Posts filed under Ink Reviews

Akkerman #1 Passage Blauw Ink Review

(Jeff Abbott is a regular contributor at The Pen Addict. You can find more from Jeff online at Draft Evolution and Twitter.)

After this last pen show at Atlanta, I've realized that I've established a pattern in regards to Akkerman inks. I buy a bottle at every pen show I attend. The latest show in Atlanta introduced me to one of the brilliant Akkerman blues -- Passage Blauw.

Passage Blauw was one of the samples available at the Vanness ink testing station, so that's a primary reason for why I picked up this particular ink. It's also the reason I picked up another ink, but that's another review.

After testing the ink and weighing the many, many options available at the show, I chose to go for the Passage Blauw. I'm really glad I did, because it's one of my new favorites.

First off, the bottle is killer. You get the same type of bottle with every Akkerman ink, but I still think they're extremely cool. It never gets old watching the top reservoir fill with ink from the bottom — all thanks to an ingenious marble system inside the bottle neck.

Perhaps the most important aspect of this ink is the color. After all, every Akkerman ink I've tried is very well-behaved and a joy to use. After that point, it's all about the color and specific properties of the ink. In this case, the color is a bright, happy blue that springs off the page with its translucent, Caribbean glory. It's very similar to Iroshizuku kon-peki, but a bit lighter. It's also very similar to Iroshizuku ama-iro, but a tad darker. It's somewhere in between these two inks, and that's just fine. The color is gorgeous and worth owning even if you have other similar colors.

The shading is the other killer aspect of this ink. It shades like a palm tree (I'll see myself out now). In pens with wide nibs, it shows off the shading characteristics like a champ. There's something tropical about watching a medium blue ink pool in the slower parts of letters while you're writing. It's my affinity for this effect that makes my blue ink collection continue to grow.

Dry time was actually a surprise here. It normally dries in less than 10 seconds in most cases. And, most of the tests were done with a medium cursive-italic nib. In a German fine nib, the results were similar. Either way, that's a spectacular dry time and it really impressed me.

Bleeding and show-through are minimal unless you are using a cheap paper. In that case, it feathers quite a bit. But, as long as you're using decent paper, it performs admirably.

In both pens I've tested so far, the flow and lubrication are top notch. This is an extremely well-behaved ink that I wouldn't hesitate to use in any pen I own.

Lastly, the price is a bit high at $28, but you have to remember that this ink is imported from the Netherlands and also has a super fancy bottle. For the joy I get from this ink, the price is completely fair.

I've gotten an Akkerman ink from the Vanness table at every pen show I've attended, but you can also order a bottle at any time from their website. If you're unsure about a bottle, go for a small sample first!

Posted on April 27, 2016 and filed under Akkerman, Ink Reviews.

Diamine Woodland Green Ink Review

(Jeff Abbott is a regular contributor at The Pen Addict. You can find more from Jeff online at Draft Evolution and Twitter.)

Spring is upon us, and that means there's probably a lot of new greenery popping up around you. It's felt like a long winter, so it's great to see some color coming back into the world. I've always had a special place in my heart for green inks of all kinds. I happened to pick up a sample of Diamine Woodland Green over a year ago, but totally forgot that I had it. When I was cleaning up my ink sample collection, I picked it up and decided to give it a try in one pen. Well, 2 more pens later, I've decided it's a new favorite green ink for me.

Woodland Green is a medium to dark green ink depending on the pen it's in. It makes me think of deep, dark forests of Oregon or Bavaria that have thick, mossy greenery from floor to ceiling. And, like a forest, the green changes brightness depending on where you are. To me, it's a beautiful blend of greens that makes it a pleasure to see on paper. It's a dark enough shade to be professional, but still has gobs of character and interest when you look closely.

Like all Diamine inks that I've ever tried, this one behaves like a champ. No bleeding, no feathering, and plenty of gorgeous shading in the right pen. I enjoy using this ink in something like a medium or italic nib. Extra fine and fine nibs seem to limit the color from really showing off the incredible shading characteristics. In a large-nibbed pen, the shading is very satisfactory, but mediums do just fine.

Dry time is a little long on this one -- somewhere around the 25 second mark. While this is to be expected for green inks, it's still a bit on the long side. Not a great ink for lefties or notebooks that you'll close immediately after writing, that's for sure.

Even with this long dry time shortcoming, it's a delightful ink to use. It's refreshing on the page, and invites you to keep writing or doodling.

Like most colors, there are just too many green inks out there to choose from. It's impossible to try them all. For a medium to dark green with great shading, I couldn't be happier with Woodland Green. I'd be hard-pressed to find something that would replace this one in my rotation.

JetPens sells the ink in a large 80 ml bottle, or cartridge packs of 18. Both options are very well-priced, which is a great deal for such a beautiful ink. Definitely give it a try the next time you're in the mood for a gorgeous green.

Posted on April 13, 2016 and filed under Diamine, Ink Reviews.

Diamine Shimmering Night Sky Ink Review

(Jeff Abbott is a regular contributor at The Pen Addict. You can find more from Jeff online at Draft Evolution and Twitter.)

Whether you like shimmering inks or not, they are fully upon us. While J. Herbin was the pioneer in these types of inks recently, it seems like other ink makers have jumped on board to offer their own shiny, sparkling inks.

I have a couple of J. Herbin inks that feature particulates that reflect light or sheen curious colors, so I was interested to see how Diamine's version compared. In the case of Night Sky, the effect is very subtle, but done very well. I'm still not certain that this is a black ink, but that seems to be a unique problem of my own.

Basically, this is a Diamine ink with or without the shimmer. That means that it's well-behaved and balanced in most properties. It's a pleasure to write with, just like all other Diamine inks I've tried. The shimmering effect in Night Sky is subdued to the point that it can be difficult to detect in certain light. When it does catch the light, it can be delightful — just like catching a clear sky at night with a full span of stars.

This is a saturated ink in that the color is full and consistent. I personally love saturated inks, so that's right up my alley. Still, for a dark ink, there's relatively zero show-through on the other side of the page. Again, something I've come to expect from Diamine. When writing, I've not noticed feathering or bleeding of any kind. There's also no sheen once the ink dries, but that's a fairly uncommon trait in inks. Finally, the ink dries in about 15 seconds in the 1.1mm stub nib I used for the review. In smaller nibbed pens, it dried faster. Like most inks, dry time will vary with every pen, but this seems to be a fairly fast drier.

As far as the color of the ink goes, it's billed as a black ink. To my eyes, it looks more like a black-gray or black-purple. I've asked for other opinions on the color, and no one has corroborated my version of the story. So, take that with a grain of salt. Either way, it's not a pitch black color.

Then, there's the shimmer. After filling the ink for the first time, I wrote some sample lines and waited for the shimmer to appear. After a few minutes, I still couldn't find the shimmer and wondered if there might be a problem with the ink. I quickly discovered that I had missed a small note included in the box that instructs you to "shake gently" before filling your pen. Of course - the particles need to be disturbed and floating around so that they make it into your pen. Makes sense.

The only criticism I have about this (and it's a big one for me) is that "gently" has nothing to do with the shaking method needed in order to dislodge the particles in the bottom of the bottle. I had to shake vigorously for about a minute before everything was unsettled from the bottom. Maybe I have a fluke bottle, but it's worth noting that you might need to put a bit of effort into this. For my own comfort levels, shaking a full bottle of ink for a minute puts me on the "moderately nervous" side.

Flip the script

Flip the script

Anyway, I inked up the pen without any mishaps. Finally, after writing a few more lines, I could see the shimmer. It takes a few seconds for the glistening bits to show up — it must have something to do with the ink drying. Once they show up, they are subtle and require good lighting. For Night Sky, the flakes are silver instead of gold.

The nice thing about the Night Sky ink is that you can still use it in an office setting because of how subtle the shimmering effect is. Unless you're using a large-nibbed, wet fountain pen, it can be easy to miss it. To me, this is a desirable feature since it doesn't completely take over the ink. It's there, but it's not in your face about it. However, if you want the sparkles in your ink to actually light up like a disco ball, this one will disappoint.

That being said, this is a solid ink. The sticker on the bottle is pretty, the price is fair, and it has a neat trick up its sleeve. I'm not sure I'll delve any deeper into Diamine's Shimmering line of inks, but the Night Sky is one that I'll probably dip into every so often to add some flair to an otherwise boring black ink.

The Diamine Shimmering Night Sky comes in a 50 ml bottle for around $20. There are several other colors to the Shimmering series, and feature silver or gold flakes depending on the ink color.

(GouletPens provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)

Posted on March 30, 2016 and filed under Diamine, Ink Reviews.

Caran d'Ache Chromatics Ink Cartridge Idyllic Blue Review

Fountain pen ink cartridges are an economic and environmentally bad choice. Compared to bottled ink, the price per milliliter is far greater, and you are tossing empty plastic tubes into the trash can on a regular basis. Now that I have gotten that out of the way, let me tell you why I love these Caran d'Ache Chromatics ink cartridges.

Color name imprinted on the cartridge. Thank you!

Color name imprinted on the cartridge. Thank you!

I’m a huge fan of Kaweco pens, especially the pocket varieties like the AL Sport and Liliput. There have been attempts at making converters for these pens (I’ll be testing the newest one soon) but so far nothing beats a standard short international ink cartridge. The issue for addicts like me is that color choices are limited, unless you want to syringe fill empty cartridges. I’ve done that plenty, but let’s face it: Cartridges are far easier to use, and more portable.

Kaweco offers 8 colors to satiate people like me, but getting a high end ink like Caran d’Ache in this format is great news. Granted, only Cosmic Black and Idyllic Blue are available right now, but I would be over the moon if they continued down the Chromatics color lineup. (Edit: I'm happy to note I am wrong. All colors ARE available.)

Idyllic Blue is one of the best standard blues I recall using. I’m not usually a blue user, I go for blue black or turquoise shades before reaching for stock blues, but this one is fantastic.

The color has a depth and richness than normal blues can’t achieve. Many are light and watery looking, but not Idyllic Blue. There is minimal shading, with slight variation from light to dark in the lines, but the lubrication is off the charts. I used a crisp fine cursive italic for this review, and the nib was noticeably smoother than with other, less lubricated inks. The dry time was impressive as well, even at the five second mark.

In barrel double stack approved.

In barrel double stack approved.

This is a premium ink, and it comes at a premium price. $5.50 for for six ink cartridges doesn’t sound expensive in a vacuum, but that is nearly a 100% increase over the aforementioned Kaweco cartridges. There are also only two color choices for now, unlike the 25 Diamine currently has available in the short international size.

Still, I’ll be enjoying these Idyllic Blue ink cartridges for a while and crossing my fingers for more colors to join the lineup soon.

(JetPens provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)

Posted on February 29, 2016 and filed under Caran d'Ache, Ink Reviews.