A lot of times I can't tell the difference in performance between luxury ink brands and some of the smaller indie companies. There's no discernible justification for the difference in price or hype. But every time I've used a Graf von Faber-Castell ink, I've definitely noticed the quality and they never fail to impress me.
The ink comes in a 75 ml bottle--it's one of the biggest ink bottles in my collection. It's a sturdy glass bottle with a weighted bottom that prevents any tipping or sloshing. The glass is fluted and beautifully accented. The bottle is deep enough that I haven't had any trouble filling pens, but it is a bit squat, so I imagine that there may be some challenges as the ink level lowers. The inner chamber is flat on the bottom, so there's no interior well to position your nib in to get the best fill when the bottle runs low. Overall, it's a very heavy bottle. It makes a lovely paperweight. The lid is chrome with the Faber-Castell shield in black plastic set into the top. The front of the bottle has a cream sticker label with the color name on it.
The overall effect is a charming vintage look. I could see this bottle feeling right at home on a desk in the 30s or 40s. That's plenty enough reason for me to be enchanted, but it also happens to be full of some really great ink.
This is a lovely grassy Olive Green. It's a very mature color--there's nothing garish or exciting about it. It seems very businesslike. There aren't any flashy effects--no sheen that I could see, very little shading, and no shimmer. The pigments separate into a lime green and slate blue--it's not a complex color, but it's a very relaxing shade. If you prefer bright colors or fun effects, you could easily say that this ink is boring. But sometimes you need boring. And the things that win me over with this ink are in its performance.
This is a wet-flowing ink. It's smooth and pools nicely in the line to give it just enough character. But somehow, it's also very fast-drying. There's barely any smearing at 15-20 seconds, and at 25 it's completely dry. It's also very water-resistant. I tried dripping water and wiping it off, allowing the drops to soak in and let them stand for several minutes, and I can still see all of the lines as plain as new with hardly any color running at all. With as wet as the ink was going down on the paper, I expected it to smear all over and then wash away in the smallest raindrop. But no, this ink is super well trained. If you're a leftie who likes wet inks, this might be a great one to try.
A wet, smooth ink in a professional color that dries fast and stays put is the kind of ink that gets good use around here. I love bright, fun effects, and I always have a few playful inks in rotation--but I need inks like this on a daily basis for work and other important things. Boring things. And if I can lighten the boredom with an ink that is a true pleasure to use, that's a huge plus.
$30 for 75 ml of excellently behaved ink is definitely a good price. And there are other more exciting colors available, too, if this rich olive doesn't suit your fancy. I have a few colors in my collection, and I've been happy with all of them.
(JetPens provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)
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