Posts filed under Ink Reviews

Diamine Asa Blue Ink Review

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

Blue inks are a weakness of mine. I'm always searching for something that's a little different and interesting compared to the ones I've already tried.

JetPens recently started carrying small trial size bottles of many Diamine inks, and I've been trying those out pretty frequently.

Asa Blue is one of those inks, and it's probably one you've heard of before. This is one of those standard blues that gets recommended quite a bit. Even though I've known about it since I first started using fountain pens, I'm only now just getting around to trying it.

In this case, better late than never.


Asa Blue is a deep, rich blue. I'd call it a royal blue, and it lives up to the name much better than Kaweco's version of the color. Calling it navy might be too much, since navy is closer to blue-black in most cases. Either way, this is a standard blue that looks fantastic and fits in professional environments with no problem. This ink won't turn heads because of its stand-out color, but it might for the small amount of shading it exhibits.

I think the best way to describe this color is to compare it to most blue gel ink pens that you can buy. It's a standard blue, and it looks fantastic. And, like I said earlier, this is a deep, dark blue, but I wouldn't classify it as a blue-black.


Like other Diamine inks I've tried recently, it behaves admirably in my pens. Feathering is non-existant, show-through is minimal, and there's a pleasant level of shading evident in some strokes. It's a smooth, well-lubicrated ink that works well in dry, small-nibbed pens, but also doesn't over-saturate the page in a broader nib. It behaves just as you'd expect a Diamine ink to behave, and that's a compliment.

The shading in this ink is subtle. It's not flamboyant like Kon-peki, Ancient Copper, or Rouge Hematite, but you notice it in the strokes after the ink has settled on the page. There's just enough variation in the color that you can tell a fountain pen created the line. For an office setting, you can't go wrong with properties like that. It looks professional, but it's also gorgeous instead of bland.


I've been really happy so far with the Diamine inks I've tried. They behave well, clean out of the pen easily, never have issues starting or skipping, and have great color and saturation. With a deep blue, I'm not expecting a lot of shading, but the small hints evident in Asa are a real pleasure to notice when writing.

There are a couple of different options for buying this ink. You can get a full-sized 80ml bottle, or a smaller 30ml bottle for about $17.50 or $7.50, respectively.

If you're interested in dark blues that behave well, this is a swell place to start.

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

Posted on September 30, 2015 and filed under Diamine, Ink Reviews.

J. Herbin Emerald of Chivor Ink Review

(Susan M. Pigott is a fountain pen collector, pen and paperholic, photographer, and professor. You can find more from Susan on her blog Scribalishess.)

When J. Herbin first announced their newest 1670 collector's ink, the Internet went crazy–well, the fountain pen Internet went crazy. The photographs of the ink revealed a spectacular teal green with gold flakes and stunning red/pink sheen. I certainly had never seen anything like it before. Of course J. Herbin had already produced other 1670 inks with silver or gold flecks (Stormy Grey and Rouge Hematite), but Emerald of Chivor stands out because of its special sheening qualities.

As soon it was available, I bought a bottle from Anderson Pens for $26.00 plus shipping. I honestly didn't have high expectations for this ink. I bought the original formula Rouge Hematite and sold it. My bottle of Stormy Grey sits unused. The speckles just didn't show up consistently enough. Plus the red and grey colors weren't my favorites. But I'm a nut for blue and teal inks, so I knew I would like Emerald of Chivor even if the gold specks disappointed me. Plus, that fantastic sheen was so unique.

I've been writing with the ink for several weeks. It flows smoothly from my Pilot 912 with an FA nib. If I shake the pen gently before writing, the speckles appear pretty consistently. I'm impressed with how well the ink's sheen and flecks appear even with my fine FA nib.

I've also used calligraphy nibs to test the ink. Obviously broader nibs show off the ink even better than fine ones.

The ink is heavily saturated and it takes time to dry. So you have to be careful not to smudge it while you write. It isn't water fast, but it's so saturated, water doesn't completely erase it.

I haven't experienced any nib clogging. I've left the ink in my 912 for several weeks, and the nib writes perfectly each time. I wouldn't leave it in vintage pens for any length of time, however, just to be safe.

The thing that surprised me most about Emerald of Chivor is that the paper you use makes all the difference. On Clairefontaine Triomphe and Rhodia Dot Pad paper, the gold specks show up just fine, but there's no pink sheen.

But on Tomoe paper the ink shines like neon light. This is what made everyone go "Wow!" when they first saw this ink. I'm not sure why the pink sheen shows up on Tomoe but not on the other paper. You'll need to experiment the paper you use with Emerald of Chivor to find what brings out both the sheen and the sparkles.

Of course, to see these marvelous properties, you have to view the ink and paper in bright light, particularly bright sunlight. In ordinary light, the ink is a beautiful teal, and you can see some shimmer. But if you want an explosion of color, you need bright light.

The gold specks fall to the bottom of the bottle. You need to shake the ink well before filling your pen.

The gold specks fall to the bottom of the bottle. You need to shake the ink well before filling your pen.

Perhaps this ink is best used for special things like invitations and envelopes where calligraphy nibs best express its beauty. It's certainly terrific for every day use in finer nibs, but to fully appreciate this glamorous ink, you'll have to take your writing into the sunshine to see it sparkle. And that's not a bad thing. Everyone can use a little sunshine.

Posted on September 18, 2015 and filed under J. Herbin, Ink Reviews.

Diamine Ancient Copper, A Champion Of Red-Browns

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

Diamine Ancient Copper is one of the inks that I heard of or discovered fairly quickly after joining the fountain pen community. This is for good reason. Like Iroshizuku Kon-peki, it has a loyal, vocal following. After trying the ink out for a while, I'm one of them.

This isn't my first Diamine ink, but it is the first that I've reviewed. For me, reviewing the ink was a piece of cake because it behaves so well. When looking at inks, you're looking for any characteristics that might make it undesirable in certain pen or paper combinations. With Ancient Copper, if you like the color, the rest is history.

First off, like most Diamine inks, you can buy it in three sizes. There's a large 80ml bottle that will last you a long time, a smaller 30ml bottle if you want to try it out, and standard international short cartridges.

I like that Diamine offers a nice range of sizes with their inks. Sometimes you don't want to dive in with a full-sized bottle of something you may not like.

Now, how does this ink perform? Remarkably well, but let's get more detailed than that.

The ink shades fairly easily and looks beautiful on the page. Anything from a German fine nib and up will allow the ink to show its true shading capabilities, and that's something you don't want to miss out on. In my opinion, it's one of the best attributes of the ink.

It's well-lubricated and easy flowing — I'd say it's right in the middle of the scale. Even in my "dry" pens, it never has any issues with flow.

It's extremely easy to clean out of the pen. It washes out in just a few quick flushes. This is on par with other Diamine inks I've tried, so that's no surprise here.

Dry time actually surprised me. Within 2 or 3 seconds, smudging was almost undetectable. Sure, your mileage will vary based on what pen and paper you're using, but that's still really impressive.

There isn't a noticeable sheen once the ink dries, and it dries to a matte color. If sheen is your thing, this ink won't impress you.

But, I'd wager that most of us are here because of the color of this ink. Ancient Copper is such an apt name — I don't think they could've done any better with this one.

It's a reddish-brown that resembles a lighter oxblood color. It's dark enough to still be quasi-professional, yet extremely interesting on the page. When I swatched the ink with a swab, you can see that red is a dominant color, but the brown that pools in the darker areas is what gives it life. Overall, I'm completely in love with the color, and I can't see myself taking this ink out of my regular rotation for a very long time.

If you're remotely interested in red-brown inks, Ancient Copper should be your first stop. It's a fantastic ink, and definitely worth checking out. And, you can even choose between an 80ml or 30ml bottle, or cartridges depending on what pen you want to use it in. Very impressive ink, and I highly recommend it.

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

Posted on September 9, 2015 and filed under Diamine, Ink Reviews.

Sailor Pen and Message Cigar Ink Review

(This is a guest post by Felix Jen. Felix is a fountain pen and ink enthusiast. You can find him at his blog, Inks and Pens, or at his Instagram.)

Sailor, the Japanese pen and ink manufacturer, has gotten themselves quite a reputation with their hard-to-find store-exclusive inks such as Bungbox Sapphire and Pen-and-Message inks. Sailor's Pen and Message Cigar is a brown ink with a great depth of color and a very subtle color change.

When I was first sent a sample of this ink, I didn't really know what to think about it. It seemed like a murky green in the vial that looked a bit unappealing, but once I filled a pen up with it, my opinion totally changed. The ink lays does lay down as a shade of dark green and quickly changes to a brown color as it dries. I was completely shocked as there aren't many inks that change colors so quickly.

The ink is a deep brown with some definite green undertones as well as a light blue tint. This is actually one of the nicer browns with a great deal of depth to it, unlike some inks in the color range.

A paper chromatography test of this ink confirms the presence of green and blue. The chromatography is actually all over the place, with yellow, orange, blue, green, and brown!

This review was written in a Pilot Parallel 1.5mm on HP 32lb Premium Choice Laser.

On paper, the ink behaves wonderfully. There is not a bit of feathering or bleed-through, even on the extremely wet parts of the page. There is a little bit of show-through but nothing too major. With thinner papers like Tomoe River, you can clearly see what is written on the reverse side. The ink cleans out easily from converters and does not stain, unlike some Noodler's inks.

Shading is not this ink's strong point. The ink barely has any shading, from a light brown to a darker blackish color. The dry time is a bit long, averaging at around 20 seconds on this paper and 19 seconds on Rhodia. When using finer nibs, the dry time is significantly reduced, to around 13 seconds with an Medium.

This ink's water test is also an enigma. The test was done with drops of water placed on the page for about 20 seconds then wiped away with a tissue. Strangely, much of the brown in the ink washes away but leaves a water-resistant blue-gray portion. The lines can still clearly be seen and there is barely any smearing of the brown.

Sailor Pen and Message Cigar is truly a one-of-a-kind ink with a beautiful color and outstanding behavior. You can find this ink directly from Pen and Message for 2160¥ in a 50mL bottle. They are out of stock at the time of this writing, but will be accepting "preorders" in August 2015.

Posted on August 27, 2015 and filed under Guest Post, Ink Reviews, Sailor.