Thursday, November 30, 2017

Review: Benu Pen Essence Collection Bird of Paradise Fountain Pen

Thanks to Benu Pen for sending this pretty breathtaking fountain pen for review! I'm not usually captivated by beautiful pens, but this one is nearly impossible to resist.
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Review Benu Pen Essence Collection Bird of Paradise Fountain Pen 13
Pictured with the Essence Collection Dreamland
ABOUT

Body material: Resin
Trim: Gold-plated brass
Cap: Screw on
Posts: Yes, friction
Clip: Yes
Ink window: No
Filling System: Standard international cartridge, converter, or eyedropper
Nib material: #5 Schmidt steel
Length (capped): 141.36 mm/5.56"
Length (uncapped): 125.06 mm/4.92"
Length (posted): 166.03 mm/6.53"
Length (section): 21.55 mm/0.84"
Diameter (barrel): 13.79 - 15.72 mm/0.54" - 0.61"
Diameter (section): 9.79 - 11.18 mm/0.38" - 0.44"
Weight (all): 25 g
Weight (cap): 10 g
Weight (body): 15 g
Price: $200.00 USD with clip | $190.00USD without clip
Where to buy: Benu Pen

PACKAGING

The Benu Pen Essence Collection Bird of Paradise was presented in a cute, whimsical little cardboard box. The box was deep grey with silver glitter, and had 'Benu' printed across the top. The lid can be removed and there is a bed of shredded brown paper inside. On top of the paper, the pen is rolled up in Benu kraft paper with a piece of twine securing it. I love it. It's simple, minimal packaging that is recyclable - no plastic! It's nice and it works.
Review Benu Pen Essence Collection Bird of Paradise Fountain Pen 1
APPEARANCE

The Benu Pen Essence Collection has been updated with slightly longer bodies and the option of a clip. They are round pens with rounded off ends. There is nothing on the finial. The clip model has an external clip, attached by a thin gold colored ring around the cap. The clip is plain but nice looking and matches the pen well. At the end of the cap, there is a wide gold colored center band engraved with 'Benu'. I like Benu's simple, tidy, and classy branding.
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The barrel tapers towards the end where there is a ridged end - for posting the cap snugly. The section is smooth, round, and tapers slightly towards the nib. There are cap threads at the back of the section and a small step up to the barrel. 
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What really stands out in this pen - and all of Benu's pens, really - is the absolutely beautiful material. Benu says, "The Bird of Paradise pen embraces the vibrancy of exotic nature and features a spectrum of marine blues, fresh greens and luminous golds. A combination of bright pigments and glossy finish gives the model a unique personality which is playful and stylish." I can't argue. The Bird of Paradise is a glamorous, stunning, truly breathtaking bird with magnificent color. This pen matches that so well. Google it. The material is a glittery blue base from top to bottom. The barrel is sprinkled with green, light blue, dark blue, and gold flakes. It spreads from the end of the pen upwards. Radiant!

NIB & PERFORMANCE

The #5 gold colored nib is a fine Schmidt with a plastic feed. The nib has a single slit, no breather hole, and is Schmidt-branded. The pen is a slightly toothy writer that delivers ink on the dry side. That also means drying times are fast so it's a great pocket pen/daily user. It is a firm nib that offers just a little line variation. It is well tuned, does not skip or hard start, and is a reliable writer. It is not an unusual or outstanding nib, but it is solid, reliable, and performs well. 
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As I said with the Dreamland, the only thing I really take issue with on this pen, because the pen is otherwise so special and unique that the Schmidt-branded nib takes away from it a little. There's nothing wrong with a Schmidt-branded nib, but it feels like an incomplete package.

IN HAND

The clip is spring loaded and it's really easy to operate one-handed. It's safe to attach to papers, pouches, and pockets because it doesn't tear as you remove it. The section is long and comfortable, with smooth threads and no sharp ridges. I really like the shape and design of it, it's not slippery, and it works well for longer writing sessions.

Unposted, the pen is perfectly comfortable, well balanced, and it feels great. It works well for me for long and fast writing sessions. The cap is designed to be posted and it does so securely, and unlike the Dreamland whose posting I did not care for, the Essence Collection posts well. It's just right and easily usable. 
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Top to bottom: Essence Collection Bird of Paradise, Dreamland Collection Nebula, Essence Collection Dreamland, Lamy Safari
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The filling system is a simple standard international cartridge/converter and the pen can also be used as an eyedropper. That's fun if you want more ink in the tank, but the downside is you can't see what your ink levels are as you use it. 

PROS & CONS
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OVERALL

I think Benu Pen is doing something beautiful - the pens are fun, stunning, and work well. I'm hoping the nibs will rebranded at some point and perhaps the prices will come down a bit. They may not, but one can hope. I think $200 is steep but the pen is just so darned GORGEOUS that it's hard to resist. I think the ideal price would be $150 because it truly feels like a custom poured resin, but it's a Schmidt nib and a cartridge/converter. 

But really. That Bird of Paradise material is just out of this world!!




I received this item free of charge for the purposes of this review. I was not compensated monetarily for my review. Everything you've read here is my own opinion.


Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Wordless Wednesday

November 29. 2017 - Wordless Wednesday 1
November 29. 2017 - Wordless Wednesday 2

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Ink Shot Review: Diamine Anniversary Burgundy Royale @AppelboomLaren

Thanks to Appelboom for sending this set of ink!
Ink Shot Review Diamine Anniversary Burgundy Royale @AppelboomLaren 1
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Swabbed at full saturation on the Col-o-ring Ink Testing Book

ABOUT

Ink Shot Review Diamine Anniversary Burgundy Royale @AppelboomLaren 5
Color: Burgundy
Bottle: 40 ml
Price: €7.85
Where to buy: Appelboom
Appleboom Banner
Discount code: 10% off with 'friend'
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PROS

  • Very legible. 
  • Work appropriate.
  • Nice color.
  • Pretty bottle!
  • Bottle is easy to fill from.
  • Easy to clean.
  • Shades beautifully.
  • Sheen looks good, too!
  • Looks best in the full pie of eight bottles!
  • Shows some water resistance.
Ink Shot Review Diamine Anniversary Burgundy Royale @AppelboomLaren 9
Ink Shot Review Diamine Anniversary Burgundy Royale @AppelboomLaren 10

    CONS

    • A lone pie shaped bottle looks sad and funny.
    • Saturated reds can take some extra cleaning effort.

    OVERALL

    Burgundy royale! Lovely! This is the burgundy that I wanted from Montblanc's Burgundy Red - this is rich, saturated, and shades beautifully.


    I received this item/these items free of charge for the purposes of this review. I was not compensated monetarily for my review. Everything you've read here is my own opinion.

    Sunday, November 26, 2017

    Sunday Reads: November 26. 2017

    Sunday Reads


    Stuff I Looked At Elsewhere

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    Saturday, November 25, 2017

    Review: @BackPocketCo Pocket Notebooks

    Thanks to Back Pocket Notebooks for sending these notebooks for review! I've had them for awhile and toted them around so I've really gotten to know them. Let's go!

    ABOUT

    Size: 3.5" x 5.5"
    Ruling: Reticle graph
    Cover weight: 350 gsm
    Paper weight: 120 gsm
    Paper color: White
    Price: £ 12.00 for Space X | £ 8.00 for Plain Kraft
    Where to buy: Back Pocket

    PACKAGING

    Each set of three pocket notebooks is presented with a paper belly band. The belly band has some notebook information printed on it - the edition of the notebook, paper/notebook details, and/or a hashtag suggestion. It's simple and not wasteful, which I appreciate. Oh! And a sticker!!
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    APPEARANCE

    All of the notebooks I have for review are pocket sized. The Plain Kraft set has firm, plain brown kraft covers which are simple but tidy. The SpaceX set has three different colors - each is a colorful poster from particular areas on Mars and its moons: Phobos & Deimos, Valles Marineris, and Olympus Mons. They are cute, bright, clean prints that I think look great on the 350gsm cover stock.
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    All the notebooks have square corners, white paper that sits flush with the covers, staple bound spines, and they have the Back Pocket logo printed on the back. The paper is white with some visible texture and tooth. The sets here have light grey reticle grids - great for keeping your lines clean without being visually obtrusive. The inside covers of the Plain Kraft pack have the quote, "Don't wait for inspiration, inspire others," and some blank lines for your personal information. The SpaceX are neater, with details about the cover inspiration (Mars) and a list of universal constants at the back. Not likely something most people will need while scribbling a to-do list, but a fun concept nevertheless.

    They're pretty cute notebooks. The Plain Kraft design is not unique in the pocket notebook world but the SpaceX covers are interesting and fun.

    The one error in the appearance and finish is some notebooks had pages that were not perfectly aligned with the covers. Therefore, some of the pages stuck out at the edges. This is not something that is easy to fix without realigning the pages or snipping off the excess bits.
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    PERFORMANCE & FEEL

    The notebooks are pretty sturdy with the thick covers, so don't expect a super slim, floppy, squishy pocket notebook. The corners are firm and sharp and handle being carried and tossed around pretty well. Eventually, as they are pointed, the covers and sometimes the pages inside start to get a little bent and dog-eared. Even though they are not super slim or soft, they tolerate being back pocketed well. Another advantage of the stiffer covers is it makes it easy to write in the notebook itself on the go, and they open/lie flat.

    The paper is slightly toothy, so it is fun to use for pencils. Great for doodles and sketches because the lead catches on the tooth, especially softer leads. So much fun for hand lettering! It does make clean erasing a little more difficult, but totally worth it.
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    Markers are tolerated well because the paper is fairly thick - no feathering but some bleed through can occur. It's not as bad as I expected from a marker, though. Super soft tip markers feel rough because of the tooth catching the fibers. Ballpoints, gels, roller balls and liquid ink writers are also well tolerated - fun to write with, no feathering, minimal show through, and no bleed through.
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    Fountain pens, not surprisingly, are well tolerated. It is not the smoothest paper so if you have finicky nibs, the tooth might cause some skipping. I had no issues but I didn't enjoy using finer nibs. The broad, wet nibs were more pleasant to write with - at least for the type of writing experience I like.
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    Feathering was definitely minimal as was show through. Inks only bled in super saturated spots. Drying times were average around 20-30 seconds, even for wetter writers. Shading was decent, though not outstanding, particles from shimmer inks were visible, and sheen was hard to get.
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    The paper is definitely fountain pen friendly but I prefer smoother paper for fountain pens. It's rock solid and a lot of fun with pencils, which inspires me to get every pencil possible and experiment and hand letter.

    OVERALL

    The Back Pocket notebooks are a pretty robust, versatile option for pocket notebooks. They tolerate a variety of writing instruments well, with the potential issue of sharp edges, possibly misaligned paper, and toothy feedback. The special packs are pricier than the Plain Kraft ones, the SpaceX by a fair amount. These seem too expensive to write a grocery list in, but I won't judge you for what you fill your pocket notebooks with.







    I received this item/these items free of charge for the purposes of this review. I was not compensated monetarily for my review. Everything you've read here is my own opinion.

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    GourmetPens by Azizah Asgarali is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
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