Bespoke Life: Man Soap

SOAP may not, at first glance, seem “manly” but it is the mark of a gentleman to be superbly clean and ‘presentable’ at all times, after all you never know when such readiness will be tested.

If you are a regular reader of this publication you no doubt have read plenty about our fragrance recommendations but, if you are a businessman or fellow traveler, carrying around an array of fragrances becomes clumsy, silly, and, if like most of us, you try and subside on carry-on, impractical.

Luca Turin, perfume-critic extraordinaire and the subject of a great read called The Emperor of Scent (find it here on once recommended in his now-defunct blog, that the best way for a smell-conscious man to get his cake and eat it too (and eschew the annoying plastic bag search at the airport) is to take his favorite fragrances with him in the guise of a bar of soap.

Many of today’s perfumers make a soap-bar version of some of their most popular creations, these are not loud “Irish Mist” concoctions that smell somewhat of toilet cleaner and pine, but quality all-natural soaps imbued with the essence of say Santa Maria Novella’s tobacco and flower-leather-scented “Tobacco Toscano”. No need for an atomizer, no need for liquid, out of the shower the smell is on you… all over you (if you catch our drift).

Moreover, soaps, once dry, are easily transportable and demand not special handling in pesky airport security points and are cheaper, by the ounce, than any fragrance out there.

Below are three of our favorites from Aedes de Venustas in New York:

  • Eau d’Hadrien by Annick Goutal

Smell like a King...

A fresh and sparkling blend. Inspired by Marguerite Yourcenar’s novel -“The Memoirs of Hadrian”- Annick Goutal expresses the emotions evoked by the [Roman] emperor Hadrian. The bestselling fragrance combines Sicilian lemon and grapefruit with the subtle notes of citron and cypress. Use Annick Goutal’s soap for an uplifting experience while cleansing in the bath or shower.

  • Hierbas de Ibiza

Smell like a party...

Triple milled soaps scented with a fresh herbal fragrance inspired by the unique Mediterranean aromas of the island of Ibiza. It is made with the natural essences of orange and lemon peel, thyme, lavender, sage, verbena, jasmine and orange blossoms.

  • Tobacco Toscano by Santa Maria Novella

Smell like a Tuscan count...

Inspired by the famous Toscano cigars of Lucca in Italy, Santa Maria Novella’s latest addition Tabacco Toscano opens with a sparkling fruity-floral note and quickly changes into a warm and leathery yet airy tobacco scent.

Triple milled, each soap is hand pressed one by one using 19th century equipment, aged for 60 days in ventilated cabinets. Each soap is hand-wrapped and lasts about three times longer than ordinary soap while maintaining it’s shape and scent. Infused with a warm and leathery yet airy tobacco scent.

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