The Institute Karite shave soap and cream have rapidly become two of my favorite shaving concoctions. I would go so far as to say that the superlather emanating from the combination of these two is the best I’ve ever found…rich, creamy, thick, wet, and slick. Worked up with the Plisson European White badger brush, the I.K. products produce a lather that seems to go on forever. A fresh Gillette 7 O’Clock from Russia produced an incredibly smooth shave, finished off with the Cromwell & Cruthers Oil, for a wonderful 9.5 result. Interestingly, I find that not all oils are equally effective; the Cromwell and Cruthers appears somewhat thicker than my TSS, and doesn’t quite produce the same “polish” on the final pass.
Meanwhile, the Gillette 7 O’Clock has been accepted into my “permanent” collection, along with the Treet Blue Special and the Sputnik. The Gillette is a terrific blade – extremely sharp but not so smooth that it doesn’t give some feedback…very important if you want to avoid nicks. The Feather for example is so sharp and smooth that before you even know it you’ve been sliced and diced (of course, YMMV).