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Showing posts from June, 2019

Perle Noir, Herbin

Perle Noir is one of the most recommended and well reviewed black inks out there. When I bought this ink a few years ago, I was disappointed. It is not the blackest, not the smoothest, not the fastest drying ink, not an archival ink, not the cheapest.  I decided to give it a second chance so I eyedropped a Preppy with it and filled a Lamy All-star. Over the past few days I have written many pages of work notes with the ink. Perle Noir is a well behaving black ink that is sold at a reasonable price, but it doesn't excel in anything. Below some writing samples, followed by drying times and test in water resistance. Drying times are about average to slow, 45 secs with a broad nib on Tomoe River 52g paper. The ink is certainly not water resistant, but it can handle an accidental drop.   The full characteristics: Feathering none Shading hardly any Show through negligible 

Yama-guri, Iroshizuku

A deep dark brown ink, inspired by the color of "wild chestnut" by my favorite brand, Iroshizuku. It is subtle, it doesn't draw attention but it's absolutely beautiful and sophisticated. Perfect for both personal work notes in the office and personal correspondence. Being Iroshizuku, it goes without saying that the ink is very well behaved. It performs excellent in any fountain pen I have tried it in, it is well lubricated, has a beautiful shading and drying times are around average. Water resistance is above average, an occasional drop of fluid won't ruin your writings completely. On decent paper (and this ink deserves that!) there is no feathering or show-through.  Most brown or brownish color I have are less subtle. It wasn't so easy to find two colors that at least a little bit close. Herbin's Cacao du Bresil and Caroube de Chypre (with gold shimmer) are dark browns too but significantly different. Yama-guri is a welcome addition to my

Patron of Arts, Swan Illusion - Montblanc

Swan Illusion, a Montblanc limited edition from the Patron of Arts series. It's brownish, grayish, greenish. I don't know what to think of this ink. It is intriguing and boring at the same time. It can be used for office note taking, no one would take offense. If you are going to use it for personal correspondence, first make sure the recipient appreciates this color. As any Montblanc ink, it is well-behaved, quite dry, and expensive. Exactly what you would expect.  Shading is very heavy, too much for my liking in the Parker. With an EF nib the shading in this ink is a lot more attractive. Drying time is average, water resistance poor. No feathering or show through. To compare the color to another isn’t so easy. At first it reminded me of Cacao du Brésil but that ink is way darker. Lie de Thé comes closest but is less grayish and leans more towards yellow/green.  Next time I encounter a swan I will pay more attention, I never realized they had this color. The

Gele oker van Frans, P.W. Akkerman

P.W. Akkerman in The Hague has a series of Dutch masters, based on colors 17th century Dutch painters used.  It is a nice series, with some lovely colors. Stone red by Vermeer for instance is amongst my favorite ink colors. And these bottles, absolutely stunning!  Gele Oker van Frans (Yellow ochre by Frans) is based on paintings by Frans Halsema.  But why this color? It's likely to cause eyeball cancer or at least some severe retinal burns. Observing the sun through binoculars is less painful. The ink is nearly impossible to read on Crown Mill or Rhodia paper. A broad or stub nib is a necessity, or even a glass dip pen.  The ink characteristics are simply good. Akkerman has high quality inks and this one is no exception. No feathering, no show through, moderate wetness, sufficient lubrication and some nice moderate shading.  Drying times below average and water resistance very poor. With a price of around 25 euro for a 120ml bottle, the inks are very reasonably price

Améthyste de l'Oural, Herbin 1798

Améthyste de l'Oural, a bright purple with silver particles in the Herbin 1798 range. And yes, this silver turned out to be a bit allergic to the scan, but it is definitely visible on paper. It's bright, beautiful, too bright for an office setting in my opinion. Even though I really like this color, using it for work notes started to annoy me within the hour. It's much more suitable for personal communication or writing.  Not surprisingly, this ink is very well-behaved, a bit wet but never too much.  No feathering, hardly any show through and well lubricated. Shimmer is visible with wetter and broader nibs. Water resistance is poor, a little drop won't wash away your writing immediately, but you won't send that letter anymore. Drying time was OK, almost 40 seconds on Rhodia paper. Shading is amazing, very beautiful.  C omparing the ink to other colors brought some surprises. It really is a distinctive color. Montblanc's insidious Lavender Purple is a lot m

Cornaline d'Egypte, Herbin 1798

Another Herbin, another ink in the vicinity of red. Cornaline d'Egypte from Herbin's 1798 line. Far more orange than red of course. It is supposed to have silver simmer but neither my Parker, nor a TWSBI stub nor a cotton swab could bring it out. I don't see it.  Bright, unusual and beautiful. Not for everyday use and not everyone will like it.  This ink is very well-behaved, quite wet but it never becomes a problem.  No feathering, no show through and well lubricated. Shimmer is invisible. Water resistance is poor, a little drop won't wash away your writing, but it will be ruined. Drying time was long, 60 seconds on crown mill paper.  Depending on nib the color varies from a bright clear red (Parker) to a darker red (Lamy, stub). I find it too bright to use in the office, and not pleasant enough to read when used for note taking. I find it a very nice ink though for short letter, quick personal notes, and greeting cards. Although definitely red, the color

Rouge Hematite, Herbin 1670

After Oxblood , Red Fox and Esenin , it is time for another red. Rouge Hematite, by Herbin, from their 1670 line. A nice bright red with some gold shimmer in it. Best compared to the gold panning kids can do be in many amusement parks these days: it's very hard to find any gold. Using a cotton swab or a stub nib, you will see some. In a regular nib, hardly at best. The 1670 line is good and this ink is no exception. Well-behaving inks and not too wet. A clear difference with the normal inks (perle des encres) that are also good, but maybe a little bit on the wet side. No feathering, no show through, moderately wet and well lubricated. Shimmer is visible, with some effort as described. Be careful with fluids though, the ink doesn't handle water very well. Drying time was a surprise, 15 seconds on crown mill paper.  Depending on nib the color varies from a bright clear red (Parker) to a darker red (Lamy, stub). I find it too bright to use in the office, and not plea

Esenin, Noodler's

The ink looks quite toxic in the bottle, but I do like red inks and a Moldovan friend likes the Russian poet Sergei Yesenin, so when I stumbled across this bottle, I had two reasons to buy it.  For the occasion and for fun, I experimented with Russian handwriting.  It's a typical Noodler's ink. The color is neither ugly nor beautiful, the bottle is chock-full (careful), the ink dries quickly and it behaves decently in almost every pen and on every paper. Plus, it's not very expensive.  Looking further at the characteristics I was amazed with its behavior on Crown Mill Vellum paper... even after a few seconds the ink didn't smear anymore. Incredibly fast!  There was hardly any feathering, but be careful with a dip pen or broad nib, the ink didn't do very well with that. Show through is significant, even on heavy 90g paper. Shading is low.  You don't have to be afraid that an occasional spill of water will ruin your writing. I left water on the grid for

Homer Greek blue, Montblanc

You can't really go wrong with a decent blue.... without any real competition blue is the most popular fountain pen ink color and fits both personal and professional use. For me, blue ink has always been a little bit dull. I like many blue shades but they bore quickly. After one or two days of blue I really want to go back to a color for note taking that makes people frown...  I know, the available colors go from very light blue to almost black. With sidesteps towards teal, green or violet. But still. Recently I added Montblanc’s Homer Greek blue to my collection. It is a limited edition ink that comes in the well known stylish square bottle (50ml). A beautiful bright color, it is quite dark when wet, a lot lighter when dried up. I kept it in my pen for four days and wrote dozens of pages with it. I cannot deny it, this is one of my favorite blues now. It perfectly fits the time of year (late Spring).  Its behavior as you would expect from a Montblanc ink. Perfect in a med

Lierre Sauvage, J. Herbin

Recently I heard the (British) term " green-ink letter ", which is a letter to for instance a politician expressing eccentric views, often characterized by prolixity  and written in longhand , but not necessarily in green ink. Somehow green ink is associated with lunatic and eccentric behavior and even though I rare use green ink, I wonder why. There are some beautiful green inks out there and many of those are excellent for personal notes, personal correspondence or even short business notes. One of those inks is Lierre Sauvage, by J. Herbin. Perfect for any personal use or note taking in an office environment. It is very bright/in your face, which might make it a good color for reviewing and adding suggestions as well. It's a beautiful color, excellent shading and even though the ink (like many Herbin inks) is quite wet, it writes really well. I have tried this ink in Parker, Lamy and TSWBI pens with different nib sizes and the ink goes well with any of t

Red Fox, Mont Blanc, Le Petit Prince

Red Fox is a Montblanc Limited Edition, based on their Le Petit Prince series. The ink is a dark brown orange, not unlike the fur of a fox. I wasn't sure what to expect of this ink to be honest, reviews are mixed, but in the past week I have been writing a lot with it.  It's great for personal use and at the same time, despite being a dark orange, it's a color that you can easily use in an office environment to take down notes. For longer reads the color remains pleasant. The ink and its color surprised me and I must say, I   really  like this ink. At 35 euro for 50 ml the ink is expensive, but well worth it. It's a high quality ink.  As expected, no feathering, no bleed-through on decent paper,  shading is strong and excellent and the ink behaves extremely well in my Parker Duofold (medium nib). Lubrication is a bit better than most Montblanc inks I know but still, some pens have difficulties with it. TWSBI and Montblanc is not a good combination for instanc

Heart of Darkness, Noodler's

My collection of black inks is limited. In a previous review I discussed Aurora black, a very fine black ink. But I also wanted a permanent black. So I ordered Noodler's Heart of Darkness. I have a few other inks of this manufacturer and while they do their job, I am not a fan. The inks are very wet, have little or no shade and the colors are OK at best. Never marvellous. They have one advantage that is worth mentioning but of lesser importance to me... the inks are very forgiving on cheaper paper. Bleed-through of course, but hardly any feathering and normal drying times. On the super smooth Original Crown Mill Vellum, the ink almost floats. This ink is no exception. I didn't like it much in my Parker Duofold (medium nib). In a TWSBI Eco (Fine nib) it is a decent black. Darker than I expected, little or no shading, some bleed-through even on Rhodia. Drying times on (smooth) paper are very high, more than a minute. When comparing the ink to other blacks I was surprise

Aurora black

Traditional fountain pen colors are blue and black. There are quite a few great blue inks available, but black is notoriously difficult. I have tried a few, but none were really a success. Much as I love Iroshizuku, Take sumi is a disappointment. J. Herbin's Perle Noir the same. I don't write with black often, but an ink collection isn't complete without a really good black.  Then I stumbled upon Aurora black. Recommended by one of my favorite penshops, the darkest available color according to internet reviews, I had to try it. And I can say, this is the first black I really like. It's dark, it's smooth, it has a long drying time but other than that writes like a dream. And, at 45ml for less than 15 euro's it's not very expensive. Excellent value for money.  Of course black can be used for business purposes but I also like to write slightly darker thoughts and stories with it. For this review I have taken some quotes from Stephen King's 1408. Ver

Hoteison, Iroshizuku

Iroshizuku has recently launched a series of limited edition inks, based on the Japanese Gods for luck. A clever marketing scheme, at 1.5 the normal retail price and colors that are not always easy to distinguish from the normal collection. Try to do a proper blind test between Murasaki-Shikibu and Jurosin for instance. I wouldn't bet on my ability to always tell these two apart without a paper chromatography.  But, arguably, Iroshizuku makes the best inks in the world, so let's give them some credit. And, truth be told, some colors are a welcome addition to the portfolio. The color I do like best from these limited edition series is Hoteison. A very dark green (almost black). The ink behaves perfectly, flows smoothly, has a nice subtle shading and is a dream to write with in any fountain pen. Of course this ink deserves high quality paper.  The color is neutral enough for a business environment. No one would frown upon notes or signatures in a black green color. I'm

Diamine Oxblood

My first ink review, it had to be this one. Possibly the most beautiful ink color I have, Oxblood by Diamine.  It is a strong, dark red, leaning towards brown. It draws people's attention, but is classy enough for business use, and even better for personal correspondence.  I always have a pen filled with this ink. But I use it more fall/winter t han in spring/summer. Most of the time Diamine comes in the practical 30ml plastic containers, for this color I have also bought the beautiful and less easy to obtain 80ml glass bottle.  The ink behaves really well, it's smooth and quite wet with long drying times (30-35 seconds). I only use high quality paper like Crown Mill, Rhodia or Lalo. There is no point in wasting precious quality ink on cheap copy paper. I particularly like the shading in this ink, it's very noticeable but never extreme. To give an idea, I have included some comparisons with Vermeer's Steenrood (PW Akkerman), Rouge Grenat (Herbin), Crimson (Diam