And just as the idea of living in a New Year has propelled us to change certain things in our lives, so have I thrown out something I used to really love and taken great joy in, but which has now changed for the worse: the Moleskine.
I first turned to the Moleskine about less than a decade ago, enamored with its creamy, acid-free paper that was able to take even the wettest of my fountain pens and the most watery of my inks. I have used up quite a lot!
But these past months, all my inks heave feathered and bled through the formerly-awesome Moleskine paper, and I had no choice but to abandon it completely and to look for a replacement "forever notebook." I browsed through most of FPN and Googled notebook reviews like crazy, and trooped to the local brick-and-mortar store and purchased several notebooks off the shelves for serious testing with fountain pens. It did take time, and a whole lot of reasoning with myself, done mostly on the now-bad pages of the Moleskine I was writing on at the time, but eventually, as life goes, I found something else, which completely justified my decision to switch.
Enter the Quo Vadis.
I found the Quo Vadis Habana Smooth in a local store. That same store did have the Habana as well, but the Picasso and Matisse ones, instead of the classic black ones. So since I was just going to try it out first, I opted for the Habana Smooth, in A5 size (6.25 inches wide by 9.25 inches high).
The main difference between the Habana Smooth and the Habana is that the Habana Smooth has only 96 pages, and comes in soft covers without the elastic closure, and in different colors. Each pack has two Habana Smooth notebooks. Here I have them in (L-R) Iced Coffee, Purple, Red, Raspberry, and Watermelon.
From top to bottom, it's Watermelon, Purple, Red, Raspberry, and Iced Coffee.
The pack is sealed in clear shrink-wrap, and has a band. Here is the front of the band. It says 85g, referring to the paper.
The back of the band proudly proclaims Quo Vadis's Environmental Charter, which I truly appreciate.
The front cover of the notebook is quite plain, with an embossing of the Quo Vadis logo on the lower right corner. I like the classic elegance of this design.
The back cover bears the full Quo Vadis logo on the center bottom of the cover.
The embossings are done very neatly, and for me it's one proof of a high quality product.
Upon opening the notebook, there is a small accordion pamphlet that features all the notebooks and agendas manufactured by Quo Vadis.
And now for the best part: the paper!
Here is the 85g ivory Clairefontaine paper, with the 5.5 mm ruling composed of small gray dots. I think it's very understated and elegant, because once the page gets fully written on, the lines seem to just recede a little into the background, so they no longer intrude into the vision of the reader.
Now here is the ink test. I used all the ink I had! For those inks that were not loaded into pens at the moment, I used the Brause 361, also known as the Blue Pumpkin.
Here is the back of the page I wrote on. Note that there is no bleed-through, except for when I used Noodler's Borealis Black and De Atramentis Christmas 2012, both with the Blue Pumpkin.
There is definitely some ghosting, but I didn't mind that. I actually like ghosting to some degree, because it reminds me of onion skin paper, which I also love.
The inks did not feather on the paper, except for both Noodler's Borealis Black and De Atramentis Christmas 2012, which feathered like crazy.
As you can see, the paper is very, very good. It really shows off the properties of the fountain pen ink and the nib you use it with. I like how fountain pens write, especially the shading, and I always prefer paper that shows off shading, so that people will know I didn't use just any pen. The Habana paper achieves this for me perfectly. The paper is very smooth to write on, but is not too slippery. The ivory color shows off the ink colors very well.
All in all, I am very happy with the notebook. I go through one notebook every two to three weeks, and I like having a variety of cover colors to choose from. Eventually I will be moving to the Habana with the hardcover and the elastic closure, but for now, I just want to enjoy having colors, after years of sticking with just a black Moleskine.
I also like the larger size, because I can get more writing into a page, and it's easier to skim through when I'm looking for a particular keyword, compared with smaller notebooks which I need to flip through more just to find what I'm looking for.
I'm glad I found this notebook. I have already stocked up, as you can see. And then it will be on to the Habana A5, classic black. But for now, I am really enjoying the bright colors of the Habana Smooth.
Here they are once more, in the late afternoon sun. Pretty!
I can definitely see myself using this notebook for a very long time.