review: quo vadis habana & 12 inks

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.

Good things

*Smooth paper
*Non-feathering paper
*Doesn’t bleed through easily
*Size – a little taller than its competitors which is perfect to stash A5 sized things in the pocket.
*Both blank and lined pages.

Would be even better if…

*it had detachable pages in the end,
it came with dotted pages as well,
the cover surface was a little more scratch resistant,
the drying time was shorter – but not on the expense of the paper quality and feel

About dandelion

perpetually moving
This entry was posted in aurora, conway stewart, diamine, fountain pens, inks, iroshizuku, j herbin, lamy, noodler's, note book, paper, pens, pilot, reviews, rhodia, sheaffer, stipula, writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to review: quo vadis habana & 12 inks

  1. Pingback: reviews revisited: leuchtturm 1917 – ready to take off | lady dandelion

  2. Dzevad Bajraktarevic says:

    I’ve been using these notebooks for a while now and find them to be the best. Rhodia web-notebooks are great but I prefer a more white paper. Moleskine notebooks fall way behind the Quo Vadis notebooks. Their paper is almost like newsprint when compared to Clairefontaine paper.

    Clairefontaine paper is one of the reasons why Vadis is the best notebook. I also love the size which is slightly larger than A5 Moleskine (5 x 8? in archaic measurements).

    The only thing that I would improve is the line ruling would be around 5mm for many of us that write smaller. The Vadis small notebooks are of smaller line ruling (6mm?) but use a thinner paper (64g). They are still great but I would use the same paper thickness as with larger Habana Vadis notebooks.

    I also use these Habana notebooks in plain blank version for drawing, sketching etc.

    Basically, I only use Clairefontaine paper/notebooks. I include Rhodia in here as it is owned by Clairefontaine.

    Perfect for us fountain pen users.

    Off course these are also great for any other type of writing instrument but, fountain pen users really have a great product here to use for various projects.

  3. Pingback: Perhaps More than a Review: Rhodia Webnotebook Ver 3.0 « Peaceable Writer

  4. Pingback: Quo Vadis Habana Ink Test « An Inkophile’s Blog

  5. E1M7 says:

    A warning if you want to buy the Habana outside of the US: Make sure that you get the 90g paper.

    If you buy it from e.g. you will get 64g paper, even for the larger version. I didn’t pay attention and made that mistake. This paper is so thin it’s useless for me. Even just writing with an XF nib will show through very, very clearly.

    • dandelion says:

      Thank you so much for this info – I had no idea and had actually thought about ordering from this very vendor. :( Why can’t Europeans get the same great paper as the Americans?

      • E1M7 says:

        I guess we have to be grateful that we now at least can get the webbie v3 with 90g paper. Just need to hold out a little longer for the blank version.

        (I actually prefer ruled paper with subtle lines. But I find the lines in the webbie to be jarring. I can’t imagine the reasoning behind making them so strong.)

  6. Julie says:

    The Quo Vadis Habana has ruined me for all other notebooks.

  7. Stephanie says:

    This review makes me want to try a Habana, which is really the purpose of reviews isn’t it? :) Thanks for it!

  8. dandelion says:

    Thank you TAO and Sam for your kind feedback! It is really the best notebook I’ve tried so far – and I’ve tried many… :)

  9. TAO says:

    Great review. I like how you summed it up with “good/could be better” at the end. It’s sums things up nicely. Brown is kinda a boring color but one must try different things…

  10. Sam says:

    Fabulous review, and what an ink selection. Wow! I have a Habana about the place somewhere, but it’s one of those notebooks that I haven’t dared use for fear of making a mess in it. Based on your review, I guess I’m going to have to bite the bullet and get writing in it. :)

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