Nag Champa – Satya Sai Baba Beauty Soap

“Motel Ghost”

This soap came in a familiar looking box, if you're familiar with Nag Champa incense, that blue box with a red and white label, though of course it's soap bar shaped and not incense stick shaped. The huge cake of soap is wrapped in waxed paper, and as I open it I'm shocked to see a very strange shape—it's oval, but with very pronounced ridges running around the edges—really resembling a machine part, or gear, more than anything in nature. Since I'm a nerd, I counted the number of ridges—there are 20—and I wonder if there is any significance in that? Besides being big, and sharply ridged, it's also very thick and heavy (I weighed it, it's 6 ounces). It's a very pale, yellowish beige color, and “NAG CHAMPA” is stamped into the top, and what I think is the Satya Sai logo, with an “S” and then an “S” on its side, stamped on the back. When I get it wet and lathery, the shape with the ridges around the edge is really pleasing to my hands.

The fragrance is actually surprisingly subtle; immediately noticeable is sandalwood, along with something else, maybe frangipani. What is frangipani? I guess it's plumeria flowers—so it's a floral scent, but a very particular one. My mom used to have this favorite perfume, called Plumeria, which she bought at this Polynesian restaurant, The Kahiki, in Columbus, Ohio—I don't know if she ever figured out where to buy it besides the restaurant's gift shop. But I remember it was her favorite, and I probably opened it and smelled it a million times as a kid. I'm not sure if I actually remember the scent, or if this soap smells like that, but there might be something happening subconsciously. The more dominant scent is that of sandalwood, and it also has that warm feeling of sandalwood, but there might really be some frangipani, or plumeria, in there that's working on my subconscious, because all the factors together: the feel of this soap, its weird shape, the pale cream color, and the alluring scent—it's all working together very well. I washed my hands with it, and its smell mixed with my skin is really evocative of something, very nostalgic, or bringing back memories, maybe of my mom, and maybe my aunt who used to own and run a motel. My mom was influenced by her a lot, and it was really magical going to my aunt and uncle's motel as a kid. It would make sense that there are some olfactory memories, particularly my aunt's perfume, that go along with these other intense visual and spacial memories from childhood.

Soap Review No. 30