Started using the Omega 10049 boar brush today (black handle, stand, and black bowl). Very nice lather with Van Der Hagen Deluxe Soap. Soaked the brush in hot water during my morning shower. The brush bristles had some smell at first, but VDH overcame the smell. Brush bristles a little stiff, but not bad. Ordered two more Omega 49 brushes -- red handle and white handle -- with stands and bowls.