Fire in the Hole (A review of Outlaw Soaps)

Outlaw Soaps - Fire in the Hole and The Gambler

I got some pretty good feedback on my first product review, a look at (or sniff of) Gorilla Perfume’s Hellstone, so I decided to write another review of an awesome thing that I really like and you might not know about.

I professed my love for all things richly scented in my previous review, so I won’t go into that in depth. The short version is: I love dark, woodsy, smoky warm scents that remind me of midnight campfires and nights on the town. I love scents which take me places I remember, and places I’ve never been. Especially the unusual scents which make me pause to appreciate their complexity. That’s the short version.

My good friend Anna introduced me to Outlaw Soaps, a small handmade soap manufacturer based out of Oakland, California. Perhaps Anna took pity on my shower gel collection from The Body Shop, maybe she thought I could use a good washing. She cut me a slice of Outlaw Soaps’ most popular soap, Fire in the Hole, and stuck it under my nose. Now, if you’re the kind of person who otherwise uses Dusch Das or Nivea shower gel, you’re not going to be prepared for this soap. It smells like campfire, dirt and booze. You might prefer to emerge from the shower smelling like artificial frangipani, but not me. My morning showers are extensions of my sleepy dreamworld and I prefer everything about my first waking moments in the day to be freaking awesome. And there is really nothing more awesome than campfire, dirt and booze.

Outlaw Soaps: Label

The two-person team which makes up Outlaw Soaps make all of their stuff by hand in their workshop, including making their soaps from scratch. Almost everything they make is inspired by the great outdoors, the wild west, good booze and general gun-slinging. I say “almost” because they make something called “Unicorn Poop Soap“, which might have something to do with Butt Stallion. They make products with scents that remind them of places and fond memories, which I find particularly charming; this means I get a little piece their favorite memories with every piece of soap.

Other than “Fire in the Hole”, I blind-ordered “Pine Mountain“, another outdoorsy-type soap. This one smells like dirt on a pine trail on a crisp morning, which reminds me of my childhood in the Midwest. Their lotion stick, “The Gambler“, smells like a shot of whisky by the campfire, or a lovely Whisky Collins mixed by the extremely competent staff at Hamburg’s Le Lion. My cat Thymian seemed to love the scent and couldn’t stop licking my fingers.

Outlaw Soaps: Pine Mountain

I like the ingredients they use; the soaps are made with (obviously saponified) avocado and coconut oils, which make for some pretty awesome lather. Their solid lotion is made of exactly 8 ingredients (mostly oils, cocoa butter, vitamin E and fragrance), is dimethicone-free (yay) and has no artificial preservatives.

I have my sights set on Blazing Saddles Soap (smells like leather and gunpowder) and Bacon Soap (smells like, err, bacon). They prefer their stuff to be vegetarian, but I admit I’d love the latter to be made with saponified bacon grease. Perhaps I’ll make some of my own.

PS: Outlaw Soaps guys, if you’re reading this, please make Fire in the Hole into a fragrance. Mix it with cocoa butter, make it solid, put it in a tin, I WILL BUY A MILLION!

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