I've been wet shaving for just over two years now, and finally I got myself this little puck of 'mythical' Arko shaving soap. (Can you really be a member of the wet-shaving community without ever having used Arko???)
Opening the bowl, the scent immediatly threw me back in time... We used a Belgian/Dutch cleaning product 'groene zeep' (green soap), a dark golden semi translucent paste, originally made from hemp oil that came in 5 kg buckets. Yes there's a hint of lemon and yes there's a hint of laundry soap. I do NOT consider the smell as offensive as some people do who even compare it to urinal cakes. Is it the most appropriate scent for a hygienic product? Maybe not...
Lathering up was effortless, but not better or worse than the majority of shaving soaps, industrial or artisan. (I use very hard water.) After shave feel was also average.
Maybe the fairest comparison to make is to compare Arko with Proraso.
Arko comes in a 90 gr bowl at $7.70/100 gr (3.5oz), Proraso comes in a 150 gr bowl at $6.66/100 gr (3.5oz). Arko-Proraso 0-1.
I consider Proraso's lather slightly superior to Arko's, both in ease of lathering as in density. So for me: 0-2.
Proraso (soap in a bowl) comes in 3 scents. I especially like the Proraso White's lemon/apple-ish scent. I also believe it's a more appropriate scent for a hygienic product. At least the scent is less divisive ;-) So: 0-3.
After shave skin feel (compared to Proraso White) is ±equal to me. Draw.
Proraso is a glycerine/coconut oil based vegan product while Arko is a tallow based product. For some this is 1-3, for others 0-4, I guess?
So to me, while Arko is a cheap, good, honest industrial product, Proraso is cheaper and better.