Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Review: Monsieur Notebook

Hooray for free stuff, Dear Reader! Today I received my eagerly anticipated Monsieur Notebook for review.

It is the A6 (11 x 14.5cm) plain notebook in black. 192 pages.

In one word: fairlyfuckingawesome!

However, let's take a closer look inside...

First impression on breaking open the plastic wrap: the smell of leather.

Rather than an oilskin or faux-leather cover, it's the real thing. However, mine had a number of imperfections and abrasions which slightly detracted from the total awesomeness of the product, but I think it will be fine after some treatment with dubbin or the like.

Next impression, it is slightly wider than my usual notebook and fractionally longer.

Monsieur Notebook underneath
Fits into my jacket pocket but a bit snug. Also fits into rear pocket of pants readily enough but top sticks out a bit (same with other notebook) so probably not all that recommended. 

At 192 pages, it packs a bit of heft. There is an elastic(ish) band to keep the book closed when not in use.

It has depth
The pages also are slightly thicker than my current notebook, at 90gsm, and are a creamy slightly off-white. 'Ivory' apparently.  Acid-free too, I believe.

The innards
I haven't put pen to paper to test how various inks/nibs perform. I suspect it will hold up admirably, given the thicker paper, and not be a disappointment. Sadly, this review copy is unlined so I probably won't be using it. In fact, I will probably be giving it away to some lucky reader at some point.

So you better keep an eye out.

Anyway, here is my quick and dirty rundown.

The Good

  • Leather cover. Smells great, durable, and gains 'character' over time.
  • Paper. At 90gsm it is thicker than the standard paper found in other notebooks. And there are options for even thicker papers for fountain-pen users or for painting. 
The Bad
  • No Reporter-Style. Well, this is my preferred style of notebook for investigatory uses so I am a little disappointed for sure. However, it won't stop me buying them for other uses.
The Indifferent
  • The dimensions. Slightly larger than the 'standard' (ie Moleskine) sizing. Not really an issue, as still fits into a jacket pocket neatly enough.
  • No page numbering. Well, this is just another one of my preferences, most notebooks don't have them (the Leuctturm does). However, I understand that page numbering might be an option in some Monsieur Notebooks in the future.
The final verdict?

Even at the lack of a reporter-style notebook I give this an absolute unabashed A+ (and not even because they are the first people to offer me anything for review). It is everything the Moleskine should be, but isn't.

I heartily recommend you visit their indiegogo site if you have no local stockists and place an order or two. 

Put it this way, I'm going to be ordering a few as soon as my next client pays me. And if I ever scored a massive payday, I would certainly consider ordering some to my specifications (ie reporter-style, lined, with page numbers) and I'd never use another product ever again.


  1. Oddly enough I can see a lot of marketing sorts needing things just like this to jot down the various ideas and rubbish that clients (like me) through at them when we're doing concepts.

    Fuck, I sounded like a right plonker typing that...

  2. You could always use them when in the field for drawing 'mud maps' etc :)

  3. I've ordered some ruled notebooks and can't wait for their arrival!

    Soon I can be that pretentious turtle-necked wanker in the cafe, sipping his chai latte, stroking his soul patch, scribbling inanities in his (admittedly) awesome notebook while dreaming of being the next Hemingway or Kerouac.