Combined: Blank Habana and Pelikan M400

This combination must be the personal “grail” that they talk about in the pen world: a large BLANK (!) Habana notebook by Quo Vadis, and a Pelikan M400 in (limited edition) white tortoise, with a fine flexible nib.

The Pelikan fountain pen was a joint graduation gift from four of my aunts. I don’t come from a family with a lot of disposable income, so this was a big gesture for all of them to purchase together. And when I came home from my graduation luncheon, I had a package with a large blank Habana notebook waiting for me– which I’m going to call a freebie graduation gift from the ever-generous Karen Doherty at Exaclair.

Now, before I start the, ahem, Very Official Review, I’ll give you my totally unprofessional, 100% emotional reaction:

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I actually love this combination more than words can express. Okay, that’s not totally true– I’m an English major, and I do have the words to express. For example:

The large blank Habana has all the qualities that moleskine-lovers love about moleskine– a streamlined and elegant design, opens flat for writing, includes a ribbon bookmark and handy pocket inside the back cover– except for one small thing: the Habana notebook is far superior.

Here’s why:

  • The paper in the Habana is 90g “Clairefontaine” paper. (I’m not sure why “Clairefontaine” is in quotes on the label, but I think they’re just making sure we know what kind of paper is inside). It’s responsive to fountain pens and refuses to allow bleedthrough. There is some show-through, but not enough to bother me (which is saying something– usually I’m a stickler about show-through). Compare this to– well, we all know how moleskine responds to fountain pens…
  • Clairefontaine makes their own paper, which is SO rare in a globalized world. This cuts down on exploitation (both environmentally and in terms of human labor). They have an amazing documentation of their paper process: made from from sustainably managed forests (certified by PEFC), they don’t use any bleach, and they compost their factory waste? Holy crap. On the other hand, basically no one knows where moleskine paper comes from… although they have started a new line of “earth-friendly” products (a phrase that I don’t trust at all).
  • The large Habana notebook is definitely larger than the regular size moleskine– in a good way! When I used moleskine notebooks, I remember my hands would begin to cramp about halfway through, and I had to abandon any chance of good handwriting. The large Habana is definitely still slim and compact, but large enough for an artist who likes to draw and design in her notebooks.
  • The blank pages are a new thing for the Habana notebook. This was the one reason why I never purchased a Habana notebook before– because I need some blank pages to draw! And now– well, now they’re seductively blank…
  • Did I mention that it opens flat? Or has a pretty sexy color scheme? And a handy pocket? And a ribbon bookmark? Alright, I’ll just let the pictures talk from here.

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5 Responses to “Combined: Blank Habana and Pelikan M400”


  1. 1 TAO May 25, 2010 at 4:45 pm

    I have a black Habana and agree with what you said about the quality. I do love the funky color of the one here a lot!

  2. 2 Brian Goulet May 28, 2010 at 9:49 pm

    Great review! I agree with you….I’ve tried a lot of journals and the Habana is the one I go to for my personal use. I love the larger size, and it opens flat better than anything I’ve used before. The paper is also incredible! All around fantastic journal.

  3. 3 Damon Young May 28, 2010 at 10:16 pm

    I enjoyed your enthusiasm and clarity – thank you.

    You might like my Habana review here: http://damon-young.blogspot.com/2009/11/our-man-in-habana.html

    (Again, that fine Habana/Pelikan combination.)


  1. 1 Pelikan Fountain Pen – Intro To Pelikan Pens Trackback on June 2, 2010 at 4:18 am
  2. 2 Top Posts of 2010 « The Orchard Trackback on December 31, 2010 at 4:28 pm

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