I'm in. A couple well known products that I use regularly both shocked me for the same reason. Arko and Cella both get so much praise around here that I didn't think that they could be as good as they are. Now I've gotta talk swmbo into letting me purchase a $35+ hunk of Cella, but u should have enough Arko to last a while.
The Merkur Futur. I'd pretty much resigned myself to milder razors like the DE89 and Weber PH, plus my experiences with adjustables had been less than stellar. But, for some reason I started to get the "have to try this razor" feeling. Gut was right. Futur would be my deserted island razor. If I had to complain, the only issue I have with it is that it sometimes feels too effortless to get a good shave.
I would have to say that the inexpensive Omega Boar brushes! I have two of them that I alternate every other day and they are soft and have great backbone... They needed a good couple of weeks of breaking in, but I like them better than my more expensive boar and much more expensive badger brushes!
I am highly impressed with Nivea Men Sensitive Post Shave Balm. It is very concentrated, as in a little goes a long way. It makes my skin feel good, and it smells great! For what this product provides at the price it sells for, I consider it a very good value. I use it daily and I highly recommend it! I can't wait to try their Sensitive formula shaving cream.
I'm a hard soap man by preference, so have a low view of creams. But when I used the Aussie-made Occams Original Shaving cream it was unbelievable. I've never gotten that much quality lather that provides such a slickness and glide. So good.
For me, it's Mitchell's Wool Fat. I saw everyone praising it, but I was a Artisan Soap Snob. I ordered a puck along with the ceramic dish (just because I thought it would look good in the bathroom). I have since sold and PIF'd most of my Artisan Soaps, and use MWF at least 5 times a week. It's a wonderful soap that I can't imagine a shave without!
Mine is HTGAM Tombstone AS. I've grown very accustomed to things that "smell like" the fragrance listed, but the resemblance to the listed scent is, at best, limited. Tombstone smells like what it states: leather and gunpowder, and it's a great combo. Completely sold on it now.
In my my humble opinion, I would have to say I was most surprised with Lucky Tiger face balm. I had been looking for an aftershave that produced minimal irritation for my face. Looking at alcohol as being a contributing factor, I stumbled upon Lucky Tiger (alcohol free) on these very forums, and ordered to see what the hype was about. I haven't looked back since. It's my daily aftershave, and I find it very light and refreshing. And the scent is great-just a nice, pleasing orange scent that lingers just long enough to enjoy, but not long enough to be obtrusive to others. All in all, a very nice product that has exceeded all my wildest expectations.
Thanks for this opportunity...I'm in, please. Shea Moisture Tea Tree After Shave smells and feels great while costing little. I thought it would be good but it exceeded my expectations. I found the alum block to be an irritant for me, and I was happy to find this fine replacement.
Second place goes to Dettol Cool shaving cream -- great lather at just a few bucks a tube.