Caran d’Ache is the pen name by which Russian-born French illustrator, Emmanuel Poiré, achieved worldwide renown in the 19th century. The choice turned out to be a salient one, since “karandash” is the Russian term for “pencil” and in turn comes from the Turkish root “kara tash” which refers to black stone – the origins of graphite.
This natural material found in the mountains of Switzerland gave rise to the first Swiss pencil factory set up in Geneva in 1915. Nine years later, in the hands of its founder, the visionary Arnold Schweitzer, it took the name of the famous illustrator became known as Caran d’Ache.
I own a Caran d'Ache 849 ballpoint pen and I am familiar with the quality products CdA puts out. I might even say that the 849 is the best ballpoint pen I have ever used, but alas, we are talking about pencils here. When I did my random pick of this past week's pencil, I initially felt disappointed. The pencil itself is very light and I tend to prefer something with a bit more mass. I did like the Edelweiss's red finish and the bright white imprint on its barrel. The only disappointing thing was that there was also a barcode on the opposite side of this beautiful imprint. I understand why manufacturers have to do this in order to sell singles, but does it have to be in the center of the pencil?? Here is the prettier side:
The Edelweiss HB writes sharpens to a nice point and I only encountered one instance of breakage (and I think it was actually my fault for being heavy handed). The point retention on this pencil is average to above-average which is good for a heavy writer like myself, but I found that the graphite was not as smooth as I would have liked it to be. At about one dollar a pencil, the Edelweiss is quite pricey for just a plain old school pencil to the layperson. The fact that I have not even used half the pencil in a week worth of note-taking makes up for the cost and I am comfortable in saying that the pencil would most likely last me two weeks. As far as darkness is concerned, it performs as expected for an HB pencil although it is a shade lighter than I personally prefer. I experienced no smudging or transferring with the CdA (which was a good thing, because my notes are a mess from the Musgrave last week!) and erasing was a breeze.
I would have to say that this pencil hits most of the marks for me: point retention, attractiveness, graphite strength, and erasability. The Edelweiss does not knock it out of the park for me, but I could see it becoming a part of my rotation. Overall: 6.5/10
**If you would like to try out your own Caran d'Ache Edelweiss in either HB, F or 3B, head over to CW Pencil Supply and give Caroline your money** (note: I was not paid for this review or solicited by anyone. I just think CW is amazing and you should too!)