If you write a lot of letters and want some of the finest paper available for fountain pens, you need to try out some Life L Writing Paper. Out of all of the papers I’ve ever tested, this one has performed the best and has the highest rating. That’s impressive, considering I’ve tested over 50 fountain pen friendly papers! What’s so special about it? That’s what we’re going to find out today.
The pads of Life L Writing Paper (from now on in this review, I’ll just call it Life L) make a great first impression. First off, there’s the beautifully decorative cover. Just seeing it should be enough to get you excited to write on it. Being B5-sized, the pad is also larger than many other pads of writing paper, so it seems more substantial than an A5 pad of paper.
Once you get past the cover, the paper stands ready and waiting. The paper is white, but not a bright white. It has soft grey lines and a margin running around the page. Compared to something like Clairefontaine Triomphe or Rhodia that has lines running across the entire sheet, the Life L seems more classy to me.
Here’s some detailed info about the Life L Writing Paper
- Pages: 70
- Paper Weight: 90gsm?
- Binding: Glue (pad)
- Page Style: Lined, 10mm spacing
- Size: B5
Ink-handling characteristics (A table with the following properties can be found at the bottom of this post)
- Sheen: Very High
- Shading: Very High
- Bleeding: Very Low
- Ghosting: Low
- Feathering: Very Low
- Dry Time: High
- Lovely, decorative cover
- Available in a very decorative A5 size
- Also available in vertical ruling
As far as I know, this paper does not come in notebooks and is only available as a notepad. The paper tears off of the pad very easily. The glue used on these pads is neither soft like the Clairefontaine Triomphe or stiff like on G. Lalo Vergé de France pads. It’s more like the Goldilocks of glues and is just right.
The glue may be just right, but how about how this paper handles inks? I already mentioned that this paper has the highest rating out of any papers I’ve tested, but what does that actually mean? Well, it’s basically about the best it can be for everything that matters besides dry time, which is still faster than some premium papers. Does this mean that writing on it is going to be a life-changing experience? Not really. It’s not that it is the best paper ever made and everything else pales in comparison, it just does everything very well. Writing on it is very smooth, but not slick like some premium papers. There is just the slightest hint of feedback to let you know you’re in control.
Where this paper really shines is how it makes your ink look. Compared to other writing papers like Clairefontaine Triomphe, G. Lalo Vergé de France and even Rhodia, Life L has significantly more sheen and shading. Compared to Tomoe River, which can also be used for writing letters, Life L has the same amount of sheen with better shading and faster dry times. Like I said, it’s the highest performing paper I’ve tested.
I mentioned that this paper is also available in an A5-sized pad. While the paper quality is exactly the same, the A5 pad has decorations on it that will make your letters much fancier. The cover is also quite attractive. Both the A5 and B5 versions come in horizontal and vertical lined options.
So is there anything not to like about this paper? Well, not much. Dry times could always be better, but that’s the price you pay for excellent performance in other areas. If I had to be picky, I’d say that there is a significant amount of ink resist on the lines, meaning that ink “breaks” across the line and doesn’t cover it up, but that’s about it. It could always be cheaper, but isn’t that the case for anything? One thing to note about the B5 pads is that, unless you plan to fold your letter into quarters, you’ll need larger envelopes than you use for A5 paper, so I suppose that’s a bit of a negative as well.
If you’re into writing letters, you need to try some Life L Writing Paper. Not only does it handle ink very well and look classy on its own, but it also makes your ink look fantastic. Personally, I get excited every time I pull out the pad of paper and sit down to write a letter. Seeing the cover just reminds me of what a fantastic paper this is and makes me want to write to someone. I hope you have the same experience when you try it out. Enjoy!
If you’d like a bit more information about how I test papers and notebooks, I wrote an article about my paper rating system.
Fountain Pen Love Overall Rating
Pros: Some of the best-performing paper you can use with your fountain pen
Cons: Longer dry times, more expensive than ordinary paper
Value Rating: 4.0 Stars, Cost per B5 sheet: $0.17
Who this paper is for: Anyone who writes letters and wants their ink to look the best it possibly can.