The following is strictly my two-bit opinion. It doesn't mean much. It is just what I like and no one is paying me to say it. Opinions are based on the comparison of only one print per paper using one negative. All the papers were developed in Defender D-55, which has a little more HQ and more bromide than Dektol. It is noted for yielding brown-blacks with most papers. Prints were not toned. Prints were viewed under 60W tungsten lamp. By warm, I mean browns, by cool I mean blue or violet, not neutral.
Agfa Classic 118 Can't find that sample. Sorry. As I recall, nice color and contrast.
Agfa Warmtone Matte finish with a texture. Creme paper color. Good contrast. Good brown-black image color.
Arista Classic VC, White paper color, good separation, warm blacks uniform in color from highs to shadows. A good paper.
Bergger VC CB Glossy. White paper, slightly warm image. Image color seems fainter in highlights, but a nice warmth develops in shadows.
Maximum black seem blacker than other papers.
Bergger VC CB Style SemiMatte, Creme color paper. May have the slightest red cast. Warm brown-black image color. Good contrast throughout.
Bergger VC NB Glossy, White paper color. Image is only slightly brown-black, but uniform. Contrast good throughout scale.
Cachet VC FB, Glossy. White paper color. Image tone is neutral to cool, with good contrast throughout the scale.
Cachet VC FB W, Matte. Unusual paper color, carmel (?) colored. Hard to tell what color the blacks are as they seem overpowered by paper color.
Poor local contrast. Maybe okay for portraits if you like the color, but I can't get past the odd color.
Forte Elegance Polywarmtone, Matte. Off white paper color. Warm brown-black image tone. Good contrast.
Ilford MG IV FB, Glossy. A good neutral colored paper, good separation of detail. Color of blacks seems indefinite to me, highlights looking
cool, shadows warm.
Ilford Warmtone, Matte. A creme paper color, maybe with the slightest red. Image is nice brown-blacks. Separation is good, but not as good as other papers. Probably a great
paper for portraits.
Kodak Polymax Fine Art, Glossy. Paper color creme, the most creme of all these papers. The Cachet is darker in color, but not to be called cream. Blacks warm, good seperation of fine detail. Better than I had expected. A nice paper.
When it was all done, I was amazed how 12 different papers could look so much the same and at the same time look so different. The Cachet paper color is so bizarrae that I don't think I would ever use this paper again. You can't see the photograph for the paper color. Very distracting. The rest of the papers are very usable. The warmtone papers have less of what I call local contrast, i.e. they didn't render fine textures or detail as well. These I might use for portraits or 'softer' subjects. I don't have a reflection densitometer, but I felt they all had about the same maximum black density, except the Bergger CB, which I felt went blacker. As it went blacker, the dark brown-black went towards just black, a quality that I like. With the Bergger CB, I also like the glossy surface, the heavy stock, and the white paper color. When all 12 prints sit on the table, the Bergger CB stands out. Bergger CB was my choice. After a couple hundred sheets, I still like it.
Obviously, this test was done without regard to cost. The Bergger CB paper is not cheap and is not available in larger quantity packages. A sampler package is available, which is what I started with and that was nice. I suppose the best deal in papers in this list is the Arista, which is the house brand from Freestyle Sales Co. It is may be a Kentmere product.
As already pointed out, the obvious paper missing from this group is Oriental. I started using Oriental papers in the early '70s, when it was first imported by Freestyle. It was a lucky choice and a very good paper. However, since I wanted a paper that would generate a brown-black tone without toning and Oriental paper is notoriously cold in tone, I didn't even try it. I also felt I had enough papers to try. The final straw was that Oriental had come and gone and is coming back. For this I will not soon forgive them. I realize some of these other papers may do the same, certainly some have been hard to get at times, and pollution concerns have caused many reformulations, but so it goes. After all, this is just my two-bit opinion, remember.