This is indeed a very good looking brush. However, its performance pales in comparison to my Omega S Synthetic boar brush. I guess the continuous use of more than a month is not enough of a breaking period for this brush. I don't dislike it but I still strongly recommend the synthetics. I did not notice much smell, but for the first few shaves, it felt like the foam got discolored by the die on the bristles. It shed on an average 3 bristles for the first week. But after a month, it is very rare. The performance did improve with time. But not enough. I have mixed feelings about animal hair in shaving brushes after this brush. Synthetics are definitely better.