Rohrer & Klingner – Scabiosa (iron gall) Ink

16 10 2014

I don’t typically review ink, but I’ve been compelled by the consistently impressive performance of this ink to give it its own review.

Behold the incredible mess of my desk

Behold the incredible mess of my desk

The color of the ink is a beautiful, dark, dusky purple with absolutely delicious shading. It has played well with every pen I’ve put it in so far—my broad and my medium-nibbed Vanishing Points, my Zait fountain pen, my Pelikan M150 and M250, my Sheaffer Connaisseur…every pen so far has been a heavenly match-up. If I have a pen that needs to be inked up, my first reaction now ends up being something to the tune of, “gosh, I bet Scabiosa would be great in this…but is it really appropriate to have 5 fountain pens inked with the same color at the same time?”

It is really, truly, totally appropriate

It is really, truly, totally appropriate

The Scabiosa always seems to have good, practical drying times when I actually write with it—I don’t have to stop to let the page dry to keep from smudging while I write, whether I’m using fine, medium, or broad nibs. But even more impressive is Scabiosa’s ability to overcome most any crappy paper. The Scabiosa consistently outperforms other fountain pen inks on subpar paper. This is what you want to see in a daily use ink. It will take some truly terrible paper to get Scabiosa to misbehave—it tends neither to bleed through, show through, fuzz, nor feather. Can ink have superpowers? Can ink be a super hero?

The most perfect color

The most perfect color

Scabiosa is a modern iron gall ink. It has archival properties (water resistant), but being a modern formulation this iron gall ink isn’t going to eat up everything the way old iron gall inks would. That said, I can’t speak to how finicky antique pens made with delicate or temperamental materials might respond—I don’t have any such pens to test it with. The Goulets and Rorher & Klingner recommend not leaving it in your pens for more than a week, as it may stain; I’ve had some in my Pelikan M150 for over a month—I cleaned the pen out, and there was nary a stain to be found.


Are there any downsides to this ink? I certainly haven’t found them yet.

Rohrer & Klingner Scabiosa (iron gall) ink — available in 50ml bottles and 2ml samples at the Goulet Pen Company



6 responses

17 10 2014
Joe L.

I haven’t left this one in a pen for very long, but I’ve had the same cleaning experience with R&K Salix. Left it in my TWSBI 580 for at least a month, maybe a week or two longer and it cleaned out perfectly. No staining at all. These two are such great inks.

17 10 2014

Nice review! I must admit that though I have purchased a bottle of this already I still have not actually tried it! I really do like IG inks, though. I have a bunch from chemist members on FPN that I need to try, too.

It occurs to me you might also like Ecclesiastic Stationery Supplies Registrar’s Ink (ESSRI). It has a pretty fabulous color change.

25 11 2014
A Trio of Fountain Pen Friendly Notebooks | No Pen Intended

[…] and inks do better than others. I’m having good results right now writing in cursive, using Rohrer & Klingner Scabiosa in my Lamy 2000. Thin gel pens (0.5mm and under), ballpoints, pencils, and thin fountain pen nibs […]

10 11 2016
Denik Brown Classic Notebook | No Pen Intended

[…] not a lost cause for the fountain pen world. Use medium nibs or finer with the right inks (such as Rohrer & Klingner Scabiosa, which I love), just experiment a little and I’m confident you can easily find a combination […]

30 11 2017
Pilot Falcon – Red – Rhodium Trim – Soft Extra Fine Nib | No Pen Intended

[…] My go-to ink choice has been Rohrer & Klingner Salix iron gall ink, but I might get in on this Scabiosa and Salix mixing I see the cool kids doing […]

1 03 2018
Hobonichi Essentials | No Pen Intended

[…] the job done. A clear-bodied Sailor HighAce Neo Beginner fountain pen, almost always inked with Rohrer & Klingner Scabiosa iron gall ink, which fits perfectly in the pen loops of my Gfeller Casemaker leather Hobonichi […]

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