Wednesday, August 17, 2016

INKTASTIC: GRAF VON FABER CASTELL HAZELNUT INK REVIEW

Graf von Faber-Castell makes some really nice inks. They might not be the brightest, most inspired colors, but if anything, they are well-behaved and they can be relied on.
Hazelnut brown is a fairly standard brown ink. It's quite a muted color, that definitely leans towards the red end of the spectrum, as opposed to J.Herbin Lie de Thé for example, that has a more yellow undertone to it. Montblanc Toffee Brown is roughly the same color, only it leans a bit more towards that red hue.
Hazelnut offers decent shading, as most brown inks do. MB's Toffee brown has noticeably darker shading which makes it stand out more from the base color (it also appears darker on the page because of this), GvFC's offering only ranges to a fairly dark brown, so it's not as pronounced. It doesn't do sheen, unless you count the very faint hint of brown-ish shimmer around where the ink pooled (which is barely visible with normal use)
Fairly average shading aside, I think it's the reliable performance that makes this ink worth your while. It has a balanced wetness, consistent flow. No issues with bleeding or feathering... The only downside might be that it's not water resistant, but honestly almost any ink will wash right away.
Graf inks come in a beautiful, heavy glass bottle, appropriate for an ink that comes at a premium. 25 EUR/ 30 USD per bottle is a somewhat steep price, but they do contain 75ml, which is considerably more than most other brands.

Note: La Couronne Du Comte is a sponsor of this blog. I received a discount on this purchase, so I could write this review. I was in no way influenced in the making of this review, the opinions shared here are completely my own! This review does not contain any affilate links.

WINNER ANNOUNCEMENT: SUMMER GIVEAWAYS #6

Touchdown! Summer giveaway #6  has ended! Thanks to everyone who participated! Also, big thanks to the kind people over at La Couronne du Comte, who sponsored this giveaway! 
We received 60 entries, and the winning photo, as chosen by random.org, belongs to: 

Photo #35, which came from @tgoodp! 




Congratulations Terrence! We'll get in touch, and send the prize out right away!


I'd like to conclude the Summer Giveaways (Yes, unfortunately all good things come to an end at some point) with a big thank you to my amazing sponsors that supported this giveaway, but also this site and the content on it! Also: THANK YOU dear reader, as well, for reading, for commenting, for participating. After all, this blog wouldn't mean a thing without you. If I've learned one thing from the three years of blogging, it's that this community goes much further than just collecting pens, it's about the amazing people behind those pens!

Thursday, August 11, 2016

GALEN LEATHER A5 NOTEBOOK COVER REVIEW

Galen Leather A5 Notebook cover
A few months ago I was contacted by a Turkish brand called Galen Leather, asking if I would be interested in reviewing one of their products. But I wasn't the only one they got in touch with... Those that follow me, and other bloggers, on Instagram will have definitely noticed the sudden explosion of posts featuring Galen Leather products!

Unseen marketing strategies aside (We've seen Kaweco do something similar in the past, but even that wasn't as widespread as Galen did), the product they sent me is quite impressive, definitely worth writing -yet another- review about. Even if that means I might write something that has already been covered a dozen times before by other bloggers out there.
Galen Leather A5 Notebook cover
And this isn't even everything it can hold!
The product I chose is the A5 Notebook cover. It's an all-in-one carrying portfolio that can hold an A5 notebook, an Ipad mini (not pictured because I don't have one), a pen, an extra notebook or loose sheets of paper, a phone and business/credit cards.

Summed up like this, you get the idea of how much stuff it can hold. Yet for some reason the cover handles all this with ease. It even looks good while you're at it.
I opted for the dark brown leather option, which is a nice warm color, and it has that great leather smell to it (quite strong in the beginning, but it fades over time).
Galen Leather A5 Notebook cover
I really didn't know what to expect from their products, but one of the first things you'll notice is that they do a fantastic job on their packaging. The cover comes in a really nice, hard cardboard box with the company logo printed on the lid. The notebook inside comes accompanied by an information card that denotes color, date and maker of your product, and it also comes with a glass turkish eye hanger as a gesture. The elaborate packaging alone shows just how much thought and effort went into creating their product.
Galen Leather A5 Notebook cover
Galen uses thick (about 3mm) veg-tanned cow leather. Despite the thickness (in some areas the cover is three layers thick) it's a supple piece right out of the box, and I can only imagine it becoming softer with more use. Because it's real leather, you can see the blemishes and scars the animal suffered in its' lifetime. I enjoy these imperfections because they add character to the cover. The edges of the cover are nicely burnished, and the thick stitching is tight and cleanly done. There's no doubt that this notebook is made to a very high standard. I've been using it for the last month or two and it hasn't shown the slightest sign of wear and tear. I'm sure it'll age nicely over a longer period of time.

A nice little feature about the leather is that it is vegetable-tanned, As a chemistry student I've come across the process of chrome tanning, and honestly it's not the most healthy process in the world. Seeing a more environmentally-friendly alternative being uses is always nice.
Galen Leather A5 Notebook cover
Filled up with a Leuchturm notebook, a Samsung Note 4 smartphone, business cards and a Field notes pocket notebook.
The main attraction of a notebook cover is, of course, the fact that it can carry and protect a notebook. The Galen cover can hold a variety of notebooks. They are held in place by the wide elastic band that wraps around the back of the notebook and doubles as the closure. Everything from a moleskine Large, to a Leuchturm medium notebook will fit. 

In terms of dimensions, this means every notebook between 20.5cm (8in) to 21cm (8.26in) high and between 13cm (5.11in) to 15cm (5.9in) wide will fit easily. The cover itself measures around 17 by 22.5cm, thickness obviously depends on what you carry in it, but due to the thickness of the leather itself, it's always quite bulky.
Galen Leather A5 Notebook cover
Apart from the notebook space, as mentioned earlier, it can also hold an ipad mini in the pocket behind the notebook. Of course you can decide to put other items in there, such as field notes notebooks, or loose papers. 

The front flap of the cover has a couple pockets for other pocket notebooks, a smartphone, extra pens. It also features a pen loop so you can always at least carry one pen (if you have a notebook that also has a pen loop, you can obviously carry two at the same time). There are also two slits in the front pocket, that act as card holders. This is probably the only feature I don't find particularly useful, because the cards bulge outwards due to the thickness of the leather.

The elastic closure is placed in a rather odd position, because it doubles as the notebook fixture on the inside, it sits close to the spine of the cover. Due to the placement, you have to close it by wrapping the elastic around in the other direction, over the spine. It's not necessarily a complaint, because it works absolutely fine, it just takes some getting used to in the beginning.
Galen Leather A5 Notebook cover
I must admit I didn't have high expectations at first. But I couldn't have been more wrong. What I received is a high quality, well-made notebook cover that offers loads of space to store writing essentials for on the go. The covers are available in three sizes (of which this is the medium size for medium notebooks), and are offered at a really competitive price. For a medium A5 cover like this, you'll pay 65USD. Compared to other leather covers, you get a lot of functionality for the money.

Note: This product was provided free of charge by Galen Leather, so I could write this review. I was in no way influenced in the making of this review, the opinions shared here are completely my own! This review does not contain any affilate links.
Galen Leather A5 Notebook cover