Scored some Nablus and Olive/Laurel Soap Locally

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SimpleSoaper

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I stopped by a local international food shop the other day and was surprised to find an assortment of MIddle Eastern soaps. I bought a bar of Nablus soap, and a bar of Turkish olive and laurel oil soap.

The first bar pictured is Nablus soap, which is made in the city of Nablus, in Palestine. It's supposedly a pure olive oil soap with no color of scent added, but the bar I got has a light scent to it. After a couple of uses, the scent was noticeably less, so maybe it was something the soap picked up from bing stored next to a scented soap. You can see some foreign matter imbedded in the bar in the second picture. If you watched the video the Topofmurrayhill posted in the Aleppo soap thread, you will know where this came from. The lather is ok for pure olive oil soap, and it left my skin feeling a bit oily a couple of hours after I showered with it (I have oily skin though). Overall I like it, but maybe it will be a better winter soap.

The second bar pictured is the olive/laurel oil bar from Turkey. It smells, and looks, very close to aged Marseilles olive oil soap. I sliced off an end hoping to find the magical light green inside from the laurel oil, but the bar is the same color all the way through (again, like Marseilles soap). The box did not specify how much laurel oil is in this soap, but I'm guessing it's not much based on the odor and color. The lather is better than the Nablus soap, and it seems to leave my skin cleaner. Overall it's a nice soap, but maybe just a bit lower quality than Marseilles soap I have used in the past.

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SimpleSoaper

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For a comparison, I dug a chunk of savon de Marseille olive oil soap out of the bathroom closet and snapped a pic. This piece has to be about 5 years old. When it's new, the color is a nice olive green (go figure), but a few months of aging turns it a brown/green color.

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topofmurrayhill

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For a comparison, I dug a chunk of savon de Marseille olive oil soap out of the bathroom closet and snapped a pic. This piece has to be about 5 years old. When it's new, the color is a nice olive green (go figure), but a few months of aging turns it a brown/green color.
Maybe the Turkish soap is a well-aged specimen.
 

TheStat

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I'll have to stop by my local Middle Eastern stores to see what soaps they have to offer.
 

SimpleSoaper

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A minor update if anyone out there is still reading this...

I bought some Nablus soap from a seller in Israel over ebay before I found the stuff locally. I received the ebay soap this week and it is a bit different than the locally bought bar. The main difference is that it has no fragrance. It has an mild "chemical" odor, but that's about it. The bar I got locally has some sort of a "clean" fragrance added, and also has some English writing on the wrapper. The wrappers on the bars from Israel (or Palestine, rather) are all in Arabic. They are also a bit harsher than what I bought locally, and tend to irritate my face. I normally don't like scents in my soap, but the locally bought bar scent is fairly mild, and the soap is fairly skin friendly, so I'll continue to buy that over the ebay soap.
 

topofmurrayhill

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A minor update if anyone out there is still reading this...

I bought some Nablus soap from a seller in Israel over ebay before I found the stuff locally. I received the ebay soap this week and it is a bit different than the locally bought bar. The main difference is that it has no fragrance. It has an mild "chemical" odor, but that's about it. The bar I got locally has some sort of a "clean" fragrance added, and also has some English writing on the wrapper. The wrappers on the bars from Israel (or Palestine, rather) are all in Arabic. They are also a bit harsher than what I bought locally, and tend to irritate my face. I normally don't like scents in my soap, but the locally bought bar scent is fairly mild, and the soap is fairly skin friendly, so I'll continue to buy that over the ebay soap.
I'll always be reading. :)

An Israeli friend often asks what she can send me. Often it's spices that are better or more common in the Middle East (dried Persian lemons and limes anyone?). Time to think about soap.
 

SimpleSoaper

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Recently I started thinking that it's a bit odd that I've tried to make Aleppo style soap, but have never actually tried any of the real stuff. So last week I bought some from a Canadian seller via ebay. I ordered the 30% laurel oil version, and it arrived yesterday. I immediately cut the bar open to see if it had the magical green middle. Sure enough, it did (see pic below). It seems to be a nice, mild olive oil type of soap, but I was a bit disappointed with the scent. It smells almost exactly like Kiss My Face olive oil soap (which smells almost the same as Papoutsanis olive oil soap). Both of these soaps have a somewhat "industrial" or chemical smell to me. I thought it may smell more like some of the olive/laurel oil soaps I've made, but it doesn't smell anything like them.

Arriving later this week is another handmade olive oil soap from Greece, apparently made much the same way as Marseilles/Aleppo/Nablus soaps. Pictures and musings forthcoming.

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Dahila

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I got real Aleppo soap few years back and looks exactly like the one above.I am not impressed with it at all. I prefer my soaps. The Aleppo soap leaves awful soap scum, but is nice on skin....still mine is better :))
 

topofmurrayhill

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It seems to be a nice, mild olive oil type of soap, but I was a bit disappointed with the scent. It smells almost exactly like Kiss My Face olive oil soap (which smells almost the same as Papoutsanis olive oil soap). Both of these soaps have a somewhat "industrial" or chemical smell to me. I thought it may smell more like some of the olive/laurel oil soaps I've made, but it doesn't smell anything like them.
Laurel oil seems to contribute a distinctive fragrance, though not everyone likes it. The smell of my soap is as strong as a fragrance oil. Do you think they scented the soap to cover it up?
 

SimpleSoaper

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I got real Aleppo soap few years back and looks exactly like the one above.I am not impressed with it at all. I prefer my soaps. The Aleppo soap leaves awful soap scum, but is nice on skin....still mine is better :))
That's interesting. Just curious - can you comment on the smell, and have you made your own olive/laurel soap? I'm curious as to how others interpret the scent. I have a water softener, so soap scum usually isn't so much of a problem. I'll watch this one.

Laurel oil seems to contribute a distinctive fragrance, though not everyone likes it. The smell of my soap is as strong as a fragrance oil. Do you think they scented the soap to cover it up?
I don't think it's any added scent that's the source of the smell. With the Kiss My Face and Papoutsanis soaps (which are relatively inexpensive), I thought the smell may have been a leftover from the solvents used in the pomace extraction, but you pointed out in another thread that any remaining solvent would be so dilute as to be unnoticeable as far as smell goes, and theses scents are fairly potent. Since they all have a similar smell, I'm guessing that it's the result of a similar production process or starting ingredient (or both). I have some handmade Patounis soaps coming this week, one olive oil and one "green" pomace oil based soap, so it will be interesting to smell if those have the same odor.
 

topofmurrayhill

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Please post if you ever find a source for raw pomace oil. I think I would like to try making the middle eastern style castile again when I'm able to get some.
 

TheStat

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Please post if you ever find a source for raw pomace oil. I think I would like to try making the middle eastern style castile again when I'm able to get some.
I know that the owner of this website has raw pomace oil during the olive harvest season, but it is expensive to ship.
 

TheStat

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That's interesting. Just curious - can you comment on the smell, and have you made your own olive/laurel soap? I'm curious as to how others interpret the scent. I have a water softener, so soap scum usually isn't so much of a problem. I'll watch this one.

I don't think it's any added scent that's the source of the smell. With the Kiss My Face and Papoutsanis soaps (which are relatively inexpensive), I thought the smell may have been a leftover from the solvents used in the pomace extraction, but you pointed out in another thread that any remaining solvent would be so dilute as to be unnoticeable as far as smell goes, and theses scents are fairly potent. Since they all have a similar smell, I'm guessing that it's the result of a similar production process or starting ingredient (or both). I have some handmade Patounis soaps coming this week, one olive oil and one "green" pomace oil based soap, so it will be interesting to smell if those have the same odor.
I remember reading that crude pomace olive oil smells really bad, so that may be why all those soaps have that smell.
 

SimpleSoaper

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My latest traditional olive oil soap acquisition comes from the Patounis family factory, which has been making soap for over 100 years on the Greek island of Corfu. The US distributor (oiloflife.com) sells two kinds of Patounis soap, one made from olive oil and the other from pomace oil. There is a video on their website that explains a little bit about the soapmaking process, oils used, etc. According to Patounis, the olive oil bar is supposed to be their mildest, and the pomace bar is more lathering and better cleaning. I found the olive oil bar to be a bit harsher of the two, with the pomace being more conditioning to me. Both are very nice as far as traditional olive oil soaps go though. The olive oil bar is ivory colored and has very little scent. I was curious if the darker green/brown pomace bar would have the same distinct scent as some of the other "green" olive oil soaps I have tried. It does, but the smell is very mild compared to Papoutsanis, Kiss My Face, and the Aleppo soap I recently bought. It also has the magic green middle like Aleppo soap. I like this soap enough to buy it again, but it's rather pricey at $7.50 per bar with shipping. In the pic below the pomace bar is on the left, and the olive oil bar is on the right.

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TheStat

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My latest traditional olive oil soap acquisition comes from the Patounis family factory, which has been making soap for over 100 years on the Greek island of Corfu. The US distributor (oiloflife.com) sells two kinds of Patounis soap, one made from olive oil and the other from pomace oil. There is a video on their website that explains a little bit about the soapmaking process, oils used, etc. According to Patounis, the olive oil bar is supposed to be their mildest, and the pomace bar is more lathering and better cleaning. I found the olive oil bar to be a bit harsher of the two, with the pomace being more conditioning to me. Both are very nice as far as traditional olive oil soaps go though. The olive oil bar is ivory colored and has very little scent. I was curious if the darker green/brown pomace bar would have the same distinct scent as some of the other "green" olive oil soaps I have tried. It does, but the smell is very mild compared to Papoutsanis, Kiss My Face, and the Aleppo soap I recently bought. It also has the magic green middle like Aleppo soap. I like this soap enough to buy it again, but it's rather pricey at $7.50 per bar with shipping. In the pic below the pomace bar is on the left, and the olive oil bar is on the right.
Wow that bar made with pomace aged well, and it it is pretty much aleppo soap without the laurel berry oil. I'm convinced now that they use crude pomace olive oil, since the bar on the left would not have the green center otherwise.
 

SimpleSoaper

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For the record, I ended up cutting the olive oil bar in half as well, and its inside was lighter than the outside, with just barely the slightest hint of green. I should add that the soap savings you see in the picture above are from when I cut the pomace bar - I probably should have reversed the bars when I took the pic...

If I can ever lay my hands on some raw olives, I'll try making my own oil for some soap. Youtube has several DIYers using various extraction techniques.
 

TheStat

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For the record, I ended up cutting the olive oil bar in half as well, and its inside was lighter than the outside, with just barely the slightest hint of green. I should add that the soap savings you see in the picture above are from when I cut the pomace bar - I probably should have reversed the bars when I took the pic...

If I can ever lay my hands on some raw olives, I'll try making my own oil for some soap. Youtube has several DIYers using various extraction techniques.
I can't seem to find crude pomace olive oil anywhere in the US, and I did find it in Turkey but it is very expensive to ship, so I'll end up just trying to find very green pomace olive oil, or trying to press my own olives.
 

TheStat

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My latest traditional olive oil soap acquisition comes from the Patounis family factory, which has been making soap for over 100 years on the Greek island of Corfu. The US distributor (oiloflife.com) sells two kinds of Patounis soap, one made from olive oil and the other from pomace oil. There is a video on their website that explains a little bit about the soapmaking process, oils used, etc. According to Patounis, the olive oil bar is supposed to be their mildest, and the pomace bar is more lathering and better cleaning. I found the olive oil bar to be a bit harsher of the two, with the pomace being more conditioning to me. Both are very nice as far as traditional olive oil soaps go though. The olive oil bar is ivory colored and has very little scent. I was curious if the darker green/brown pomace bar would have the same distinct scent as some of the other "green" olive oil soaps I have tried. It does, but the smell is very mild compared to Papoutsanis, Kiss My Face, and the Aleppo soap I recently bought. It also has the magic green middle like Aleppo soap. I like this soap enough to buy it again, but it's rather pricey at $7.50 per bar with shipping. In the pic below the pomace bar is on the left, and the olive oil bar is on the right.
How did both bars of soap perform when you tested them?
 

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