Our history

Our history is a tale of dedication and passion. It is formed from the love and care that we put into what we do and can be seen by those who buy our products. It can be summed up in a very simple way: we took risks, faced adversities and knew how to seek an alternative that made us continuously progress and improve.

Early days

In 1999, Aquiles Barros, professor of chemistry at the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Porto for 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 "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

The name chosen reflects two characteristics that remain intrinsic to us. It combines the name of our hometown (Castêlo da Maia, in Greater Porto) with the word beauty, which is present in what 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 say that we are making our own luck.


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 possess the same spirit that led the Portuguese people to discover new worlds. 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 we shall soon have a new house.

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 simultaneously traditional and trendy country, where the warm sun and blue ocean nourish the soul and comfort the spirit.

If you haven’t tried our scented soaps, home fragrances and body care products, join us on a journey of the senses and find out why our founder says  that "we don’t make soaps; we make gifts”!

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