This is my first brush besides a VDH I had bought at the PX. I'm not going to lie, when I first opened the package and started to soak it, it smelled like a piggery. I hit it with dawn, lots of hot water, more dawn, and more hot water. It took a night of soaking and dawn "shampoos", but I got the smell out. After that I used the brush as normal. It's been over eight months and this baby is like angel's fingers on your face. The lather it can produce it amazing. It's great with even soaps like Williams Mug. It loads like a beast, and when you bring it to the bowl it will produce the thickest, creamiest, slickest lather you'll ever experience. Some owners of this brush will complain that it is "floppy" and has very little backbone. It's supposed to be like that. It's a professional brush. If you need more backbone or less splay you have to pinch the fibers with your thumb and finger tips. I use this brush at least twice a week with other brushes in a rotation. It's a great brush and deserves to be in your den.