Leatherkind Cortona Journal | Paper Review


Like all good pen people, I love me a good journal. And I’ve actually been on the lookout for my next journal. I’m nearly finished with my Nanami Paper Seven Seas Writer and need something new to journal in. I’ve also been looking for something a bit…classier than the standard A5-sized notebooks that are out there–something that would feel like the kind of heirloom journal you’d want to keep on the shelf in a fancy library.

That’s why I was excited when Central Crafts, a UK-based retailer of customized paper goods and gifts, reached out to me and offered a journal of my choice from their wide selection to review. I went with the Italian-made Leatherkind Cortona. (Of note, in the video, I regularly say Cortana instead of Cortona…I do live in the land of Microsoft after all, and the name is just too similar to the Windows 10 / Windows Phone digital assistant for me not to mess it up.) It comes in several sizes and colorways, and I opted for the Large (which is closest to A5 size) in navy blue with a caramel-colored piping around the edges.

The journal is beautifully made. It’s made of high-quality, top-grain leather, and is extremely well-constructed. The leather can be customized/embossed, as they did with my initials on this notebook. The binding of the paper portion of the notebook appears to be glue-bound.  I find this a bit disappointing on a notebook that looks this good, but it’s still solid and lays mostly flat. Over time, I suspect the spine will break in a bit more and the notebook will be a lie-flat book to make for easier writing.

The book is filled with a lovely cream-colored paper, which comes lined. There are no page numbers, nor any sort of included bookmark ribbon. (I would have loved for this to come with a ribbon.) The rule is your standard 7mm ruling, which I find perfect for my writing style. The paper is thick and has a nice, pleasant texture. It’s not the super-smooth coated paper of Rhodia or Clairefontaine, but it has a nice, almost parchment-like friction to it.

My only letdown with this notebook is that the paper isn’t terribly friendly to fountain pens. Fine nibs and drier medium nibs do okay, but if you like broader or wetter nibs, you’re probably going to have problems with bleeding and feathering on this paper. Check out some of the photos in the gallery below for examples of what I mean.

This notebook retails at Central Crafts for 29£ (In the video, I incorrectly stated 29€ ), which at the time of writing was just over $39 USD. The construction quality of this notebook is such that I would be happy paying that price…if only the paper were a better fit for my love of fountain pens. As it is, I think I’m going to use this as a part scrapbook, part commonplace book. I’ll have to stick to fine-nibbed pens and rollerballs, but the quality of the notebook is so high that I can’t not use it. I just don’t think it will be my choice for longer journal entry writing, as I like to be able to grab any of my pens and not have to worry about whether or not the ink will bleed through.

This notebook was provided free of charge by Central Crafts at http://centralcrafts.co.uk in exchange for an honest review. No additional compensation was provided. All opinions expressed herein are my own.