Friday, March 25, 2011

fly to the brutal clean

Castile soap is a name used in English-speaking countries for olive oil based soap made in a style similar to that originating in the Castile region of Spain, as early as the 1600s. The word "castile" actually means "land of castles". A few weeks ago, I mentioned in my poem "Molt" about sprouting "castile wings" and flying to the "brutal clean".

The poetic metaphor conjured images of the Kirk's Castile soap of my childhood, so much so, that I couldn't stop thinking about its distinctive scent.  Friday, when I was grocery shopping, I spied a small stack of Kirk's on the bottom shelf of the soap aisle at Kroger and tossed a three-pack in my cart.

It still has the white paper wrapper, now jazzed-up with a slick finish.  I was a bit disappointed, since it seems quite unscented, without any distinguishable traces of the unique trademark scent I remember so well. Maybe my olfactory system isn't as keen as it once was? Nevertheless, I adore the silky way it lathers, especially in well-water. It's the brutal clean, without dryness. I even like it better on my face than my pricey facial cleanser.  I love thriftiness. And chain reactions.  Do you have a favorite soap?

I'd like to be rich enough 
so I could throw soap away 
after the letters are worn off.
Andy Rooney

79 comments:

  1. I still use good ole ivory...and I am always sad when the letters wash off ;)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Throw away? Never for a Depression Bsby......I always try to stick the old little sliver onto the new cake.

    However, this reminds me of when I was a kid and found a scrap of a wrapper from something and couldn't identify it.....neither could my mom. It was shiny paper with a white background and dark blue curliques all over it. We nearly went crazy till one of us begn to unwrap a new bar of Ivory soap and there it was! Thank heaven or I'd still be looking till this day.

    ReplyDelete
  3. When I was little a stole a bar of Camay from my Grandma's house because I just loved the smell of it

    ReplyDelete
  4. Unfortunately not very fashionable in the soap department... Neutrogena or Cowshead!! (The Soho house club brand)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Any sort of bubble bath is my poison.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I have used Kirk's in the past for it's purity. But I don't use bar soap anymore. I use face cleanser, shower gel, and liquid hand soap. I's less messy : )

    ReplyDelete
  7. We are a Dove family, there's nothing like a nice brand new perfect bar of soap.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I love the thrill of a pristine bar of new soap.

    ReplyDelete
  9. It used to be called "Knights of Castille" when I was a kid, but my favourite soap was shaped like a teddy bear, and never used for washing. I can smell it now.

    ReplyDelete
  10. @Tom S.: That Knights Of Castille wrings a bell..(oh, what an awful pun - but it does!). I wonder if there is a fetish market in soaps?

    ReplyDelete
  11. Palmolive. Used to have a pleasant fragrance.

    ReplyDelete
  12. @RB Baker: What, pray tell, does it smell like now? I haven't smelt palmolive in years, if ever. Smelting palmolive; smelts in the palmolive?

    ReplyDelete
  13. my sister makes soap, really wonderful soap. she just made me a big batch of sandalwood, my favorite scent.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Palmolive did have the most wonderful scent. Haven't thought of it, much less used it, in ages!

    Tom, me thinks that soapy little bear may have inspired you early on to be a sculptor.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Hey, peeps, speaking of soap, that Wild Thing over at Sweet Repose makes some fabulous soap!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Willow,
    As long as they're fragrant and lather profusely I'm satisfied.
    rel

    ReplyDelete
  17. Oh, wouldn't it be wonderful if we could have the products of old...soaps and shampoos that really cleaned things. Mostly made with natural ingredients that didn't destroy our environments. I, too, recall the smell of castile soap (which was always used in my elementary school). To this day it means clean to my nose. Thanks for reminding me.

    ReplyDelete
  18. I must say I have never used this soap. My Gran used a soap called, "Vel", and I still miss the fragrance of it. It was still in our local store a couple of years ago, but now gone.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Sometimes, Tess, you and I are on the same wave length...I was just at Kroger the other day and my attention was drawn to the castile soap..and the funny thing is I thought of you...now what is that about?
    My favorite is Yardley's Lavender soap.

    ReplyDelete
  20. My Melva forces me to use a bar of soap
    until it is a sliver incapable of sudsing.
    She uses Dove, and I go for IRISH SPRIING,
    and I must say, women who get a whiff
    of me usually spoon and smile and want
    to flirt.

    ReplyDelete
  21. it is also good for dissolving in water and pouring over rose bushes to prevent fungus.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Grandpa's Pine Tar Soap. Comes in big brown bars each packed in a cardboard box, lathers white. Smells bad to some. It doubles as shampoo, too.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Grouchy, roses, huh? No kidding? I'll try it this summer!

    ReplyDelete
  24. Dan, I must try the curious Grandpa's Pine Tar. Sounds like something I would like!

    ReplyDelete
  25. Glenn, are you sure they spoon?

    ReplyDelete
  26. Kim, you must have felt my powerful vibe! ;^)

    ReplyDelete
  27. Well, my response can't beat Glenns (LOL) but I remember the soap at my grandmother's house. It smelled and was shaped like roses. When I was little, she would always ask me if I had washed my hands. I would lie and say yes, but I could never bring myself to ruin the beautiful soap!

    ReplyDelete
  28. Soap with shea butter is my favorite. It never drys my skin.

    We used to use castile soap. I can remember the smell too.

    ReplyDelete
  29. if you count liquid soap, nothing beats badedas. originally a german brand, it's now referred to as vitabath in this country. better than calgon-take-me-away.

    ReplyDelete
  30. @Dan g.:The pine tar soap sounds good.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Savon de Marseilles. Plain ole SOAP.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Tess -- didn't know one could still buy Kirk's Castile Soap. I will look for some next time I'm at Krogers. -- barbara

    ReplyDelete
  33. Tess, you may be interested in this post, at Melrose Musings.

    My mother bought Knight's Castile, when we were children. Palmolive and Imperial Leather are still going strong.

    ReplyDelete
  34. May I differ with the "brutal clean" of good old Castile soap? How can anything that pure be brutal? (Says she and hugs the little Castile soap bar.) ;-)

    Andy Rooney, so right many times, but that soapy wisdom has a tad too much hardened foam, don*t you think so?

    ReplyDelete
  35. I remember a soap called "Irish Spring" - black and green wrapping and advertisements with a well-built guy showering under a waterfall or such. Walking by the stacks at the grocery store gave me a headache.

    I found
    Reviews Stream website, with quaint "reviews" by Irish Spring devotees galore. Here is one sample:
    "Irish Spring soap is a type of soap that can be purchased at any local retailer. It is a type of green soap that comes in both a bar and a liquid. The aroma of Irish Spring soap is rather delightful in my opinion. I don't know exactly how ..."

    and here another one,
    "I have never really been a fan of bar soap, but for some reason my husband still buys it on occasion. A few days ago he brought home a 2 pack of Irish Spring soap bars. I was kind of upset about the purchase, but got over it as ....

    Poetic latherings all .... ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  36. i remember carbolic soap. for that reason i use dove. steven

    ReplyDelete
  37. How about Pear's. ? I can't do Ivory anymore. Would use more homemade if it were easy to get. My sister in law, gave me a bar of goats milk soap which eventually began developing
    brown stripes... thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  38. your " chignon" post interested me...
    for me ( and I am objective here being an old gay man)
    women with their hair up aka chignon..always looks quite quite stunning!

    ReplyDelete
  39. Merisi, that Irish Spring guy was right up there on par with the Marlboro man.

    ReplyDelete
  40. Amanda, I haven't thought of Vitabath in years. I forget exactly why I stopped using it.

    ReplyDelete
  41. Izzy, perhaps too much goat in the goat soap? heehee

    ReplyDelete
  42. I love this post! Isn't it interesting how we can remember smells from our childhoods so distinctly?
    (And the quote is hilarious.)

    My favorite is lavender soap from my childhood... my mom tucks them inside the linens in the closet, so whenever you go to grab a new pillowcase, soaps end up tumbling all over the place. But they make things smell so good and comforting. Even my dog loved the scent - he'd try to rub his entire body on the soap, if you let him.

    ReplyDelete
  43. No favourite, but your post makes me think I should have one!

    ReplyDelete
  44. I always loved the smell of Prell shampoo.....:-)

    ReplyDelete
  45. sultana from LUSH is my new fave!Delish!

    ReplyDelete
  46. I've used that soap before but it's been years since I have--I'll have to see if our store carries it! I have a tendency to steal soaps from hotels when I'm on the road so I have a whole basket of little ones to use up and I never buy them these days! I even have a small basket I put the extra-pretty ones in for the guest room. I'll never use 'em all up, I think.

    ReplyDelete
  47. That was fascinating. We used to have Knight's Castile but I had no idea what that meant until now. The soap I would most like to smell again is Aqua Manda. It would transport me straight to a school cruise to the West Indies when I was 16.

    ReplyDelete
  48. Oh boy do I remember soap - by taste. LOL! Grandma was fond of Camay and so if I was caught using foul language (or ratted out by Cecilia) I had to sit on the commode with a bar between my teeth for a few minutes - seemed an eternity to an 8 year old. A little flowery for my palette.

    ReplyDelete
  49. Prell. Now that's another scent from my childhood. I remember a thick version, squeezed from a tube.

    ReplyDelete
  50. My favourite soap is Savon de Marseille Lavande. It comes in a big 250g block dotted with lavender heads which give a nice grainy feel. Smells wonderful!

    ReplyDelete
  51. Dove unscented is my fave for shaving. I have a rosemary mint body wash from Aveda that is my favorite. Love the smell.

    ReplyDelete
  52. Jergens® Original Scent
    Cherry-Almond Moisturizer
    Okay, now you have me on a sentimental journey to my grandfather's home and the scent of the original cherry-almond Jergens soap. I think there was a Jergens factory in the town, and I spent waaaay too much time in the bathroom luxuriating in the fragrance. I haven't seen Jergens soap for years, but I'll be on a hunt now!

    ReplyDelete
  53. I LOVE a bar of Palmolive at the kitchen sink. Reminds me of my mother's hands. While in Volterra, Italy, I bought some olive oil "soap on a rope" at a small store just because I liked how it looked. It's WONDERFUL soap and it transports me back to Volterra every time I use it. At the moment, it's my favorite. :)

    ReplyDelete
  54. Leslie, I haven't smelled that cherry-almond Jergens lotion in years. I might have to find some just to do some time travel. I had quite forgotten about it.

    ReplyDelete
  55. There was a soap from Spain called MAJA that used to be my favorite. It's hard to find in my neck of the woods but I have a neighbor who makes wonderful aromatic herbal soaps -- lavender is generally my favorite

    ReplyDelete
  56. I use liquid soap all the time, cos it's less messy.
    Love the quote!

    ReplyDelete
  57. Oh, that's hilarious - from Andy Rooney.

    My husband uses good old Ivory. We throw it away when it's down to nothing.

    For me, I love DHC olive soap. It's a splurge but I love it.

    ReplyDelete
  58. Tess, it matters not whether you believe this--but it is true. I use Pure-Castile Soap. My favorite scent is Lavender, and I smell well--grin!

    Dr Bronner's Magic Soaps is the brand name of mine (Publix Stores).

    And yes, the beautiful squared printing is the first thing to go, but lavender scent stays until the end--which I'm doing now...ENDing
    PEACE!

    ReplyDelete
  59. Dr. Bronner's Magic Castile Soap has been a staple for decades. The Rose scented one is heavenly and the Tea Tree oil I use as a pest deterrent for my pups. For the face I use Rosewater with Vegetable Glycerine and Aloe Vera gel. Try it, I love it and it is very affordable.

    ReplyDelete
  60. I rarely buy bar soap any more. That's because I travel a lot for business, and stay in the types of hotels where the rooms come stocked with several bars of soap, usually of very good quality. I have brought enough of it home with me that I probably have several years worth of it. It's actually kind of fun to use them as they are all different, and if I don't like one when I open it I merely toss it in the trash and open up a different one.

    ReplyDelete
  61. When I was a kid, the ultimate in posh soaps available over the UK counter was 'Knight's Castile'. Same difference, I guess.

    ReplyDelete
  62. We used to have Knight's Castile soap here in the UK - I had quite forgotten it.

    My favourite soap is Imperial Leather - I always have it in my bathroom, unwrapped on the shelf because it reminds me of the smell of my father's shaving soap from my childhood.

    ReplyDelete
  63. Knight's Castile must be the Kirk's Castile of the UK. I see many of you, across the pond, have the same fond memories.

    ReplyDelete
  64. It looks like Dr. Bronner's Magic Castile is a favorite, too. We don't have Publix up here in my northern neck of the woods. Is Dr. Bronner's a southern staple?

    ReplyDelete
  65. [It Never Reached My Shores.Maybe Similar To Palmolive Bars here in the UK?]
    I know what you mean tho......My Childhood was defined by smells of Soap & Crayons.Smell is very evocative and a great tool for conjuring - up the past.

    ReplyDelete
  66. Never heard of this soap before... I might just have to try it. I like Andy Rooney's quote... hee hee. cute. :)

    ReplyDelete
  67. You never disappoint. It seems I only remember Ivory from my childhood. Nice memory and you make me want that soap!

    ReplyDelete
  68. Tony, my childhood scents are defined with soaps and crayons, as well, my friend. The ethereal scent of a box of brand new crayolas is forever branded in my mind.

    ReplyDelete
  69. This reminds me of something which I as kid , use to run first for the new soap with letter on it fighting with my siblings ....Nice..but if I be rich,would I throw away the soap for the same reason... not at all.Well written!

    ReplyDelete
  70. This was fun! My mom always had Lux, White Rain shampoom and Tame for our tangles!
    My personal favorite luxury soaps is Crabtree & Evelyn's Goatmilk Saop bar and body wash. No brown streaks in it, Izzy!
    I have recently discovered an Olay moisture bar named Mandarin that is quite nice.
    When I really need pampering, I uses Chanel No 5 bodywash -- though I do not wear the perfume.
    If I could have a cabinet full of Laura Ashley No 1 bath bars, I think that would be heavenly. Alas, I have one bar, unopened, in a drawer.
    Dream hobby: I would like to make soaps!

    ReplyDelete
  71. Loved reading this post and comments!
    My favorite is the Goat's Milk Oatmeal and Honey bar soap, made by the monks at Holy Cross Monastery in WV.

    ReplyDelete
  72. Goat's milk, Oat Meal and Honey. I'm gonna buy one of those for dessert tonight!

    ReplyDelete
  73. what a great thought!
    i'd like to be rich enough
    to throw away much more than soap.

    "rich enough to throw away soap when the letters have worn off" is brilliant!

    xx

    ReplyDelete

Inject a few raisins of conversation into the tasteless dough of existence.
― O. Henry (and me)