UPDATE – These are now available via Amazon, thanks for the heads up from Lindsey below in the comments!
Back in May when I attended the National Stationery Show, I ran across these Ardium Classic Notebooks that were surprisingly big. I was quickly bummed by the idea though that the manufacturer had not found a US distributor at the time of the show because I was really hoping to get my hands on one to review. Lucky for me, Pil (Peter) Kang is one of our readers of this blog and he happens to be very thoughtful and generous as he was able to get his hands on a few of these notebooks and immediately offered to send one over to be featured on the blog with a review. So a big huge thanks goes to Peter, as well as a “thank you” package that I’m putting together to send as a token of my appreciation for making it possible to review this and share with everyone. At the time of writing this, there doesn’t appear to be anywhere in the US that is selling this, but hopefully that will change one day soon.
First things first, before you even get your hands on the Ardium Classic Notebook, you are presented with a very nice display quality box that has matching lettering and design that you will soon find on the notebook you are about to dig into.
The spine of the Ardium Classic Notebook measures 1.75″ thick and is adorned with some very intricate design work as well as the actual name of the notebook. All of this is embossed into the soft leather-like material that wraps the cover of the notebook. Each of these elements combined together make for an almost imposing, yet elegant looking notebook.
Inside the 9″ x 6.25″ brown leather-like cover of the notebook, there are 332 sheets (or 664 pages) of ivory colored paper with grey rulings that are just a shade wider than .25″. Each sheet of paper inside of the notebook measures 8.75″ x 6″ and the rulings come just short of hitting the edge or the inside crease where the pages are bound, so there is a floating margin on both the left and right side of the paper. The top and bottom lines leave approximately one inch of space before the edge of the paper. Just to give some added perspective on the size, the photograph above shows a Black n Red notebook, a Moleskine notebook, and a Rhodia notebook all stacked on top of each other. These three notebooks together are almost the same height as the Ardium Classic Notebook pictured to the left of the stack.
One more picture just to give some perspective on the size of the Ardium Classic notebook. I guess this picture could be deceptive, because if you think that is just a regular size binder clip, you might be tricked into thinking that this notebook is pretty small, but this is actually a jumbo binder clip (via Amazon) that has a mouth that opens up to just under 2.5″ wide.
If you didn’t notice in the first photo for this review, the Ardium Classic Notebook is actually so big that it has two ribbon page finders. I guess it could be easy to get lost trying to find your notes in just short of 700 pages, so this is definitely a welcome feature.
When I first cracked open the notebook, I was very hesitant to start writing in it, because a notebook like this just begs to have some very important information written in it, and with a great pen and ink combo too. I decided to break out my Levenger Illuminator True Writer fountain pen that I swapped out with a Broad nib and had inked up with some Organics Studio Walt Whitman Leaves of Grass. I really liked this ink with ivory colored paper in the past, so I thought it would be a great choice with such a big nib in this notebook. In addition to that ink and pen combo, I also tried multiple fountain pens and some other gel ink, ballpoint pens, and also a pencil and eraser just to see how this paper handles.
A closer look at the first 10 or so lines shows the performance of the broad nib with the Organics Studio ink, and unfortunately it wasn’t great. The ink which was fairly well behaved on other paper that I tested it on seems to spread a bit on this paper and feathers some as well. The other fountain pen inks that I used with smaller size nibs performed much better on the front of the page. There was no spreading or feathering and things seemed to go well, that is until you turn the page.
As you can see, each of the fountain pen inks showed through to the other side of the paper pretty noticeably. The broad nib with the Organics Studio ink was the worst offender, and as you scale down to some lighter gray ink with smaller nibs, you still see a decent amount of the ink showing through the back of the page. With that said though, the other inks actually held up pretty well. The others all wrote smoothly and with no feathering or spreading, and definitely only the most minimal of show through on the other side of the page. I was pleased with the eraser test of the HB pencil lead as well because the paper held up well to being erased. There was hardly any wear of the paper and the lead came off to a pretty respectable degree.
Ardium Classic Notebook Summary
Overall I am really pretty happy with the Ardium Classic Notebook (Available Via Amazon now). It has such a unique look and feel to it with its hulking size and elegant design that I can almost overlook the fact that its just not meant for fountain pen ink. Thanks again to Peter for being so incredibly generous and getting this sample in my hands to share with everyone. There is a thank you package on its way to you shortly on behalf of myself and all of our readers that I am sure will appreciate getting to know a little more about this notebook.