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Posts in the ink category

Caran d'Ache Cosmic Black swabCaran d'Ache Cosmic Black bottle

A lot of people were sad to see the retirement of Caran d’Ache Carbon Black ink when the Colors of the Earth series was discontinued. When the Chromatics series was announced as its successor, many were enthralled by the packaging but balked at the price tag. Though most have already drawn their own conclusion as to the legitimacy of the price point, I wanted to see how the new Cosmic Black stacked up.

As Cosmic Black was my first bottle of the new Chromatics inks, I spent a few moments to take in the interesting packaging. The glass bottle took on a peculiar shape with a slanted base which (supposedly) allows for easier filling when the ink level gets low. The base of the ink bottle box is constructed in a way that the bottle will sit “flat” while inside it (see photos). Even though the bottle is made of glass, the screw-cap is actually made of a highly polished metal. I found it quite appealing except for the fact that the metal threads inside the cap seemed to have broken off small shards of the glass threads on the bottle at some point down the line before reaching me. However, this did not affect the lids effectiveness in preventing ink from spilling everywhere, so I set it aside and moved on.

Caran d'Ache Cosmic Black bottle

So, is Cosmic Black as dark as the center of a black hole floating in the vacuum of space at the heart of a barred spiral galaxy? Well, not quite—but it is certainly a respectably dark black.

The ink is quite a wet writer and lays down a nice, dark black line. While it is not the blackest black I have ever seen, it tends to lean towards a nice deep black while occasionally straying to a dark gray. The dry times are moderate to long, but it was never enough to cause any problems. There is a very tiny amount of shading if you are in a bright light and hold it at just the right angle, but for the most part it is a fairly straight forward black. When the ink is allowed to pool up a bit, there is a small amount of sheen that can be seen. It is not significant, but does present the ink with a noticeable gloss in the right light. Water resistance is moderate to poor. After exposure to water, the ink smears quite a bit but still remains legible. I found no issues with skipping or flow, and I was very happy to see that the ink was incredibly easy to clean out of my pens (even after a few days of sitting around).

Overall, I would say that this is a very nice black ink and I am more than happy to have it as a part of my collection. However, the price tag is quite high and I do not find any special qualities that justify the extra cost. There are certainly other black inks out there that would fill the needs of most users just as sufficiently but at a much more affordable price. That being said, if you enjoy the fancy packaging and have plenty of money budgeted for your inks, Caran d’Ache Cosmic Black could be a fun purchase.

Caran d'Ache Cosmic Black review


Sailor Kobe Old Foreigner Ward Sepia No. 3Sailor Kobe Old Foreigner Ward Sepia bottle

Sailor Kobe inks are exclusive to the Nagasawa shops and pay tribute to the many faces of Kobe, Japan. Old Foreigner Ward Sepia (旧居留地セピア) pays homage to the area of Kobe that is filled with a diverse variety of traditional buildings that take architecture cues from around the world.

Much like the Old Foreigner Ward itself, this ink is calm and evokes an “antiqued” feel. To be perfectly honest, the color was a lot darker than I thought it would be based on the existing photos online. This ink is a cooler brown color that can become almost black when it is used in a flex pen. The shading is very minimal and hardly noticeable in most practical applications. One element that I found pleasantly surprising is the fact that this ink flows wonderfully from every pen I tried it in. I had zero skipping or railroading and the ink was never too dry or too wet which helps to keep the dry times respectably fast. On top of that, when rinsed out with water, the ink cleared out of the pens very easily and left no visible residue. Exposure to water rinses away some of the color, but the ink remains legible in most cases so I would say the water resistance level is moderate.

Personally, while I do not think this is a color that would find its way into my pens on a regular basis, the properties and behavior of this ink make it a delight to use. If you are looking for a cool, dark brown ink, look no further.


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Sheaffer Skrip Red

Sheaffer Skrip Red swabSheaffer Skrip Red bottle

Once upon a time, I embarked on a journey that took me from the solemn vaulted halls of Diamine Oxblood to the burning desert of Noodler’s Cayenne—I examined Pelikan Edelstein Ruby and I basked in Montblanc Winter Glow. Then one day I came upon a simple, unassuming jar of ink. My eyes dismissed the packaging and my hands fumbled with the bottle, but when I finally pressed pen to paper, I knew I had found it—the red of reds. An unwavering beacon of chromatic precision that you could set your watch to. Sheaffer Skrip Red.

Dramatic hyperbole aside, Sheaffer Skrip Red is one of the best iterations of a basic, no-frills red colored fountain pen ink that I have used thus far. It has a beautiful, bright red hue that doesn’t seem to lean too far into other color tones. The ink bottle it came in is not my favorite bottle design, but it gets the job done. I find the ink itself to be rather moderate all-around. Flow is moderate with the ink not being too wet or too dry, dry times are moderate to long depending on the pen you’re using, and shading is moderate to minimal. I did not get any bleeding on Rhodia paper even with a flex pen, but unfortunately the ink has zero water resistance properties (like most red inks) and is easily washed away. Considering the bold red color of the ink, I was a bit concerned about staining in my pens, but the ink washed out cleanly without much fuss. If you are looking for a nice, bright, standard-looking red fountain pen ink, Sheaffer Skrip Red is certainly worth trying out (especially considering the affordable prices of Sheaffer inks).

Sheaffer Skrip Red review


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Sailor Kingdom Note Tanna JaponensisSailor Kingdom Note Tanna Japonensis

Sailor is well-known for producing exclusive inks for fountain pen shops in Japan. Kingdom Note in Tokyo has a “Biological” ink series that focuses on different types of biological life. Tanna Japonensis is a part of the first series: “Insects.” As a Sailor exclusive ink, it comes in a beautiful ink bottle that Sailor only uses for it’s Japan-exclusive inks. This ink itself is a lovely, warm tone with a soft, mossy green feel to it. I was pleasantly surprised by how much shading is possible with this ink ranging between that light, mossy green to a deeper color reminiscent of the light tapering off as you venture further into the woods. The ink flows wonderfully and goes down on the page wet, but drys very quickly. No bleeding on Rhodia paper unless pushed to the limit with flex or multiple passes. Unfortunately, this ink has zero water resistance properties and is easily washed away with brief exposure. Overall, this is a very nice shade of green that I happily recommend if you can get your hands on a bottle.


Sailor Kingdom Note Tanna Japonensis


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Pelikan Edelstein TurmalinePelikan Edelstein Turmaline bottle

Starting in 2012, Pelikan began releasing a limited edition Edelstein series ink each year. Pelikan Edelstein Turmaline was the first “Ink of the Year” that came out, and it is a notably vibrant pinkish-purple. Like the rest of the Edelstein ink series, Turmaline comes in a magnificently lovely glass bottle with a plastic cap. Many of the Edelstein inks have notably muted tones and aren’t particularly bright or eye-searing despite their lustrous names. However, Turmaline finds a nice balance between this softer palette and the eye-catching pop of a pinkish-purple ink. There were no flow issues and the ink went down on the page with moderate wetness. The color does have some flexibility stretching from a lighter pink shade to a deeper, rich purple. Being a bit of an ostentatious color, Turmaline might not be an ink that you’ll always have in your pens, but it is still a very nice color in a well-rounded package. Seeing as how it was limited to the year 2012, it is now very difficult to find, but if you find a bottle, you won’t be disappointed!


Pelikan Edelstein Turmaline review

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Sailor Jentle Apricot

Sailor ApricotSailor Apricot bottle


Sailor Jentle Apricot is a stunningly bright and vibrant orange ink that leaps off of the page and grabs your attention. I don’t usually gravitate towards orange inks, but Apricot is so eye-catching that I couldn’t help but become captivated by it. The color is so vivid that the ink almost glows on the white field of the paper. The shading is slight but notable as it undulates from a delectably indulgent crimson orange to a softer apricot color. I absolutely love the way this ink looks with a flex nib. There is even a bit of a gloss to the ink when it is allowed to pool up, but this is not likely to manifest itself in regular writing. Flow is good across the board, dry times are average and it behaves as admirably as any other Sailor ink I have tried. However, the ink does not stand a chance against water and is easily washed away upon exposure. Unfortunately, as of early 2014, Sailor Apricot has been discontinued along with the rest of that generation of Jentle inks. I am truly sad to see it go, but perhaps it will make a re-appearance again in the future. I highly recommend this ink if you can find any!


Sailor Apricot


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Rohrer & Klingner ScabiosaRohrer & Klingner Scabiosa Bottle


Rohrer & Klingner Scabiosa is a difficult ink to capture digitally. The ink is a somewhat muted and dusty purple that brings to mind a late sunset shielded by the clouds of a waning storm. It’s a somewhat melancholy ink color that possesses some interesting subtle features. As an iron gall ink, the water resistant properties are superb and can survive exposure with full legibility. Dry times are average and the ink goes down on the paper with a moderate amount of wetness and zero flow issues. One thing that I have taken note of is that this ink seems to slightly shift color as it ages on paper, which you may notice happening in some of my photos. When it is still fresh, the color has more of a cool gray tone to it, whereas once it’s been allowed to age, it acquires a slightly warmer tone. I’ve always had a thing for dusty purple inks, and the iron gall aspect adds quite a bit of appeal for me. I think this is one of those inks that can really grow on you if you give it time. I definitely recommend trying it out if you like these kinds of purples!

Special thanks to The Goulet Pen Company for sending me this bottle of Rohrer & Klingner Scabiosa! Although this ink was provided at no cost, this review contains my 100% honest and unfettered opinion.


Rohrer & Klingner Scabiosa Review


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Montblanc Albert EinsteinMontblanc Albert Einstein


As part of the Great Characters series, Montblanc released their homage to Albert Einstein in 2013 in the form of a limited edition pen (3000 fountain pens, 1500 rollerballs, and 1500 ballpoints) and an accompanying Albert Einstein ink. This ink is a subtle and understated gray color that is reminiscent of the slate of a chalkboard. It has a surprisingly good amount of shading and all of the properties of a well-behaved Montblanc ink. The biggest downside I could think of is the fact that it is a limited edition ink, and once it’s gone it’s gone. I was lucky enough to get my hands on a bottle (which is the same style bottle as Montblanc Alfred Hitchcock, Winter Glow, Leonardo da Vinci, etc.) and I recommend picking one up if you like the look of this lovely gray!

The box art is actually quite nice. It depicts a sea of stars and nebulae with a few of Einstein’s equations scrawled over the top. The entire outside of the box appears to have a light metallic sheen to it.

Montblanc Albert Einstein

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Private Reserve Avacado

Private Reserve AvacadoPrivate Reserve Avacado bottle


Private Reserve Avacado is one of the first green inks that I saw come highly recommended by the fountain pen community. The ink is a rich, leafy green that feels really organic and alive. It reminds me of a bowl of fresh spinach, or perhaps the leaves of a shaded maple tree at the peak of summer. Of course the actual name of the ink does bring to mind the deep green, bumpy textured skin of the avocado, but unlike the fruit skin, this ink is incredibly smooth. The ink is not dry, but it’s not quite wet either. It goes down onto the paper with ease and I had no issues with skipping. Although the ink does not have any distinctive sheen, when pooled it does exhibit a bit of a gloss. Shading is good, depending on your nib, but overall it can stretch from a vibrant green to a deep green-black.

Unfortunately, this ink does not hold up to water very well and was completely obliterated by my water drop test. I was actually kind of surprised. Dry times are very good and in most cases it will be dry to the touch in 10 seconds. Overall, I love the color of this ink. It is much more unique than I had imagined from other reviews I have seen online, and truly deserving of its popularity. Highly recommended!

Special thanks to The Goulet Pen Company for sending me this bottle of Private Reserve Avacado! Although this ink was provided at no cost, this review contains my 100% honest and unfettered opinion.

Private Reserve Avacado


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Noodler's Liberty's ElysiumNoodler's Liberty's Elysium bottle

Noodler’s Liberty’s Elysium is a deep, rich blue ink that was made by Noodler’s in conjunction with The Goulet Pen Company. It is also exclusively sold at Goulet Pens. As with many Noodler’s inks, there is a bit of history behind the label and the name of the ink. I highly recommend watching Brian Goulet’s video to get a better idea of their thought process in the creation of this ink. This ink is relatively well behaved and I noticed a few interesting things. Although the ink goes down on the paper wet, the dry times are quite fast. In finer nibbed pens, the dry times seem almost instantaneous, and even when the ink pools the dry times are still quite reasonable. I haven’t had any issues with feathering, but I have noticed some very minor bleeding on Rhodia paper with wetter pens. However, I don’t think it would be an issue for most daily writing. After allowing the ink to sit in one of my pens for an extended period of time, I found that the ink can be very difficult to clean out of a pen once it has dried out. I highly recommend cleaning the pen out quickly if you empty it out. Although I personally prefer to use fine nibs, I think the real beauty of this ink isn’t fully realized unless you are writing with a broader line.

Noodler's Liberty's Elysium Label

The label depicts renowned figures in American history.

This ink is also semi-bulletproof and, although the color fades a bit, remains easily legible when exposed to water. There is a moderate amount of shading, and the ink can get to a very dark blue, but not quite black. There is no sheen that I have noticed, and I think this is due to how readily it is absorbed into the paper. Overall, I do like this ink. I think it could be a great choice of blue if you’re looking for some semi-permanent properties in a nice, rich, blue package.

Special thanks to The Goulet Pen Company for sending me this bottle of Noodler’s Liberty’s Elysium! Although this ink was provided at no cost, this review contains my 100% honest and unfettered opinion.



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