Our history

Our history is one of dedication and passion. It is shaped by the love we put into what we do; a love that can be felt by those who buy our products. In short: we took some risks, faced our share of adversity, and seize the chances we were presented with.

Early days

In 1999, Aquiles Barros, then professor of Chemistry at the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Porto for over 26 years, was challenged to create a manufacturing unit that would produce luxury scented soaps for an American brand.

He, with his almost disconcerting optimism, said "yeah, why not?” and the rest is history. Castelbel began production in 2000, with only six workers and an annual turnover of 150 thousand euros.

Our name

Our name reflects the two cornerstones of our company. It blends the name of our hometown (Castêlo da Maia, in Greater Porto), "Castel-", with "bel-", from «beleza»,the Portuguese word beauty, which is present in everything we do.

There is so much that could be said about our history and the events that have shaped us. Some will say that we were lucky to reach more than 50 countries and have a turnover of 10 million euros, but we like to say that we make our own luck.

Growth

In 2006, we launched our own brand of scented body care and home products, to which we added the Portus Cale premium brand in 2007. All this while continuing to produce aromatic soaps for some of the most important and respected brands in the world.

We follow in the footsteps of our ancestors, Portuguese adventurers that took to the uncharted seas in search of glory and the unknown. This has made us walk a path of searching (for opportunities) and challenges (which we never turn down).

The secret of our success is genuinely enjoying what we do and valuing what truly matters: people. None of this would have been possible without our dedicated team, which began with 6 fearless and pioneering workers. By late 2018, we already number over 200 and in 2019 we moved to a new house, with every intention of growing more and more.

More than ever, our products continue to be inspired by the idyllic landscape of the Douro river valley. They capture the aromas, colours and ambience of Portugal, a traditional yet trendy country, where the warm sun and blue ocean nourish the soul and bring comfort to the spirit.

If you have yet to try our scented soaps, home fragrances and body care products, what are you waiting for? Let us take you on a journey of the senses. Discover today why our founder says "we don’t make soaps; we make gifts”!

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