Private Reserve DC Super Violet

15 Aug

As most of you know, this past weekend was the DC Pen Show, the largest pen show held in the USA.

Private Reserve Ink has a history of doing special inks for the DC show. Several are now a permanent part of the PR ink line: DC Supershow Blue, DC Supershow Green, and Electric DC Blue. This year, they have released DC Super Violet. This ink, however, is a limited edition ink. There are only 500 bottles available. The bottles are large at 110ml and the cost is quite affordable at $10 a bottle (MSRP). Even if you did not attend the show, you can still get the ink. I purchased my bottle from . Pendemonium also had some for sale, but theirs is priced above MSRP at $13.

Now, I usually don’t go for limited edition inks because I hate the feeling of getting attached to something that may not be available later on, but I just could not pass this one up. I love everything purple, and this ink falls squarely within the portion of the color range that I love most. The bottle is huge at, and I have a lot of inks anyway. I probably won’t run out any time soon, so the fact that the ink is limited shouldn’t be a problem (at least that’s what I’m telling myself).

DC Super Violet is a medium-dark purple. Just like I like it. It is a very true sort of purple. It straddles the line between blue and red. It is similar to Diamine Majestic Purple, but DCSV has a brightness that MP lacks. It is also similar to Rohrer & Klingner Cassia, but DCSV is a little more saturated and brighter than Cassia. To my eye, DCSV is the perfect purple counterpart to DC Supershow Blue: Rich, bright, and a true representation of the color.

The Details:

  • Generally, there is no feathering or bleeding though you can get a minimal amount of the two depending on how wet your nib is and the quality of your paper. The Jinhao nib is super wet. I get slight feathering on everything except Rhodia et al.
  • The flow is superb and the lubrication is quite good as well.
  • This ink dries pretty quickly depending on the paper. I’d say it’s about 3 seconds on absorbent paper to about 20 on Rhodia (with a wet writer).
  • The shading is wonderful even on regular paper, and it is outstanding on a coated paper like Rhodia.
  • Unfortunately, this ink is not waterproof. It displays very little water resistance as well.

(click to sharpen and enlarge the image)

All in all, I love this ink! It’s just such a shame that this is a limited edition color. Hopefully, they will make a version DCSV that is a permanent offering like they did with DC Supershow Blue. In the meantime. I will just cherish this bottle!

If you want a bottle I suggest you move fast. This one won’t be around for long.

No Affil.

Diamine Sapphire Blue

12 Aug

This is an oft recommended ink, and I can understand why. It is  a very standard looking medium blue with a hint of purple. There are other similar colors such as Waterman Florida Blue, J. Herbin Eclat de Saphir and Quink Washable Blue. But, what this ink has that those don’t is higher saturation. That fact makes this my favorite purplish blue ink of the bunch.

The Details:

  • No feathering or bleeding.
  • Great flow and lubrication
  • Average drying time
  • No shading
  • Surprisingly water-resistant

Now, last week I reviewed Noodler’s Baystate Blue. In my opinion, this is the closest BSB sub that I have seen. Of course it isn’t perfect. When you are trying to come up with BSB subs there are certain concessions that must be made. Firstly, you aren’t going to be able to get that trademark vibrancy that BSB is known for. There really aren’t any other inks on the market that will glow like BSB, so if that is the most important characteristic to you, then you might as well stick with BSB. Secondly, you aren’t going to get the same level of waterproofness from any sub. You can get some water resistance, but not 100% waterproofness.

In my opinion, Sapphire Blue is  a very similar blue with a bit more purple thanBSB. It is not as vibrant, but it still jumps off the page. It is almost as saturated. It has a pretty high level of water-resistance.

This sample was sent to me by the good folks at Diamine. I am not otherwise affiliated with them.

Noodler’s Bluenose Bear, A detailed review

10 Aug

I want to start this off by saying that I am an incurable Noodler’s ink fan. I believe the company, with very few exceptions, makes inks that make the everyday usage of fountain pens possible. The wide array of colors, fraud/water resistant specialty inks, and constant innovation are invaluable. I honestly, don’t know where our hobby would be without Noodler’s ink. I will forever be a fan.

Having said that, I must admit that I am terribly disappointed in Nathan’s latest creation , The Bluenose Bear. Perhaps this ink is a victim of misdirected marketing or over-hype. At particular issue here is the claim of a lighter, brighter blue outline/halo around your line when you use a flex pen. Nathan has been hinting at creating such a novelty ink for a couple years now. I, for one, have been eagerly awaiting its debut. Unfortunately, that feature is inconsistent at best and unattractive at worst.

On the other hand, Bluenose bear is quite a nice blue-black color with a bit of a green hue. The color of the ink itself is very similar to Noodler’s Coral Seas, an Australian exclusive ink. The “outline” is a much brighter turquoise sort of blue.

The Condensed Details (with explanations to follow):

  • This ink exhibits some of the worst feathering and bleeding I’ve seen in a Noodler’s ink.
  • The flow and lubrication are average.
  • This ink is very fast drying
  • The shading is excellent. The ink produces a bright blue outline/halo where the line is the most saturated.
  • This ink is not 100% waterproof, but there is a grey component that remains on the page.

(click to enlarge and sharpen the images below)

Now let’s get into a bit more detail:


While I had high hopes for this ink, I have to admit that I was concerned that the blue halo might look a bit too much like feathering for my tastes. Unfortunately, I was right. The bright blue component of this ink behaves quite poorly. Presumably, this is what makes the halo effect possible. On certain papers, the bright blue component separates from and spreads out beyond the blue-black line thus giving the impression of an outline/halo. The outline is by no means smooth. It is jagged like one would expect from feathering. It is also inconsistent. It jumps out here or there depending on the amount of ink put down.

Below are two samples of the “halo”. “Xerox” is written on 24# Xerox multi-purpose paper. This is typical office paper stock. This paper is generally quite fountain pen friendly, but it seems to bring out the worst in Bluenose, and, consequently, displays the halo best. “Rhodia” is written on a Dot Pad. Bluenose is better behaved there while still showing some halo.


That same bright blue component of the ink tends to bleed if enough of it is put down on the page. When I say bleed I do mean bleed. In some cases, it will go through to the next page. Here, again, are the words “Xerox” and “Rhodia”.  I am also including a full scan of the back of two office papers sheets. As you can see, the bleeding is awful on the office paper, but tolerable on the Rhodia. However, it should be noted that it is very difficult to get an ink to bleed through (or feather) on Rhodia paper. This ought to give you an idea of how pervasive the problem is.

Flow and Lubrication

The flow is good to average. I’m still getting used to the flex pen, so I had some railroading issues in some of the samples. That was my fault not the ink’s. Lubrication is also average. The flex nib is quite scratchy at times. That is the nib’s issue, but it would be nice if the ink has more lubricant qualities to help smooth the nib out a bit.

Drying time

Bluenose dries almost as soon as it hits the page. This was true of all the papers I tested.


Now, the shading of this ink is phenomenal, but with it can come feathering and bleeding. If you use high quality heavier papers (like the Clairfontaine Graf It pad or Crane’s Choice) and a juicy stub italic nib you can get some truly amazing shading with minimal feathering and bleed through. If you are an artist, I’m sure you could achieve wonderful results with a brush pen.


I need to do some further testing, but I’d place this ink in the near bulletproof category. The blue-black color washes away, the bright blue fades and spreads, but a grey line remains.

Other considerations

Perhaps this ink is better suited for the artist rather than the conventional fountain pen user. As Nathan promises, this ink does glow when used on IVORY paper and viewed under a black light. The ink also shows some interesting variations when swabbed that might yield interesting result if used with a brush pen.

All in all, I am not happy with this ink. I have no intention of buying a bottle of it. It is just too ill-behaved to use for writing. If you are like me and you can’t abide feathering and bleeding you might seek out the aforementioned Australian Noodler’s Coral Seas as a suitable substitute. However, note that it is whopping $32.

Below are more writing samples. I wrote on the following papers using a Noodler’s Flex pen and a Lamy Vista fitted with a 1.1mm Italic nib: Xerox 24#, HP LaserJet 24#, Clairfontaine Graf It 90g, Rhodia Dot Pad, Crane’s Choice 90g, American Stationery Business Monarch in Ivory, Tops 3 x 5 blank index card, and Tops 4×6 lined index card.

No Affil.

Cross Black/Pelikan Brilliant Black

5 Aug

I only have one bottle of black ink in my possession and this is it. I’m not a big fan of black ink. In fact, I just about never use it, but I purchased this bottle for two reasons: 1) I think everyone should have at least on bottle of black ink and 2) It was less than $5.

What’s interesting is that I actually kinda like this ink. It’s dryish without feeling the part, its got some decent water resistance, and it works well with dip pens.

The Details:

  • No feathering or bleed through
  • Decent flow and lubrication, but it is a bit on the dry side.
  • Average drying time at 6 seconds
  • Very little shading. This isn’t the blackest of black inks, but it is plenty dark.
  • Very good water resistance

All in all, not a bad way to spend $5!

Note: Cross Black is the same as Pelikan Brilliant Black.

(click to enlarge and sharpen the image)

No Affil.

Noodler’s La Reine Mauve

3 Aug

Noodler’s La Reine Mauve, what a fantastic purple ink!

I love this color. I have no idea what took me so long to buy a bottle of it. LRM is a rich, deep, dark purple, and it’s waterproof to boot! What more can a purple lover like me ask for? I’ve been using it everyday for over a month now, and I’m still just as in love with it as I was when I first got it. I highly recommend this ink. It is a win for Noodler’s I assure you.

This ink is quite well behaved. Like all other Noodler’s Eternal/Bulletproof/Warden’s ink lines it will require a little higher maintenance, but nothing beyond an extra rinse here and there. It is quite fast drying, and it can be a hard starter if you leave your pen uncapped. Still, I haven’t had much trouble getting the ink flowing again. It just takes a couple strokes and I’m back in business.

Now, one of the things I really don’t like about this ink is the price. It is about $13 for only 1 ounce of ink. Noodler’s regular like runs about $12 for 3 times as much ink.

The Details:

  • No feathering or bleeding on good quality paper. Can bleed a little on light weight/poor quality papers.
  • Excellent flow (can be a hard starter if the pen is left uncapped) and average to very good lubrication
  • Dries very quickly.
  • No shading whatsoever.
  • Completely waterproof. This is a Noodler’s eternal ink.
  • This ink has a strong chemical smell to it. If you use Noodler’s inks you are very familiar with the smell.
  • Finally, I do experience a bit of line bloat with this ink (same with its cousins Fox Red and Hunter Green).

(click to enlarge and sharpen the image)

No Affil.

Swabs of New Platinum Mix Free Inks

1 Aug

(click to enlarge and sharpen the image)

I just received my 9 super samples of the new Platinum Mix Free line. I thought you all might want to see the swabs. I haven’t played around with the inks yet, but I will definitely put up some reviews as soon as I have formed opinions of them.

Initial Thoughts:

  • Smoke Black is a rather average black.
  • Earth Brown is a reddish-brown. It is very similar to J. Herbin Cafe des Iles.
  • Aurora Blue is one of my favorite. It is very similar to Diamine Sapphire Blue.
  • Aqua Blue is a nice turquoise blue. It is very similar to J. Herbin Blue Prevenche.
  • Leaf Green is also a nice green color. It reminds me a bit of J. Herbin Lierre Sauvage.
  • Silky Purple is definitely my favorite color of all these, and it is nearly identical to J. Herbin Rose Cyclamen. It’s very bright and a very red purple.
  • Cyclamen Pink is nearly identical to the long since discontinued Levenger Pinkly.
  • Flame Red is nearly identical to Noodler’s Dragon’s Napalm.
  • Sunny Yellow is a fantastically rich yellow.

Sample Kit retailers:

  • sells a sampler for $20. In their kit you get a 10ml sample of each 9 colors of Mix Free inks, 2 extra bottles, and 2 ink syringes. This is where I purchased my kit.
  • sells a sampler for $30. In their kit you get a 5ml sample of each of the 9 Platinum Mix-Free fountain pen ink colors in labeled plastic vials, a Goulet ink syringe set, and ten empty ink vials.
  • sells a sampler for $29.95. In their kit you get one 5mL sample of each of the 9 specially designed colors, one Write-Fill Kit, an empty full-sized ink bottle (of their choice), and three empty sample bottles.

There are several places you can get full bottles of Platinum Mix Free inks. Individual bottles are around $20 each. Many places are selling full-sized sets of all 9 inks for $149.

Happy mixing!

No Affil.

Diamine Evergreen

27 Jul

Diamine Evergreen is one of those colors that many hoped would replace the now discontinued Montblanc Racing Green. Alas, this isn’t it. While this is a nice dark green it lacks the olive tones and antique appearance of Montblanc Racing Green. Really, I’d say this is a more obviously green version of Noodler’s Zhivago. Nevertheless, if you are a fan of Racing Green, then this color will probably appeal.

Honestly, I’m not much of a green ink sort of person, but even I’m kind of fond of this ink (but not fond enough of it to use it on any regular basis).

The Details:

  • No feathering or bleeding
  • Flows very freely and has decent lubrication. Not a dry writer at all.
  • Dries pretty quickly on the papers tested.
  • Not much shading at all. It’s a bit too saturated/dense for that.
  • Definitely not waterproof and really not very water resistant. If you are quick you can salvage a faint trace of your writing.

(Click to enlarge and sharpen the image. Scan appear slightly more yellow than in reality.)

This ink was sent to me for review by the good folks at Diamine Ink Co. I am not otherwise affiliated with them.

Noodler’s Baystate Blue

25 Jul

Few inks inspire the kind of intense emotion that this ink does. You either love it or hate it, and each camp is very vocal about its opinion. FPN has recently attempted to curtail discussions of this ink because of the kind of vitriol that it inspires. Kinda crazy, huh?

These intense emotions all come from stories (some true and some not) that BSB (as it is called) destroys pens. This, in my opinion, is silly. Basically, there was a run of Lamy feeds that were made from a ‘defective’ plastic. That plastic became very brittle/melted when it came into contact with BSB and some other inks. That material has since been replaced, but the legend lives on. Every once in a while someone will get a hold to a new old stock Lamy Safari and resurrect the whole business.

BSB is a high maintenance ink to be sure. IT DOES NOT LIKE OTHER INKS. Even trace amount of other inks can cause it to turn into goo/throw off percipients that, once dried, can severely clog a pen. So, if you are going to use this ink, your pen should either be unused or 100% cleaned of all other inks.

For more info on how to safely use BSB, and tips for dealing with some of its quirks click here.

OK, honestly, I had no intention of trying this ink. It’s not necessarily a color I’d use often, and I didn’t really have a good pen to use it in. Well, when a sample of it came in one of my Ink Drop packages, I figured I might as well see what all the fuss is about.

It’s a nice blue violet sort of ink*. Its main draw is its intense vibrancy*. Honestly, it is too bright for me. In fact, it is so bright that it gives me a headache. Still, some folks absolutely swear by it and use it for everything. It’s a nice ink, it’s just not for me.

I didn’t have any clogging issues. There was some staining to the feed and the barrel, but it came right off with a little diluted bleach and soapy water. The Dollar pen was no worse for wear. (I am not recommending that you bleach your pens. I have no idea how your pens will react. Bleach your pens at your own risk!)

The Details:

  • It feathers and bleeds a bit depending on the paper
  • Great flow and lubrication
  • Fast drying time
  • Some good shading depending on the pen/paper combo
  • Waterproof

It is hard to capture the neon quality of this ink. I’ve done my best. (Click to sharpen and enlarge the images)


* I’ve noticed that overtime my writing samples are changing color to a rather average (and not neon) medium dark blue.

No Affil.

J. Herbin Café des Iles

22 Jul

This is the last review in the FPN member Alecgold review series.

While I really love J. Herbin inks, I really dislike this one. It is one of the weakest/lowest saturated inks I’ve used from them. I’d describe this color has a brown with reddish undertones.

I prefer much bolder colors than this. Still, it has all the wonderful characteristics of a JH ink. So long as you don’t mind low color pay off, you might quite like this ink.

The Details:

  • Little to no feathering
  • No bleeding
  • Good flow and Lubrication
  • Fast to average drying time
  • Very good shading with the right pen/paper combo
  • Not waterproof and very little water resistance

(click to enlarge and sharpen these images)

Alec Review 6/6. No affil.


Pelikan 4001 Brilliant Red

21 Jul

This is the 5th of six reviews I’m doing for FPN member Alecgold.

Up today is Pelikan Brilliant Red. I really haven’t the slightest idea why they would call this color “red”. It’s a pink-orange not unlike Noodler’s Dragon’s Napalm, Diamine Vermillion, or Diamine Coral. I will say that the “brilliant” portion of the name is quite fitting. This ink definitely jumps off the page at you. As such, it would make a great editing ink, but honestly, I’d rather have Noodler’s Dragon’s Napalm. It is bolder and brighter still.

The Details

  • No feathering or bleeding
  • Good flow, Average lubrication
  • Average drying time
  • Good shading
  • Disappears at the mere thought of water.

This color is near impossible to get right. The scans were completely useless, so I went for a photo instead. The photos are better, but they’re still not great. I did the best I could.

(click to enlarge and sharpen the images)


Alec review 5/6. No affil.

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