A number of years ago, I was sharing a lift with a gentleman in London. He smelled so good that I had to be that brash American and ask him what scent he was wearing. He graciously smiled at me and said that it was just a soap that he got at Heal's in London.
Now, Heal's has always been one of my stops when I am in London, so I made a point to get to their King's Road store. A South African friend and I started smelling all of the soaps until I could figure out what it was. Finally! I found what I was looking for... I Coloniali soap. Of course, I snapped up a couple of bars and brought them back to the States with me.
The soap has a woody, earthy, oriental scent, and washes beautifully. The bars almost look like wood with striations of pale and paler beige. I wash all of my cashmere sweaters with the soap and have had people stop me and ask about the scent.
This is what the site says, translated from the Italian This soap’s Oriental fragrance, combined with Illipe Butter, becomes the core ingredient in the daily rite of deep cleansing, which begins with the body and ends with the soul. Illipe, found in Borneo, is most-renown for its softening quality. The first inhabitants of the island, the Dayaks, have been using butter made from Illipe Nuts for many centuries for therapeutic, cosmetic and nutritional purposes. To me, this soap is the equivalent of the book "I Married Adventure".
Althought I Coloniali is Italian-sounding and their website is entirely in Italian (and all in Flash), the parent company is J&E Atkinsons of London, Since 1799. There is absoloutely NO information about either of these companies that I can find. If you google I Coloniali, someone else has their site now. The link above is a truncated one that used to have English translations.
I Coloniali is next to impossible to find in the US, and when I can find it's outrageously expensive ($25 for a small bar of soap). While searching on-line for this article, I found a special: five pieces of I Coloniali for $200!
If anyone ever sees it, let me know! Incredibly, I did find an I Coloniali candle at Tuesday Morning during Christmas. There were two of them and I was all ready to snatch them up, when the manager, who was checking me out, noticed that one of the boxes rattled. He checked, and the terra cotta bowl the candle was in was broken, so he wouldn't sell it to me for fear of a lawsuit! I swore I wouldn't, and when he wouldn't sell the second candle to me, I almost cried.
I am almost out of my last bar and am bordering on panic. Should I really spend $700 to fly back to England to get another couple of bars? Of course, I would see friends and family, but it would really be to get the soap.