“ Brand: Guinness / Type: Wallet „
I put off buying a new wallet for quite some time as it was never really a priority for me but more so because I couldn't really find a new wallet that was better than the one I was using at the time. My trusty old wallet which I had had for the best part of 10 years was definitely showing its age but it was still incredibly functional and had everything I needed and nothing more. Why then did I decide to 'upgrade'?
Whilst browsing through my local Debenhams store for a couple of new work ties my eyes caught sight of the nearby 'Guinness stand' and my attention drifted. On this stand alongside some very unusual but brilliant Guinness-themed items (I could have a field day reviewing that stand if someone was kind enough to buy me everything on it) was the wallet in question - a brown leather affair with a decorative Guinness logo debossed on the front.
I loved the look and feel of the wallet and after inspecting the inside carefully for several minutes deciding if it was right for me (!) I eventually went to the till and bought it (I was back a few days later when I remembered I didn't actually buy those ties I went in for).
=== Price/Availability ===
The Guinness wallet can be bought from Debenhams either online or in-store for the price of £20. I would usually begrudge paying such a price for a wallet - after all, I want something to keep in the wallet after purchase! - but once I saw the quality of this particular one in store I knew it was worth it.
The wallet also comes in a black gift box which makes it ideal if purchasing as a gift for someone.
=== Appearance ===
Measuring 11cm x 9cm, the light-brown wallet is made from genuine leather and has a soft suede-like feel to it (I suspect it is suede leather but I'm no leathersmith). The image on the front bears the Guinness name and wings logo debossed into the leather with dark brown print. This design really caught my eye in the store and the wallet has a high quality premium feel to it. It definitely looks better in person than it does on the picture above.
Around the outside of the wallet is a light coloured stitching which contrasts well with the brown leather and debossed print and finishes the look perfectly. The stitching also continues inside the wallet around the edges of each compartment.
Inside the wallet there are four card slots on the left, two full-length pockets for notes and a coin pocket on the right with a press-stud flap. There are also two 'hidden compartments' under the left and right hand sides where you can keep important notes or other small flat items.
The coin flap is debossed with the words 'Beer Money' in large lettering which I am not particularly fond of despite my love of both beer and money. I think it is a little unnecessary and slightly belies the premium character of the wallet. The word 'Guinness' is also debossed inside (more advertising!) as well as the words 'Genuine leather' in small lettering on the right.
The inside lining (in the central fold and lining the note compartments) is a thin fabric sporting a light/dark green pattern not dissimilar to army camouflage. I wasn't too keen on this to start with because I found it a bit on the garish side but as it was only on the inside I wasn't too concerned. After a while though I have actually come to like it and it does contrast nicely with the brown leather inside - I think it looks better than say a boring black lining would have done.
=== Storage ===
One of the things I need a wallet to have is two note compartments rather than just one. I keep cash in one part and receipts/other bits of paper in the other (I like organisation). The Guinness wallet meets my criteria here and I find it easy to access my notes (what few there are to access), being able to find and pick out the correct denomination when paying.
Unlike some people I know, I only have a few plastic cards so the four card slots were quite adequate for my needs. My old wallet also had four cards slots but I could get two cards in each of those slots if needed - the same cannot really be done here though. The slots are very tight and getting one card in and out is a snug job. It is possible to fit two cards in each slot but the wallet becomes very bulky like this and will not close together very well. If you do have a lot of cards and can't cut them down to about six or seven essential ones then you might want to consider a different wallet.
I use the four slots for my essential cards such as my driving licence, bank cards and I keep my store cards (all two of them) in the coin pocket which is perfectly sized to be able to hold up to three cards comfortably. The press-stud flap ensures that they won't fall out.
It is possible to keep some cards in one of the note compartments but they are liable to fall out here if you're not careful and you risk losing your hard-earned bounty of clubcard points!
If you were to use the coin pocket for coins rather than cards (how boring of you) then you could comfortably get five pound coins or a couple of pounds worth of silver in there without bulking it up too much. I prefer to keep my loose change in my pocket though because I find using a coin pocket a little fiddly and the last thing I want to do is hold up the queue at the checkout whilst I'm scrambling for change (unfortunately, not everyone shares this view!)
The lack of a closing clasp or press-stud closing may be an issue for some because the wallet is free to flap about and open/close as it pleases. My old wallet had an elasticated band which held the wallet closed but I don't really miss this because I keep my wallet in my jeans/trouser pocket which holds it closed. A press stud may have helped keep the wallet compact and feel less bulky but this is a minor point.
=== Practicality ===
There really isn't too much to a wallet in terms of practicality, besides the aforementioned storage. I do find the wallet easy to use - opening and closing is simple (there is no band/fastening to get tangled up with) and accessing notes/cards is also easy. The card slots were a bit stiff to begin with but after time cards slide in and out easily with only a bit of encouragement needed.
The main concern I had with the wallet was its potential bulk. It felt quite bulky in the store even with nothing in it and I didn't really want to be walking around with what looked like a large rock in my pocket. Fortunately, the wallet isn't too bulky if you don't overfill it. I don't keep coins in my wallet and I don't use each card slot for any more than one card (both of which will add bulk) so the width stays at a respectable thickness (about 2.8cm for me). It therefore doesn't feel too bulky or obtrusive in my pocket but there are thinner wallets out there if this matter to you.
=== Will it last 10 years? ===
I expect it will get close. My last wallet was made from substantially thinner material and was not genuine leather so the Guinness wallet certainly has the potential to be hard-wearing. My old wallet started to look tatty around the edges where some stitching had worked loose but I don't see that as a problem with this wallet; it feels much higher quality and better put together. There is no elasticated band to wear out either - the one on my old wallet eventually lost its elasticity and purpose and had to be cut off to stop it looking pathetic.
I have been using this wallet for a few months now and so far there are no major signs of wear. The only slight difference is that the leather on the back of the wallet has a (very) slight sheen to it from being put in and out of my pocket but it is barely noticeable and I don't think it's a cause for concern regarding potential wear in the long run. Everything else looks as good as it did when I bought it.
=== Verdict ===
Overall, I am very pleased with this wallet and I feel it is well worth the £20 price-tag for what is a really high quality and fantastic looking product. I find it very functional in day to day use and it has all the necessary compartments for my notes, cards etc. The lack of the card slots may be an issue for some; four will not suffice for everyone, but other than that I can't think of anything that one would need that this wallet doesn't have.
I expect this will last me many years to come and I can definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a quality replacement wallet or as a gift for someone whose current wallet is of the tatty variety.
Thank you for reading :-)