The kind folks at Pencils.com sent me a couple of samples of their Palomino Luxury Notebooks. I was excited to try these, as they looked like they were adding some interesting tweaks to the typical notebook, and because I had seen that they were being made in collaboration with the Turkish brand Fabio Ricci, one of whose notebooks I picked up in Istanbul and quite liked. The owners of Palomino seem to be following in Moleskine’s marketing footsteps by trying to create a distinctive brand identity, tying the Blackwing pencil brand to a historic legacy. But in the case of these notebooks, they are selling them more on the basis of being a higher-end, better quality notebook than the competition. From the Palomino Brands website:
“Each notebook features 160 pages of acid-free, 90 GSM paper and a hardbound cover.
Tastefully designed to combine modern technology, premium materials and traditional artisanship perfected by generations of Turkish printers and book binders, these notebooks have the look and feel of elegance that has long defined the Palomino brand.”
So let’s take a look…
The Palomino Luxury Notebook stands out at a glance because of the orange spine and the debossed motif along the edge of the front and back covers. As you can see from the comparison below, it is slightly bigger than a pocket Moleskine, though both are supposedly 3.5 x 5.5″. The cover material is slightly smoother and glossier than a Moleskine, a bit more leather-like. The notebook feels very solidly constructed and substantial and the extra details give it a feel of quality. One little thing I noticed is that although the cover is thicker than that of a Moleskine, the rounded corners of the cover are very neatly tucked in– this is something that is frequently sloppy on other brands of notebooks, where they don’t take the time to properly trim the black cover material so it will wrap tightly around the board underneath.
The only downside to the exterior appearance is that the orange spine seems to be painted on with something that starts to show hairline cracks when the cover flexes. Over time, I’m not sure if this paint would start to flake off. (But the spine does bend nicely when the notebook is opened– it seems stronger than a Moleskine spine, and less likely to start tearing at the corners.) You’ll also notice that the cover overhangs the pages by quite a bit, which is a pet peeve of mine.
Inside, there’s a space for your name and other details on the inside front cover– why the name is set apart from the other lines, I don’t know. Inside the back cover is a paper expanding pocket– it’s a bit skimpy in size, and lacks the cloth reinforcement in the sides that many other brands have.
Inside, the paper is smooth, but a bit less so than some other brands. Oddly, a few of my pens seemed to “skid” a little on the surface, not sure why, but it was mainly the fountain pens. The lines go all the way to the edge of each page. All my usual pens worked pretty well with better than average performance on bleedthrough, and about average levels of show-through.
You can buy these journals at Pencils.com or via Amazon for $12.95, the same list price as a pocket Moleskine. I think it’s a great value. Many of the “luxury” features of this notebook are design elements that may or may not appeal to your personal preferences, but there is definitely a level of quality and attention to detail here that is a cut above some of the competition. Medium size is also available, in lined or plain paper. Pencils.com also sells other Blackwing Luxury Notebooks in medium and large, with lined, plain and squared paper– the non-Palomino ones have plain black exteriors and may be preferred by some who don’t care for the orange spine.
And since I have an extra sample, here’s our exciting giveaway! I will select one lucky winner from entries received in the following ways:
On Twitter, tweet something containing “@pencilscom” and “@NotebookStories, and follow “” and “@NotebookStories.”
On your blog, post something containing the words “Palomino Luxury Notebook” and “Notebook Stories” and link back to this blog.
The deadline for entry is Friday May 31 at 11:59PM, EST. Good luck everyone!
And please remember to check my posts on Facebook and Twitter for an announcement of the winner.