01. Tomoe River Paper – 52 g/m2
Obviously we’ll have to start with the benchmark paper so let’s have a look. It’s regarded as one of the best papers for fountain pen users and I understand where this hype comes from. The paper feels nice, looks nice and is a pleasure to write on! The inks behave quite well on it and they spread evenly, no paper grain can be seen under the inks and I believe this contributes to a very consistent and even look throughout. The colors are nice and saturated. The nib literally skates on it, the paper doesn’t offer much resistance. No feathering is noticeable either and obviously sheen can be seen easily with all the inks from the list that are known to sheen. It’s even more pronounced on Colorverse Supernova since it has a beautiful even sheen spread out and not just at the ends of the letters.
Of course nothing is perfect in this world and neither is this paper. Ghosting can be off-putting if it bothers you, but the good news is that bleed-through resistance is great! I also personally think the paper is too thin and frail, it doesn’t have any structural strength. It may be that I only ever owned loose sheets and it might be different when Tomoe River is bound into a notebook, but I like it when the paper doesn’t bend as I’m putting it aside or if it can take a little bit of pressure without starting to crumple. C’est la vie, you can’t have everything but if someone does figure out a recipe for a paper that solves ghosting and frailness while also matching Tomoe River on the other traits they’ll become a legend in the fountain pen community.
VERDICT: Excellent paper for fountain pen use! If you came here to check whether there is a better paper than Tomoe River, you might as well stop reading here, the answer no there isn’t. Out of the ones I tested I found this offering the best writing experience, color reproduction and quality. It’s worth sticking around though if you have time, there are quite a few papers I think that are worth reading about and I’m going to mention one that I feel offers a really good writing experience but it lags behind on other traits like sheen and bleed-through.