Soap of the Earth – Star Anise


I bought this soap at an outdoor market last year, can't remember where, didn't use it for awhile because it's not in any packaging and I just liked smelling it. Then I used it, for baths, and it was my favorite for awhile because I love star anise so much. It was not afraid to really smell like star anise, either, and I thought it might get a little overwhelming, a little over-bearing, but it never did. You can look up their website and mail order soap and other products. I don't know offhand where they are sold otherwise, but if I see them at a farmers' market or outdoor festival this year I'll buy some more soap! This is truly handmade, small batch soap (I get that feeling, so I hope it's true), so it's not like they will always have every variety in stock, and maybe there will be some new, odd ones from time to time, who knows. I looked up their mailing address on a google map, and then the street view, and it was seriously out in the country, like a farm, and there was even a person (you know, with the face blurred) out getting the mail—which could be your fan mail! Why don't I do that? Send fan mail by mail anymore? Think how much that would mean to someone! Anyway, it's in (or outside of) Whitewater, Wisconsin—a town nearby me that I've never been to. I'd like to check out the town sometime. Is there whitewater there? I think there's a branch of the University of Wisconsin. Is there a little diner in town? Is there somewhere to buy this soap in town? Anyone want to go on a road trip?

The ingredients for this particular bar of soap are: “saponified olive, coconut and palm oils, star anise powder, & the pure essential oils of star anise, bay & lime.” The anise smell is unmistakable—they're not fucking around with that. The bar is rectangular, it looks like cut from a larger cake. The color is a light brown or beige, with maybe a greenish tint, with darker brown swirled in, not a uniform color at all—rough in shape and color, feeling very homemade. It was a lovely bar of soap. Gone now. The first and only star anise soap I've used. I used to make tea with star anise, and I put it in stuff I'm cooking, sometimes, like curry. I used to go to this Indian food cart in Portland, Oregon, run by this guy named Tony who cooked everything, and he used lots of star anise in the curry, so when you'd get down to the end you'd get pieces of it, softened, of course, but just emitting all that flavor. You could chew up a piece if you wanted to, it was almost like dessert, or a digestant. That this soap reminded me of that happy, heathy dining time, that's a good thing. I'd buy another bar of this, for sure, though next time I see their soap somewhere maybe I'll try a different variety.

Soap Review No. 29