Posts filed under Ink Reviews

Sailor Jentle Four Seasons Souten Ink Review

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

The only experience I've had with Sailor inks so far are the Nano Black cartridges that I ordered with a High Ace Neo. It was an excellent introduction, as the Nano Black is one of the most well-behaved inks I've ever had the pleasure of using. How does the Souten fare against the likes of Pilot Iroshizuku? Pretty well, but it hasn't dethroned Kon-peki for me.

Sailor Jentle Four Seasons Souten is a bit darker and more saturated than Kon-peki, but it's still a beautiful color in its own right. It's the shade of blue that I've been looking for a long time. It seems like every time I find a nice royal blue, it dries to a much less interesting shade. Inks that dry lighter just don't make it into my rotation very often. I'm not very good at describing shades, but I'd describe this as a royal medium blue. JetPens says it's azure, and I guess that's a pretty good description as well.

You could say that Souten is the closest relative to Sailor Sky High, but I don't think it's close enough to qualify. Even so, it's a fantastic ink, and I don't think it's fair to compare the two, or to compare Souten to Kon-peki.

As I'd expect from Sailor, the ink is incredibly well-behaved. If there was one thing that annoyed me about the Nano Black, it's the fact that it dries up in the nib incredibly fast. Souten hasn't dried on the nib even when I've had the pen uncapped and unused for over 2 minutes.

On the page, Souten is smooth and wet. It still manages to dry quickly depending on what kind of paper you're using, and the finished color is still quite pleasing. Looking back through my notes, I'm always drawn to Souten before I know what it is. It has a gravitational pull of some sort.

There is slight shading in this ink, but it's not spectacular. In a wet nib, you likely won't see any shading, but it does look nice in a specialty nib. If blue inks that shade are your thing, there are others that have better shading qualities.

It's behaved very well in the pens I've tried it out in, and it has definitely found a spot in my rotation of favorite inks. Good thing, too. I've had a stretch of bad choices with blue inks, so I'm really happy to have a new go-to blue ink that doesn't look dull or ordinary.

Bleeding, feathering, and show-through aren't issues with this ink. It plays nice with all types of paper, but really shines on premium sheets like Rhodia.

Cleaning out is similar to many other inks. No hitches or problems.

When you talk about inks, you don't always feel the need to mention the bottle. The Sailor Jentle ink bottles are an exception. I love the design of this bottle. It's low and wide and appears to be squatting down to offer the ink. I love the wide cap and heft. Also, it uses a fairly standard filling reservoir that sits in the mouth of the bottle. Just turn the bottle upside down and back up, and you're ready to fill your pen from the full reservoir.

Overall, Sailor Jentle Souten is a great blue ink that I have no problem using daily. When I'm using this ink, I don't feel that it's lacking anything, which means I don't constantly want to re-ink my pen for no good reason. It's a solid, bold blue that works great and draws the writer and reader to the page.

After using this ink, I'm sure I'll be trying more from the Jentle line of inks.

Posted on October 1, 2014 and filed under Ink Reviews, Sailor.

J. Herbin 1670 Anniversary Rouge Hematite Ink Review

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

I've been on quite an ink kick lately, and this week brings the end of the J. Herbin tour...for now at least. I've read a lot of good things about this particular ink, and I'm happy to say that the things I read were spot on.

J. Herbin 1670 Anniversary Rouge Hematite is a brilliant red with some orange undertones and fantastic sheen. I've never seen an ink that has so much character as you're writing and even after it dries.

First off, the packaging for this ink is unique compared to the regular J. Herbin packaging, bottle included. I assume this is because the ink is a special anniversary edition. The bottle has a faux-rustic look due to the wax cap and wax stamp on the front. Upon closer inspection, they're not real wax, but they still look cool.

The only negative comment I have about this ink is about the bottle. The first two pens I tried to ink were unable to fit into the small hole on this bottle. The first pen I tried was a Pilot Penmanship with a cursive italic nib – I thought it would be a great pen to try out the shading behaviors, but it simply would not fit into the bottle. The second pen was a large Jinhao, and it didn't even come close to fitting. Finally, my Monteverde Artista and Lamy Safari had no problems inking up. This is definitely something to consider going forward – it's likely that some of your pens may not fit in this bottle, so look at something like the TWSBI inkwells or plan on using a syringe to fill your pens if they won't fit.

After getting my Monteverde and Safari inked, I was a very happy camper from the get-go. This is a beautiful ink that has many characteristics. I've always thought that J. Herbin inks can be slightly dull after they dry, and that always left a little to be desired. Not the case with the Rouge Hematite. This is a highly saturated, bright red with hints of orange and gold. When you tilt the page the right way under the light, the ink turns almost completely gold. Honestly, this probably made me a bit too excited. It's just unfathomable for an ink to change this much on the paper.

Apart from the deep saturation, the ink also shades fairly well. It's nothing amazing, but there is noticeable shading when using a regular tipped pen, and exaggerated shading in a large calligraphy nib. I think this would be a perfect red ink for use in a cursive italic medium nib.

Like all J. Herbin inks I've used, this ink behaves like a charm. It's a well-lubricated ink with no issues starting or stuttering. It has issues every so often in the 1.5mm Lamy nib, but so does every other ink I've used in that nib.

Dry time is a bit long, and I'm not really sure when the ink is actually dry because it's not smudge-proof. This is a pretty ink, but it has absolutely no archival properties (big surprise, I know). 30 seconds seems like a good average for dry time on this ink.

When using this ink, gold sludge builds up on the nib of your pen. This might bother some people, but I actually like it. Although, nib creep never really bothers me unless it's affecting the writing experience or functionality of the pen. The gold nib creep is a positive aspect in my book.

Overall, the J. Herbin 1670 Anniversary Rouge Hematite is a fantastic bright red ink that will probably stay inked at all times in one of my pens. I love the multiple characterstics that this ink exhibits – so much so that it often distracts me when writing. Depending on the situation, this could be a good or bad thing, but that doesn't change the fact that this is a beautiful ink.

Posted on September 10, 2014 and filed under Ink Reviews, J. Herbin.

J. Herbin Lierre Sauvage Ink Review

Three weeks ago, I reviewed a lovely green ink from J. Herbin called Vert Réséda. I called it a light-medium green and said I would likely try out more green inks. Well, I did, and I don't think I'm done yet.

This time around, it's the J. Herbin Lierre Sauvage that caught my eye. Ever since JetPens started carrying the adorable little 10ml bottles of J. Herbin ink, I've been looking for excuses to buy some. I guess other people felt the same way, because they sold out fast. Finally, I got mine after stock returned. First up is my second green ink, and I'm pretty sure I like it better than the first.

Where Vert Réséda was a light, medium green, Lierre Sauvage is a darker green that reminds me of ferns and moss. It's a forest green, and I love it. It looks fantastic on paper and has more shading qualities than the former. This ink is what I think of as a true green. The Vert ink had a bit of aqua blue coloring, which pushed it slightly toward the turquoise range. It's a beautiful ink, but not quite what I had in mind for a standard green. You can never really tell what you'll actually get when looking at ink samples online, but I'm very happy so far with the Lierre Sauvage.

This ink is exactly what I expect from J. Herbin at this point: very well-behaved. It's worked flawlessly in both pens I've tested it in. One of the pens is a bit dry, while the other is normal. It's a lubricated ink that has no problems starting or keeping up with hasty writing, and it also does not dry or clog the nib after being uncapped for a couple of minutes.

It's a medium saturation and does have some mild shading properties. I've noticed that the shading comes out more on bright paper compared to ivory or cream paper. Dry time isn't fantastic, but it's not terrible either. It normally takes about 15 or 20 seconds to be smudge-proof.

Sadly, it doesn't shade as much as I'd like for a green. I'm still on the lookout for a beautiful green that shades easily, so let me know if you have one in mind.

Like the other J. Herbin green, this ink cleans out of pens very easily. Also, this new sample bottle size from J. Herbin is fantastic. I love the size, although it might be a problem for larger pens. The Lamy Safari and Al Star I used barely fit deep enough to draw ink up. That's something to consider when purchasing these bottles.

Overall, Lierre Sauvage is now my favorite green ink, but I'm still looking for more. It's a beautiful, well-behaved ink that lays down a gorgeous line. If you're in the market for a green ink, I think you should start with this one.

(You can find more from Jeff online at Draft Evolution, Twitter, and App.net.)

Posted on September 4, 2014 and filed under J. Herbin, Ink Reviews.

J. Herbin Verte Réséda Ink Review

As I venture into more non-standard ink colors, I'm discovering that I really have an affinity for red and green inks in particular. They've become the main focus of my obsession lately, and I don't see any signs of it losing steam. One of the first inks I tried in this vein was J. Herbin Vert Réséda.

Vert Réséda is a light-medium green ink that makes me think of spring bloom. It's a happy, beautiful color and always puts me in a better mood when I start writing with it. It seems silly, but it's actually a real "property" of the ink in my book.

I don't have any pure greens to compare this ink to, but this one is a well-behaved easy-going ink that has worked perfectly in every pen I've tried – even the ones that tend to write on the dry side.

It's a well-lubricated ink that never stutters or skips, and it does a great job of not bleeding through the page. Even the ink swap I did in the writing sample is hard to see from the other side of the page. I haven't seen another ink do that. Most of them bleed through a bit.

There are some things it lacks, however, and I call those things "flair." Saturation, sheen, and shading are light or non-existent in this ink. I don't know enough about this color range to tell you if that's normal, but for this particular ink, it's very lightly-saturated, has no sheen, and has very light shading properties. The shading is hardly there at all in a regular nib, but it comes out more in the 1.5 mm nib I used. Personally, I would love more shading in this beautiful color. I think it would give it more character. I'd love to find a similar ink with more shading properties.

Overall, I've been very pleased by this ink. When I ordered it, I didn't think I would use it very often, but I've actually used it quite a bit for general writing and notes. It's an everyday ink for me. It's not eclectic enough to take a backseat for special occasions.

I'm happy with my initial dive into the green inks, and I'm pretty sure I'll be trying more. I think I'll set my sights on some of the Diamine offerings next.

(You can find more from Jeff online at Draft Evolution, Twitter, and App.net.)

Posted on August 13, 2014 and filed under Ink Reviews, J. Herbin.