Thursday, July 12, 2012

Oh, we’re halfway there- Woah, livin’ on a Prera

You have no idea how long I’ve waited to actually get one of these pens, JUST so I could review it and use that title. Yeah, I’m totally lame.

But that’s beside the point! It’s a pen review! Woohoo!

Truthfully, this really is a pen I’ve had my eye on for a long time, but I’d always hesitated to take the plunge. When it comes to fountain pens, I’m generally of the opinion that wetter/broader is better. Having recently tinkered with many of my own nibs, I was lacking pens that would play well with crappy paper. In other words, I needed a more narrow, drier nib, but I didn’t want to sacrifice a smooth ride. Luckily for me, the Pilot Prera delivers.


This is a nice pen. It’s small and light, but it doesn’t feel totally cheap. If a TWSBI 540 were a tank, this would be Toyota of some sort, but that doesn’t mean it can’t hold its own. It feels cheaper or less sturdy than other pens of the same price point (around $55 US), but feels well made enough that I don’t think it needs special care. The lid snaps shut with a very satisfying click, and the clip seems solid. The supplied converter (hooray for that!!!) looks to have a miniscule capacity, so I just refilled an empty cart I had for my Pilot Plumix.

The nib:

It’s a “Medium” by Japanese/Asian standards, which means it’s more like a Western “Fine”… It’s also darn smooth for such a fine nib. It doesn’t disappoint, and I’m so very glad. It’s wet enough to let shading inks do their thing, but not so much that I would call it a “firehose.” I think that this pens manages to successfully walk the tight rope between crap-paper friendly and smooth-nib approved. Of course, we all know much of that depends on other factors, like the ink.

Comparing nib sizes, this is probably the finest one in my stable, save perhaps for an Esterbrook 9556 that’s scratchy.


It’s small, but not to the point of being impractical. Think of the typical “oh it’s so cute and little” appeal, but without losing function. It’s very lightweight, and I think it would make a good purse pen, or planner pen. I like that this is not a thin pen, which one often finds with smaller offerings. Kudos to Pilot for keeping a practical circumference. In the photos, I’ve placed it next to a Pilot Varsity and a Lamy Safari for comparison.

Extra shots:

Verdict and final words:

If this pen serves me well in the long run, I’d really like to get some of the solid color models, which I actually prefer the look of. If you want a cute, narrow nibbed but nice pen, consider this one.

This pen came from Amazon (via Marketfair Stationery, aka Goldspot Pens). The shipping was slow due to an “inventory discrepancy”… but in the end it got here, so I can’t whinge too much.

Lastly, the procurement of this pen was due to a birthday gift card, from a very special friend. Gratitude and thanks to her, I totally love it!!!

Edited to add- Nib comparison to Pilot Petit1 Fine:

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


One of the most unfortunate tragedies to befall The Poor Connoisseurs happened May 4, 2012.

After a valiant battle with a cancerous tumor in the most private of places, we had to say ‘goodbye for now’ to our beloved Franklin Delano Roosevelt Williams.

He was absolutely the most human dog we’ve ever known. Moody and smart, talkative and intuitive, he will be missed with every bit of gravity which that word can imply. We were blessed with his company for just shy of 10 years, and if there could’ve been 10 more, it still would not have been long enough.

We love you, Frankie. We always will.


Rest in peace our sweet Bubba boy. We’ll meet again.

May 11th, 2002 – May 4th, 2012.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Pen and Ink–A photo diary

So I have been away, getting educated… and neglected this.

I’m going to do one of those sloppy, full of pictures updates, just to catch up. I may or may not review anything pictured.

Diamine Apple Glory, Diamine Meadow, and Rohrer + Klinger Alt-Goldgrun:

Lamy Safari love (including the 2012 Apple Green LE):

Diamine Amazing Amethyst:

My 10th Anniversary gift from Nick, a Waterman 52 1/2 Fountain pen and pencil set in Red Ripple!:

Best notebook find ever:

Pilot Iroshizuku Kosumosu:

The search for the perfect Tiffany “Little Blue Box” color. (Diamine Soft Mint, my own 1:1-ish mix of J. Herbin Vert Reseda and Private Reserve Daphne Blue, De Atramentis Pigeon Blue, and Diamine Steel Blue.):


Battle of the light greens. (Herbin Vert Pre, R+K Alt-Goldgrun, Iroshi Chiku-rin, Diamine Light Green, Kelly Green, and Meadow.):

That about sums it up for now… Stay tuned. The summer break might just cause me to do some updating!

Many inky returns,


Thursday, January 26, 2012

Illusione Epernay L'Alpiniste

Cigar: Illusione Epernay L'Alpiniste

Size: 6 3/4 x 56 box press Torpedo

Wrapper: Cafe Rosado

Binder: Nicaragua

Filler: Nicaragua

Strength: Medium

Price: $7.00

I have only smoked one other Illusione brand cigar and I was not overly impressed, so I was somewhat hesitant about purchasing another one of their products. That being said, the fact that the Epernay placed in the top 25 cigars of 2011 as rated by Cigar Aficionado, along with the suggestion that I should give their brand another shot, led me to try the Epernay L'Alpiniste. I must also say that I am a huge fan of the torpedo and box pressed styles, so the fact that the L'Alpiniste was of that configuration may have played a role in my selection. In any case I am extremely happy that I gave this brand a second chance. The Epernay is a fairly hefty cigar measuring in at six and three quarters inches with a ring gauge of 56. The construction was impeccable, with a very nice even color and no large veins or any other blemishes that I could see. The burn was fairly even throughout the entire smoke, with the ash being a darker gray and firm, yet easily tapped off. The smoke was of normal color and consistency. This was an extremely delicious cigar. It was spicy upon lighting, but quickly mellowed out into very nice black tea and leather flavors. Floral notes crept in near the middle of the cigar. The thing that really put this cigar over the top for me was the lusciousness of it. It was extremely velvety and creamy throughout the entire smoking session, a factor that made the Epernay a joy to smoke. I smoked this cigar down to the nub, and I wished there was more of it. I would highly recommend the Illusione Epernay to anyone who enjoys a good medium bodied cigar, and it would be a wonderful cigar for a novice to experiment with when moving up from the milder sticks. I am rating the Illusione Epernay L'Alpiniste as follows:

Appearance: 10/10

Aroma: 9/10

Construction: 10/10

Flavor: 10/10

Burn: 8/10

Final score: 94

Fondest Regards,

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Libelle Siena Fountain Pen

As many of you know by now, we here at The Poor Connoisseurs are all about getting the most for our money. As part of a closeout sale, I was able to snag this Libelle fountain pen for about 60% off.

Since it was such a bargain, the Libelle Siena feels like it is worth much more than I paid for it. It is “expensive feeling” in the hand; the parts are all machined and fitted together very well. I chose the “Palio” pattern, and Nick calls it my “Cosby Sweater Pen”, but I love it. I get a kick out of coordinating my ink and pen colors, and the colors in the Palio give me many options all in the same pen! The chrome-accented pen has a black base with flecks of orange, blue, and magenta. There are some pretty pearlescent parts which give a vintage depth to the finish of the pen. It comes with an extra cap that is all black, just in case you desire a more reserved look. This is a very thoughtful bonus! Also included are a standard international cartridge and a converter for filling from a bottle of ink.

As far as the important part goes (ie: how it writes)- very smooth and just a tad on the dry side. This one was kind of difficult to get going, but once I matched it with the right ink, it was smooth sailing. I decided to take mine to a nail buffer just a few times to eliminate the possibility of the “baby’s bottom” one finds on so many modern nibs. It took a small amount of tinkering, but the nib is very smooth, and certainly worth the $45 I paid at I would definitely recommend this pen to a friend with the same level of FP experience as myself (which is not much, but enough to jump a few very low hurdles).

And now for the most important part: THE PICTURES!!!

Size comparison (L to R: Jinhao X750, Lamy Safari, Libelle Siena, Esterbrook J)

And finally, a writing sample and comparison to other nibs:

Sunday, September 18, 2011

What We’ve Been Up to Lately- A Photo Experience


I haven’t updated in a bit, mainly due to the fact that we’ve been crazy busy. I’m back in school for Fall Semester, and Nick is working AND going to school. We have been more social lately as well. Instead of not update at all, I figured I’d share some highlights with our dear readers via pictures.

First, the culinary creations, courtesy of Nick:

Now for the writing and stationery goodies, which are my doing of course:

And lastly, we’ve just been hanging with our super awesome dogs!

I hope y’all will stick with us until we get a bit more free time! Meanwhile, keep it classy. Remember, any closet is a walk-in closet if you try hard enough!!!