Tag Archives: caran d’ache

Iroshizuku Yama Guri vs. Caran d’Ache Grand Canyon Brown?

18 Aug

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Firstly, let me apologize for how long it is taking for me to get these reviews/comparisons up. I intended to do 3 a week, but they have turned out to be a lot more work than I bargained for. In addition, I’ve had some unexpected health distractions come up, so I’ve been away from the blog for about a week. I’m also in the middle of a move, so I’m going between two places that are 3 hours apart. I’m presently stuck at one of those places while all my review materials are at another place! This set of scans is the only set I have on this computer, so it’s probably going to be next week until I can start getting the other Iroshizuku reviews up. As if that weren’t enough, I’m a grad student, and I’ve got grad work that is taking a lot of time right now. I’m so sorry about this, but sometimes life just happens, and it’s happening to me at an astonishing rate!

Now for the review/comparison:

Iroshizuku Yama Guri (YG) and CdA Grand Canyon (GC) are the two browns that are responsible for my present love affair with brown ink. Now, you might be saying to yourself that these two inks are quite different. Well, yes they are, but hear me out! I still think GC can be a wonderful alternative to YG. Sure, there are inks that are a little closer in color, but they don’t come close to Iroshi’s behavior characteristics. CdA inks are some of the only inks that can go toe to toe with Iroshizuku behavior. It’s the behavior similarities that make GC the perfect alternative for me.

Yama Guri is

a dark cool brown that can have a sort of green sheen/tint to it in a wet writer
It doesn’t shade much

Grand Canyon is

A warmer brown with some golden undertones
It is not as dark as YG
It exhibits phenomenal shading

Here’s the thing though, if I’m honest, I actually like Grand Canyon Brown more than Yama Guri. Yes YG is a wonderful ink, yes the behavior is fabulous, but there is still something missing for me. GC has that something I’m looking for. What’s more, GC is every bit as well behaved.

(click to enlarge and sharpen the photos)

Other alternatives:
Rohrer & Klingner Sepia: Darker, not as well behaved
Noodler’s #41 Brown: not as well behaved, bullet proof
Diamine Saddle Brown (maybe): a little less saturated

Disclaimer: The goal of these reviews is to find inks that are similar in color and behavior to the Iroshizuku line but at a lower price point. This should not be construed as an attempt to find exact replicas. That is not possible. The Iroshizuku inks succeed at being unique. The only way you can get an exact match is to save up for the Iroshizuku. Whether or not these suggestions work for you is entirely up to you.

ETA 06/28/2011:

At their retail prices both are approximately $1.67 per ml. However, in terms of initial upfront cost the Caran d’Ache is more affordable even though you pay the same price per ml in the end. At the end of the review I list other inks that come pretty close to Yama Guri at a much lower price per ml.

But, honestly, I’m never going to get through 50ml of this ink. I have SO many bottles/samples of inks and several other browns. I can’t even hope to get through 30ml of it, so that makes the price per ml even less relevant for me. So if, like me, you are more concerned with the upfront cost as opposed to the cost per ml, then Caran d’Ache is a good alternative.

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Red Comparison

22 Jul

This post originally appeared on The Ink Nouveau, but since I use this blog as an archive I thought it best to put it up here as well.

(Click on any photo to view a larger size)

When Brian put out a request for guest reviewer I immediately volunteered. Since the J. Herbin 1670 ink had just launched I thought it would be worthwhile to do a comparison of red inks from a few of the manufacturers he carries. Brian sent me a sample of every ink reviewed here except the Diamine Monaco Red. I already owned that one. Apart from being a customer of his I am not otherwise affiliated with Brian. I am also not affiliated with any of the manufacturers reviewed herein.

Diamine Classic Red:

Dia Classic Red Card

I must admit that this was by far my least favorite of the bunch. It is the only one that misbehaved on my everyday paper: HP LaserJet 24lbs. However, it does perform well on Rhodia, Clairefontaine, etc. If you plan to use this ink plan to use it with premium papers. The shading is quite good and the flow is excellent. I’m not much on the color, but the name is fitting. It is a dullish medium red.

Caran d’ Ache Sunset:


This is an attractive pinkish red. It is the outlier in this group. None of the others exhibit this pink quality. This ink is the driest feeling of the bunch. But, has some of the best shading, and it is one of the fastest drying.

Private Reserve Dakota Red:

PR Dakota Card

This is a brightish medium red. When I researched this ink I found some complaints of the ink clogging pens and/or throwing precipitants. When I informed Brian of this he told me the ink has been reformulated, so I decided to test it out for a while. I put it in a Platinum Preppy and left it to sit for one and a half weeks. I am happy to report that there was NO CLOGGING and NO PRECIPITANTS.

Believe it or not, this ink is actually the best behaved out of the bunch. There is some shading, and it is fast drying. It flows well, and it is pretty good so far as lubrication is concerned. In addition, it is one of the least saturated, but also the most water-resistant. All in all not a bad ink.

Diamine Monaco Red:


This ink is from my own personal stash. I tend to use it for grading because its brick red blood color is dark enough to be easy on the eyes, but still red enough to catch the students’ attention. It is very well-behaved even on cheap student paper. I prefer it in an extra-fine or fine nib, but in a wider nib you get lots more shading.

J. Herbin 1670 Rouge Hematite:

JH 1670 Card

Now for the ink of the moment! This ink is FANTASTIC! I have to say that I’m not the biggest red ink fan in the world, but as soon as I got this ink down on paper I was enamored. Furthermore, of the inks Brian sent to me this is the only one I went out and purchased (Brian is expecting a shipment soon. Until then, make sure to contact him to be placed on the waitlist). The color is similar to that of fresh blood. I’d describe it as a red-orange mixed with maroon. It’s very appealing. It’s also quite vibrant, but not unpleasantly so. It has the best flow and lubrication of the inks compared here. It is also the most saturated, which is surprising for J. Herbin. Unfortunately, because of that saturation this ink is slow drying and it remains smudge-able long after it is dry. Do note that this is a limited edition ink, so if you want some you may want to act fast!


Below are a couple comparison shots and a picture of the water test. I apologize in advance for the colors. I simply could not get these comparisons to display all the reds accurately. Please refer to the card shots above for more accurate representations of these inks.

Red Rhodia Comp

Red Pupitre Comp

Red water test


Dizzypen Guest Blog on The Ink Nouveau

22 Jul

Hello all,

I did a Guest blog for Brian of The Goulet Pen Company. He has posted it up on his blog. You can check it out at http://www.inknouveau.com/2010/07/dizzypen-guest-blog-reds.html .

In that post I’ve reviewed and compared J. Herbin 1670, Diamine Monaco Red, Diamine Classic Red, PR Dakota Red, and Caran d’Ache Sunset.

The photos are a little dark. I apologize for that. For some reason Flickr darkened them a shade or two. The files on my computer are lighter. I don’t know what’s up with that.

Take care, Dizzy.

Caran d’Ache Caribbean Seas

2 Oct

This is my absolute favorite color of fountain pen ink that I have come across yet! For me, it is the perfect teal. It is blue-green but leans more green than blue. I just love it. I only have a sample of it, but I have been rationing it out for over a month. There are only two real drawback to this ink: it is expensive and it is not water resistant. The expense of this ink is the reason I don’t have a bottle of it. I just can’t pay that much for an ink that isn’t water resistant. I need some level of water resistance because I tend to spill things from time to time. Even one drop of water on CdA Caribbean Sea can devastate a page of writing. The specifics: no feathering some slight bleed through on cheap or thin papers, but none on Rhodia. flows well, but the lubrication could be a bit better it dries pretty quickly on regular paper at about 5 secs, but on this index card it took about 10 secs. it offers wonderful shading. NB: While this color is a bit subdued, it is a little bit brighter than it appears in these pictures.

If anyone is interested, this is how it compares to Peacock Blue:

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