Admittedly, it's been a long time since I've tried out a new black ink. I've been really obsessed with all the different colors available that I forgot about the old standard. In all honesty, I haven't tried a new black ink since I wrote a review about Noodler's Heart of Darkness a year and a half ago. My philosophy on black inks is: you only need one.
Well, that might be true, but the choice isn't an easy one. Let me introduce Noodler's X-Feather — a brilliant, well-behaved black ink that is surprisingly resistant to feathering.
At first glance, this is just an ordinary black ink that you might have a hard time telling apart from other Noodler's black inks (or other black inks of any brand). It's a rich black, it's well-lubricated (maybe a tad dry), and dries pretty quickly. What's the selling point with this one? Well, for one, it supposedly feathers a lot less than other inks — especially on cheap paper. I tested this out on some 20# copy paper, and it actually did pretty well compared to a couple of Iroshizuki inks that I had nearby. Does it still feather? Yes, but you have to look closely to notice it.
Unlike some black inks, this one is a rich, dark black. There's a tiny bit of shading if the nib is wide enough, but it's difficult to detect. Honestly, I can't tell a difference between this and Heart of Darkness, so that's a big win.
When writing, the ink is smooth and flows very well. Again, on par for Noodler's. Cleaning the ink out of a pen is simple and doesn't cause any headaches. I'd say this ink is right in the middle of the wet/dry spectrum. It might be a tad wet for some tastes, especially in wider nibbed pens.
As the name implies, this ink does really well in the feathering department. Both feathering and show-through are minimal with this ink, which makes it ideal for use on cheap papers or papers that tend to cause ink tendrils due to the composition. No control over the paper quality you use? This is a good ink to try.
I'm not concerned with water resistance, but I tried it out with this ink since it's one of the bullet points on the description of the ink. Lo and behold, it does really well when water is introduced. A little cloudiness shows up, but the lines are true.
At the end of the day, this is a solid black ink. It's not exciting, but I don't think it was meant to be. If you need a reliable, water-resistant, non-feathering black ink, then this is a strong option for you to consider.