I’ve been an enthusiastic user of the QV Habana ever since a kind friend in the US gifted me one. I’ve particularly fancied the smooth, white, paper and its fountain pen friendly properties. I usually use the big sized Habana as a personal journal – the size is perfect – big enough to store A5 sheets, post cards, letters and other stuff. Before using a pocket sized Leuchtturm 1917 as a travel journal I hadn’t really used these small, pocket sized, journals, but that positive experience made me see that this smaller format has its use. It’s very convenient when you’re on the go and want to jot down things in haste.
This little comparison could happen because a generous US friend gave me a pocket sized Habana – the old version – since she wanted to make sure that I’d have one of the old versions and because Karen Doherty at Exaclair kindly sent me one of the new – widely discussed – Habanas. Thank you both so much!
I’ll start with saying, straightaway, that the new Habana isn’t a bad notebook. The “only” thing that has changed is the paper – and the quality is still very good, but it is different. I’m usually quite open for changes, but in this particular case the change isn’t for the better. Yes, the paper is still of very good quality. It doesn’t bleed through more (actually less if you look at the pictures below), it doesn’t feather more. It is still a very fountain-pen-friendly paper. But it is more matte – not the same silky, smooth, surface – and it is very cream coloured. Exaclair call it ivory, but I’d almost say that it leans more towards a creamy light yellow than to white. Had it been more of an ivory/eggshell/offwhite white it had been quite OK, but this makes the writing experience for someone (like me), who are fond of her different ink colours and comparing them and seeing them on paper, a bit thwarted and less fun.
Whether one prefers a matte/silky and/or creamy/white paper is – most certainly – a highly personal matter, but for me the new paper in the Habana is a downgrade. It is a pity that it couldn’t come in two versions – one with creamy paper and one with white paper. The Habana was quite unique, with its silky, white paper, compared to the other similar notebooks on the market and I think it is a pity that there aren’t any such notebooks (with the same paper quality and overall characteristics) around anymore. This change makes me less inclined to buy a Habana since it has lost its special features. I thus hope Exaclair will come around and provide the Habana with white, silky paper as well as with ivory, matte paper. I think there is a market for both.
PS This post is also an experiment posting from my phone. The photos are SOOC, shot with and uploaded from phone and the review is also written on my phone. If you have any input on the quality on the post – photo quality etc – please make a comment! It would be most helpful.