Posts filed under Sailor

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.

Sailor Kobe Ink No. 37 Island Blue Ink Review

I'm relatively certain that if I lived in Japan I would be broke. Just setting foot in a store like the Nagasawa Stationery Center would cause a wallet-gasm, if not outright bankruptcy. And then to learn they have their own shop exclusive line of inks, from Sailor no less? Well, let's just say I'm very lucky to have amazing readers who are helping me keep my wallet in check and my marriage intact.

Sailor Kobe Ink No. 37 Island Blue is another sample from a batch that Pen Addict reader Richard sent over, and a beautiful one at that. This color is inspired by "the view of the blue sea from Kobe", and if that is actually the case I need to book a plane ticket. It is a saturated ink, but vibrant at the same time. There is some shading too, which adds to its beauty. I don't have many other standard blues to compare it to, but it is unlike any other blue ink I have tried.

Prior to this review, Sailor was already one of my favorite fountain pen inks. Across the board, they perform perfectly with any pen, nib, and paper combo I've come up with. None of their inks have ever stained any pen, and they are easy to clean. Now, only if these great Japanese options were easy to buy.

Posted on August 4, 2014 and filed under Ink Reviews, Sailor.

Sailor Trident Review

All fountain pen innovation starts in Japan.

Is that too strong of a statement? Probably so. I'm certain Germany, for starters, would have a good argument. But for me, I'm constantly amazed by the ideas that come out of Japan. The Sailor Trident was one of those brilliant ideas. A fountain pen that writes like a ballpoint - who wouldn't want that? Not many people apparently. Innovation does not always equal success, as the Trident never really established itself upon launch in the early 1980's.

Sailor did not come up with the idea for the Trident on it's own though. Instead, they purchased the three nib design from a company called Spacer (all of this history is found on Russ Stutler's Trident page which was the main resource for this review.) They felt they could convert the hordes of ballpoint users into fountain pen users with the Trident, but the pen had too many shortcomings to gain a foothold in the market.

The primary issue with the Trident was maintenance. All of the extra tines in the nib left the Trident prone to clogging. IF the pen stayed in constant use it was great, but if left to sit for a day or two it became a problematic writer. Disposable pen users could not handle that added aggrevation caused by this unique design.

My experience with the Trident (on loan from the esteemed Thomas) was generally positive, but not overly impressive. The three nib system worked as intended, but left my line width inconsistent. I imagine it had to do with the exact spot on the nib I was hitting the page with. With three nibs and six slits all coming together to make one point I don't see how this is avoidable. There was no skipping, but that is because Thomas keeps his pens in pristine condition. The ink flowed nicely, but I have to admit that it felt odd as the nib moved across the page. This is not your traditional fountain pen.

And I think that is the lesson learned with the Sailor Trident. You can't be everything to everyone. It is exciting to see companies like Sailor innovate and take risks like this, regardless of the commercial success of the product. It's like a concept car that actually saw the light of day, and I'm glad I got to take it for a test drive.

You can read more about the Sailor Trident at Mr. Stutler's site linked above, and also this wonderful dissasembly from Penzuki.

You knew this was coming, right?

Posted on June 23, 2014 and filed under Fountain Pens, Pen Reviews, Sailor.

Sailor Bung Box Blue Black Fountain Pen Ink Review

I received an epic batch of not-easy-to-come-by ink samples in January that knocked my socks off (thanks Richard!), and while I have had a chance to play with some of them I'm just now getting the chance to write them up. Sailor Bung Box Blue Black (aka Sailor 4B) is the first, and maybe the best.

My love of blue black inks is well known, and this package contained a wide variety of samples I had never heard of, much less tried. I went with the Sailor 4B first because I was also sent a cool empty box and bottle of this ink to see how Sailor packages these specialty inks for Japanese retailer Bungubox. Yes, it is only available directly through them unfortunately, unless you want to work some eBay magic.

The ink itself is fantastic. It is one of the most shaded blue black inks I have used and it has a nice red sheen that I had a hard time capturing. This ink could use more close-up photos to show off all of its properties. I'll work on that. It nails the color ratios too. There are no hints of stray colors - like green - that often ruin some blue black inks for me.

This is a standout ink, one I would give up a body part or two to acquire more of. Thanks Richard for sending me this sample!

(Note: Bungubox just launched an Amazon Shop. Several inks are available (not this one) but I'm not going to bother linking them because it would cost you almost $60 for one bottle of ink with shipping.)

Posted on March 17, 2014 and filed under Ink Reviews, Sailor.