I had been under the impression that the Proraso in the bowl was a cream just like the tube, but was pleasantly surprised to find that it's really a soft soap. The sandalwood scent of this soap is straight sandalwood, so don't expect the range you get from scents like TOBS or Captain's Choice, but I still dig it. The soap being soft is really easy to load up a brush with, and it produced a nice creamy lather that applied in a thick layer. Pretty good slickness and cushion, and the value you get from Proraso is terrific.
My prior shaving cream experience consisted of Cremo original, Cremo sandelwood, and Taylor of Bond Street lavender. Proraso Red is a better product than these other products. Cremo is the slickest of the three products. But slickness does not equate to a more comfortable shave in my experience. I like the smell of the Taylor of Bond Street lavender the best of all of these products. But the Taylor of Bond Street lather is not as thick as the Proraso. The reason for such a high rating for the Proraso Red is the lather I get with my snythetic West Coast shaving brush. I use a ceramic shaving bowl with ridges on the botton of the bowl. The Proraso whips us large amounts of thick shaving cream in less than a minute. I see little reason to try anything new.
I have a weird sensitivity to shave soaps; many make my skin burn. Yet I have a really tough beard. Proraso Sandalwood solves both these problems. Not only does it not burn, it cushions as well or better than any other soap I've tried. It doesn't explode into waves of lather like some soaps do, but it does provide excellent lubrication. My skin actually feels great after I've used it. The only complaint I have about it is that the bowl it comes in is actually rather small and it's a soft soap. It winds up not lasting much longer than a can of old-style shaving cream.