|Vegetable tanned Portuguese leather, workmanship, woven wool pockets
|Robust and heavy, interior notebook slim on writing usability
This is a serious leather journal. After exploring the website, we learnt that the design team at Noise Goods work with old-school leather craftsmen in Portugal, who craft their vegetable tanned cow hides. This process takes longer, but uses no chemicals (like chromium) in the process. Instead of having that wonderful “leather” smell we all know, it has more of a subtle smell like eucalyptus tree, which is a pleasure on the nose.
After unwrapping we were instantly captivated by the woven wool pockets inside, and the way they work together with the journal’s leather. This leather/wool combination seems to be uniform amongst the entire Noise Goods product range. When I picked up this A5 notebook the first thing we noticed was the weight. The leather used in this journal is around 50% thicker than that used in other journals we’ve reviewed. The workmanship on the stitching is remarkable, flawless, and gave a robust feeling of quality.
The features of this leather journal include a leather sleeve on the inside cover, two wool pockets, and a pencil holder. The Included “Um Barra Um” notebook was quite artistic with its vibrant printed designs and hand stitched paper.
1 Week Review
The weight of this product and its thick leather becomes noticeable when carried around all day, especially compared with other journals we reviewed.
The thick leather is coated to make it quite hard, so it doesn’t easily mark like other wholegrain leather. This preserves the ‘new look’ but may take longer to develop the ‘character’ most users love.
We also noticed the leather was brittle and didn’t soften much over the week of use.
The waitresses at our local café stopped to admire this leather journal (they ask about them every day) and commented on the uniqueness of the wool pockets. These pockets are perfect for safely storing business cards and receipts, but you won’t be able to preview or see what’s in there without pulling it out. The leather sleeve behind them is sturdy and good for keeping folded documents safe.
Whilst it’s a welcome feature, We’ve never been a huge fan of the pen/pencil holder being located along the spine of a journal. We feel that’s where the spine of the notebook should open from, not to mention you have to open the journal to check if you’ve packed your pen or forgotten it.
The included notebook isn’t lined and is devoid of any ‘writing-friendly’ features, so it’s open for more creative types and not power writers.
This is a sturdy and well-made leather journal, which is a pleasure to carry around and be seen with. It oozes quality and charm, and should last for decades to come. The vegetable tanned leather process is a bonus over standard chemically tanned products. We recommend this product to anyone wanting a serious leather journal with the benefit of useable features.
Final Note: The ‘Um Barra Um’ Portuguese company that makes the interior notebooks that come with this journal have a wide range of printed designs (pictured). We believe they are soon releasing these in lined and dotted versions in the near future. These are available from www.umbarraum.com for 6.00 Euros each.