The email also
pointed out that to them "imitation badger" simply meant that the brush doesn't contain any badger hair. Kind of like how Kent puts "Pure badger" on their brushes to indicate that nothing
but badger hair is in the knot, ToBS go with anything
but badger in these brushes.
Yeah, I wouldn't have necessarily assumed that "imitation badger" meant "synthetic," except for what you and other people were writing about it.
I've used more synthetic brushes than anyone I know of, and I get asked regularly about synthetic brushes. While I've been wet shaving for less than a year I'm always happy to share my experiences with synthetic brushes, and I've been telling people that the ToBS brush it's a really nice synthetic brush. So I'm not too pleased by this whole hog business (which I also wrote in my email to them).
I became a little suspicious by various people complaining of an odd smell that goes away eventually. I've never even used a brush, but it sounded a bit too much like what I've read about animal hair brushes. When I saw that they weren't actually saying it was synthetic on their promotional materials, it made me more suspicious.
It sounds like what they've been emailing has been a little misleading, if not exactly false. You and at least one other person--who had complained of the odd smell--had both said that you had emailed them and asked them if it was synthetic, and they indicated in reply that it was synthetic, so I thought I would try again.
I guess the tricky part is that at any given moment it might be synthetic, but at any other moment, it might not.
You'd think they would be pretty clear about what's going in their brushes for a variety of reasons, even it was just to say "what we put in the brushes changes from day to day and might include any of the following..."