Bits & Bobs We ♥: Claus Porto Soap

by Andrea on January 23, 2012

I’m not a luxurious kind of girl.  I often err on the side of simplicity and practicality. But occasionally, I’ll stumble upon a ‘luxury’ that I desire and can’t get enough of.  The latest such luxury is Claus Porto soaps.  I discovered them in 2010 around the holidays at Lucca, a local gift shop.  (Lucca is truly lovely, and I recommend you stop by if you’re in Seattle!)  I was out searching for gifts for the ladies in my life, and I saw these beautiful soaps… made in Portugal.  Sold!  Of course, I’m a sucker for anything from Portugal, especially from the city of Porto.  They were certainly pricier than a bar of Dove, but it was a reasonable amount to spend on gift for your mom or girlfriend.  I felt like a kid in a candy shop as there were so many delicious scents to choose from.  I decided that on my next trip to Portugal, I’d go seek them out.

Fast forward a year to this past holiday when I was in Portugal!  Brian and I decided to take little Mo on a daytrip to see his first castle.  The Claus Porto factory store was en route – perfect!  We pull up, and Mo is completely passed out in the backseat.  With the sun shining in the windows, Brian says he’s happy just waiting in the car with Mo.  Ahhhh…. the stars aligned, and I was going to frolic to my heart’s content without being rushed hindered encumbered accompanied by my lovely family.

The store is gorgeous.  It’s really more of a showroom than store as it features their collection of current products, while also displaying their old soap machinery, their archive of products from the past 125 years, and photographs from the original locations.  Here are some of my favorite photos:

Now onto the products – they make everything from bar soap and bath crystals to shaving cream and candles.  Their bar soaps are what intrigue me the most. The scents take you to another place, another world… you know the kind of place where you sip champagne all day and read your magazines in bubble baths.  That kind of a happy place.  My favorite scents are Deco (lime basil), Banho (citron verbena), Rival (grapefruit fig), Cerina (marine breeze), and Melodia (melon).  I really wish I could make this post scratch ‘n sniff so that you could truly understand what I mean!  If the scents weren’t enough, their gorgeous art deco packaging is a treat unto itself.

I found this description at Lotus:

“Since 1887, the Claus Porto soap factory in Portugal has produced 100% bio-degradable vegetable based soap made with pure coconut oil and skin softening shea butter. The soap is scented with the finest fragrances from the south of France and milled seven times in the traditional European way for a long lasting dense bar that has an ultra luxurious and creamy lather. The factory is still small and family owned, and is proud to say that their products are never tested on animals, are completely natural, and are environmentally friendly. Each bar is made by hand and individually wrapped in original art-deco designed glossy paper, making them as bright and delightful to the eye as they are to the senses!”

Can you really argue with ‘ultra luxurious and creamy lather’ or ‘family owned’ or ‘made by hand’ or ‘individually wrapped’?  I mean the love and care that go into each soap is incredible!

The bar soaps come in three sizes.  The largest, the bath soap (350g, 12.4 oz), is significantly larger than your hand.  This is Oprah’s favorite size.  Yup, that Oprah.  Bathing with a soap that large and rich will certainly make you feel way fancier than squirting on some bath gel.  As you can imagine, these do not come cheap.  In America, you can get these for $16-18 each.  Then you have the hand soap (150g, 5.3 oz), which is much more in the traditional soap size category.  This is what I purchased for my mom last year in the Cerina scent.  Finally, you have mini soaps (50g, 1.8 oz) which make for lovely little gifts.  In the showroom, I was able to pick up these mini soaps in the same art deco decorated paper boxes as the larger sizes.  In Seattle, I found these mini soaps wrapped in plastic with a sticker on them.  Not as nice, but hopefully some stores here carry the mini sizes with the paper packaging.

As I mentioned, Claus Porto has been around for 125 years since 1887 and has certainly been noticed.  In addition to being one of Oprah’s favorite things, Claus Porto has been featured in Lucky, In Style, Town & Country, Allure, Harpers Bazaar, Vogue, Elle Decor, Domino, Elle, and the NY Times Magazine.  And those are just the American publications; they are literally in dozens of magazines around the world.

If you are in the USA or Canada and are looking to pick some up online, I suggest Lafco NY or Amazon. For those of you in Europe, you can order them directly from Claus Porto.

first image via Claus Porto, other store images are mine

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