The De Atramentis ink brand is made solely by the one and only Dr. Franz-Josef Jansen in Germany. I've tried a few inks from De Atramentis over the years, and I've always been impressed by how they behave and act on the page. I was recently rummaging around the ink shelf when I found an old test vial from Goulet Pens that I had never inked up: Red Roses. Being that Valentines Day is right around the corner, I decided to give it a shot.
Red Roses is a reddish pink ink that flows beautifully in all three pens I've used it with. On some papers, it shows up more pink than the Rhodia I used in this example, but it's a beautiful color either way. One thing is for sure: this ink is not meant to be subtle. It pops off the page like tiny flowery explosions. Oh, and it has a strong scent of roses, which I both enjoy and dislike. More on that in a bit.
Hands down, my favorite part of this ink is the shading. It swings back and forth between a medium dark pink and lighter, more neon pink in some places. It's a delightful color that brings a smile to your face. Someone opening a letter that was composed with this ink will be greeted by a lovely scent and the exciting color that grabs your eyes and gently refuses to let go. In this 1.1mm stub nib, it really shows off the shading qualities, but it shades pretty nicely in smaller nibs as well. But, like most inks that shade well, I really recommend using this ink in a larger nib size.
Something that really surprised me about this ink is how fast it dries. I'm not well-versed in the world of pink and purple inks, but I had an assumption that this ink would take around 20 seconds to completely dry. I was completely wrong. In most cases, the ink is dry in about 10-15 seconds in this 1.1mm stub nib. In a medium nib, it dries consistently in under 10 seconds. This is phenomenal for any ink. 10 seconds is a hard number to break, but it does it somehow.
The flow and lubrication of the ink is right where I like it: the middle. It's lubricated and wet enough to make scratchy nibs feel a bit smoother, but not too wet to cause issues with the paper. Again, for how quickly this ink dries, I'm shocked by how well it flows.
Being a fairly saturated ink, there is some show-through on most papers. On the sheet of Rhodia I used here, it's almost unusable on the back side of the sheet. For other thinner papers, this will only be worse. Still, it doesn't present any real problems apart from making it a bit difficult to read if you write on both sides of the page. Bleeding is non-existent.
Like I just mentioned, it's a very saturated ink, so cleaning can take some time to properly remove all the little particles. Still, it's not difficult to clean in any sense.
Now, the scent of this ink catches me on two different opinions depending on what I happen to smell. I don't know why this happens, but sometimes I smell lovely roses, and other times I smell baby wipes. I have no explanation. There's nothing in our house that smells anything like baby wipes, so I'm sure it's not a non-ink scent. Still, it hits me one out of three times when I smell the ink, and I'm not sure I like it. Overall, the roses smell really nice when that's what I smell. I prefer the smell of roses that the J. Herbin rose ink exhibits, but the color of this Red Roses ink is much better.
Finally, the price of this ink is a bit high, but that's not unusual for a scented ink. At fifteen bucks for a 35ml bottle, I'd recommend trying a sample before committing to the entire bottle. While you're at it, try several other De Atramentis inks! They're fantastic inks, and ink samples are more fun if you buy more at a time.
Red Roses is a fantastic pink ink that looks stunning on the page and adds a delightful scent (mostly) to go along with the passionate color. It behaves well, dries extremely quickly, and is bound to put a smile on the face of the reader. Just in time for Valentines Day!
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