When one hears the word “bastille,” one may think of France, Dickins’ A Tale of Two Cities, or the French Revolution. When talking soap, however, bastille is a term that is short for “bastardized castile.” That cleared it right up, didn’t it?
Castile soap originally was soap made from olive oil pressed from olives from the Castilla region of Spain. These olives were believed to produce the finest olive oil in the world. Today, it basically means a soap made with 100% olive oil. Don’t let tricksters trick, however. Some would have you believe that the term “castile” simply means an all-vegetable soap. It does not.
Today I made bastille soap by special request. My fiancée wanted an uncolored, unscented soap to take camping. Because we do that, evidently. He wanted castile, and I wanted to use my new shipment of shea butter. So we compromised with a 95% olive oil/5% shea butter formula.
I took the opportunity while at the local big box hardware store to check out their PVC pipe. I wanted to be able to make round soap without all the pouring that individual round molds require. I ended up with a nice two foot section for about $3. I decided that this soap would be the first one I made in my new round mold.
Carefully, I lined the bad boy up with freezer paper. I could grease it with mineral oil, since it doesn’t saponify, but there’s no way my arm was going to fit in there! Then carefully, I poured the soap, and left it to sit. I’ll check it tomorrow when I get home from work, and then slice it up and give it a good long cure. Generally, I like to cure my soaps for 4-6 weeks. Olive oil soaps, or soaps with high olive oil content, however, do better with a much longer cure. So this is one treasure that just may have to wait.