Apsara Matt Magic Pencils

I am a big fan of Indian-made pencils. In fact, my beloved Neon Casemates (suspected to be made by Nataraj) are from India. I am in love with the color schemes, graphite performance, and affordable price points when it comes to Indian pencils. When the Apsara Matt Magic pencils popped up on CW Pencils, I just had to have them. The Matt Magics have a black matte finish, are emblazoned with silver foil stamping, and have a color-dipped end that corresponds to the dyed wood of the pencil. What is striking about these pencils is when sharpened, the black barrel provides a perfect contrast against the colored wood.

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The Matt Magic is advertised as “extra dark” and writes just about as dark as the Apsara Absolute. Point retention is a bit poor, but that is to be expected with such a dark pencil. What really makes these a “must buy” for me is how aesthetically pleasing they are and how smooth they feel when laying graphite to paper. You can pick them up for 75 cents a piece at CW Pencils.

Apsara Stenographer's Pencil

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The Apsara Stenographer's Pencil is manufactured by the Hindustan Pencil Company in India.  Hindustan also manufactures the better-known Nataraj brand as well.  I was a bit curious as to why this pencil was marketed as a "stenographer's pencil" since it seemed like an ordinary pencil to me.  With a round barrel and no ferrule, the Apsara is a very light pencil.  The finish on the pencil is a nice glossy turquoise with a white stripe at the top where the ferrule would naturally start and gold foil stamping. 20151228_082814_001

After sharpening the Apsara, I did not notice any smell at all so it is clear this pencil is not made of cedar.  I presume it is crafted from recycled wood of some sort.  When writing with this pencil it was very light in my hand and I found myself without the hand cramping that I am used to.  This factor, coupled with its strong graphite, explained why this is denoted as a stenographer's pencil.  I experienced no lead breakage ever and the smoothness of the graphite was on point for a pencil that cost 40 cents.  Even writing on super toothy card stock was a pleasant experience and the graphite barely smeared.  Erasing the pencil was also a breeze and took very little effort.

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I cannot recommend this pencil enough for individuals who write a lot.  Make this pencil a part of your rotation and you will not regret it.  They can be very easily obtained from Caroline over at CW Pencil Enterprise for a mere 40 cents.  Overall: 8.0/10