s House” in 2017. Now, that one is anything but a comedy.

              Well, I have a few films to add to my Watch List!

              Tourmaline June 8, 2020 at 9:36am Reply

              • Peter: Hello Tourmaline: Perfume Lover who is very fond of “picnics”.

                I’m a little disappointed that I have the substandard version of Hanging Rock. I’ve never ordered from eBay and I’m still kind of old school and reluctant to start. Ordering DVDs is tricky because of the different Region codes, etc. I’ll check to see if a US company like Barnes & Noble has the 3-disc set.

                I have seen “Bride and Prejudice” which was fun, but it didn’t have enough song and dance! I have “Beckham”, but haven’t watched it yet. I’ll keep my eye out for “Viceroy’s House”. Aishwarya will always be a favorite because she was in the first Indian film I saw. She trained as a classical dancer before she won “Miss World” (?)

                Because you mentioned the puppetry in “The Year of Living Dangerously”, I think you might like “Delhi-6”. That film is ‘artsy’ and if I recall correctly has scenes of Indian puppetry. It also has an A.R. Rahman score (my favorite composer) and the handsome Abhisek Bachchan (Aishwarya’s real-life husband).

                There is something about watching the most beautiful actors in the world dancing and lip-synching to the most incredible playback singers. It’s magical and what we say in Hawaii: ‘chicken-skin’ (raises the hairs on your arms).

                Aloha for now’
                Peter June 8, 2020 at 4:47pm Reply

              • Peter: Hello again Tourmaline.

                The easiest way to take a mini vacation to India is to watch a Song Video. I’m sorry that I don’t know how to include a link, but I noted the titles that showed up on YouTube.

                My 5 most favorite A. R. Rahman Love Songs are:

                A. R. Rahman – Dheeme Dheeme Best Video / Zubeidaa…

                Taal Se Taal – Taal / Alka Yagnik & Udit Narayam….

                Kissa Hum Likhenge (Full Song) Film – Doli Sajake Rakhna

                Poovukkul Video / Jeans Movie / A. R. Rahman…

                kannamoochi yenada HD new

                Also (not A. R. Rahman), here is that most extravagant number from “Devdas”:

                Dola Re Dola Full Videosong – Devdas / Aishwarya Rai & Madhuri Dixit

                Enjoy! June 8, 2020 at 9:05pm Reply

                • Tourmaline: Peter,

                  Please see the bottom of the page, as the comments will soon resemble snakes! June 9, 2020 at 9:53am Reply

  • Joy Erickson: What a great article today, Victoria. I love soap and have ever since I was in high school when I would buy Yardly lavender and Neutrogena. I also discovered Pears. Now I alway put a bar of Roger et Gallet usually Rose, but sometimes Ginembre in my travel bag. It gives a slight fragrance to my clothing and provides a luxurious bathing experience over hotel soap. Sometimes I will splurge and buy a bar of Chanel, no 22 is my favorite. There are many great bars and scent, one can never get tired of them. I love Maja, Magno, Pino Silvestra., my list could be endless.
    I appreciated the info about Allepo soap now made in France. June 5, 2020 at 5:54pm Reply

    • OnWingsofSaffron: What a nice idea of taking along a bar of soap in a travelling bag! And I admire you buying a bar of Chanel soap N° 22, a perfume I admire. Bravo! June 6, 2020 at 1:55am Reply

  • Leslie Gillespie-Marthaler: Special soaps have always been a luxury for me. The packaging, scent, and design of soaps feels so….special. They can be so beautiful. The highest form of hospitality for me is to put beautiful little soaps out for guests. I have a collection of soaps rom special places. I really need to use them. June 5, 2020 at 7:34pm Reply

  • OnWingsofSaffron: Lovely topic: simple joys. We use a random and eclectic mix of soaps, from those pretty lemon-shaped soaps from Bronnley to the above mentioned Aleppo soap bars. Currently, in the shower we have one large rectangular bar of Zhenobya Mardin Soap (Aleppo soap) which is made of olive and wild pistachio oil. Sounds very fancy and pretentious, but it really isn’t
    This soap works up a highly satisfying, very creamy lather: wonderful! June 6, 2020 at 1:52am Reply

    • Austenfan: I have only one Zhenobya soap and I really like it (as mentioned above). I have been looking at the Mardin, the Nablus and the Antiocha soaps as well. Have you tried any others from this firm? June 6, 2020 at 5:20pm Reply

      • OnWingsofSaffron: I managed to snag three boxes of Bronnley/ Royal Horticultural Society rose soaps at TK Maxx so the Zhenobya Aleppo soap had to go into hold. The next one after the Mardin soap will be the Antiochia soap with 30% laurel oil.
        I have been using Aleppo soaps from different companies before: They all aren‘t as perfumey as regular soaps yet I find they are very gentle on the skin. I don‘t feel that parched feeling after using them. June 7, 2020 at 3:49am Reply

        • OnWingsofSaffron: In effect: only the Zhenobya Mardin soap, no other ones from this specific company yet. June 7, 2020 at 3:51am Reply

  • Nancy Chan: Cologne and Cotton, a shop which specialises in bed linen has an interesting range of soaps, perfumes and colognes. June 6, 2020 at 4:02pm Reply

    • Nancy Chan: Cologne and Cotton website. June 6, 2020 at 4:32pm Reply

      • Tourmaline: I just had a peek; wow, what a range! June 7, 2020 at 10:19am Reply

        • Nancy Chan: Hi Tourmaline, I’m so glad you like the range of soaps on offer. I love the Cologne and Cotton goats milk soap! June 7, 2020 at 2:57pm Reply

  • Kittygo: HI VICTORIA! I also love Mysore sandalwood and i ask my yoga teachers to bring them back for me from Mysore. I will take up your recommendation of RG Ginger and Osmanthus, since we seem to like the same things. I use the Imperiale/Vielle (? Classic red) and Sandalwood (not as good as Mysore) June 6, 2020 at 5:18pm Reply

  • Peter: Perfume Lovers, Nothing to do with soap, but still bathroom related. There is a new Febreze Air “Wood” scent. It smells surprising good! Listed on the spray container: Amber, Oud, and Cedar. June 7, 2020 at 10:40pm Reply

  • Rakasa: Washing the day away with perfumed soaps is my absolute go-to for commencing the relaxing! Top of my list for sumptuous pampering comes from down under via the triple milled bars from Mor. The ruby red Italian Blood Orange Bar is a feast for every sense and their delicate Kashmir Petal Bar can be a mesmerizing lullaby. So many more to choose from, too. When nothing else but a simply authentic silkily delicate result will do, there’s always the sweet almond oil, orange tree/blossom pampering that Diptyque’s Eau Des Sens never fails to deliver. Next comes a cult classic, from Japan via Los Angeles Topanga Canyon’s Studio Cue: Golda Sphere Soap. Golda Sphere is replete with a unique Hiba Essential Oil found only in 300 yr old trees in Aomori, Japan plus multiple other saponifired oils. Flipping over to the US East Coast brings me to Saipua (Finnish for soap). Saipua offers many unique soaps since they own a flower farm near Albany, NY. When an unscented soap is vital because I want to finish with a perfumed oil, Nature by Canus Goat’s Milk offerings (US) ensures a luminescent foundation. Or Saipua’s Olive Oil Soap leaves skin as smooth as satin after their Saltwater Bar exfoliator banishes all the rough skin using nori seaweed and crushed sea salt plus hints of rosemary & essential oils. Lastly, in the UK I discovered an amazing unscented Oatmeal Bar at The Little Soap Company that is among the very best I’ve ever used for sensitive skin — on any continent. Thx so much to all for sharing! Am looking forward to tryIng some of the others that have been recommended like Oketani or Forest Essentials. June 7, 2020 at 10:48pm Reply

  • Martina: I love soaps from a small german manufucture, SAUBERKUNST. They have several shops in Berlin, if you ever come visiting Berlin. They have also a webshop, unfortunately only in german languange. But their soaps and shampoo bars are really wonderful. I am addicted…. June 9, 2020 at 4:40am Reply

  • Tourmaline: Hi again, Peter,

    Yes, region codes are such a nuisance; I wish they’d never been invented.

    Actually, surprisingly enough, I’m not big on picnics, because I’m as pale as a ghost and I don’t go into the sun at all. (I don’t even like the shade, because you can still get burnt in it.) But I’ve had a picnic on a friend’s loungeroom floor!

    I must see Delhi-6. Wow, what a couple! I didn’t know that Aishwarya trained as a dancer. So did Mads Mikkelsen, a Danish actor I like; he was a dancer and gymnast, and worked professionally as a ballet dancer for nearly 10 years prior to studying drama.

    I wonder whether you’ve seen the documentary about Cuban music, “Buena Vista Social Club” (1999) by Wim Wenders, who directed the masterful Wings of Desire (my favourite film about angels). You might like it. It might even be “chicken skin”! My favourite movie reviewer, David Stratton, said that when he saw it, he found the music so beautiful that he wept.

    Thank you for the list of songs, and the scene. I shall add them to my list.

    Good luck with your search for a good copy of Picnic at Hanging Rock.

    Happy film viewing!

    Tourmaline June 9, 2020 at 9:55am Reply

  • Klaas: Oh my God, the humble soap bar has inspired us all to pour our hearts out! And rightfully so, opening a new, shiny, fragrant bar of soap out of its wrapper is such a pleasure….

    Guerlain used to do soaps of almost all their scents. They came in a box of three, all wrapped in thick, pastel colored paper with the logo embossed in gold. Like a treasure box!

    Some of the soaps you all mention sound divine! What a good read 😉 June 9, 2020 at 11:01am Reply

  • Peter: Greetings Tourmaline.

    I found my “Year of Living Dangerously” and I’m set to rewatch for the first time. I don’t recall the scene where Billy Kwan explains the yin and yang of Indonesian puppetry. That was such a bravura performance. Mostly I remember feeling the chaos during the coup.

    I bought numerous artsy foreign films when my local DVD rental closed. It was like a small perfume boutique was going out of business. A complete treasure trove. I’m still catching up and haven’t watched most. I was hoping I had “Morgiana” which sounds right up my alley. I have 3 other Czech films by Jan Svankmajer, a surrealist (Conspirators of Pleasure, Faust, and Little Otik). But the film that sounds closest to “Morgiana” is “Valerie and Her Week of Wonders”.

    I haven’t seen Mads Mikkelson in any films, but he looks familiar from “Hannibal” ads. My favorite Danish TV film is Lars von Trier’s “Riget/Kingdom”. It’s compelling, wacky, and spooky.

    Abhishek Bachchan is the son of Amitabh, the most famous Indian actor alive. The ingenue in “Delhi 6” is Sonam Kapoor, whose father is Anil, another well known actor. A fair amount of nepotism in Bollywood. I watched the preview of “Delhi 6” to renew my memory and I think the puppetry was actually live actors.

    I do have the “Buena Vista Social Club” CD and unwatched DVD. Along with most of Wenders best films (also unwatched). I have seen Hertzog’s “Fitzcaraldo” which is amazing. You’ll spurn me on to watch more European films!

    Much Aloha,
    Peter June 9, 2020 at 3:28pm Reply

    • Tourmaline: Hi Peter,

      I’ve just found your extra comments…

      I admire Jan Swankmajer’s films. Many years ago, I saw “Alice”, his bizarre and fascinating take on the Wonderland tale, and several years later I found the DVD. I also have “Faust”, although it is among the many DVDs I haven’t yet watched. I want to buy a big-screen TV sometime, and am saving my first viewing of many films until I have it. I think a 45cm one should be fine, as I sit fairly close to the TV in order to be able to see all the detail!

      I also have “Valerie and Her Week of Wonders”. I first saw that at the cinema, then I bought the DVD. I saw the film at our Gallery of Modern Art (GoMA) in Brisbane, which has two small cinemas, and shows a huge mix of films when there isn’t a pandemic. A few years ago, I even went there to experience the joy of seeing Morgiana on the big screen for the first time, although I’d seen it on TV many times.

      (I was first introduced to Morgiana many years ago when it was featured as David Stratton’s Movie of the Week. That was a great TV show where Stratton reviewed the film prior to the screening, then had a few words to say after it was finished. I remember watching it and thinking I was in heaven. The next time it was on, I videotaped it, and I watched that tape every year on my birthday for several years, until one of my brothers gave me the DVD as a gift.)

      At the GoMA, they also screened Herz’s version of “Beauty and the Beast” the day after they screened “Morgiana”, and I saw it for the first time. That is a real blood and guts version, with much beauty as well. I later bought the DVD of that, too.

      I haven’t seen “Fitzcaraldo” yet, but I’ve seen Klaus Kinski in “Nosferatu the Vampyre”.

      Still more films to add to my list!

      With kind regards,
      Judith June 11, 2020 at 6:19am Reply

  • Sandra: V-
    What is the most moisturizing soap out of the ones your mention? June 10, 2020 at 9:08am Reply

    • Victoria: The Aleppo soap definitely. June 11, 2020 at 10:21am Reply

  • Peter: Hello Tourmaline,

    I just finished re-watching “The Year of Living Dangerously”. Because of your “thesis”, I noticed all the scenes with puppets. From the opening credits, to the silhouette art in the Journalists’ bar. There also were a couple of views with windows and shadowed people. Then the main scene where Billy explains the complexity of Indonesian puppetry and you realize that he’s describing the main characters including himself. The scene that still shocked me was the one where the starving little girl was eating the raw rice off of the ground. A moving film.

    Aloha, Peter June 10, 2020 at 4:00pm Reply

    • Tourmaline: Hi Peter,

      It is indeed a moving film, with several disturbing scenes, such as the one you mentioned. I’ll have to watch it again and pay attention to all of the extra shadow work, as there is usually little in a film that is included by chance.

      As you said in a previous comment, Linda Hunt’s performance was bravura. I remember being so pleased that she was rewarded for her efforts with the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. Probably the only time it has ever been won by a woman for playing a man!

      Judith June 11, 2020 at 6:28am Reply

  • Hilde: Hello Victoria.

    It is wednesday June the 17th in the afternoon and it is raining very hard at the time I am writing this article in my office in Brussels. It has been dry and warm the last days and now I am smelling the odor of Petrichor. I do not need enything more to feel happy.

    Dear Victoria, I think I have somewhat the same obsession as You have. I love solid soap bars, and – You will not believe it – I have hundreds of them. When I encouter a nice soap I by a couple of dozen of them … at least.
    It is also the traditional process of soap making that attracts me.

    Two characteristics are important for me: the fragrance and the texture.
    Here is my list, of which I have all of them, and I am still forgetting some I think:

    For its fine fragrance:
    Bee & Flower Chinese Sandalwood soap and Ginseng Soap
    Roger & Gallet Bois d’orange
    Bronnley English fern
    Cadum vintage soap with almond oil
    Kappus soap White Magnolia
    Weleda vegetal soap with wild rose oil
    Le couvent des minims pure vegetal soap Lavender & Acacia and Honey & Shea

    For its unusual fragrance:
    Pine Tar soap
    Sapo glycerine soap – Laboratoires Edmond Fromont Bruxelles (not available any more)
    Pears vintage transparent soap (not available any more)
    Magno Spanish soap classic (black) and oriental (red)
    Maja Spanish soap
    Carbolic soap

    For its oily texture:
    Aleppo soap with 40% bay leaf oil
    Le Serail Marseille soap vintage cube 400 g
    Dudu Osun black soap (not available any more) June 17, 2020 at 9:12am Reply

    • Klaas: Hello Hilde, my dad used to love Sapo soap! He used it all the time. The scent was really peculiar, tar and something green? Laurel perhaps?

      Good memories….. June 18, 2020 at 12:18pm Reply

  • Hilde: Hello Victoria,

    I just posted a comment, but it doensn’t appear. Has there been going something wrong?

    Best regards.
    Hilde June 17, 2020 at 10:18am Reply

    • Victoria: If you haven’t commented on the site before with this email address, your first-time comment is held for manual approval. June 18, 2020 at 3:39am Reply

  • Nancy Chan: I also recommend Lothantique soaps. They have a beautiful selection of seashell soaps that would also look beautiful in the bathroom. Plus, Marseille soap in a variety of scents. June 21, 2020 at 10:15am Reply

  • Carla: “Rather than follow my list…” Victoria, this is excellent advice. I was reaching the end of your post, anticipating a list of soaps to plug into my internet search engine – but no! I am advised to go out, seek, smell, use my senses, follow my tastes. With the ease of internet “sourcing” I too often blindly follow recommendations. Of course maybe I speak hastily – expert recommendations are how I found some of my absolute favorite musical artists, for example (Benjamin Clementine and My Brightest Diamond). Very recently there was an article on tea you might be interested in, from the Wall Street Journal. I wanted to quickly shop several of the author’s suggestions but I decided I’ve got enough of my own favorite teas and will continue trying new ones on my own. I decided to choose moderation – no need to try every tea just because this one writer recommended it – and just try the two teas that seems most intriguing to me from the list of many. Choose judiciously, enjoy the sensory process, follow your own taste. June 23, 2020 at 5:00pm Reply

  • Marianne: Wow, I didn’t realise that having a lifelong abiding interest in soap was so popular! I thought it was just me, and feel as though I’ve brought something hidden into the light! It all started for me when at 12 for my Birthday I was given a set of Bourjois ‘Young Beauty’ bath salts and talcum powder, how this was available in a small relatively remote country town in Tasmania in those days I don’t know, but I loved it. At 14 I was given a bar of soap as a gift, sadly I can’t remember its name, but I recall the sense of wonder and ‘specialness’ I experienced whenever I smelled its perfume. Money wasn’t plentiful in our family, but from then on I found ways to explore and enjoy scents, treasuring samples of perfume, at 16 discovering Millot’s Crepe de Chine as my first awe inspiring experience of a wondrous French perfume.
    Today I always have a soap selection in a beautiful bowl in the bathroom to enjoy the look and to keep the space smelling fresh and gorgeous.
    I’ve also found lovely local artisan made soaps. For any Tasmanians who might read this, I’ve discovered and love the creamy, richly perfumed with essential oils soaps made by Richmond Botanicals. August 31, 2021 at 9:53am Reply

    • Victoria: I enjoyed reading your comment very much and wished for a stash of vintage body care products. In comparison to perfumes, I find the scents of soaps, lotions, and creams even more revealing about different eras. Nothing takes me back to my childhood like the scents of wild strawberry or birch tar soaps. September 1, 2021 at 10:58am Reply

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