Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Review: Quo Vadis Habana Raspberry + Clairefontaine White 90 g Paper - Courtesy of Quo Vadis & Exaclair

Premium Clairefontaine 90 g bright white paper
80 sheets
6" x 9"
Made in the USA
Round Corners
Elastic Closure
Firm leather-like cover
I happened to be a random very lucky winner of this fine notebook through the Quo Vadis blog. Yes. It is true. I actually won something so I guess I can’t say I haven’t anymore! I was elated when I got the email that I was a winner! I selected the desk size/large Habana in Raspberry and lo and behold, this is what I have! This was my very first Quo Vadis notebook so it was really awesome to get one.

Thank you so very much to the Quo Vadis blog and Karen at Exaclair for the treat!

Not too long ago, Quo Vadis announced they would be switching their Habana notebooks over to 85 g ivory paper, such as those found in Quo Vadis France. See the post here. So my notebook is even more exciting, now that they are being switched over to ivory paper. I have a relic of the past!!!

The Journal:

The large notebook is sleek and cool looking. It doesn’t feel bulky and can actually fit into my purse, which I love.

I have used mine now to journal, “draw” - my feeble attempt at art anyway, and test inks and pens.
If you journal, 80 pages is perfect. It’s enough paper to fill up and give you that wonderful sound paper makes when you’ve written all over it, but not so much that you get frustrated that you have 1,000 more pages to write on before you get the fun of trying out a new journal. It’s a pleasure to journal in the Habana. I took a long time before I gathered the guts to put some writing in my journal. I didn’t want to soil it with nonsense!

Habanas come in several colors and two sizes, and in lined or blank. You can get black, anise green, red or raspberry in the blank notebook. Having never experienced the other colors, I can’t comment. But the raspberry is not a faded sorta-blah raspberry, it’s a wonderful rich raspberry that makes you want to lick it. And the soft leather-like cover makes it even nicer. In fact, it very much resembles a Starburst. Yes. This means I want to chew on it.

Another great thing that makes this journal ideal is that it lays flat. Have you ever tried to write on the left hand side of a journal that refuses to lay flat? It personally drives me crazy. But this bad boy lies flat and stays open with the sewn binding offering flexibility.
The cover is said to be firm and that’s what it is - it’s not solid/hard but it’s not so soft that it doesn’t offer some support when writing. I actually quite like it, it’s the perfect balance for me. It has an even feeling to it, and the Quo Vadis logo is tastefully placed on the bottom corner, and the name on the back.
It even has a handy dandy pocket at the back of the book for stashing of various items. I’ve never used my pockets though, mostly because I forget they’re there when they’re at the back of the book, but at least it’s available, just in case. Though I have recently taken to putting coupons in them.

The Paper:
Quo Vadis describes the Habana’s paper as a writer’s dream and boy is it ever. The infamous premium Clairefontaine paper is a divine, smooth, bright white. At 90 g, it is heavy enough to handle fountain pens with ease and makes gel ink pens feel even smoother. The new ivory paper Habanas are 85 g, but reviews say there is no noticeable difference between the 85 g and 90 g. Although this will become a moot point as the stock of white paper Habanas wanes, the white paper makes ink pop. It’s such a sharp contrast that it really highlights the color of the ink. Some argue the ivory paper offers a more classy look. I can’t say, I haven’t tried one. I’ll have to get one next. I suspect the color of inks will be a bit different on the ivory but the I’m sure the writing experience will still be great.
The paper is also acid-free and pH neutral which means your writings and doodles are safe for archiving. Although after reading some of the inane things I wrote when I was younger, I kind of wish it wasn’t archived.

This journal makes me want to write, even if I have nothing to write. It’s hard to capture how smooth the paper really is. Especially with fountain pens, the ink just glides onto the paper and it feels like the ink is hopping out of your nib without being blotchy. Even with fine nibs, you will get consistent writing. Inks won’t feather on this paper. Once it lands on its spot, it stays put. If you write with a medium nib, you’ll probably find the ink takes a little longer to dry than on average paper. It’s so thick and dense that the ink doesn’t really soak into the paper, which also means it doesn’t bleed through. A huge plus for fountain penners. While this can be a negative aspect for some people, it’s worth it for the quality of color you get from your ink.

Gel ink and ballpoint pens also benefit from the smooth paper. Colors are vivid against the bright white paper and even the finest of nibs feel smooth.
The pages have elegant rounded edges which greatly reduces the chances of your paper getting caught and becoming dog-eared. If you’re anything like me, a little part of you dies inside when you see a beautiful piece of paper get folded inappropriately (okay... maybe I’m just anal retentive...) but these rounded corners will prevent that from happening. It won’t get caught on your sleeve when you’re flipping through it quickly. A huge plus for keeping your journal looking new.
From top to bottom: Moleskine Volant Extra Small (pink/rose), Moleskine Pocket Ruled Notebook (black, hardcover), Leuchtturm 1917 Coloured Notebook (purple, dots), Clairefontaine Hardcover (pink, graph) and Quo Vadis Habana (raspberry, white paper).

The new 85g ivory paper Habanas can be purchased online but just for example:
At Pear Tree Pens - $19.95
At Goulet Pens - $19.00

Well worth it. I would not hesitate to recommend this piece of art to anyone!

The Company:

Furthermore, as a person with a growing eco-conscience, I am so very happy that Clairefontaine is as environmentally aware as I am. The paper is manufactured from sustainable forests and the brilliant white paper is achieved using calcium carbonate, not chlorine, which can be pretty nasty on the environment. And, the journals are made in the USA, which means less transport costs and energy is used to get it to you! ... Assuming you live on the same continent. You can read more about their practices here and PEFC certification. I feel good supporting a company that is trying to be green. Which means I won’t feel guilty when I go buy 20 more Habanas.


What a beautiful journal. I absolutely love it. If you can, stock up on the white paper Habanas, you won’t be disappointed! Whether you use fountain pens or not, you’ll still admire the quality of this paper and the journal overall is just a premium choice.


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