review: teNeues cool notes – tested with 18 inks

This review has been in the pipeline for a while. I had the luck of winning this teNeues cool notes notebook in one of teNeues Twitter give-aways a couple of months ago – thank you teNeues – and was very anxious to try it – as always looking for the perfect notebook. The basics for my perfect notebook is that it has blank or discreetly dotted sheets that are smooth and neither too bright white nor too creamy. A rubberband is a must – how could I otherwise keep loose sheets and envelopes and cards, that are too big for the pocket, in order? A pocket is also a must – where would I otherwise put stamps and postcards and small notes and other small, flat things that I need when I carry the notebook with me. I almost always carry my personal notebook (journal) with me. I feel odd going out without my notebook and a couple of nice pens. I also want it to be the size (roughly) of an A5 – easy to put in even a smaller bag and big enough for longer writing sessions. Optimal is a bunch of detachable sheets in the back – I’d happily see as many as 20 detachable sheets. Then I don’t have to bring along an extra pad – just in case I want to write a letter.

Above to the left is one of the backsides of the writing tests. Both looked very similar, so I chose not to publish both.

That is the basics. To be a candidate for buying  another when the first is full, it simply must handle fountain pens in (at least ) a decent way and I want it to be overall pleasant to write with. It means:

  • No – or very minor feathering with most inks
  • Not too translucent paper
  • No – or very minor bleedthrough with most inks
  • It must be possible to use even broader nibs without causing a major bleed or feathering. I love writing with all my pens and I don’t want to be confined to use fine or extra fine nibs only.
  • I also like the paper to have a nice feel to it – and what that is depends from case to case.
  • It is nice if it is possible to choose between different sleeve colours

The teNeues is equipped with a rubberband and a pocket. The paper is discreetely lined on every other page and is blank on the other. I think this is a good feature for those who like to draw in their notebooks. This kind of use, however, makes it important that the paper isn’t prone to bleed through – to be able to use it fully and flexibly.

click on photo to view it in larger size

As some might remember I find Sweden quite retarded when it comes to writing culture and most interesting brands must be bought abroad or on the web. teNeues is an exception since they are quite well represented here. They are rather expensive ~$25 bought in store, but since our stores don’t offer the opportunity to test write in different notebooks (which would be really easy) the only good real advantage of buying in-store here is that it is fast and easy and that one doesn’t have to pay shipping costs. So, I was happy to get a free opportunity to try this notebook. I simply made samples with all my currently inked pens to get a broad range of nibs and colours and my first thought after writing around half of the samples was that I was surprised that the paper was better than I had expected. I had expected something like the Moleskine, but it was definitely better – particularly in regards to feathering.

The paper is not as good as Rhodia webbie standard or Habana standard (keep your eyes open for the coming review…) but it almost equals the Leuchtturm and and is a hinch better than the Letts of London. The feathering is not excessive. It does show some moderate feathering on some inks, but in most cases the feathering is minor. Since I only write on one page the bleed through isn’t much more than an aesthetical issue – but even so massive bleed through annoys me and I prefer non-bleeding paper. The bleedthrough is not more than moderate in most cases, but it is definitely there in almost all cases (see note beside each tested ink). Not even the F/EF japanese nibs wholly avoid bleedthrough, which I consider a quite big minus.


  • Smooth and nice paper to write on.
  • Minor feathering for most nibs.
  • The not too bright and not too creamy paper
  • Aesthetically pleasing. I love the pink/orange pattern inside the cover. A nice variation of the classical theme.
  • It feels well put together


  • Too much bleedthrough with most inks,
  • A little too much feathering for real broad nibs (read: Conway Stewart Bold Italics)
  • No detachable sheets
  • Only one layout option as far as I know – the odd/lined even/blank concept. It is good, but I’d love to see notebooks with different settings: blank, dotted, graph etc, as well.
  • The paper ought to be improved – then it has the possibility to compete with the others.

In all: I like it a lot – especially the design, but it will not be on my top three before the paper has improved and there is a possibility to chose between different page options like blank and dotted and lined pages.

About dandelion

perpetually moving
This entry was posted in aurora, caran d'ache, conway stewart, diamine, fountain pens, inks, iroshizuku, j herbin, lamy, Letts of London, Leuchtturm 1917, moleskine, montblanc, montegrappa, noodler's, note book, paper, pens, photo, pilot, Pilot Bamboo, Pilot M90, Pilot Vanishing Point, private reserve, reviews, rhodia, sheaffer, stipula, teNeues, visconti, writing, yard o led and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to review: teNeues cool notes – tested with 18 inks

  1. Pingback: end-of-the-year-lists | lady dandelion

  2. Cole says:

    And I also love that you and I are pen twins! I have the same LAMY Safari in pink too and it coordinates so well to my hot pink Moleskine Volant.

    Great post + blog as per usual!
    <3 Cole

  3. Pingback: teNeues CoolNotes, a Moleskine Alternative « An Inkophile’s Blog

  4. Mona says:

    I’ve tried the Habana and it’s really good. That would be a gold standard.

    I had a Teneues unlined magnetic pocket-size journal before, it had nice off-white paper that was fairly thick-ish. Little feathering or bleeding (but I’ve used only Waterman and Parker inks with it, and ef/f/m nibs). I have one left, with a Japanese print cover, a standard size unlined journal, but I’m saving that for later because Teneues is rather pricey here in the Philippines. I haven’t encountered this particular model before, though. Thanks for the review!

    • dandelion says:

      I agree – after just a short time of use – that the habana feels close to a golden standard! Love the paper in it! teNeues is quite pricey here too and I should have mentioned that I think they are a bit too expensive with regards to the paper quality. It is cheaper for me to order a Habana from the UK than buying a teNeues here. These small magnetic note books sounds interesting – I’ll keep my eyes open for them :)

  5. dandelion says:

    Thank you! :D
    Bill, I haven’t tried ecojot, but their site looks interesting and it is always great to contribute to a better cause in some way. :) I’ll check them out!

  6. TAO says:

    Wow, those are some colorful endsheets. :)

  7. Bill Scherer says:

    Great review, Lady D.! I’ve gone all ecojot these days. Love the paper, and the binding. Great paper performance with all my pens. Have you tried one yet? (no affiliation!)

  8. Pingback: Tweets that mention review: teNeues cool notes – tested with 18 inks | lady dandelion --

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