You know it's back to school time when new multi-color pen packs start hitting the shelf, and Paper Mate is just in time with its latest Flair colors. Appropriately named Tropical Vacation, this set will have you longing for the days of summer as your classes get underway for the 2015-2016 school year.
The Paper Mate Flair is a classic pen, and a long time favorite of mine and many, many others. It has a long lineage of excellent quality and performance at an excellent price. The basic black medium tip Paper Mate Flair would be considered on the first ballot of the Stationery Hall of Fame, if there were such a thing, and subsequent releases have been equally as good. The Ultra Fine is my personal favorite, but also one of the hardest to find.
Paper Mate has introduced various color variations over the years, but they leaned towards normal shades (lime green, orange, etc.). This is one of the first non-standard releases I can remember. Tropical Vacation offers up six colors: Guava, Orchid Lei, Papaya, Passion Fruit, Scuba Dive, and Surf's Up. The purple black color of Passion Fruit is the big winner in my book, followed by the bright blue of Scuba Dive. Orchid Lei is also a standout with its dark pink/magenta shade, but the three lighter colors aren't so great, with Papaya bringing up the rear.
One interesting thing I noticed is that the line width varied slightly between pens right out of the pack. For example, the Passion Fruit was wider and softer than Papaya, whose tip was firmer and finer than the rest of the bunch. It's not a big concern because these tips will break down with use regardless, but it was noticeable. The good thing is the Flair has moved to plastic tips as opposed to the really old felt tips that would end up stringy over time.
In the grand scheme of things, Paper Mate is not always on the tips of pen addicts tongues except for one pen: The Paper Mate Flair. It's a classic that works in many situations, and it is nice to see a refresh like Tropical Vacation hit the shelves from time to time.
(JetPens provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)
If you have made it this far, treat yourself to a listen to 'Boxcar" by the band Jawbreaker. The video footage in the video above was lost for over 20 years before being found in 2013. And if that floats your boat, check out John Darnielle totally kill it in this cover version.