Kiki James, based in England is a manufacturer of luxury leather goods, including some very nice journals and other unique office supplies. I was thrilled when they reached out to me and asked if I would like to review one of their journals, so upon my agreement, they sent over this medium size (8 1/2″ x 6″) British racing green leather Tuscan wrap journal.
First impressions always leave a lasting impact, and I’m always impressed when companies put as much thought and quality into their packaging as they do their actual products. With the Kiki James Tuscan wrap journal, I knew I was in for something nice when I saw their solidly constructed and elegantly designed box, so I was excited to crack it open and check out what was inside.
Inside the box was the Tuscan wrap journal neatly wrapped in tissue paper and surrounded by some cushioning to ensure a safe trip from England to The States. From the moment I opened the box, the strong and familiar scent of fine leather filled the room, yet another subtle indication of the quality of the Kiki James London product. Besides the elegant packaging and nice deep smell of leather, the dark green color of the journal added to its overall pleasing and professional appearance.
One thing I like about high-end journals and notebooks like this is that they usually have very minimal if any at all branding or writing on them, and the Kiki James Tuscan wrap journal is no exception. It has a small unobtrusive stamp on the back, impressed in the leather with the manufacturer’s name, and a reminder that it was handmade in England.
The closure on this journal is a long thin leather strap that wraps twice around the body of the journal and tucks under itself to hold the flap securely closed, and protect the edges of the paper. Inside the smooth soft cover of the leather journal you will find 144 pages of an ivory colored paper stock that has a nice thick feel to it. The paper in this version is unlined, and it does not seem to have any glossy kind of finish to it, its more of a raw or rough finish, but very nice either way. It is important to note that in this version of their journal, the paper is permanently attached to the inside cover, so you can’t swap out the paper and have a new journal with the old cover.
I struggled with actually putting any writing in this journal because it was just so nice and I didn’t feel as if I had anything important enough to write in such an awesome journal, but I broke down and did it so I could provide a qualified opinion on the writing experience. Using my Lamy Studio with an EF nib, and Noodler’s Blue Black ink, I jotted down what you see in the photo above. The pen wrote very nicely on this paper, it moved over the surface very smoothly and there was little to no feathering, no bleed through, and only very minor show through on the other side of the page. The ink also seems to have dried very quickly as I wrote, I didnt do my usual smear tests, but you could see from eyeballing it, that there was not much of a wet look to the ink on the paper after only a few seconds of having written text. Anyone who wants to use this journal with a fountain pen should have confidence that it should work well, although if you have a bold or wider nib and are using an ink thats known to be heavy, you could have a different experience.
These journals come in multiple colors, with either lined or unlined paper, and in addition to this medium-sized version, they can also be had in a small and large size, so be sure to check out all of the Kiki James leather journals. They would make great gits (for you OR for someone else 😉 ) and can also be personalized with a name or custom message in the leather. The quality construction and materials that make up this journal leave me thinking that this would be a gift that would be cherished by anyone who likes to write or sketch, or who just appreciates a good notebook or high quality personal accessories.
Because I feel like this journal deserves a good home with someone who will fill it with important information, Im going to be doing a giveaway shortly to one lucky reader. You will have to deal with my one page of writing in the front, but I think thats a minor price to pay for this extremely high quality product from Kiki James. Look for the giveaway post later this weekend, but in the mean time, I highly recommend checking out the other items that Kiki James London has to offer. If this Tuscan wrap journal is an indication of the quality that you find in all of their products, you will be the hit of the holiday gift giving season this year with a quick stop at their site.
Update 11/07/09 – There was a request in the comments for some close up views of the spine, which I probably should have included to begin with, so here they are:
One of the binding with the journal closed:
One with the binding of the journal while opened: