The Viarco Fine & Candy “Smoke” pencil was the January Pencil of the Month (PotM) via CW Pencil Enterprise.
The pencil is made of cedar and sharpens up as most incense cedar pencils do- very well. When sharpened this pencils smells fantastic. When I turn it in the sharpener there is a burst of strong cedar fragrance, it’s great. The core sharpens pretty well too, well sometimes. On many occasions a piece of grit catches on the sharpener’s blade and causes the core to snap off.
Those bits of grit turned an otherwise pretty decent writing experience into annoyance. My pencil was plagued by these bits of grit. Barring the grit the pencil is dark and mostly smooth for what I assume is an HB core. It’s not overly smudgy and it had ok point retention. I tested it out in a couple of Field Notes as well as with taking notes in class and while reading. It did quite well in these tasks. I spent quite a lot of time with it doing some character driven writing prompts*. It was quite nice for these prompts. I was able to write 2 to 3 pages in my Field Notes before needing to touch up my point.
It must also be noted that this is a very very pretty pencil. The neutral gray is fantastic against the grainy silver end dip. Contrasting the grainy end dip is a smooth foil imprint of the Viarco and Fine & Candy logos. Simply well done. A really great pencil for a gray winter day. I ground this one down to a nubbin and it resides in my pencil nubbin jar.
For me this is one of those one is enough pencils. While I liked it well enough and found it very pretty, I don’t find myself wanting another. The grittiness is enough to keep me from purchasing another. The grit irritated me, and in a $2 pencil shouldn’t be there. Why spend $2 on this pencil when I can pick up an equally pretty Palomino Pearl for less? Or a stunning Nataraj Pop for pennies and have it out perform the Viarco? If you are looking for a stunning pencil to look at, go no further.
*Character driven writing prompts are prompts that surround either asking questions of the characters in your story or in this case, writing a scene from a different character’s viewpoint. You can also interview the character. It is a fun way to flesh out who a character is and to determine how a character will react, as well as to see if what you have written jives with who they are..