I can’t ignore the most popular and pretentious notebook maker, even when I’ve had extensive first-hand experience with their paper quality being generally terrible and all their products being overpriced. For one thing, I do like the format of some of their calendars—the extra small weekly calendar is perfect for keeping track of my work schedule. Plus, their notebooks are ubiquitous, and I denounce them at my own peril. Every so often I will check back in on the quality of Moleskine, to make sure my denouncements stand on experienced fact, and a brand new style of paper in the form of a dot grid notebook was the perfect opportunity to do just that.
We’ve got this attractive robin’s egg blue cover that I would describe as almost distressingly soft. The corners of the front cover want to curl up when the elastic isn’t on. Soft covers are so strange to me. What is the advantage of soft cover anyway? Are they easier to stuff in a back pocket because they fold around your buns?
All the usual features are here: braided bookmark, back pocket, elastic band (all matching in color), and the “In case of loss” section in the front, with a newer dot-based Moleskine logo (or maybe it’s supposed to evoke apps? I know I’ve seen it before, perhaps online).
A cursory glance will tell you that this dot paper doesn’t look like it does as bad with fountain pen ink as a typical Moleskine. Let’s look at typical Moleskine for reference.
Now look again at the Moleskine dots paper.
Better. But a curious pattern emerges—the best performance by far on the Moleskine dots paper comes from using the Rohrer & Klingner Scabiosa iron gall ink. Look at the difference.
Most regular inks are prone to some bleedthrough so bad you can’t use both sides of the page—not so with the Scabiosa, especially when writing in cursive. Lest we get too excited and forget what regular good paper is like, let’s look at some tests on Leuchtturm1917 paper.
Based on the evidence, I’m concluding the following:
- This Moleskine dots paper is of better quality than most Moleskine writing paper
- It’s still not as good as known fountain pen friendly paper (such as Rhodia, Clairefontaine, Leuchtturm1917, Quo Vadis, etc. etc.) but—
- Rohrer & Klingner Scabiosa iron gall ink is magical, and can be combined with the Moleskine dots paper for a fountain pen friendly experience.
I feel like this is the kind of product you can only offer a backhanded endorsement to. “I don’t always use my fountain pens in substandard notebooks, but when I do I prefer Moleskine dots (with Scabiosa ink).” It won’t give you the best performance but with the right ink the paper performs quite acceptably (of course, if you prefer using gel pens or ballpoints, this whole paper quality discussion is pretty much moot to you). This notebook is a fun spring color, and surprisingly not a complete waste of money. Good job, Moleskine!