Friday, December 4, 2015

AMALFI LEATHER JOURNAL REVIEW

Amalfi leather journal
Unfortunately, I can't say I'm an avid notebook user. I don't keep a (daily) journal, I don't use notebooks for notetaking or sketching,... But I do like buying them (don't ask me why!). And thus, when I found this beautiful leather journal at the Scrittura Elegante stand, while wandering around at the Tilburg Pen Show, I couldn't resist throwing my money it's way!

I must admit I bought the Amalfi journal purely for the aesthetics. I didn't know anything about the paper inside, but frankly that didn't bother me at that moment.
Amalfi leather journal
The design of the Amalfi is based on journals from back in the days... back in the medieval days that is! In fact, quite recently, when I was watching Marco Polo (a Netflix series that I found rather amusing to watch), Marco used a very similar journal to jot down his ideas and findings - Quite cool -

Amalfi used an incredibly soft, supple piece of leather for this journal. It's not overly thick, perhaps I would've preferred it to be slightly thicker and sturdier, but it definitely feels solid and sturdy enough, so I guess I can't complain. It's stitched all the way around, and as far as I can see, it's manufactured very precisely and with great attention to detail.
Amalfi leather journal
The book is kept closed the old-fashioned way, with a long -reaaaaaaally long- leather lace. This leather strip is attached to the right side flap of the cover. you just close the notebook, fold the flap over, and wrap the lace around it about three times. You can then just tuck the end underneath to secure it, et voilà! you're set! I really like this old-fashioned closure, yet it's definitely not the fastest or most convenient system. I guess if you want to, you could cut off part of the lace, so you don't have to wrap it around as much, but still, it'll never be the most practical closure you can find.
Amalfi leather journal
Now for the notebook refill that comes with it... Well I'll say this up front: it's not the best paper I've ever used. Let's start with the positive aspects though: I like the design of the refill, it's not fancy or anything, but you can clearly see that the people who made it, thought it through. It doesn't have a hard spine. It's just a normal glued notebook, but instead of the thick cardboard stock that's used for the front and back, they covered the spine with thin paper. This makes the spine more flexible, which allows for the notebook to stay open and lay relatively flat, a nice little detail. The refill comes with 256 pages, and the paper is rather heavy, which is good. Yet that's where the good things end...
Amalfi leather journal
Amalfi leather journal
Montblanc inks performed noticeabky better, with less feathering and bleedthrough
Of course, us being fountain pen users, we aren't the easiest of people when it comes to choosing paper. Unfortunately, the paper the Amalfi came with, did not impress me. Right off the bat, you'll notice that the paper is quite coarse, much like the kind you'll find in a sketchbook (so perhaps it's excellent for the artists out there...). This makes for a rather interesting experience when writing in it, as it gives noticeable feedback. Unfortunately, the coarse, fibrous nature of the paper also results in quite noticeable feathering, and some bleedthrough.
Amalfi leather journal
Mostly showthrough on the other side, but also some occasional bleedthrough
The amount of feathering depends strongly on the ink used, some inks feather like crazy, others give almost no issues (In general, I found Montblanc inks to perform the best). Strange enough, the performance of the paper didn't depend on the kind of pen I used. Some very wet nibs, even my Pilot Parallell pen, gave almost no issues, while other very fine and dry nibs would feather and bleed. Putting it all in perspective, I recently bought a couple of Leuchturm notebooks (review coming soon), and performance is noticeably better.
Amalfi leather journal
Amalfi leather journal
That being said, you can just swap the refill out for something else if you want. I tried to put the Leuchturm A5 notebook in here, which worked perfectly, yet I'd suggest cutting off the elastic if you're sure about using it in the Amalfi cover, as the elastic band adds quite a bit of annoying bulk.

So yeah, overall I quite like this notebook. The leather cover is really neat, nicely finished and classy. The stock refill that came with it isn't great, but the universal size of the cover makes it possible to put a variety of your favourite notebooks in it, which solves the only real issue I could find.
Amalfi leather journal
Amalfi leather journal
Pencil and rollerball work just fine
The price on one of these is a rather acceptable 65 EUR. It's a bit steep compared to say, a Midori traveller, but it's also a bit more unique (and it'll most likely fit more notebooks as the dimensions are more common). if you just buy it for the cover, and don't care about the included notebook, I'd say it's worth the cost, since it's such a nice quality leather product!

Note: Scrittura Elegante Supports this blog. I received this product at a discount, 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.
Amalfi leather journal

3 comments:

  1. This is a helpful review Dries. Beautifully done. I know you didn't use it for long, but do you have an idea what resistance to staining is concerned?
    Regards,
    Steven

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    Replies
    1. Hi Steven, after using it for about two months now, it still hasn't darkened or stained at all. I tried to put some leather wax on it (which usually darkens the leather), but it remained virtually the same shade of brown. I hope that helps!

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    2. Thanks for the info Dries. Glad the finish isn't as fragile as it looks. I think I'll get one. If not for me, then for my daughter.
      Steven.

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