Polish your Regalia

by Scribble Monboddo
The Endless Recorder used to be one of the sure-fire ways of obtaining a large quantity of Tomoe River in a usable form, which ticked a lot of boxes for people who were heavily into that particular paper. It's got something of a fan-base all of its own, as explored here in considerable depth (see Paws passim) - but stocks are getting scarce and it's painfully pricey stuff, too. So Endless arrived at the perfectly sensible solution of commissioning their own alternative.
Commercially, this is a pretty bold move. The reason that the original Recorder was premium-priced was that rare Japanese paper is costly source material in the first place; start with spendy ingredients and the resultant cake will be a rather rich one. But now they have switched to making paper 'in-house' which presumably means either in India (where the notebooks are assembled) or next-door, almost certainly saving themselves substantial expense in the process. A clever move, especially if it proves they can get away with declining the opportunity to pass on some of those savings to customers - on which question, time will tell.
So, we have here a fairly expensive notebook, now packed with paper you've probably not come across before, and you might reasonably be wondering whether it's worth investigating. Well, it could be, actually. Because it turns out that the Regalia paper is, for all purposes other than monastic calligraphy, rather better. Yes, seriously; ignore the hype, put this stuff to the test and you're in for a nice surprise.
Whoever is making Regalia, they have put some serious research and testing in, and it shows. Just look at the shading in the samples here - that, and an absence of feathering are sure-fire marks of a good writing surface. Should we be sniffy about paper's origins if it works so well?
A sturdy, fairly thick notebook like this is arguably intended to go to work, and it looks like the rebooted Endless can take the abuse. The wettest, fattest nibs available can't unsettle it, and it can take graphite without complaint too. It would probably even pretend not to notice if you insulted it with a ballpoint. 
Admittedly the value proposition is brave, especially when an A5 Rhodia Webby with proven paper and portentous pedigree can be acquired for three quid less - but then again, you've probably got one of those already, and variety is the spice of life and all that. It's cheeky money, perhaps, but it's not crazy money, and you can get yours here.