I’ve been curious to try the Habana for a very long time – especially to compare it with the Rhodia web notebook (90 g paper), which is – at least paper quality wise – the most fountain pen friendly notebook I’ve tried to date (review here). So, when a friend abroad purchased a Habana for my behalf I waited even more eagerly than usual on the package. As you can see in the pic to the right above the Habana is by far a taller notebook than its competitors (from top to bottom – laid to show size differences) Moleskine, Rhodia Web notebook, Leuchtturm 1917, TeNeues Cool Notes & Habana. Some might dislike its size, but I actually like it – mainly since it makes the inner pocket so roomy. One can even stash loose A5 pages in this pocket. I like that since I often want to carry with me the letters that I’m writing on and they often are in A5/folded A4 size. So, the size pleases me.
My Habana is in brown (Quo Vadis calls it ‘Taupé’ – but it is brown) and have lined pages, but it also comes in several other colours (see here) and with blank pages, but this was the only option available, and since I was so curious about the paper I didn’t mind that it was lined even if I normally prefer blank pages. It is aligned in a good way – not too narrow or too broad. The paper is white. I had expected super-bright white according to other reviews, but it is a good, ordinary white which I like. And – the paper is totally awesome. None of the 12 ink samples below experienced bleed through. None! No feathering even with known perpetrators as Iroshizuku Syo-gun. This is more than excellent! I was in awe over this result. And – as you see below (click on image to see a larger version) many of the nibs used are real broad and wet italics. I’ve used this book for personal notes for some weeks now and the only time it has shown bleed through so far is when one draws and doodles with wet fountain pens, but even then the bleed through is very reasonable. The writing experience is also enhanced by the lovely, smooth paper. I am in love with this paper. I’ve used this book for some weeks now and the more I use it the more I love the feel when I put the pen to this paper. The only minor drawback is that this smooth, dense surface prolongs the ink’s drying time, but that I can live with.
It thus sports all the common features for the “Moleskine-style” notebooks: rubber band, pocket, comes with blank or lined sheets (80 sheets) and in regular size and pocket-size. The binding feels sturdy and – since I carry it with me all over – shows no signs of fatigue and it also lays reasonably flat – the pages aren’t easily flipping over. The cover has a nice faux leather feel, but is a little more easy to scratch than Moleskine, Leuchtturm and Cool Notes. One thing I’d love to have is some detachable sheets in the end – I like to have the opportunity to use a few sheets to letters, etc, when I don’t have a pad with me.
This is – basically – the best notebook I’ve tried so far. The webbie has been trumped by the smoothness of the paper, the different colour opportunities, size and overall feel. Now, If Quo Vadis could also make it with dots (my new addiction) it would be awesome. I have a new number one, but will not cease to look for the absolutely perfect notebook. The list over shortcomings is very short, though.