Quo Vadis Habana Pocket Notebook

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During the summer, I won a Quo Vadis Habana Pocket notebook from Exaclair, the American distributer for some great French stationery supplies including some of my favourite papers like Rhodia, Clairefontaine, G. Lalo, and Quo Vadis.

A Quo Vadis blogger noted that this notebook had been mentioned a mystery novel, So Close the Hand of Death by J.T. Ellison. While product placement is common in movies, it seems it happens more and more in novels too. I listened to the audiobook of Stephen King’s Mr. Mercedes while travelling this summer and a Moleskin notebook showed up in it. I am not sure what I think of this trend. In one way it adds realism to the characters and setting, but it also seems like another way advertising is creeping into every area of our lives when we can’t even avoid brand names in books.

To get back to this particular notebook, it is a fairly small (4 x 6.38 inches or 10.16 x 16.21 cm), ruled notebook with a black “leather-like” cover, an elastic band closure, and a built-in ribbon bookmark. Although the notebook is made in the USA, the paper is French. I reviewed this creamy lined paper before in my blog post on Rhodia and Habana paper samples. The size of this notebook is not one I would normally choose for myself as it is a bit small for a journal but a bit fancy for just jotting down notes. It would fit well into a pocket or bag though and I like the expandable pocket in the back cover.

20171005_172038 At 162 grams it is lightweight too.

20171005_172250 Note the nicely rounded corners.

If this notebook were a person, it would be slim and elegant, taking note of others while revealing very little about themselves. You would always wonder, is this person just discreet or are they involved in espionage?

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Rhodia and Habana paper samples

Back in November, I was lucky enough to get a variety of Rhodia and Habana paper samples from Laurie at Quo Vadis. Experimenting with them was part of the inspiration to stop just being a lurker in the paper and pen world to actually starting my own blog.  

First the Rhodia paper:

Four of the samples were 80g paper, one with a grid, two lined and then the one with a distinctive dot pattern. The dot pattern would be great for anyone who loves the look of a blank page but appreciates the subtle guide that the dots provide. I have also seen it used by zentangle designers and I imagine it would be great for working out ideas for other types of patterns like quilt designs. Of the two 80g lined samples, the difference between the regular Rhodia and the Rhodia Ice is slight. The regular Rhodia has very light blue lines (like the blue dots and graph paper) with the lines on the Rhodia Ice being closer to grey.

The Rhodia “R” Premium really is in a class of its own. All the Rhodia papers are smooth but the 90g premium sample has an almost satiny feel and a lovely creamy colour.

If the Rhodia graph paper were a person, it would be a meticulous engineer wearing a button-down shirt with jeans while the Rhodia dot person would choose the obscure novelty tee shirt (sweatshop free of course) to complete their look. Any of the Rhodia lined papers would be no-nonsense note takers with an appreciation for quality. There would be something about the Rhodia Premium paper person that would give you the sense that they don’t buy their clothes on sale. These papers are for those who know how to get the job done well without obnoxiously calling attention to themselves.

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The 85g Habana paper looks and feels very deluxe with an understated ivory colour. The lines are a soft gray and if you look very closely are actually made up of tiny dots . The lines are fairly close together (5 mm) so if you have a large scrawl you will have trouble containing yourself to just one line and would probably be better off using the Rhodia “R” Premium. This lovely high quality paper is very smooth. If the Habana paper was a person it would be an elegant and sophisticated international traveler with discerning taste wearing a string of pearls and smelling faintly of Chanel No. 5.

Because I am most likely to use lined paper myself, I did my tests on the lined samples. All of them were a delight to write on with only the Sharpie showing through to the back (Sharpies bleed through all paper in my experience). The gel pen experiment should be ignored because I ran out of ink (the pen’s problem not the paper). Because all of these papers are so smooth, it takes a long time for fountain pen ink, in this case Noodler’s blue black, to dry so smudging is a problem. However, there is no bleeding or feathering and the pen just glides over the page.

smudge tests

An important factor with all Quo Vadis papers is that they make a real effort to source their paper from certified forests and to treat their employees well. I have no problem if that adds to the cost of their products.

These were great papers to test!