For those new to the world of pencils beyond the #2 needed for school tests, pencil leads come in a range of hardness. The ubiquitous #2 is also known as an HB. The higher the H number the harder the lead and the harder you have to press for a dark line. The higher the number B, the softer the lead and therefore the softer you have to press for a line dark enough to read.
For those just starting out, we recommend getting a range, especially something very hard (5H or higher) and very soft (5B or higher) to help see the differences in how the leads act.
From the manufacturer:
Toison D'or pencils are the pinnacle of graphite drawing instruments. Encased in California cedar, they can be identified by their black lacquer and cream, gold, and black bands. California cedar is one of the best woods for pencil making because it is a renewable resource that prevents warp-age. The Hardtmuth leads are perfectly centered within the casing to ensure even, clean sharpening, and are glued throughout to prevent breakage. Premium Hardtmuth® graphite is combined with a select mixture of clays and high quality, proprietary binders to create an extra smooth drawing lead that doesn't scratch or snag, regardless of degree.
Also try out Woodless Graphite Pencils!