I picked up this brush to replace my pure badger entry level brush as I'm shaving more often and can appreciate the difference now. At $40 this brush is a steal! It whips up lather nicely with B&M soaps either in a bowl or on my face. The brush feels great on my face and is a perfect size in hand (I tend to only grip the ends of the handle so the shorter handle is perfect here, it doesn't get in my way while lathering). Incredibly soft knot with plenty of backbone and moisture retention. No smell at all when using it and no apparent break in period either. As others have noted, it does bloom quite a bit when in use to be much larger than the small knot would suggest. I love this brush!