4/3/16

Imperial Leather Bar Soap (Cussons)




Back in the seventies, PZ Cussons reissued their prewar Imperial Leather brand of colognes and aftershaves for "men of good taste," a move that in retrospect was probably doomed from day one, given the growing popularity of a liquid jetsetter named Brut. I doubt Cussons could compete with Fabergé in the fragrance market, but they weren't limited to colognes. They'd always boasted a healthy range of toiletries, including their flagship bar soap. I splurged on a six pack of soap from UK Gourmet, a lovely little British import shop in Newtown, CT, and I'm pleased to say that I don't regret the purchase at all.

The bars are relatively small, weighing in at about 3.5 ounces. They're narrow and lightweight, their feel in hand similar to Ivory soap, but with a much smoother texture. They're double wrapped in little cardboard boxes and vacuum plastic. Centered on the bars themselves are little sticker labels that peel off. In water, Imperial Leather is a surprisingly high viscosity soap that lathers easily into rich, oily suds that take longer than expected to rinse off. It has an antiquated lavender freshness with a hint of saddle soap and sandalwood, similar to the current Arden Sandalwood. I think it also works pretty well with a splash of the current English Leather.

Of the drugstore soaps I've tried, Cussons' is a step up. Yes, it reminds me of hotel soap, and it's a bit over-packaged (it'd be cheaper without the cardboard), but it gets the job done and smells good. It's also a deodorant soap; its austere aroma fills my bathroom with the same nuclear strength of Irish Spring. Its incredible lather has me wondering if it would make a decent shave soap. I'll try it out and see. The shop also had a bottle of the talc, so perhaps in the future I'll give that a whirl too.


4 comments:

  1. Ah...this is an iconic product from my childhood, moreover it was the catalyst for my British inhibitions to return when I spied a man washing with a bar in a mixed shower block in a naturist camp in France. How I accidentally came to be in a naturist camp is another matter, but hitherto I had been okay with it because the other people were mainly Dutch or Scandinavian and I didn't feel so naked somehow in their presence. But a man from Newcastle-upon-Tyne with a bar of Imperial Leather had me scurrying for my towel in a heartbeat.

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    1. There's something inherently comedic in the vision of your accidentally finding yourself in a naturist camp, Vanessa. But somehow your seeing a handy bar of Imperial Leather soap there makes it sound like even more fun. It's very high quality stuff, unsurprisingly better than pretty much everything we have here in America.

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  2. This soap creates a flood of memories from my childhood..............

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