Brown inks are certainly a rich and deep well of the fountain pen ink options out there today, but I've never really done more than dip my toes in this color. Who wants to use brown ink, right? Well, it's not as bad as it sounds. I've tried a couple, and I've always been pleasantly surprised after using them. Browns can be beautiful, so don't judge them by their name.
I've always had good experiences with my Monteverde pens and gel/roller ball refills, but I've never actually tried any of their many fountain pen inks. When Brad sent over a bottle of Scotch Brown, I was excited to try it out and see how well it performed. Also, I had to see how closely it resembled they whisky color.
Upon opening the clear plastic box that the bottle is packaged in, I noticed some info printed on the back side of the color card that promoted Monteverde ITF technology. Interesting, right? Well, ITF stands for "Ink Treatment Formula," and it really just means that the ink is formulated to flow well, resist drying in the nib, and lubricating the feed. With other inks, this normally isn't advertised as a trademarked ink technology, so it struck me as a bit odd. Despite that, this ink definitely gets a good score in my "does it behave well?" system.
Scotch Brown is a medium brown ink that looks darker than most scotches I've seen. Still, it's a warm, pleasant color that looks great on the page. It's light enough that you can easily tell that you're using a brown ink. In some cases, I can even detect a hint of a green-gold sheen. If you want something more business friendly, you might want to look for a black-brown.
Given the medium hue, that provides opportunities to shade and vary depending on how ink is distributed on the page. I'm happy to report that this ink does a great job of shading from light to medium brown. In certain areas where the ink pools, it takes on a coffee or milk chocolate color, while the lighter areas remind me of rich caramel or whisky. It's a delicious color, but I can't say that I've tasted the ink.
So, how does the Ink Treatment Formula perform? Well, it behaves nicely in the pens I've tried. Ink flow is exactly what I expect, and it has no issue keeping up with fast writing. Dry time is in the unimpressive (but still good) range of about 15-20 seconds. It also does a good job of keeping the ink from drying on the nib when the pen is left uncapped for a couple of minutes. Even when it does dry, it easily starts up again after a couple of squiggles.
Show-through isn't terrible for a medium to dark color. The ink doesn't soak through the page, creating dark impressions on the back page. I've also been unable to detect any signs of feathering on the premium (Rhodia, Apica, Leuchtturm) papers I've tried with it. Overall, a solid performer.
In my book, this is a well-behaved ink, with or without the fancy technology to back it up. It easily ranks with Diamine as far as behavior goes, and that's a compliment. Once again, I'm being drawn in by a brown ink, and it's surprised me again. I'm not sure I'm predisposed against browns, but it's something I aim to cure. This Scotch Brown is a delicious color, and it's working well to change my perceptions. I'll also be delving deeper into the Monteverde line of inks. This Emerald Green is calling my name.
The pricing for Monteverde inks isn't bad, either. Monteverde Scotch Brown is available at JetPens as a 30ml bottle for $8.00, and the big brother 90ml bottle is only $16.00. For those of you following along at home, that's 3 times the ink for only twice the price. I'd recommend trying an ink before buying that much of it, though.
(JetPens provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)
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