Here are some major points about the paper switch, I'll just blast them out bullet-style here:
- The paper will still be smooth, fountain pen friendly, and made by Clairefontaine in France.
- The overall size, dimensions, page count, binding (ability to lay flat), cover and rulings will all remain the same. I'm unsure about the small lined rulings will be in the new paper though (currently it's 5mm).
- The Habanas sold in the US and Canada will be made in the Quo Vadis plant in Hamburg, NY; the rest of the world's Habanas will be made in France.
- Even though there will be two different plants making Habanas for the world, they will all be identical (unlike in previous years where the 'US version' was different than all the others).
- There will be no more blue or taupe lined Habanas; the lined Habana color lineup will be identical to the current blank Habanas in black, red, anis green, and raspberry.
- All of the Habanas, blank and ruled, large and small, will have the same 85g off-white paper.
- The prices will remain as they are for 2011, $20 list for the large, $15 list for the small. From what I understand, this was a factor in deciding to change the paper.
- The Habana was actually originally intended to be off-white paper 2 years ago. A mix-up sent the wrong paper to Hamburg when the Habanas first were produced, so they went with white paper. It has been slated to be changed since last year, though it was never highly publicized.
Supposedly this change is going to be happening very soon, right at the beginning of 2011. They are no longer making any more of the 90g white version Habanas, so what is in Exaclair's warehouse is what is left. There have already been some fans who've been stocking up on the white-paper Habanas, I know I'll be setting a few aside for my own personal use. Of course the flip side is that many of you who were waiting to try them will now want to avoid them, as you don't want to fall in love with something that will no longer be made!
I do hope that the new ones are up to the paper performance of the existing ones. I am making an effort to keep my mind open to the change, at least until I see the new Habanas for myself. I know the reactions of many have been quite disappointed, even with the explanation of the reasons for the change. If there's one thing Exaclair has done well in the past, it's listen to the loyal fans of the brands they carry, and I'm willing to bet if enough of us demand the white paper back, we just might get it. Do please share your thoughts where they can see them here in the comments of this post in Quo Vadis Blog.
What do you think of the change?