I count on my malas. I've had other bodhi malas, but these days, for whatever reason, for years it is has been near impossible to get 10mm beads, never mind traditionally cut ones. As a vajrayana practitioner, I often used a genuine kapalamala and have come to greatly enjoy the feel of the discs, which are very smooth in that case.
So are these. These are not insubstantial, they feel lovely and cool to the touch if not worn. The flat surfaces are well done, so there are no burrs, splinters or rough edges, which have all been nice ruled, if you know woodwork.
The color is one of the two traditional ones. With practice, the beads will pick up color and darken from use. If you wear it, it will polish more and darken faster.
Smelling this when you get it, there is no question that this was make "properly," using the right finishing.
I used to import malas, among other practice objects, direct from Khatmandu, Dharamsala and Lhasa, erroneously called "a city in China" by Google. I've handled thousands of malas and hand feel is important. If it is not comfortable and even sumptuous, you're less likely to practice, and that is unfortunate all around.
This is short enough to wear but long enough to conceal under your shirt or top. Frankly, unless someone asks, your practice is your business and all they'd see is "lovely beads" peeking over your collar.
If you understand that certain materials belong, in some cases, only with very few practitioners, and others only to be used in specific types of practices, be heartened: Bodhi is suitable for just about any counting or recitation in which you'd engage, so it can be your anchor mala, first mala, travel mala, and will be fine for pretty much anything. The same cannot be said for bone, for example.
Anyway, it feels great.It is strung so that you can start counting immediately, though you may want to wash it it as hot water without NO soap as you can, after washing your hands. A majority of the finishing smell will wash off. If you use soap or detergent, you'll strip the wood and dry it out.
If you want to make it feel and look and SMELL much better and have it slide silky in your hands, argan oil is just the ticket. Just massage a generous amount in and rub it between each bead. Remember, this is a sacred object and treat it as such, with tenderness. Then you can let it sit for a night or two and wipe it down. It will be beauteous.
Another trick is to use VO5 hairdressing in a tube. That stuff is amazing for many things and most people don't find it objectionable smelling. Get the brown tube, same rules: massage it into and between every bead, getting all those surfaces, leave it somewhere warm so that it softens and sinks in. You may not need to wipe it down much when done.
VO5 works great on nearly all wooden beaded malas and is cheap, pleasant and will help darken the beads. You should see what it will do for cherrywood and rosewood beads! Yumm!
Enjoy this mala. It's made well, strung on heavy COTTON cord. Bear in mind that though the beads will last you EASILY through your required 1M baseline Om Mani counts, you will probably have to restring once over the years.