They smell!


An impassioned plea from Ernie Resillez:

"Look guys I am a huge Moleskine fan…huge. I have the pocket and the regular size.

I have filled over 30 of the, they have been backpacking, Washington, Disney lots of places

I need to let you know something….Lately when I open them, your M’s are smelling of ink. The pages fell wet. I threw away the part where it tells the lot number, but it doesn’t matter there all like that. This has happen to a pocket one, and weekly calendar and a regular size. It’s a gross ink smell. I actually have to put it in the garage to air it out. Its not just one lot. Its a lot of them. Look I really am a fan ok


YOU KNOW HOW US M’ fans are we are very sensitive to our little books.

50 thoughts on “They smell!

  1. I’m glad I’m not the only one to notice this. All of my “Passions” series have smelled really badly for at least two weeks after opening them. Bizarre.

  2. The notebooks I use (pocket ruled, pocket sketchbook, large ruled, small squared) have all emitted an odor for a few years now. To me, it smells like some kind of fuel. I wrote Moleskine about the problem and they denied that it existed. The covers have, in a few cases, felt slippery or oily.

  3. Ok….when i typwed this I didnt think I would end up on the cover of this blog…LOL….

    Anyway…How about getting back to us , and telling us what M is going to do about this smell….


  4. Ok M company you cannot deny this, and I dont want to hear that you are denying this. We need resolution on this. I use a standard size notebook for meeting notes, I will not use an M anymore ,if it smells of ink, jet fuel or whatever it is. The one thing i do not want to read on here is that you are not responding to your loyal fans.


  5. I’ve noticed this for 2+ years or so, ever since the production changed places and owners.

    It smells.. and not in a good way. I thought it was just me, but it apparently isn’t.

    My older Moleskines never smelled like that. The newer ones are smellier, greasier, and all around less quality.

    Quality has gone downhill over the past few years. I hope things change… quick.

  6. And kudos for finally posting something less-than-positive about the brand. That was always something good about this blog- honest opinions, good or bad, on the product. For a while, the bad stuff hasn’t appeared here.

  7. They were always made where they are now (China) — they just weren’t marked as such.

    The cover is PVC, which is known to off-gas and which is severely toxic when burned. I wonder if that’s the smell? I wish they’d find a greener cover material, but not enough to switch away from Ms at this point though.

  8. Yes. And has anyone else noticed how the binding and now the rubber band have a tendency to fall apart, too? I let them know this and they claimed “hand made small faults” but this seems a little far fetched when it’s many people I know that have this same problem. Like he said, I don’t want a new one, I just want to not have to look for a new notebook brand to use.

  9. I am amazed at the lack of responce by M…weird…

    Anyway im am going to check out QUOA DIS HABANAS notebooks….I will let everyone know how they are.
    Look two things bother me.

    1) the smell and complaints.

    2) the lack of response.

  10. Attention California Residents:

    California Proposition 65

    WARNING: This product contains a chemical
    known to the State of California to cause cancer,
    birth defects or other reproductive harm.

    *This was the warning that I noticed when I ordered two moleskines from I wonder about this smell….

  11. Ernie, I totally agree with you. On top of the product faults, and their increasing variety and frequency, it’s the lack of response and lack of responsibility that’s most bothersome. They claim that each notebook is handmade, and that therefor each notebook will have small faults accordingly. But, the product faults, canned responses and move from Europe to China, famously home to mass assembly line impersonal Corporate factories to the world, all point to a rapid decline into Corporate culture in the worst ways. I found Picadilly notebooks, much, if not identical to Moleskine, recently. Only theirs are actually good quality, sturdy notebooks. The exact same aesthetics, tho. Highly recommended.

  12. They changed the labelling to reflect/admit where they are made. They were always made in China, but this bit was left off the label before a few years ago (it’s on this site somewhere). Factories and/or staff probably changed, but the country of origin didn’t.

  13. Why did all the blogs state this brand was made in Europe, then switched to China?

    I like Piccadilly, but their covers aren’t as “rich” and/or thick feeling. The elastic is more stiff, and overall the item feels (and is) cheaper.

    The owner of the company also changed. Per wiki,

    “In 2006, according to an article in The Daily Telegraph, the company’s small staff was unable to keep up with demand [1]. In August 2006, the French investment fund Société Générale Capital purchased Modo & Modo Spa and started investing in its expansion. The company name changed into “Moleskine Srl”. According to an article in the German magazine Brand Eins, Moleskine notebooks are now distributed in 53 countries, through 14,000 stores, 65% of which are bookshops [2].”

  14. I thought I was the only person who noticed somethings that are “off” about our beloved Moleskines. I hope the situation can be corrected. However, in the meantime, I have branched out to different notebooks after being with Moleskine for three years. But such is life. I guess all good things come to an end after all?

  15. “Why did all the blogs state this brand was made in Europe, then switched to China? ”
    Because bloggers don’t fact-check. 🙂 This blog has always stated that they were always made in China.

  16. Hey gues what i just got in the Mail….QOU VADIS Habana notebook. Wow no smell. Made in the USA, wider ruled lines, nice looking for business notes. Works well with my G2 pen, AND NO SMELL….HUH, I wonder why they dont use Jet Fuel on there notebooks

  17. I honestly thought M had posted this email to highlight the crazy emails they some times get in (in fact, re-reading the post I still think this is the case – the subject title has an exclamation mark in it). I manage a couple of external inboxes in my job and we love having a giggle at some of the silly emails we get in.

    However, having now read everyone’s comments I’m thinking someone’s missed a trick somewhere, as it sounds like a genuine complaint. Perhaps they’d take it seriously if you didn’t write in capital letters (manners still count on the internet, you know) and didn’t describe a notebook as smelling of “ink”…

  18. I assumed that the Prop 65 stuff referred to the PVC cover, but it includes the Cahiers, too:

    Still, I wonder if this actually means anything to the user? The way Prop 65 works (and, honestly, correct me if I’m wrong), is that anything with the slightest trace of anything on “the list” gets the warning. Heck, living in a city with bad air quality and traffic problems, I should probably come with a Prop 65 warning, LOL.

  19. My notebook does smell of ink, or jet fuel…why would we make this up, these are our M’s


  20. By blogs, I mean,, and the Moleskinerie flickr group. All have said Europe to China…

  21. Has anyone e-mailed Moleskine?

    This blog is run by Armand, I believe, though now owned (sponsored? bought out?) by Moleskine company.

    I’ve noticed a decline (albeit slow) in paper, then covers, then elastic.. since 2007 or so. Moleskine SRL purchased Modo & Modo (Moleskine) in 2006. It hasn’t been the same open and responsive company that it used to be ever since. Back then, you’d get a virtually instant response, and any problems would be instantly addressed with a solution (and usually kind token on top of the problem being solved).

  22. I emailed M…..I also emailed them at the quality control email. I emailed them all. In the meantime im enjoying my new Habana notebook.

  23. “By blogs, I mean,, and the Moleskinerie flickr group. All have said Europe to China… ”

    If anyone said it on there, it was misinformation in a comment or quoted from a discussion thread, not someone working for the company. It’s also been stated repeated on those same venues that Moleskines were always made in China. In fact, in actual posts on THIS blog, it is stated that they were ALWAYS made in China:
    The artist from Nineth Wave Designs (quoted here) was a former Molerskine dealer and dealt with the company personally. She would know where they were made.

    They started labeling the books sold in the US as “made in China” because they were _always_ required to and got away with it somehow. The former labels included references to European intellectuals and artists, but they never actually stated that the books were made in Italy, which would have been illegal. The popular belief that Moleskines were made in Italy and then made in China later is based on the _assumption_ that they were made in Italy in the first place. No one in the company ever said they were, just that they were “Italian.” My wife is “Italian,” but she was “made” in the USA, LOL.

    That said, I think that disregarding a product because it’s made in China makes as much sense as buying something just because one [mistakenly] thinks it’s Italian. They make some crap in Italy and some beautiful things in China, too. Maybe some people agree; it’s been years since the Chinese production issue came up — and people still use them. Of course, it could still be the brand/cult thing… Of course, one might have political (etc.) reasons for not buying goods made in China, but that’s not about the quality of manufacturing.

  24. Hello, thank you all of you for the passion you clearly have for our products. We are very grateful for your continued support and I assure you that we take your concerns seriously.

    With respect to the concerns about smell in the notebooks – we are looking into this issue. It has been raised occasionally in the past, but we have not been able to replicate the experience ourselves. However, this clearly continues to be an area of some concern and we will do our best to understand the issue and resolve any problem that may exist.

    Regarding the warning label on some of our products – as others have rightly pointed out, this is a Prop 65 issue. We were recently notified that some of our products may not meet the labeling rules of Proposition 65 in the State of California, since a very low amount of DEHP – a chemical listed under Prop 65 – is contained in the cover material of some of our notebooks. It’s not actually present in our Cahiers, and we are advising to adjust its website accordingly. Thank you for bringing this to our attention.

    It is important to stress that this is not a question of safety. Prop 65 is a labeling law that requires the posting of notification labels at point of sale for more than 800 different chemicals, no matter how much – or how little – is in the product. There is no suggestion or evidence that the level of DEHP in the cover material of notebooks is a health concern for any of our customers.

    The quality and safety of our products is our top priority and we are always looking for ways to make them even better. As such, by the time we received the Prop 65 notice, we were already well into the process of updating our products to new environmentally sensitive materials, which do not contain DEHP. These new products will start being made available in August 2010.

    The brand Moleskine, since its inception, has strived to provide quality products (please also check our quality page at: ) and collections to feed culture, creative freedom and imagination. We continue to be inspired by your loyalty and will do our best to answer any additional questions you may have.

  25. Wow, that’s excellent news, Re: Environmentally sensitive covers! Is it still a secret, or are there details you can share? 🙂

  26. Ok they responded. Very corporate response. Well written by one of there attorneys or pr person.


    I really dont care wether M’s are made in the US, CHINA, or any other country. I just want the smell to go away and the quality to come back. I have 32 of these at least….Find the problem and fix it.

  27. I’ve never noticed a particular smell in mine. Though my oldest have been in my possesion for only just about a year now, but since I have about 15 books, shouldn’t I have noticed the smell about now?

  28. I’ve only noticed a heavy smell in the “Passions” series — could even be the larger/newer sleeve around the notebook.

  29. When you smell it you will know belive me….
    I had the smell in the weekly planner and in a larger size one. Those two were bad, I also had it in the pocket size, not as bad.

  30. Just bought a Moleskin daily planner in Tacoma and almost passed out upon opening it.
    Decided to check the web and found this conversation. i am returning it right now.

    Yikes- it smells like dead chemical cow dipped in BP Topkill.

  31. Kudos to Moleskine. I had decided not to buy another Moleskine when I saw the cover had dangerous chemicals in it. If you do as you say and make a safe cover, I’ll be a lifelong customer!!

  32. It might be interesting to track where people report buying smelly ones. It might pinpoint the shipment.

  33. Oh my goodness, the smell!! None of my other moleskines have smelled like this. It smells like fake LeSportsac bags from Shenzhen. Please rectify this, Moleskine!

  34. 6/25/2010…Today…Just bought a large size M…Barns and Noble….Wow the pages smell. They dont smell to much, but when your writting it reminds of of the Gulf Coast and BP……..Maybe thats where there getting the Moles from, and that would explain why it smells of fuel….

  35. That’s weird… I’ve bought Moleskines from a variety of sources (lately, from Notemaker) and have never noticed this smell. Just had a quick sniff of my 2010 diary, watercolour, and the 6-pocket books and still can’t smell anything. Maybe it’s from a specific factory/factories? Are Moleskines made in different locations?

  36. Well, Its August 2010, but I haven’t seen any new updated moleskines without the Prop 65 warning yet. They don’t even acknowledge a problem on there website. I hope they come out soon so I can start using them again before fall classes resume. My friends and I were disappointed that Moleskine wasn’t on top of this issue sooner since quality is something they seem to say they believe in. I had to send back some Moleskines because of this issue, a real hassle, thanks again Moleskine.

  37. Yes, it’s August now does anyone have any updates on when these new environmentally friendly moleskines are coming out? My moleskine purchases are on hold until they are available.

  38. Lame.

    I was pretty excited to buy the new Moleskine notebooks without the tumor-inducing covers and they’re still not available, as far as I’ve seen. Alas, they really didn’t rectify the situation in time for me to get safe Moleskines for school. How corporate.

  39. Why won’t Moleskine release new notebooks that do not contain DEHP? How hard is it to do? Normal companies change products all the time. I wonder if Moleskine is trying to hush up and ignore its customers. Time for a mass exodus and boycott.

  40. I’m a bit late in responding, but thanks for bringing this up. I’m quite new to Moleskine, as the first one I got is only four years old. I just bought a pocket sized soft cover downunder, attracted by its quality, and now that many of you mentioned this, I realize that pages smell like petrol. It’s not strong; only when you put your nose next to it and flip the pages. The old one I got smells sourish, more like lumber. Is that how they should be smelling like? If not, I would really be disappointed, as an environmentalist, that such a reputable company fails to meet environmental standards.

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