Pelikan Edelstein 2017 Ink of the Year – Smoky Quartz

30 09 2017

My dudes, there has been an update to the WordPress app and now I can’t find the add caption button. Had to drag out my laptop to add this. If only I had some way of searching to access a world of knowledge that might tell me…..

Time to lay down some quick thoughts on Smoky Quartz before the dawn of spooktober, as this is a perfect ink color for the pumpkin spiced season.

Pumpkin spice scented ink, make it happen. Somebody. J Herbin, I’m looking at you

I wasn’t excited about this color when Pelikan first announced it, I will admit, but was willing to give it a shot if it came up at, say, the year’s Pelikan Hubs meetup. Well lo and behold:

I kicked Ina-ho out of one of my fall pens and replaced it with Smoky Quartz. A wise choice. I keep typing “smoky quarts” which is something entirely different, like artisinally woodsmoked small batch quantities of milk.  Perhaps not a wise choice

It’s got just enough shading when writing regularly to keep me delighted while still remaining a nice, professional, time-to-stomp-on-some-leaves-and-chug-spiced-wine brown. No real sheen to speak of, but I’m content to have nice shading. You got me, Pelikan.

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Jacques Herbin 1798 Amethyste de l’Oural

31 08 2017

Another year, another deliciously sparkletastic J. Herbin anniversary ink. I like the J. Herbin strategy of releasing one ink at a time—there’s no agonizing decision-making to undertake, simply: here’s this year’s choice. Take it or leave it.

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I’ll take it! As if there were ever any question…

This year’s release inaugurates a new J. Herbin ink category, the Jacques Herbin 1798 Ink Collection. Welcome improvements over the 1670 Anniversary ink series include: a wider bottle mouth that you can actually fit pens into, clear color-coded labels on the bottle and the box (as opposed to the 1670 series, whose boxes were labeled with mermaids and french hieroglyphics), and the decorative improvements of using a satiny cord around the bottle (silver grey to indicate the sparkle type??), and the J. Herbin ship logo on the bottom of the bottle (which will handily identify all my enemies when I inevitably have to smack them in the forehead with my ink bottle..?).

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Like a jewel! A deadly jewel…

Whether anything has changed about the ink itself, I can’t say, but in my experience no improvements were needed. Though I have heard tell of others who have had pens get clogged, I have committed the most heinous and egregious of pen hygiene practices with the shimmery Herbin inks and experienced nary a consequence (but I do not recommend doing as I do; don’t hold me responsible if you screw up your pens). I’ve had Amethyste de l’Oural loaded in a Pelikan M205 with broad italic nib since July 5th, and the pen has started up without fail every time I take the cap off.

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I had a caption here, which I’m sure was most clever and perfect, but the internet ate it and now it is lost forever, much to the detriment of society

Amethyste de l’Oural is a rich, vibrant purple, brightly saturated, leaning a hint of a bit more toward blue than red as far as purples go. Shading is good, but no sheen. I’ve piled this ink on the page to try and get it, but sheen is not there. Compare it to some of its sheeny 1670 brethren:

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Note the unquestionable sheen on Rouge Hematite, Emerald of Chivor, and Caroube de Chypre

But shimmer and sparkle we’ve got in ready abundance. As with other shimmer inks, make sure you shake the bottle thoroughly (I shake until there’s no more shimmer particles on the bottom) before filling up your pen to get maximally even sparkle distribution. In a break from the 1670 inks, 1798 Amethyste de l’Oural features silver shimmer rather than gold. What I love about these sparkles in particular is that if you look closely you can see hints of other colors, pale pinks and blues among the silver.

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LOOK CLOSELY! GAZE WITH ALL YOUR MIGHT!!!!

This ink is another winner. It doesn’t have perhaps quite as much going on as Emerald of Chivor, but that doesn’t matter. It’s a beautiful ink in its own right. Load up your favorite broad, stub, italic, and other such vast juicy nibs with this ink and enjoy.

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When ink looks like the cosmos, it’s a good thing

While you’re here, have another lovely review of this ink from the Desk of Lori

(Exaclair provided this ink at no charge for reviewing purposes — opinions entirely my own)





Ink Flight Box #4

31 05 2017

I’m SORT OF trying to be SOMEWHAT more responsible this year in terms of gratuitous purchases, and focusing instead on enjoying the pens, papers, and inks I already have. So I don’t know what exactly Tom wrote in the Ink Flight announcement for May that made me overcome my sense of responsibility and decide that I had to have whatever extra mystery item was, but good job. The wheels of capitalism thank you.

I’d like to make a wheelie clever pun here but I’m too tired

My particular Ink Flight box decided to take some extra layovers through the US Postal Service for whatever reason, but Tom was super helpful in making sure my Ink Flight got to me (also super helpful in getting me sorted out when I somehow managed to accidentally place my order twice when trying to use ApplePay while half asleep). Prompt A+ customer service.

In spite of unforeseen flight delays, none of the surprise was spoiled for me online. A+ nice pen and ink community. The Ink Flight Box #4 came with 7 samples of J. Herbin ink —  4 regular colors, 2 special edition sparkly 1670 colors, and 1 scented color. All in all I think as good a representation of the brand as one can be expected to fit within 7 samples. Also included in the box: a Col-o-ring Ink Testing Book and a Neptune watercolor brush. The mystery items did not disappoint. I made squealy noises of excitement.

Please note if you want it to look like this, some effort will be required. But it’s worth it

My feelings toward J. Herbin inks have been all over the place throughout the years. I bought three bottles early on (Gris Nuage, Diabolo Menthe, and Vert Reseda) and some cartridges (Poussiere de Lune, Ambre de Birmanie), liked them well enough, then decided that they didn’t have enough shading or saturation for my tastes at the time and didn’t use them for a few years, got hooked on the 1670 anniversary editions (starting with Stormy Grey, the reformulated Bleu Ocean, and so forth), and have since gone back to my original bottles (plus a holiday gift of a bottle of Rouge Caroubier) and am loving them again. It’s a good time for more J. Herbin to come back into my life, even if only 3 of the samples are new colors to me.


Brief thoughts on the colors (asterisk for the ones new to me):

Emerald of Chivor — still haven’t reviewed it, though I have mentioned it in other reviews. It is magical and using it feels like I’m staring into the cosmos. It fills me with joy and I have no complaints against it.

Stormy Grey — love the shading, love the sparkle. I even have Stormy Grey in my bamboo brush pen right now. It’s like me: seems professional, but then the light hits it just right and you can see the mad gleam of insanity glinting in my eyes charming sparkle.

Rouge Caroubier — a very lovely slightly-pinkish-coral sort of red. Nice for spring and summer especially. Not a lot of very noticeable shading though.

Poussiere de Lune — a nice dusky purple. Writing with the paintbrush, it seems to have more shading than I remember when I last used a cartridge of it.

Eclat de Saphir* — what a vibrant blue! Much like Lamy Blue, but a bit more vibrant at its most saturated. Writing with the paintbrush has significant shading from a very vibrant blue to a slightly more muted one. I am intrigued to see how it will behave once I get it in a pen.

Bleu Pervenche* — it’s like a sky blue turquoise! The closest color I already have to it is Monteverde Turquoise, but not a lot of shading when writing with the paintbrush. I prefer turquoise and similar blues with more shading. But the color is so lovely, I’ll give it a chance in some pen on my next go-round of inking.

Cacao Brown* — it smells…kind of like vanilla extract?? But not quite. I like it. I don’t know that I really like this particular brown color. Can I add this scent to some 1670 Caroube de Chypre? That would be perfect.

Quick thoughts on the mystery items:

Neptune #2 Round Watercolor Brush — found it quite easy to use and write with. Could never seem to get it fully clean though. I’d think it was clean, and it would be clean on most of it except if I put a paper towel to where the bristles go into the metal ferrule (or whatever you call it), I’d always draw out a bit of ink. There’s probably ink stashed away up in there forever now. But using it didn’t seem contaminated with other colors so I’m just hoping for the best.

Col-o-ring Ink Testing Book — heckafreaking amazing. I am so excited to have one. I’ve already done swatches of every bottle of ink I own, Leigh Reyes-style, and am happy to report I own less than 100 bottles of ink and therefore have room to grow. More about the Col-o-ring by The Well-Appointed Desk here.

Here’s my calling card.

All in all a very satisfying purchase. I got to experience new colors, I gave away the two 1670 anniversary ink samples to a friend and spread the love, and I have a Col-o-ring now! The Ink Flight isn’t a subscription, so if I decide to go back to being responsible there’s nothing else I need to do. And if I decide I gotta have it, I can hop back on. The differently priced options for an Ink Flight are 1. just the 6 samples; 2. the Starter set including the 6 samples, a bonus sample, an InkJournal Black notebook, and a random piece of InkJournal swag; or 3. the 6 samples, bonus sample, and surprise mystery item(s) for fountain pen and ink lovers. The next Ink Flight is available to order now and ships out this Friday, June 2nd!

 





Pilot Iroshizuku Ina-ho (Rice Ear) Ink

25 06 2016

Trying out a little different format for reviewing ink. I’ve never been a fan of having to create the very detailed formulaic reviews/scientific lab reports on inks. I enjoy looking at them, but not making them

Left to my own devices, I probably would never have picked up any Iroshizuku Ina-ho ink. Maybe if I was on a quest to try all the Iroshizuku inks and 2ml samples were on sale. Shades of brown are unassuming, and do not call as much attention to themselves. But then fall comes around, and the only autumn inks I have are the same shades as those of a roaring fire. Or three colors of bright-hued flowers. Brown is necessary to distinguish the season’s colors from one another.

Fun fact: my mind decided to pronounce Ina-ho like an incredibly exaggerated Minnesotan rendition of “I know” and now I can’t undo it. Ya-noh? Eye na-ho!

Is this a brown? I suppose it is, but it has tones of greenish yellow to it. A shade of gold, perhaps? I have no concept of rice ear–as an American, the only edible ears I know are corn–but a bit of Googling shows ears of rice to be a golden-brown color, with some tints of green. An accurate color name then.

Turns out rice doesn’t grow in orange bags with “Uncle Ben’s” on the side #themoreyouknow

The biggest surprise about this ink was the unexpectedly beautiful level of shading. I love shading. Possibly my favorite ink characteristic. Ina-ho’s got it. The ink itself is an unusual color but standard enough that you might get away with it for most everyday office use that doesn’t require blue or black ink. Good to the last drop, I had no issues with flow in my Pilot Vanishing Point with architect nib.

What is the little cord for besides decoration and to match the box? What is the utility here?

The packaging of all the Iroshizuku inks is in line with the pricey nature of the ink – fancy glass bottle in a brushed-steel-looking cardboard box. The labeling on the box and the bottle corresponds to the ink color, and it’s a close but not quite match. The labeling is a smidge too warm of a brown.

Expensive but beautiful

I don’t know that I’ll keep this color inked up for the summer (as hot as it’s getting around here, it might put me too much in mind of drought-dead grass rather than a bountiful harvest). But I’m looking forward to putting this color in the rotation combination for my fall ink lineup.

Pilot Iroshizuku Ina-ho Ink at NoteMaker

(Notemaker provided this product at no charge for reviewing purposes–opinions entirely my own)





Noodler’s Berning Red

18 04 2016

I don’t mix politics and pens (pens are for everyone, regardless of whether our worldviews agree), nor did I have the attention span to watch the 35 minute opus YouTube video related to this ink (I’ve tried 3 times and only made it a total of 4 minutes in, but I’ve heard that “it’s a trip” – interpret that as you will), so I can’t comment thoughtfully on the political aspects of this ink. But it’s quite a memorable label, and I don’t think any other ink company has labels as fantastically strange and detailed as Noodler’s labels.

 

What does it all mean? Maybe if I could pay attention for over half an hour I would know

The big draws for me on this ink are the quick drying potential, and the red color (I still haven’t found a perfect fall red). Noodler’s Bernanke Blue is the current gold standard in my life for quick drying ink. I haven’t given it a formal review, but I can tell you when I need an ink I can count on, Bernanke Blue is what I load up. The trade-off with Bernanke Blue is that it has no shading, tends to bleed through all kinds of paper (some more than others), and is given to some fuzz and feathering. It doesn’t come out sharp. But it hits the paper dry, yet has no problems starting up even after I haven’t used it in a pen for weeks. How does Berning Red compare?

 

Well for starters Bernanke Blue is probably around 475 nm wavelength and Berning Red around 650 nm as far as visible light goes

Just as Bernanke is a strong, rich blue, Berning is a strong, vibrant red. It’s not quite firetruck red, more of a warm autumn leaf color. It also has no trouble starting up in my pens after time spent unused, and has given me no dry-outs or hard starts. Good ink flow. Most excitingly, Berning Red exhibits some shading…on Tomoe River paper. Better than nothing!

This picture is the tl;dr summary image of this post

On every other paper besides Tomoe River, Berning Red has the same less desirable characteristics as Bernanke Blue: a tendency to fuzz and feather, to bleed through the page, and just generally fail to deliver a crisp writing line. It’s not the worst, but I’m picky, and generally willing to sacrifice a few seconds drying time advantage if it means ink that will look crisp on the page. I could just use this ink on Tomoe River paper, but on that paper Berning Red loses all dry time advantage; whereas Bernanke Blue dried in about 5 seconds on TR (most paper it takes 1 second, at most 2), Berning Red took 15 seconds to dry, no better than most any other ink. On other papers, dry time for Berning Red varied from 1 second to 5 seconds, maxing out at 25 seconds on the InkJournal paper. It’s mostly a fast drying ink, except when it’s not, and definitely not as quick drying as its close relative, Bernanke Blue.

 

Shade-wise it clocks in somewhere near fall maple leaf

Your mileage will definitely vary based on what pen and paper combos you bring to this ink. If you’re looking to use it as a quick drying ink, stick to cheaper and conventional papers and probably lean toward a finer nib for a better looking line. If you want the best look out of this vigorous red, then abandon all hope of a quick dry time, and pair a broad and/or stub nib with Tomoe River paper. Ideal for lefties? Eh, it can be, with a thoughtful choice of pen and paper.

 

(Pen Boutique provided this product at no charge for review purposes)





Diamine Shimmertastic Purple Pazzazz and Red Lustre

14 02 2016

Diamine Shimmertastic ink, in a nutshell: almost more trouble than it’s worth.

Sparkle

In spite of owning every last one, I haven’t reviewed any of the J. Herbin 1670 inks yet. I’ve been too busy enjoying them – that company knows how to both build and live up to the hype. By the time Emerald of Chivor became available last year, I NEEDED that ink to live. I ordered a second bottle from a different distributor because the first one I’d ordered didn’t seem to be coming fast enough (even though it arrived the next day). Emerald of Chivor is life. I HAVE NO REGRETS.

 

It’s like staring into the cosmos


But I was not among those excited by the announcement that Diamine would be dropping a whole line of TEN shimmer-filled inks. I was psychologically spent after the satisfying fulfillment of Chivormania; I didn’t have the emotional resources to care about TEN DIFFERENT INKS that I definitely could not afford all at once. I put the whole line out of my mind, until someone at pen club (possibly Tom with all the Pelikans) brought in a bottle of Purple Pazzazz and a bottle of Red Lustre, giving away samples to try.

 

I thought I was making good choices


I started with Purple Pazzazz in a Lamy Vista with 1.9mm calligraphy nib, chiefly because every last J. Herbin 1670 ink has done fantastically with the Lamy feed/1.9mm nib combination. After about one sentence, the flow choked up. This Diamine stuff was definitely a different beast. I swapped on a broad nib instead, and the pen was coaxed into cooperation. Purple Pazzazz in a Lamy Al-Star with medium nib gave me no trouble. Time then to try the Red Lustre.

 

At least it’s a pretty mess

TWSBI mini with 1.5 stub? NOPE. Nothing but failure. A. G. Spalding Bros mini pen, the juicy one? Couldn’t even get the ink to flow to the end of the nib. Monteverde Artista Crystal? The clear feed shows exactly where the ink stops, and goes no more. In desperation (and seriously lacking in the broad nibs department of my life for some reason), I inked up my Pelikan M205 with the gigantically juicy factory italic nib – at last! Success! Delicious success! 

You can see the shimmer particles settle and move in the juicy lines of ink. Just as I was about to consign this color to dip pens only, here at last a glimmer, shimmer of hope. I swapped the biggest non-stub TWSBI nib I had (a medium) onto the mini, and after some nib-flossing it works now, more or less reliably. More tests will determine if this cooperation is color based, or if I just didn’t have the right pen/nib combos for the red as I did for the purple. I’ve got the Goulet Pens Shimmertastic Sample set now, so in due time I can properly assess the entire line. 

Who needs to look professional when you can be sparkly instead

On to the ink itself, once on the page – a delightful sparkle. Like writing with some form of arcane magic. Moreso than the J. Herbin 1670 inks though, the sparkles will spread all over the page, far beyond where the ink is located. Your writing takes on the appearance of a fairy sneeze when tilted to the light. I don’t know why the sparkle spreads – the particles definitely settle a little faster in the solution than the J. Herbin particles do in theirs, so perhaps that in some way has something to do with it. I haven’t used the pen in the ink bottle technique to fill anything with these inks — I think the sparkles settle too quickly for that. Shake your sample/bottle vigorously, and use a syringe to draw ink from about the halfway down or so point, and you should end up with a decent amount of sparkle and bling. And although I am irresponsible and have left these inks sitting in my pens for quite a little bit of time with no negative consequences, you should probably clean out any pens you put this ink into on a regular basis. 

Pen blogger tested, King Midas approved

In spite of all the attendant frustration, the lovely look of these inks makes it worth my while. Avoid the headache and stick to dip pens with this ink, or brave the sometimes unsuccessful combinations in the quest for a perfect pen/nib/ink shimmertastic trifecta.

 

 





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