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.