Paper is one of those thing that many people don’t find very exciting. In the world of fountain pens, pens and inks usually make the headlines and get all of the press. It takes a lot for a new paper to get people excited. Recently though, a paper that many people hadn’t heard of before started getting a lot of attention. That paper? Cosmo Air Light from Yamamoto Paper.
Yamamoto recently released a paper sample pack that includes a variety of their papers, including Cosmo Air Light. Many people picked this sampler up at pen shows and pen shops and tried out the papers. The one that really stood out to everyone was Cosmo Air Light. Let’s take a look at it and see why.
The first thing that you should know about Cosmo Air Light is that, as far as I know, it is currently only available as individual sheets. A lot of people have been asking for someone to create a notebook with this paper, so I wouldn’t be surprised if one came out soon. As it is, though, if you order some Cosmo Air Light you’ll get a pack of 50 A4 sheets, similar to what you’d expect if you ordered a pack of Tomoe River paper. The only labeling on the plastic package is a sticker that is mostly in Japanese.My first experience with Cosmo Air Light was at the San Francisco Pen Show a few years back. Yamamoto had a table set up and were selling samples of their paper. I was able to try quite a few varieties and loved Cosmo Air Light the first time I wrote on it. I bought a small pack of paper and enjoyed occasionally using it. Just recently I learned that it was available in the Yamamoto Etsy shop! One thing that I found interesting is the original paper that I used and purchased was 92gsm. The current paper is 75gsm. Upon removing a sheet from the package, you’ll probably notice that the paper has a particular texture. It’s not a writing texture, but more of a touch texture. It is smooth, but a little grippy, similar to the KBU2 paper that is found in Yoseka Stationery notebooks. The paper is unlined and white.
Here’s a closer look at some of the details for Cosmo Air Light:
- Sheets: 50
- Paper Weight: 75gsm
- Binding: Loose Leaf
- Page Style: Blank
- Size: A4
Ink-handling characteristics (A table with the following properties can be found at the bottom of this post)
- Sheen: High
- Shading: Very High
- Bleeding: Very Low
- Ghosting: Average
- Feathering: Very Low
- Dry Time: Very High
As I have already mentioned, the first thing you’ll probably notice about this paper is the texture. It has a specific tactile feel to it and that translates into the writing experience as well. You’re probably used to most papers, especially Japanese papers, being silky smooth to write on. Cosmo Air Light offers up a bit of resistance, but not in the form of feedback like you get from Midori MD. It has a bit of smooth drag, kind of like writing on a dry-erase board. It’s a very similar writing experience to a Yoseka notebook or Mnemosyne. I know that not everyone is going to like it, but I’m sure that it won’t bother most people.Now, how does it handle ink? The short answer: beautifully! It shows great amounts of sheen and has some of the best shading you could ask for. Colors pop on the page and look amazing. This is what I would consider a high-contrast paper. I saw no feathering or bleed through in my tests. Ghosting is average, but most people should have no problem using both sides of a sheet. As would be expected with paper with high sheen and shading, dry times are also very high.
Compared To Tomoe River
A lot of people have been saying that this paper could be the next Tomoe River (TR). Some have even suggested that this could replace TR as the fountain-pen-community-paper-of-choice if the new manufacturing process changes TR for the worse. I personally don’t think that they are similar. Sure, they both have great sheen, shading, long dry times and handle ink very well, but there are lots of papers like that on the market today. Most of those papers are only available in notebooks, so maybe the similarity is that both Cosmo Air Light and Tomoe River are available in A4 sheets? Still, the writing experience and overall look of ink once it dries make these two very different papers in my opinion. TR is very smooth to write on while Cosmo Air Light offers some resistance. Cosmo Air Light gives ink a high-contrast look while TR does not. Still, I would not be sad to see more widespread use of Cosmo Air Light and think that it and Tomoe River can happily coexist.
It should be very telling that out of all of the papers in the Yamamoto paper sampler, Cosmo Air Light is the one that everyone gravitated to. It is a fantastic and unique paper that is different from what many people may have experienced before. While the texture and dry times may not appeal to everyone, there is no doubt that it does an exceptional job handling ink and makes any fountain pen ink look wonderful. While it is currently difficult to obtain due to global shipping restrictions, I think you’ll find it worth the wait. If you can’t wait, I do have it available to sample in my paper sample packs.
If you’d like a bit more information about how I test papers and notebooks, I wrote an article about my paper rating system.
Yamamoto Cosmo Air Light
- Sheen (higher is better)
- Shading (higher is better)
- Bleeding (higher is better)
- Ghosting (higher is better)
- Feathering (higher is better)
- Dry Time (higher is better)
Fountain Pen Love Overall Rating
Pros: Amazing shading, handles ink very well, makes ink pop
Cons: Texture may not appeal to everyone, not available in notebooks, currently difficult to obtain
Value Rating: 3.71 Stars, Cost per A5 sheet: $0.14
Who this paper is for: People who want their inks to look the best that they can look
Upgrade to this paper from: Maruman Mnemosyne
Upgrade from this paper to: Graphilo