Ayush notebooks have been on the fountain pen scene for just a few years now. I had heard great things about them, so when I knew that I was going to be seeing Kirk from Pen Realm, I ordered some for him to bring along to our meetup. While it doesn’t look like he currently has the same notebooks that I am reviewing today, the paper should still be the same regardless of which notebook design you end up with.
When I first got my Ayush notebooks, I was disappointed. To be blunt, they look cheap and homemade. The printed lines on the paper seem like they were done on a home printer and the binding looks pretty iffy. The paper also feels like it might be a little rough and absorbent, meaning not very fountain pen friendly. Still, I’m all for giving them a fair shot, so let’s take a closer look.
Here are some details for the Ayush notebooks:
- Pages: 100 (50 sheets)
- Paper Weight: 100gsm
- Binding: Glue/Stitch, Spiral
- Page Style: Lined, Dot, Grid
- Size: A4, A5
Ink-handling characteristics (A table with the following properties can be found at the bottom of this post)
- Sheen: Low
- Shading: Medium
- Bleeding: Low
- Ghosting: Low
- Feathering: Very Low
- Dry Time: Low
- Space for date on every other page
- Decorative covers on the notebooks
Sometimes appearances can be deceiving, but in this case they weren’t. At least as far as the outward appearance goes. These notebooks are quite difficult to use. The low number of signatures and glued spine means that getting this notebook to open and lay flat is a real chore. I couldn’t do it without a major effort that included heavy creases and working up a light sweat. The cover of the notebook has a line down the spine where it is meant to fold when opened, so at least the cover doesn’t get affected much by the flattening process.
Moving inside, the appearance of the paper is just kind of cheap. The lines appear to be printed with a bad printer. On closer inspection, they are a series of tiny dots, so what looks like a bad printing job is just a design choice. Elsewhere on the page, the date section at the top and the Ayush airplane logo on the bottom change slightly from page to page. On some pages they are partly cut off. I assume the printer wasn’t very precise in trimming or binding? Either way, not a huge deal, but another check in the box for “not the highest of quality”.
So how about the paper? That’s what we’re really here for. Ayush has redeemed itself with the paper! This is some good stuff. Handles ink in any nib that you can throw at it. Feels nice to write on. Almost no ghosting. Wow!
This paper doesn’t have a lot of sheen and shows some shading. This usually comes as a tradeoff for great dry times, which is the case here. It has almost no ghosting, so using both sides of a sheet would be really easy. I didn’t see any feathering and just a tiny bit of bleedthrough, so it does handle ink really well.Just to really push this paper, I added some drops of ink to it to see if I could get it to ghost or bleed. Even with heavy ink applications of saturated inks, it didn’t soak through the paper. In fact, when I looked at the other side of the paper I could hardly tell there was a big drip on the other side. The thickness of this paper really helps with the low amount of ghosting.
First impressions aside, these are pretty decent notebooks. I feel like the paper quality is severely let down by the notebook itself. The appearance is pretty cheap and not very professional and the construction is not that great, although I don’t think you need to worry about them falling apart. If anything, they are made too sturdy with both the stitch binding and glue added for the cover. Still, if paper is your thing, you should give these notebooks a try. The paper is fantastic and, while it doesn’t show a lot of sheen, it does show some shading and handles ink very well. While I have the Ayush A5 notebooks, the spiral-bound notepads might be the perfect way to use this paper without having to deal with the mediocre notebook it comes in.
If you’d like a bit more information about how I test papers and notebooks, I wrote an article about my paper rating system.
Ayush Notebook Review
Fountain Pen Love Overall Rating
Pros: Great paper
Cons: Not a great notebook
Value Rating: 3.14 Stars, Cost per A5 sheet: $0.16
Who this notebook is for: Anyone looking for a notebook with paper that has little ghosting
Upgrade to this notebook from: A basic composition notebook
Upgrade from this notebook to: Rhodia Dot Notepad