The Holy Grail of Notebooks

I found it. The perfect notebook.

jon bunting on flickr radiant
‘Radiant’ by Jon Bunting on Flickr, used under a Creative Commons Licence

It’s the Enigma notebook by Taroko Shop. Of course, it’s sold out now. And I only bought one, damn it. But they promise there are more coming. And I will be stocking up, believe me.

Earlier in the year I reviewed the Mystique notebook by Taroko Shop. I still really like this. It’s my everyday carry notebook currently; here it is inside my Hobonichi Techo cover. where it fits perfectly.

techo.jpg

Over the last week it got rained on a lot, and although the ink ran, the paper did not buckle. I was impressed with the Mystique when I got it, and the only thing that could have made it better was to be made from Tomoe River paper. So that’s what Taroko Shop did.

The Enigma is made from 68gsm Tomoe River paper, which is thicker than the 52gsm used in a Hobonichi or the Nanami Writer/Crossfield. The cover is navy buckram, and it’s shipped in a sturdy cardboard slipcover. It’s 2cm thick, with 240 sheets (480 pages), and thread bound so it lies flat. The Enigma has exactly the same features as the Mystique – the printed metric and imperial rulers, the 2016/2017 calendar, and the handy keyword index page at the back, which I now understand how to use and it’s awesome! It’s got a 5mm dot grid, the same as the Crossfield’s cross grid.

It’s still thicker than a Nanami Seven Seas notebook, but thinner than the Mystique, due to the gorgeous thin TR paper.

thick.jpg
Taroko Enigma on left, Nanami Writer on right

The paper quality is brilliant, of course.

front page.jpg

back of page.jpg
Ignore the pink sticky notes; i had to use them to get my phone to focus on the white page.

The only pens that bled through were the black Sharpie and the Bic Mark It, which has alcohol-based ink designed to write on plastic, metal, and glass, so it basically bleeds through everything cellulose-based. Even so, you could still use the reverse of the page even if you’re writing in the Bic or the Sharpie. That’s really minimal bleeding, and so little shadowing of the other pens.

Basically the Enigma is perfect. It’s everything I’ve ever wanted. It costs US$30 to the Crossfield’s current $26, but the shipping is much cheaper, and also the Crossfield is available maybe once every five or six months. If Taroko Shop can keep up a regular supply then I will be buying only these for the rest of my days.

 

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