Monday, February 27, 2012

Comparison: Large Brown Midori Traveler's Notebook & Burnt Cognac Pelle Leather Journal

Hi again folks! This has been an epic undertaking! I know that some of you may be surprised with my opinions but please remember, they are just that - my opinions! You may love the paper or the leather more or less than I do, so take it all with a grain of salt. I'm just trying to give you a comparison to help you in your decisions! For each section, I will highlight my preferences where applicable!

Getting Your Hands On One
Ease of acquisition
  • Midori - Not bad if you know where to go!
  • Pelle - It was difficult at first but it's getting better. If you're only waiting for JetPens, it can be tough. Don't forget you can get them directly from Pelle! Unless you want the burnt cognac specifically. 
Price of journal
  • Midori - $58.00 - $59.95
  • Pelle - $44.99
Price of refills
  • Midori - $6.00
  • Pelle - $9.99
In the package
  • Midori - Brown leather cover, one extra rubber band, one refillable notebook (blank), cotton cloth case
  • Pelle - Burnt cognac leather cover, one extra rubber band, one refillable notebook (blank), cotton cloth case
Journals with Case Resized
IMG_2232 Resized
Cotton cloth case: Midori on the left, Pelle on the right. I prefer the Pelle cloth case as it has a draw string!
  • Midori - Great
  • Pelle - Good
Front Back P Vs. M Resized
IMG_2250 Resized
Again, I apologize for the extra orangey-ness of the Pelle in the top pictures. It really is rather orange though.
  • Midori - Dark brown
  • Pelle - Warm reddish-orange brown
  • Midori - Starts strongly chemical, but fades to a perfect leather
  • Pelle - Perfect leather, straight out of the package
Size of leather cover
  • Midori  - 4.5" x 8.5"
  • Pelle - 4.5" x 8.3"
Edges of leather cover
IMG_1950 Resized
Pelle on top, Midori on bottom.
  • Midori - Dark brown
  • Pelle - Black
Leather hardness
  • Midori - Medium/firm
  • Pelle - Supple/soft
Tolerates scuffing and blending
Scuff Resized
I scuffed both with my finger nail. The Midori tolerates general scuffs without being so obvious but they both blended well with a bit of rubbing.
  • Midori - Yes, quite well
  • Pelle - Yes, very well
Leather will earn a unique look with use
  • Midori - You bet!
  • Pelle - Yeppers!

Refill cover
Refill Comparison Resized
Refills: cahier belongs to Midori, linen belongs to Pelle
  • Midori - Kraft cahier
  • Pelle - Linen
Paper (Blank)
IMG_1941 Resized
Top: Pelle (creamy), bottom: Midori (more white)
IMG_2236 Resized
Top: Pelle (creamy), bottom: Midori (more white)
IMG_2259 Resized
Back to front: Quo Vadis Habana + bright white paper, Pelle drawing refill, Pelle blank refill, Midori blank refill, Quo Vadis Habana + ivory paper, Rhodia Webbie, Rhodia R pad.
  • Midori - White
  • Pelle - Off-white/light cream
Paper weight (Blank)
  • Midori - ?
  • Pelle - 28 lbs
Number of pages in a refill
  • Midori - 64 pages
  • Pelle - 64 pages
Toothiness of paper
  • Midori - Good
  • Pelle - Almost none
Fountain pen friendliness - for more details, see the Pelle review, or Midori review!
  • Midori - Low
  • Pelle - Low
Bleed through
  • Midori - Medium
  • Pelle - High
Show through
  • Midori - A little
  • Pelle - A lot
  • Midori - A lot
  • Pelle - Almost none
Gel Ink/Liquid Ink/Ballpoint Friendliness - for more details, see the Pelle review, or Midori review!
IMG_2253 Resized
Pelle on left, Midori on right. You can see the obvious difference in show through but I rather enjoy the crinkle.
  • Midori - Medium
  • Pelle - High
Bleed through
  • Midori - A little
  • Pelle - Almost none
Show through
  • Midori - Yes
  • Pelle - None
  • Midori - None
  • Pelle - None
IMG_2228 Resized

IMG_1938 Resized

IMG_2229 Resized
Elastic band around journal attached to
IMG_2226 Resized
  • Midori - Knotted through hole in center of back cover
  • Pelle - Knotted through hole in center of spine
Elastic bands attached to journal
IMG_2230 Resized
Top: Midori. Bottom: Pelle
  • Midori - Tin clasp
  • Pelle - Bead
Elastic band across spine attached with
  • Midori - Knot
  • Pelle - Brass clip
Elastic color
  • Midori - Brown
  • Pelle - Lime green
Back up elastic color
  • Midori - Orange
  • Pelle - Dark brown
IMG_1973 Resized
Midori on top, Pelle on bottom with two refills.
  • Midori - Yes, many customizable inserts available!
  • Pelle - Only with four refills and back up elastics, no further customization is available as yet.
Lies flat with refills
  • Midori - No
  • Pelle - No
Lies flat without refills
  • Midori - Almost flat!
  • Pelle - Yes
  • Midori - Yes
  • Pelle - Yes
Made in
  • Midori - Thailand & Japan
  • Pelle - USA (California)
Other Bits
Do you have to be a traveler to be one?
  • Midori - No
  • Pelle - No
Inspires creativity?
  • Midori - Yes!
  • Pelle - Yes!
Makes you feel awesome?
  • Midori - Definitely 
  • Pelle - Definitely
Rustic awesomeness
  • Midori - Lots of it!
  • Pelle - Lots of it, when it's tidied up (tightened strings, etc)
Quality control
IMG_2223 Resized
Notice how messy the Pelle looks.
IMG_2227 Resized
You can barely see the Pelle journal stamp!
  • Midori - Great
  • Pelle - Moderate
Overall Appearance
Elastic Resized
  • Midori - Really awesome
  • Pelle - Fairly awesome, despite the negative bits

Final Verdict?

Either leather cover is great. If you're looking for a deal or prefer the burnt cognac color, go with the Pelle. If you're not, go with the Midori. Either way, make your own refills if you want fountain pen friendly paper and you'll be good to go and pleased as punch!

I hope you enjoyed it. I'm sure there are things I missed or have yet to discover but this is just after a week or two of use!


Rori Lieurance said...

Wow, thank you for all the work and time you put into these reviews and this comparison!! SO great to see them both together and compare up close :D

Shangching CH said...

This is a trilogy written within hours!  You should pat yourself on the back for all the beautiful pictures and detailed comparisons you have provided.  Though the trilogy provides much insight, I am still sitting on the sideline figure out which one I would prefer.... darn my first world problems...

Sandra said...

Thank you so much for this detailed show n tell comparison! I have wanted each but have held off...until now. ;)

GourmetPens said...

My pleasure :) I'm glad you like it!! (I'd be a little sad if you didn't because I totally did this one for you hehehe)

GourmetPens said...

Thank you!! It was quite the trilogy. It's funny, despite all the information, it's still hard to pick what to get next. It depends if you're willing to make your own refills or not. I'd suggest the Midori, personally :)

Yochanan said...

Great review.  I'm leaning toward the Midori, I like its look a little more.

Ana said...

Awesome comparison ! I'd like to post a link to it on Well-Appointed Desk I that's okay with you? Also, my smaller Pelle came with an orange band not green of which I am a little envious. I think I might seek a craft store in search of a replacement elastic.

Ferguson Cumberbatch said...

Excellent review. Very thorough. I love the looks of these journals. I don't think I could "pull off" carrying one of these, but they look awesome. Again, great review. Love all of the info here. 

GourmetPens said...

I support that choice :)

GourmetPens said...

Thank you! Hey, there's no reason you can't pull it off! Remember, you can make it your very own by beating it up the way you want to!

Economy Pens said...

Stellar review! This is setting the bar high for reviews.... I've very much wanted to see the side-by-side on these two, and now I have all of the information I need. 

Thank you so much for investing the time/dollars to make this happen.

GourmetPens said...

Thank you!! *Blush* You're too kind! I myself was so curious and after much research, I realized I still couldn't pick so I was like hmmm... I bet lots of people are in the same boat as me! Lots of work but I think many are enjoying it so I'm quite pleased with it!

Donna Bennett said...

Very helpful! I'm pondering the purchase of one or the other, and this comparison is excellent. Thank you for the review.

GourmetPens said...

My pleasure, and I'm glad it's helpful to you :)

Plume145 said...

Wow, that is truly amazing work! I'm so thankful you went to all this trouble :-) 

But wait, there's one thing I'm not getting: it looks like the Pelle fits more refills than the Midori, is that really the case? And if it is, do you know if it's the same way with the small ones?

GourmetPens said...

They are both capable of holding up to three refills but you're right - in this case, the Pelle is already "equipped" with the necessary amount of elastics to hold three refills right away. The Midori requires the additional elastics to be added before it can hold three. In its current state, it only holds two. I should have addressed that in the review but obviously didn't have three notebooks for each to test it out with hehe. Thanks for pointing that out though :) So all the Midoris can hold three, you just have to get the extra elastic to do so!

Plume145 said...

aah, so, you can add an extra elastic to the midori for a total of three refills, but you can't add an extra elastic to the Pelle for a total of 4 refills. So that in the end, both notebooks could hold the same number of refills, the only difference is the Pelle does it right out of the box while the midori needs a bit of tinkering to get there. Did I get that right?

Boy, is this ever confusing lol! Thanks for such a quick reply, I appreciate it enormously because it's really helping me pick out which one of these to get! You rock! (gift economies ftw!)

GourmetPens said...

That's right! I'm not sure why Midori didn't send the journal with 3 elastics... But apparently it's quite easy to put another one in. They have a repair kit that has an extra elastic/tin clasp and you just put it in the way the others are. There's a few tutorials somewhere online!
Personally, I prefer the Midori. It is a bit more "rustic" but both are great journals, and you'd likely be happy with either :) and JetPens just got a new Pelle color - rustic brown. It's quite nice.. Hehe
Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

Plume145 said...

The midori does seem nicer (whereas the Pelle is more like a 'nice for the price' sort of thing :P) The only thing stopping me from going for the midori other than price is that annoying elastic knot sitting in the middle of the back cover where it would make a bump under your writing are you getting along with that yourself? (I don't know if you've had a chance to use both of these yet)

And then there's what you mentioned about how it doesn't lie flat and the Pelle does, that could also be a hassle...OMG decisions decisions!! lol (if you ever need help picking out anything or just a second opinion, you just holler - I'm taking advantage here, believe me I know it, so I'll be very happy to return the favor!)

GourmetPens said...

The Midori's cover is slightly stiffer than the Pelle's, when they're both new. I suspect with usage and being beaten up a bit, the Midori cover will soften and eventually will be able to lay flat, just like the Pelle does. Plus, you can always fold the cover back if it's bothering you :) And the cover is rather small and not cumbersome anyway. The bump in the writing surface hasn't been a problem, but I've got two notebooks in the Midori, and haven't reached near the back yet. I think if it's a problem to you personally, you can always just switch your notebooks around and write at the front. It may be a bit annoying to do that, but it's a small price to pay for a very sexy journal hehe.

I haven't added the strings for a third journal yet because I really like the size the two journals give the Midori and Pelle both. It's just right for me! I sound totally biased don't I? Don't get me wrong, I still love the Pelle, but you're right, it's like... nice for the price. I like to support local companies (less shipping/less resources to get it to me) and stuff, but in the case of something that will last me literally forever, I'd be willing to make the sacrifice and go with the overseas product. You can tell I put a lot of thought into these right? LOL

Plume145 said...

I can indeed tell, but don't let that stop ya - it's very validating to another stationery nerd (stationerd? *groan*)! Seriously, I'm glad because the manufacturers and retailers of these things almost never think of adding this sort of detail. 

If I can crack back the cover to make it lie flat, that should settle that part. I might try to deal with the bump by moving the closure to the spine Pelle style; if it's done neatly (with a very small knot or even a pair of holes in the spine) it should stay out of the way. Then I'd cover the hole somehow; maybe a small, flat brad or something. If you want I can post it here when I'm done :-)

I hear ya on the local companies, although in my case neither one is! so that's out too as a way to pick one *gaaah*

It's weird though, on that pic where they're both shown open but empty (under 'quality control') the midori shows just one elastic (versus, err, two? three? four? on the Pelle. Gee, they are rather messy aren't they. hehe)

GourmetPens said...

Oh I would love to see if moving the knot to the spine works! That would be awesome and a very handy hack. In fact, a little brad in the original hole would probably look super cute too. 

Indeed, the Pelle did have some sad quality control on this particular journal. I was surprised to find the elastics all askew and needing tightening. Not that it was a problem to do so, I just sort of expected it would arrive more "presentable". I'm happy to report that when I got the second Pelle (for a giveaway awhile back), it was a medium in burnt cognac and it was in tip top condition when I opened it up. The stamp on the back cover was perfect and visible, and the elastics were perfectly arranged, so that's a good sign. They did a good job of fixing up their QC, I think!

ethernautrix said...

What a comprehensive review and comparison! Thank you for providing so much information and photos!

GourmetPens said...

You are welcome :D I'm so glad so many people are enjoying and benefiting from this! It really did need to be done after all hehehe

JohnS1999 said...

Hi and thanks for such a great review. I am currently obsessing over buying one of these and want to make a call in the next day or so.
I am new to all of this so may have a silly question - you say above that the Midori is ready for two notebooks but I see only one elastic in it versus 3 in Pelle. How do you fit 2 in with just one elastic? I get you can add more but out of the box do not see how.

GourmetPens said...

Hi there! Oh I know the feeling of obsessing over these, trying to decide! Not a silly question at all! The Midori's set up arrives with two elastics for two refills. You can use the looser elastic and put both refills in it, or you can use the second, more snug elastic to put your second refill. At first I thought it would be too snug to put a refill in there but it works perfectly. Check out these pics - they show both ways.

There are a few ways to add a third elastic (though I haven't tried it yet myself because I'm content with two refills). I'm trying to find a video for you how it's been done, but a quick search on Fountain Pen Network suggests:
You can add a third elastic by making another set of holes in the spine area and using another piece of elastic (from their repair kit) and tying it off on the inside. This way you won't have to mess around with the clasp.

Another alternative is putting the additional (third) refill on the outside of an existing one -- essentially doubling up on one elastic. The downside to this is that the two halves of the refill will be separated by the refill inside of it.

Here is the thread it came from, there may be more info there depending on what kind of work you're willing to go through for it!

If you don't want to punch holes in your journal, you can always use this method:

I'll post some more stuff if I find anything :) I hope this helps, but let me know if you need more information!!

JohnS1999 said...

Thanks so much!
Subject: [gourmetpens] Re: Gourmet Pens: Comparison: Large Brown Midori Traveler's Notebook vs. Large Burnt Cognac Pelle Leather Journal

ethernautrix said...

What a comprehensive review and comparison! Thank you for providing so much information and photos!

Andrew Zander said...

Where is a good online source to purchase the Midori?

Azizah Asgarali said...

Resor Shop, Goulet Pens, and Maido Stationery carries them!

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