Karen Doherty, the VP of Marketing at Exaclair very generously provided the notecards for this review! Thanks again, Karen! :-)
(Note: please click on any photo in this review to enlarge it. I took the intial photos under natural light, which was more true to the actual color, but after waiting around for days without any sun in sight, I took the "after" photos in natural light + light from an incandescent light bulb.)
These are "Notes Tradition" deckle-edged cards from G. Lalo. Here are the specs from the Exaclair 2008 Catalog:
• Clear cover box
• 20 fold over sheet notes and 20 lined envelopes
• Available in: White /00, blue /02, rose /05, champagne /06,
turquoise /07, grey /08, ivory /16, pistachio /03, lavender /10,
apricot /18, yellow /19
• 20 notes & envelopes 100 g Folded: 3 ½ x 5 ¼ L019/
Read more about the 400-year old Schut paper mill that makes most of the G. Lalo paper here.
These are the lavender colored notes, in the box they came in. I found the box very attractive, and I love the gold G. Lalo logo! :-) I found these notecards to be almost too pretty to use!
The back of the box.
Here's the front of a blank envelope.
Back of an envelope.
Closeup of back of envelope.
And here's the inside of the lined envelope. The lining makes the envelopes seem very refined and classy! It also made the envelope a little audibly crinkly when unfolding the top flap. The envelope itself did NOT wrinkle, but it makes a noise when you open it!
Closeup of lined envelope with embossed "G. LALO - PARIS" on the diagonal.
I found I really liked the deckled edges--it made the notecards seem more special than a "plain" straight border. The laid (Verge) finish was also really pretty--subtle, but definitely fancy.
This might be a little difficult to see in the photo, but there are vertical lines in the watermark, approximately 1 inch apart, visible when held up to the light. The paper is a nice thickness--not like heavy cardstock, but definitely substantial. And the texture is really pleasant--I had fun running my fingers over it again and again (yes, I have a problem ;-)!
But how does this paper perform with fountain pens? See for yourself!
Written on laid side:
Closeups of writing on laid side:
Reverse side (smooth side) of the writing from the laid side (yes, it looks almost blank because of the lack of showthrough ;-):
Written on smooth side:
Closeups of writing on smooth side:
Reverse of smooth side:
The inks I tried, with some comments on their performance:
• Noodler's X-Feather in an XF nib (Sensa Meridian fountain pen, chrome/iridium nib)
• Noodler's La Reine Mauve in a 0.3mm nib (Sensa Meridian, chrome/iridium nib)
• This ink feathered a little, more so on the laid side. But this ink normally feathers a bit on some papers. The purple color is even more pronounced on this lavender paper. Lovely! :-)
• Noodler's Prime of the Commons Blue-Black in a 0.3 mm nib (Sensa Meridian, chrome/iridium nib)
• This ink feathers a lot on many papers (but I still love it!). It wasn't too bad here.
• Noodler's Spirit of Bamboo in a 0.3mm nib (Sensa Meridian, gold/iridium nib)
• This ink feathers a lot on many papers, too. I think it feathered the most on this paper out of all the inks I tried.
• Noodler's Britannia's Blue Waves in a 0.3mm nib (Sensa Meridian, gold/iridium nib)
• This ink also tends to feather. It's also really dry, so I had a few problems getting it to actually play nicely on the paper.
• Noodler's Rachmaninov in a 0.3 mm nib (Sensa Meridian, chrome/iridium nib)
• This ink worked well on this paper.
• Noodler's Verdun Green in an XXXF nib (Sensa Meridian, chrome/iridium nib)
• Just the tiniest bit of feathering.
• J. Herbin's Violette Pensée in an XXXF nib (Sensa Meridian, gold/iridium nib)
• Beautiful purple color on this paper. No discernable feathering, and laid down really nicely on the paper, despite the XXXF nib.
• Pilot felt-tip marker
• Pilot Precise V5 Rolling Ball pen (O.5mm)
• RoseArt gel pen
• uni*ball Vision pen (fine)
I wrote on both the "inside" smooth surface and the "outside" laid surface. Since I use pretty fine nibs, I preferred the smooth inside surface, as it provided less feedback. However, I didn't find writing on the laid surface unpleasant, just more feedback than I personally prefer. Some of you may actually prefer this, though!
Some of my XXXF nibs didn't lay down ink quite as well on the laid side as on the smooth side, but that's probably due to their fine width. I had no problem with the wetter inks (e.g., Prime of the Commons Blue-Black). There was a little feathering from some of my inks that are notorious for feathering on lots of papers, but not enough to be bothersome (except maybe Spirit of Bamboo). It might be my imagination, but the feathering appeared slightly worse on the laid side than the smooth side.
Another wonderful feature of this paper--NO bleedthrough! I couldn't even really see any noticeable showthrough!
I didn't take a picture of it, but needless to say, the handwritten notecard inside the envelope did not betray its contents--you can't see the writing at all, even with the writing against the front side.
These are beautiful notecards that are fancy enough to make the recipient feel special, but not at all glitzy or gaudy. They have an understated elegance, which I really appreciate. And I love this color (I'm a purplophile, though)! Even though I use extremely fine nibs, I found the inner smooth surface to be pretty smooth, with just a tiny bit of texture. Even the laid surface was fairly pleasant, considering the nib size I use, though I will probably mostly use the inside smooth surface, since I personally prefer really smooth paper.
With absolutely NO bleedthrough and not even any showthrough to speak of with my fine nibs, a felt-tip marker, gel pen, etc., this paper is really remarkable. I was concerned that my colorful inks would look washed out on the lavender, but was pleasantly surprised to find this wasn't the case (and it made the purples look even richer). I look forward to using these notecards in my personal correspondence! Hmmm...to whom should I send one next.... ;-)