Derwent is a brand I picked up when I lived in Spain, and I’ve been using some of the same pencils for nearly twenty years now. They are well made with excellent quality leads and solid wood casings. Easy to sharpen with a sharpener or penknife.
They’ve lasted so long because I don’t use a lot of graphite and these haven’t broken or crumbled during travel in my flimsy pencil case.
I’ve used smudging stumps (that’s the white paper that is sharpened on both ends, looks like a pencil with no lead in it), but prefer using my fingers to smudge and blend.
Warning, the graphite in these is very fine and tends to stay in your pores, so if you have any skin disorders, like eczema, you might consider not using your fingers to smudge. The fine dust also loves to live under fingernails, but that could just be with me.
Note: I don’t do much erasing when I work so I couldn’t attest to the benefits of using the rubber erasers with these.