I'd written a fairly glowing, and lengthy, review of the ST-300 blades here quite a few years back, when, after trying a a few from a sampler pack, I literally went all-in and bought two 100-pack boxes - for me, about a four-year supply. Between then and not, I'd also played with other blades (most notably Personna Lab Blues and Astra Superior Stainless, both of which I liked), but the Dorco has remained my go-to blade, working quite well in quite a few different razors, from a vintage Gillette Aristocrat to a Merkur Vision.
Recently, I needed to score more blades, and I ordered a 100-pack of Dorcos from WCS, like last time. This time, however there were a few changes with the new blades: the box came with a little "NEW!" banner printed along the top-right edge. Curious about this, I checked the fine print on the edge of the box: manufacture of these particular blades had changed from South Korea to Vietnam - not necessarily a matter for concern, since the big deal these days is how tight a rein is kept on QC, since lots of companies have factories scattered all over the world. Another change was in the packaging of the individual blades: whereas Dorco previously packaged its blades simply in a single neat fold of printed paper, they now include an *inner* wrapping as well, with the imprint "DORCO STAINLESS" and "Since 1955, in both English and Korean. (They seem to be stepping up their official presence in the States - guess they really want in on the wetshaving market now?) I tries these initially in my American (1947) Gillette Aristocrat and my early-70s Gillette Super Adjustable, where it worked as well as the Korean-made Dorcos; They worked less well in my British (1953) Aristocrat, but very few blades seem to work well in that razor for some reason.
However, the big change came when I pulled the trigger on a Parker Variant adjustable razor. Here's where I pitted the Dorco against the Astra SS (note: this is NOT the Astra Platinum). I had two shaves with the Astra, which were crazy-close but left me with a few small nicks - I partly chalk the weepers up to getting used to the new razor (which I'll review separately, but for now I'll simply say it's a winner). The Dorco, however, was the big surprise: everything I've really liked about the blade - its combination of just-sharp-enough and super-smoothness - was enhanced. Short, furtive strokes were replaced by long, smooth, gliding strokes, both WTG and ATG. The shaves were now truly BBS, and, more to the point, repeatedly, reliably so: I've found in the past that various combinations of razor and blade could give me that close a shave *once*, but then give me problems the next time around. The Variant-Plus-Dorco combo *just works*, where I reliably get four excellent shaves per blade. Doing the math, that's roughly 2 cents per shave. If all this had to offer was economy, I'd call it darned impressive, but since this is about*quality*, I'd say this simply knocks it out of the park.
Again this is a "YMMV" thing: there are reviewers here who hate this blade with a certain three-letter agency would call extreme prejudice. This doesn't mean they're wrong: the blade just didn't do it for them, period. I can tell you about my repeated attempts to get Feather blades to work for me without doing a Sweeney Todd on myself: "epic fail" wouldn't begin to describe it. There are three variables here: razor, blade, and your face. Add in differences in prep, preferred poultices *et cetera*, and you start to understand that there's no magic bullet here, just experimenting until you find your personal shaving Kismet. I'm just here saying that I think I've found mine. :-)