To be honest, I didn't know brown-black inks were a thing until one showed up in the January Ink Drop shipment. I wasn't excited about it because brown is usually associated with drab and boring. It ended up being the last one I tried in the group, and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by the ink.
The ink in question is the De Atramentis Black Edition Black-Brown. Long name, right? Let's break it down. The maker is De Atramentis — German. This ink belongs in a special edition (Black Edition) that come in a black glass bottle to keep the light from affecting the ink. Finally, black-brown is the color.
How do you make a brown ink non-boring? You add shading properties to it. Now, there isn't a ton of shading going on here, but it's enough to add a lot of interest to the ink as you're writing. Also, the hue of the ink is a really pleasant color. It's a warm, calm brown. It's dark enough to be inconspicuous, but has just enough character to attract attention from the more detail-oriented eye.
Another lovely quality is the lubrication. This ink is smooth. My Monteverde Artista is a smooth pen to begin with, but this ink makes it feel like the nib's had a new polish. The feel of the ink is very pleasing.
Strangely, the ink does has a smell when writing. I can't quite place the smell because my sense of smell is atrocious, but it reminds me of crayons and watercolors. It's not a bad smell, but it makes me think of art supplies and art class.
The ink is easy to clean out of the pen, which is always a nice bonus and something I've been more aware of after trying J. Herbin's Rouge Hematite.
I don't normally do this, but I was curious as to the water resistant nature of this ink, so I did a drip test. It actually did really well for being a colored ink. I guess that is thanks to the black in the ink that makes it more permanent. I can't say anything about the archival properties of the ink, but I would assume it's better than average compared to other brown inks.
If you're interested in a dark brown ink that has some unique characteristics, definitely give this one a try. I know I was certainly surprised by how much I liked it.