Thursday, October 3, 2013

Wood & Silver: Montblanc l'Aubrac

Many pens have found to me because they had a specific something that appeals to me: The surface (Urushi), the materials (wood, ebonite, celluloid or, still one of my dreams, horn), the nib, maybe even the overall shape of the pen or something entirely different. In case of the l'Aubrac there's even several different reasons for me to love it. 

Montblanc l'Aubrac
 Montblanc l'Aubrac (resting on a very nice embossed leather notebook by Il Cartiglio) 

There's the gorgeous dark brown Grenadilla wood. The surface isn't lacquered but treated with wax. It feels silky smooth and very much like wood. The surface isn't perfectly plain, there are tiny grooves which is typical for grenadilla. They can be seen and felt. So can the decorate silver nails hinting at the shaft of a Lagouilé knife - the pen being a jointventure of Montblanc and knife manufacturer Forge de Laguoilé -, their rounded heads slightly protruding from the wood. 

 Montblanc l'Aubrac
The whole pen is an invitation to touch and fumble it, rest it in your hand.
Feel the warm and silky wood, the cool and glossy silver

Montblanc l'Aubrac

Except for the clip all metal accents are silver and elaborately engraved with floral motives. It would be slightly too much if not for the planes of dark, smooth wood to counterbalance it all.

Montblanc l'Aubrac

Mother of pearl snowcap catching the light (and there's my bookshelf, reflecting in the silver!)

Montblanc l'Aubrac

Montblanc l'Aubrac

The nib.
I chose a BB nib for it as it's one of the Montblanc nib sizes I didn't have and tried it for a while but found it too bulky. I sent it to John Sorowka for a regrind to cursive italic and some adjustment as it was also quite sensitive to some inks, some papers, hand oils and writing angle. He did great work, as always.

 Montblanc l'Aubrac BB CI - writing sample on Tomoe River paper 

Inked it with Montblanc Toffee Brown at the moment. I like when the ink matches the color of the pen to a degree where it seems the pen is putting its own essence onto the paper.

(Also I'm having trouble inking, for instance, a bright red aka-tame nuri Urushi pen with lilac or brown ink. I mean I CAN do it if I really want, but it feels uncomfortable. Weird, isn't it? Do you have any similar quirks with your pens and inks?)

 Montblanc l'Aubrac BB CI - writing sample 

Written on a sample sheet of Tomoe River that came with my Design.Y notebook. Great paper - someone sell it in the EU please! :)

A large pen - as large as a Meisterstück 149 -, though it has the smaller 146 nib. Heavy too: 57 g with cap, though it shrinks down to rather reasonable 35 g when uncapped. Posting the cap is, I believe, not an option but I don't do that anyway so I haven't tried.

How do you like the l'Aubrac?


  1. Barbara, I really love your hand writing and your photos..Btw Mont Blanc l'Aubrac is lovely.

  2. Absolutely beautiful review. Thanks so much for sharing.

  3. Thank you for the review. Just curious whether the Tomoe River paper suffer from bleed through. Would be grateful for your view/experience

    1. Hi there, despite being so thin and flimsy Tomoe River paper doesn't bleed through at all. It's very special in that regard which is probably why it has so many fans - not sure I am one though. It definitely has its perks like when you use it for international mail or need to skimp on paper weight for whatever reasons but I feel it's just too thin and delicate, I prefer something more substantial.

  4. I am amazed by seeing the uniqueness and built quality. It looks elegant, this will be one of the best pens for the pen collectors. By seeing the images I can make out the smoothness and ink flow of the pens. Thanks for sharing the wonderful post and images.