My Aleppo soap arrived!

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kc1ble

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Today I checked the mail and there it was, waiting.


After reading a post here a couple of weeks ago regarding the Aleppo region soap, I had to order a bar to experience it. After watching the videos on how it is made, and the conflicts in Syria that are jeopardizing this art, I respect the people that are making this soap in its traditional way.

My thoughts on it are as follows...

The scent, though not offensive is a bit different than anything I can explain. Its interesting, but not a fabulous scent. My wife doesn't care for the scent at all.

I immediately had to wash my hands with it, the soap feels quite slimy while washing, but it rinsed cleanly and my hands feel very moisturized after.

The bar feels a bit awkward and large in my hands, and I have big hands. After time, I suppose it will be the perfect size, and then too small haha.
It measures 2.75x2.75x1.75"

Tomorrow I will try it in the shower and offer my review after that.
 

lsg

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It feels slimey because it is mostly olive oil. According to the label, there is only 7% laurel oil in the bar.
 

shunt2011

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I made some with 30% and I still think it's on the slimy side. Even at a year old.
 

madison

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My soap is not slimy, I wonder if this piece is original. May I ask where did you buy it from? Some one told me last week that there is actually a lot of unoriginal Aleppo soap in the market. Some companies took advantage of the local situation in Syria and started making and marketing a cheap soap using the name Aleppo soap.
 

TeresaT

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I have found that the Laurel Berry oil smells similar to a wet cigarette (I believe someone one this forum used that phrase) or a dirty ashtray, but not as unpleasant. And that makes no sense whatsoever. There's a hint of something burning in there too, kind of like tar maybe? I just let Max smell it (dog) and he was not impressed at all. He actually stuck out his tongue and turned his head away. Although when I held the bottle of oil out to him again, he did sniff at it again. And did the exact same thing. (Usually the dogs will either attempt to eat what I'm testing or they'll sneeze and run away.)

ETA: Wow! Three years old and still slimy? There's no hope for 100% OO, then, is there?
 

kc1ble

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It was actually purchased from ebay, from a seller in Turkey. Though there is always a chance it could be a "fraud" I will enjoy it as authentic.
 

TeresaT

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It was actually purchased from ebay, from a seller in Turkey. Though there is always a chance it could be a "fraud" I will enjoy it as authentic.
Ignorance is bliss. I am sure it is genuine, though.
 

IrishLass

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Right here, silly!
ETA: Wow! Three years old and still slimy? There's no hope for 100% OO, then, is there?

No. Well.....at least not with mine anyway. lol Lather tests done on mine at four years old produced enough slime to rival the slobbery saliva dripping down from Cujo's rabid jowls. :p


IrishLass :)
 

TeresaT

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No. Well.....at least not with mine anyway. lol Lather tests done on mine at four years old produced enough slime to rival the slobbery saliva dripping down from Cujo's rabid jowls. :p


IrishLass :)
That is funny. Actually, when I couldn't decide which of the soaps already in the shower to use this morning and grabbed a fresh one from the curing room, it was one of my OO bars I had to rebatch last year because of my botched math. As long as I use a pouf, it lathers great and no slime.
 

topofmurrayhill

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It was actually purchased from ebay, from a seller in Turkey. Though there is always a chance it could be a "fraud" I will enjoy it as authentic.
I suppose a counterfeiter would claim more than 7% laurel oil. It would be more valuable. It's like printing fake $5 bills when you could print 20s. :)

What's up with 3% alkali I wonder.
 

topofmurrayhill

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Yes I'm also wondering why does they sum up the % of alkali in the total % of oils? Is this part of the fraud or am I missing something?
The way I interpret it is, on a dry matter basis, 90% olive oil soap, 7% laurel oil soap, 3% excess alkali as sodium carbonate.

From Wikipedia:

The cubes of soap are then stacked in staggered cylinders to allow maximum air exposure. Once they have dried sufficiently, they are put into a special subterranean chamber to be aged for six months to a year.

While it is aging, the soap goes through several chemical changes. First, and most importantly, the free alkaline content of the soap (the alkaline which did not react with the oil during saponification) breaks down upon slow reaction with air. The moisture content of the soap is also reduced, making the soap hard and long lasting. And lastly, the color of the outside of the soap turns a pale gold, while the inside remains green.


Some say that this soap is salted out, but I doubt they go through such a big operation. For one thing, the traditional kettles seem to be set into the ground with no provision for drainage from the bottom.
 

lenarenee

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As a way to honor Aleppo suffering persecution in Syria, I've purchases a few bars of Aleppo soap. Because of war many have long left Syria, ceased production due to lack of import/export of supplies and product, or factories have been destroyed. I know for a fact that some have moved to Turkey and make soap there, albeit now as workers instead of owners.

In my search for authentic Aleppo soap (my definition = made in Aleppo by Aleppo residents) claims of fraudulent Aleppo soap seem to come from people who discover their bar was actually made outside of Aleppo, or outside of Syria, or in another country like Turkey. Or they find their bar is actually 100% olive oil.

A 7% amount of laurel berry oil does not necessarily indicate a fraudulent bar, as different family recipes call for different amounts. However, the custom is to define the quality of the soap by its percentage of laurel berry oil, higher being better.

The royal family in Japan is said to have had exclusive contracts with soap makers in Aleppo for a constant supply of soap and supposedly that is why so many Aleppo bars are being soap out of Japan. I have no idea how to prove or disprove this.

Just like Americans call thin papers for blowing noses tissues or Kleenex, the term Aleppo soap can refer to a "brand" name product (authentic Aleppo) or a soap made from olive and laurel berry oil in another city/country that is cut in large cubes and hand stamped in Arabic.

There's also a French connection - a French company selling Aleppo soap but couldn't confirm if it was produced in France, or if they contracted with Aleppo soap makers to sell their product.

There's a lot of supposed Aleppo soap being sold out of the UK, and considering their international trade with other countries, much of that is probably authentic.

I think that's all I learned in my search. If I remember anything else, I'll add it.
 

TeresaT

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I suppose a counterfeiter would claim more than 7% laurel oil. It would be more valuable. It's like printing fake $5 bills when you could print 20s. :)

What's up with 3% alkali I wonder.
Yeah. But what about the morons that print the counterfeit $1s? You have no idea how badly I want to slap the crap out of them for wasting my time!!
 

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