You have heard me talking about grail pens before, but is there such a thing as a grail ink? Lovers of Parker Penman Sapphire would undoubtedly say yes.
What makes this ink so special? For starters, it was only produced from 1993 to 2000. That brings on a rarity other readily available inks do not have. But there is a valid reason why Parker no longer makes it: It damages pens. Sounds wonderful, doesn't it?
Fans of Parker Penman Sapphire don't seem to care that it may stain and clog pens. To them, the vibrant blue color, deep saturation, and amazing sheen are worth the tradeoff. I see all of those things in my sample, which was sent to me by my wonderful ink benefactor in a vial simply marked "PPS". It is a very nice shade of blue, and the sheen is amazing - nearly 100% sheen on some of my letters - but overall I don't see what all the fuss is about. There are so many amazing blue inks currently on the market.
That is part of the chase right now for fans of PPS. When they aren't shelling out $75 or more for a bottle on the secondary market, the hunt is on for the closest match currently being produced. Private Reserve American Blue comes up in my searches as a close comp, as does Diamine Majestic Blue, Noodler's Baystate Blue (with staining and clogging built right in!), and Sailor Bung Box Sapphire. (Comparison shot of the last two and PPS found here.)
For me, I don't get it. It's a fine ink, and the sheen is undeniably cool, but it probably wouldn't crack my top 20 inks if I were to even effort a list like that. And that is only if it was currently available. I certainly don't see paying a premium for it. You won't find a stash of Parker Penman Sapphire hidden under my bed anytime soon.