about_penns_hill_soap

About Penns Hill Organic Soap Company

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We would like to tell you a little about Penns Hill Soap.  Why do we only use certified organic extra virgin olive oil in our soap? Our handmade bar and liquid castile soap is made in small batches using certified organic oils and a recipe that dates back to the 11th century. We use certified organic essential oils instead of “fragrance” for their delicate bouquet and high quality. Scented soaps have a soft whiff of aroma – as subtle and gentle as the soap itself.

Bars are hand-cut and approximately 5 Oz (140 g) ea. Liquid soap is packaged by hand. Weight may vary due to the handcrafted nature of our products.

“When life hands you lemons, make lemonade” 

Well, in my case instead of making lemonade, I made castile soap.  The lemon I was handed was a layoff from the biotech field.  As a way to take my mind off the frustration of job hunting, I looked for a way to express my creativity.  By combining my natural curiosity for how things are made and my background as a biochemist, I began searching for recipes for household products I could make at home. Somehow, my research led me to an article about making castile soap. Intrigued, I thought, “why not”!

My first batch produced the best soap I’ve ever used. Ironically, I noticed my usual dry winter skin patches vanished. I gave samples to friends and family and their response was “this soap is great, where can I get more?” When my wife used the soap as a bridal shower favor, the guests raved about it. I started to see the potential for a business.

So, my next thought was “how do I make this even better?”  And the answer  came from my biochemist background.  It’s simple.  “Use high quality ingredients, don’t cut corners, and develop a process that is consistent and repeatable.”

We only use the very best ingredients in our soap – certified organic extra virgin olive oil, certified organic essential oils instead of “fragrance” for a subtle scent (in our scented soaps) and  water. That’s it – pure, clean and natural. No fillers, surprises or ingredients you cannot pronounce. If you read the labels of other soaps, you will find they are usually made with a blend of oils. We find olive oil gives the soap a silky finish that pampers your skin. The original recipes used olive and laurel oil. We decided to follow the centuries old original formula for our liquid and bar soap.  Enjoy reading the following excerpt on the history of castile soap (see history below taken from Wikipedia).

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.

 History

The origins of Castile Soap can be traced back to The Levant where Aleppo soap artisans have been making an olive and laurel oil based hard soap for millennia. However, early soap makers in Europe did not have easy access to laurel oil and and therefore dropped it from their formulations thereby creating an olive oil soap now known as castile soap.

It is commonly believed that the Crusaders brought Aleppo Soap back to Europe with them in the 11th century. Following the Crusades, production of this soap was extended to the whole Mediterranean area. The first European soap-making factories were created in the 12th century in Spain (Alicante, Malaga, Carthagene and Castile) and in Italy (Naples, Savone, Genoa, Bologna and Venice) and then, in the middle of the 15th century, in Marseille France, giving birth to Marseille soap [1]. References

[1]. Retrieved September 2011.

Garzena, Patrizia & Tadiello, Marina (2004). Soap Naturally : Ingredients, methods and recipes for natural handmade soap (1st ed.). Programmer Publishing. ISBN 0-9756764-0-7

Dietz, Brian (editor) 1972. The port and trade of early Elizabethan London: documents (London Record Society).