Nestled near the sun drenched olive groves of the Druro River valley in northern Portugal, Castelbel Porto began manufacturing fine toiletry soaps and fragranced products for both home and body in 1999. Their beginnings were humble, and they started with a very small operation of just six people. Aquiles Barros was a professor of chemistry at the University of Porto, and was tasked with creating a manufacturing unit that would make luxury Portuguese soaps for an American brand.
Aquiles Barros in the Castelbel factory.
Not one to turn down a challenge, and knowing the long-held reputation of Portuguese soaps around the world, Aquiles naturally said yes. From there he fell in love with making soaps, and started a small factory with only six workers. The name Castelbel was taken from their hometown of Castelo de Maia and combined it with the Portugese word for beauty, “beleza”. A natural fit.
Rather than rest on their laurels, the brand Castelbel has continued to push forward and innovate since day one. They continually create new and better products, and they’ve expanded from simply making soaps to now providing a complete range of bath and body products, and a wide variety of scented housewares such as candles, fragrance diffusers and more. Their goal is truly to bring luxury and beautiful fragrance into your life.
Castelo de Maia
Not one to mess with tradition, Castelbel Porto still utilizes a soap-refining technique known as triple-milling that they’ve been using since day one. Essentially this process makes the soap ultra-dense, so it lasts an almost absurd amount of time in a shower, tub or sink. Many of our staff and customers find a 250g bar can last 3-4 months in a shower, and a 150g bar can last over a year beside a kitchen or washroom sink. While the cost may be higher up-front, the spend is well justified by the extreme lifespan compared to cheaper soaps.
Each line of soap has a distinct inspiration and style, from the classic Tile Collection which features traditional Portuguese tile designs on the wrapping and are even adorned with a tiny ceramic tile, to the newer Chita collection that is hand-wrapped in Portuguese Chita cloths with original patterns.
The Castelbel Tile Collection, one of our favourites.
While every Castelbel product is truly unique and wonderful, there are a few in particular that our staff (and customers!) truly could not live without.
This is easily the favourite of both staff and customers. The lime notes are zesty and refreshing that they make you feel like you’re swimming in a margarita while you shower. These bars’ fragrance permeate your washroom beautifully with each use. The cilantro is a faint back-note, so this one is loved by cilantro-lovers and haters alike.
Originally only released as a soap, this scent became popular so quickly that Castelbel now makes it in a cologne, body wash, cream, shaving soap and more! This masculine blend of citrus, cedar and musk seems to be loved by everyone. The fact that the soap comes in a pitch-black bar just adds coolness to an already spectacular soap. If you ever need a gift for a guy, you can’t go wrong here.
Rose Blush was developed in the wake of Black Edition’s success, with more feminine stylings and fragrances. This scent consists of fresh fruits and flowers, peaches, roses, pineapple, mandarin, jasmine and others. This creates a well-rounded lush fragrance that has staying power, but doesn’t overwhelm the senses.
These multi-purpose washing bars were designed for folks who travel, obviously, and want to pack minimally. These work as body, face and skin wash and are suitable for all skin and hair types. Whether you’re back-country camping or travelling the world, this is a must in your luggage. Our personal favourites are the refreshing Mandarin, and Ginger Root.
If you haven’t tried them before, we hope you’ll love Castelbel products as much as we do. Once you experience the luxury they provide, you’ll find that other soaps suddenly pale in comparison. Now, go wash your hands!
A famed cocktologist and axe man, Nathan opened the first Kent of Inglewood store in Calgary, and now spends his days writing most of what you are reading here and teaching straight razor shaving classes. Ask him about his world-famous Three Cherry Manhattan. In his spare time Nathan can be found sharpening his axe, making fermented foods, or practicing his amateur butchering hobby. He doesn't slur his words, he speaks in cursive.