Following much sniping on here of comments pertaining to what a superb product it was, I picked up two tubes of Proraso whilst in Australia over the New Year. Furthermore, I have replaced my generic Boots aftershave balm with Nivea's Extreme Comfort Anti-Irritation balm. And what a difference!
If you had asked me how much difference one was likely to see after changing cream and aftershave balm, I would have limited it to a minor improvement at best and remain firmly of the opinion that the blade was the most important part of the shave. However these two new products went into use on a blade which had already seen three shaves on a base of Palmolive's cream and which had been 'tidied up' with Boots' aftershave balm. And the difference was startling.
From the moment the Proraso went into the bowl, it lathered up terrifically in comparison to the Palmolive, not only achieving a much lighter texture but doing so in about half of the time it would ordinarily take me up to beat up the Palmolive. The smell is potently eucalyptus-based with hints of the mint shining through on occasion though I must admit to feeling the aroma was a little clinical. This is not bad thing for a shaving cream, however, and I do not like my shaving cream's fragrance to then compete with my aftershave so that cannot be taken as a bad attribute. It held well on the face and the mint truly shone once the lather has been applied, tickling one's skin in between razor strokes.
On a second pass, the recently-opened folicles tickled with the sensation of the mint and it made for a supremely refreshing shave. This achieved, in a very short time, one of the closest shaves I have ever had and this was on the occasion of that blade's fourth time of asking. A mightily impressive performance.
Washing it off and applying the Nivea Extreme Comfort balm was a similarly pleasurable experience. The balm has a cooling sensation on one's face and produces a sticky application which reminds you of its task - skin feels stronger and firmer in the instant that the balm is applied. It has a mild fragrance but this did not hold for long after application and worked only to provide a more subtle, and more pleasing antidote to Proraso's slightly austere aroma.
I walked away with a smile on my face from what was undoubtedly the cleanest, easiest and most enjoyable shave of my life. These two products, for the money, are likely to add more to one's shaving routine than anything else I care to suggest. Jaw-dropping.