If Iroshizuku Kon-peki is my favorite blue ink, then J. Herbin Éclat de Saphir is my close second.
Éclat de Saphir is a gorgeous, vibrant blue ink with lots of character and depth. I love how it pops off the page when I’m writing and even after it’s dried. I'm very pleased when inks retain the same level of saturation when they dry as when the ink is wet, and this ink is no exception.
Before I dive into the detailed notes, I do have some general comments about this ink. I love the color and shading qualities of this ink, but you really need to try it in a fine or larger nib (or medium and larger for Japanese nibs) to get the full effect. After playing with this ink for a while, I really want a stub nib. Secondly, many reviews I've seen on this ink praise its fast-drying property, as well as many other J. Herbin inks. This has not been the case for me with this ink. I don't know if I'm doing something wrong or if I'm just using wet nibs on heavy paper, but I would not say it's fast to dry. In my tests, it took about 20 seconds to dry to a point where it would not smudge when I brushed my finger across it. With that being said, it's still an excellent ink that I highly recommend.
This is one of the most well-behaved and easy to maintain inks I've tried. I currently only have cartridges, but will buy a bottle very soon so as to use it in even more pens. It's extremely easy to clean out of pens and washes off my fingers easily.
My favorite quality of this ink is the color. It's a medium to dark blue, very similar to what I think of as "royal" blue. It's nice and saturated, which is something I long for in inks. It has good lubrication and excellent flow in the handful of pens I've used so far.
On nice paper, this ink does not feather or show through the page. Sure, it does feather on cheap paper, but what ink doesn't?
The shading properties are fantastic. Again, I see a stub nib in my near future just so I can play with this beautiful ink some more.
Overall, this is one of my favorite inks and I can't wait to introduce it to more of my pens. Aside from my quibble with the drying time, it's close to a perfect ink for me. I'd like to hear from you if you have some information about the drying time or have advice on performing ink drying tests. Next time you're looking for a nice blue ink to try, grab some Éclat de Saphir.