I agree. My two favorites are MdC and Haslinger. One is expensive and one is not.Tried more than a few. Didn't care for GF Trumper (Lime/Coconut). Had slickness/dragging issues, tried several methods but nothing really panned out. I gave them to my relatives and they seem to like them. Castle Forbes Lime and Maggards soap samples were also mediocre, same issues.
I don't think price is synonymous with quality. None of these are high end, but my best would be Proraso Green/White (didn't respond well to red/blue), cella is good but there's only one way to use it, and the european version of Palmolive is pretty good. TOBS Sandalwood is really nice. I also liked Godrej Lime, it was very easy to work with.
the water in my region is pretty hard, so it could very well be that YMMV.
Hard to argue. I give Xpec a little edge in post shave skin feel, but other than that Stirling and WSP are just as good, and maybe a little better than SV and MdC, plus they have great scents. They also beat the expensive guys on aftershaves.I'll stick to my Stirling, WSP, and Mystic Water.