Baron Fig ended their quarterly limited edition subscription program a few years ago, but continues to release special editions of their Confidant notebook at regular intervals. The Gather “Review Journal” is the latest in a string of special-purpose notebooks issued by Baron Fig that they call “Guided Editions”, including the well-received Clear Habit Journal (a habit tracker), the Grow Daily Journal (designed to help you “form and keep a journaling habit”), the Savor Recipe Journal (self-explanatory), and the Wander Dream Journal (dream tracking). While each of these latter notebooks was a bit too specialized for me, and I took a pass, “Gather” intrigued me because, well, I spend a large part of my time reviewing products, and a notebook structured to help you track your notes on whatever it is you may be reviewing - pens, movies, books, music, wine, beer, etc. - struck me as potentially useful.
How I Intend to Use the Gather Review Journal
As I work to grow The Gentleman Stationer and ensure that I maintain a steady flow of content that people want to read, I’ve made an effort to improve my systems - namely, keeping better track of notes and thoughts on the various products I’m using and other topics that I want to write about. Gather intrigued me because I immediately saw the case for a structured notebook that I could use to collect my notes on different products at various stages of the review process. Overall, I can see this working out, and not just for pen reviews. I purchased a couple Gather journals, and I’m also considering dedicating one to keeping a logbook of other things, probably books I’ve been reading because I’d like to do a better job of retaining what I’ve read.
A Note on Paper Performance
Baron Fig has made my preferred “daily use” paper over the past few years, given it’s relatively low cost (at least in the standard Confidant), it’s reasonable performance with most pens and inks, and the texture, which I absolutely love for both pens and pencils. Paper is a highly personal preference, and what works for me may not be the best choice for you. Lately I’ve read a couple of comments about inconsistency in Baron Fig’s paper quality. While I’ve not personally noticed any significant drop-off over the past year, I would note that I don’t believe Baron Fig (or their manufacturer) single-sources their paper, so there may be slight batch variations in notebooks. For the most part, I would compare the performance of Baron Fig’s paper to something like Leuchtturm 1917 - it’s fine for most people, but you will start seeing some feathering and bleed-through if you use broader nibs, particularly wet-writing stubs or flex pens. Due to the slight texture, I find Baron Fig paper especially pleasant to use with pencils, and have since the beginning.
Takeaways and Where to Buy
Like all Baron Fig Confidants, the Gather Review Journal is a well-made hardcover notebook, and Baron Fig designed this particular release with a specific purpose in mind. While I have a use-case for this notebook, I do question how broad the appeal will be for this layout, and whether it’s playing too much into the current trend of encouraging everyone to “track” everything, from money to habits to, now, hobbies. I’ve always been a tracker and list-maker, but sometimes I wonder whether it might be better to just sit back and enjoy things without trying to quantify or “review” them.
You can purchase the Gather Review Journal directly from Baron Fig’s online store. This “Guided Edition” Confidants start at $24, with a 5% discount if you purchase two and a 10% discount if you purchase three. The pricing represents a markup over the standard $18 Confidant, but it’s understandable given the additional work that went into designing and producing a special purpose notebook with a custom layout.
You can read my initial review of the original Baron Fig Confidant, titled “Perfect Paper for Pencils? Agreed” here. It’s hard to believe Baron Fig has been around for nearly five years!
Disclaimer: I purchased the notebook featured in this review with my own funds, for my own use.