Category: Ink Review

Ink Review: Papier Plume Garden District Azalea

Papier Plume Garden District Azalea

Garden District Azalea is the last of the three color I purchased from the New Orleans ink collection from Papier Plume. I laughed because earlier this week Sarah mentioned in the comments for the Streetcar Green that she specifically passed on the the “pink ink” and here I was thinking I was saving the “best for last”.There’s a color for everyone.

Alternately, there’s been a lot of other folks who have come around to appreciating pink inks, myself included. I think Callifolio Andrinople and the Sailor Pink Love helped to woo us over to the “pink love” for sure. But since this spring, I’ve been slowly adding new pink inks to my collection and coming to appreciate a few that have sat idle in my collection.

Papier Plume Garden District Azalea

The Papier Plume Azalea is a good pink addition. It shades nicely and is not too pinky-pink, leaning more towards a reddish pink than a candy watermelon pink. I didn’t notice any sheening in the color. I found the ink a little on the dry side so I think it might perform better in a wider nib pen than an extra fine. When painting the title, it did take a bit longer to dry and I got a bit impatient — especially considering I managed to misspell GARDEN. Doh! Overall, I like the ink and the price point cannot be beat.

Papier Plume Garden District Azalea

Compared to other pink inks in the Desk vault, Garden District Azalea is closest to J. Herbin Rouge Opera which is a very wet, runny ink and a touch more red. Andrinople is a tiny bit darker and moodier than Azalea and  Iroshizuku Tsutsuji is more magenta pink. Both Sailor Sakura-Mori and Iroshizuku Kosumusu are more peachy pink (watermelon-y) and the Kobe #41 is more purply-pink.

I hope that gives you a good idea where Garden District Azalea falls in the pink spectrum. Would bright up any black pen — would probably make the Black Pen Society guys weep so don’t tell them I said that.

Ink Review: Papier Plume Streetcar Green

Papier Plume Streetcar Green

Continuing the Papier Plume ink obsession, today’s review is the Streetcar Green from the New Orleans collection as well. I purchased this in the same batch with the Sazerac from yesterday. And while I had been given a big thumb’s up from Brad about the Sazerac, I bought the Streetcar Green sight unseen. Now, I love green inks and I have a soft spot for all things vintage and I love of New Orleans so I was willing to take the $8 gamble.

Papier Plume Streetcar Green

The color is one of the most unusual shades of green I’ve gotten. Its sort of a deep evergreen but was not like any color I had. It definitely reminded me of the color of the leather seats on an old streetcar. The one odd thing I noticed was how dingy the color looked when wet. It seemed to brighten and look cleaner as it dried. It was the strangest phenomena I’ve seen in an ink. So, don’t be fooled if you see the ink wet. It looks rather lusterless wet but it has a lovely appearance when dry.

Papier Plume Streetcar Green Ink Comparison

I had very few greens in my stash that looked even close in color to Streetcar Green. Oddly, DeAtramentis Document Green and DeAtramentis Cement Grey were the closest in hue and neither I would have thought would be even close. I would think something like Diamine Evergreen might be close but I don’t actually own it so I couldn’t do a side-by-side comparison.

I found a few other comparable ink colors on the Anderson Pens Ink Comparison tool:

Streetcar Green Ink Comparison

Pricewise, I think the Papier Plume Streetcar Green is as good a value as any of the other options and it dries fairly quickly. It shades nicely too.

Ink Review: Papier Plume Sazerac

Papier Plume Sazerac

After recording the Gift Guide episode of the Pen Addict podcast, I fell victim to our own enabling and bought some of the Papier Plume Sazerac ink. See? We are even dangerous to each other!

Sazerac is part of their New Orleans themed ink collection and being a cocktail connoisseur, I couldn’t resist trying a bottle.

Papier Plume Sazerac

The color is a warm, vivid orange reminiscent of the color of a Sazerac cocktail viewed in the glass. There are lots of interpretations of the recipe but all are variations of rye whiskey, Peychaud’s Bitters, a twist of lemon and the glass is coated with absinthe. Some recipes add a little simple syrup or sugar and the original recipes included cognac. No matter how you drink it, you’ll agree that Papier Plume’s Sazerac ink is a pretty close color match.

Papier Plume Sazerac

The ink shades nicely and has lovely variation. My biggest issue was that the ink was much lighter wet than dry making it a little difficult to write with in some light.

Papier Plume Sazerac Ink Comparison

For color comparison, Sazerac is warmer, more whiskey-like than Noodler’s Summer Tanager ad Dragon Napalm. Sazerac was also a bit warmer and richer than the new Sailor Kin-Mokusei which is a very bright, sunny orange. Sazerac is more on the orange side of the spectrum than Fuyugaki and the now-discontinued Sailor Jentle Apricot which are both more red.

Overall, at a mere $8 per bottle, the Papier Plume inks are definitely worth the investment. I like the wax seal cap though it did make closing the bottle a bit more challenging. I would, however, be willing to pay a dollar or two more per bottle for a nicer label.

Ink Review: Bookbinders Snake Ink Sampler Set

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While at the San Fransisco Pen Show, I was able to acquire a coveted box of Bookbinders Snake Ink sampler bottles. It probably helped that I was working at the Anderson Pens table directly across from the Snake Ink table and the Andersons are the sole distributors of Bookbinders Snake Ink in the US presently. So… access and temptation were at an all time high.

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The packaging and presentation for the sampler set was epic! It was so beautifully presented, wrapped and designed. I was so glad that it made it back to Kansas City without being mangled by TSA or Southwest Airlines baggage handlers.

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The outer box is kraft paper with gold foil lettering and black litho and the inner wrapping is black with a white bookbinding tape sealing the box shut.

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Inside the box are die cut holes for each of the glass vials containing samples of each of the Snake Ink colors, each with a foil stamped label. There are eight 10ml bottles and the package included a pipette to extract ink from the vials and put into your pens.

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Bookbinders Snake Ink Swatches

The Snake Inks are from Australia and the colors are all inspired by the colors of snakes native to Australia. They are not made from snakes and do not contain snake venom. Someone asked me that at that the show!

Bookbinders snake ink writing sample

I tested all the colors with a paint brush and my trusty Kaweco Special Dip Pen on Rhodia paper as well as doing swabs on my Maruman Word Cards. On the Word Card, I had some issues with the Blue Racer and Red Spitting Cobra. Blue Racer seemed a bit thicker than the other colors and Red Spitting Cobra was a little thinner than the other colors. In general, I find red inks tend to be more watery than any other color though. The Blue Coral and Ground Rattler were my favorite colors but I always favor the turquoise and grays so that’s a given. The Eastern Brown is a lovely rich brown color though and I quite liked it too.

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I have included an assortment of color comparison swatches to give as close approximation to other inks. I don’t have a lot of browns in my collection or at least not a lot of warm browns to choose from so I did the best I could. The color swatch comparisons were shot today with my new lighting rig so hopefully they will give as accurate as possible a color read as I can get. There is a lot of brilliance and vibrancy to the Snake Ink colors and some sheening too. In the blues, Oster might have Snake Ink beat but the Emerald Boa and Everglades Ratsnake is pretty luminous. Ground Rattler is a cool gray compared to a lot of the other grays which are much warmer, slate-y grays. Red-Belly Black is a very deep black, more so than the Waterman Black that I have. If you’re looking for a BLACK black, its pretty darn dark.

The Bookbinders Snake Ink Sampler Kit was a special offering for the San Fransisco Pen Show. I don’t know if they plan to offer it again but Anderson Pens sell full bottles of Snake Ink for $12.50 and ink samples for $1.25. The full bottles of Snake Ink come in burlap bags which are very cool too.

Ink Review: Ink Crate Volume 2

Ink Crate Volume 2

I finally got a chance to test out the inks in the second volume of the Ink Crate subscription service. Each month, the service sends five 2ml samples each month for $10 per month plus $3.99 shipping worldwide (at present) in their signature mint blue “crates”. Should shipping costs change, Ink Crate will notify subscribers and subscriptions auto-renew via credit card. I say that only because I know how expensive it is to ship overseas from the US, and $3.99 is a STEAL.

Ink Crate Volume 2

This month’s colors were, once again, a nice variety of colors. Two Diamine shades, Aurora Black and two colors from an ink company I had not heard of before: Seitz-Kreuznach. Overall, the color selections seemed “ripe” for heading into fall with tomato red, green apples, denim blue and a maybe not- entirely unwelcome cooler arctic blue. Aurora Black is a classic that is often overlooked but is a staple that should probably be included in any ink collection so its nice to have a chance to take it for a test drive.

Ink Crate Volume 2

Ink Crate Volume 2

According to a thread on FPN, Seitz-Kreuznach is actually a (EDIT!) German ink brand sold mostly on Ebay and their color series is called “The Colors of Nature”. Thus far, I quite liked both of them and am pleased that Ink Crate was able to surprise me with something new. That’s not easy to do!


Tested on Rhodia Uni Blank No. 18 with Kaweco Dip Pen and Zebra G Titanium nib, and watercolor paintbrush. I purchased the Ink Crate with my own money.

Ink Review: J. Herbin 1670 Caroube de Chypre

J. Herbin 1670 Caroube de Chypre header

J. Herbin has introduced another ink to the 1670 line, Caroube de Chypre which is a lovely deep chocolately brown with gold flecks. I love the look of the 1670 bottles despite being difficult to use with large nibbed fountain pens or for getting ink out beyond the first few fills. I like the gold cord, the waax seal and the wax around the cap. They are beautiful, fancy treats and the only bottles that often sit out on my table for months.

J. Herbin 1670 Caroube de Chypre gold particles in the bottle

The gold flecks do settle so be sure to roll or shake the bottle before filling your pens in order to distribute the  flecks evenly.

J. Herbin 1670 Caroube de Chypre close-up

I tested the ink with both a dip pen and in my Lamy Safari Joy with a 1.1mm nib. The color appears much darker with the dip nib where in the stub 1.1mm, the color is a warmer, lighter shade of brown. Almost like dark chocolate and milk chocolate depending on which tool I chose.

J. Herbin 1670 Caroube de Chypre writing sample close-up

The ink dried pretty quickly in the Lamy but took quite awhile to dry when I used a dip pen, especially on the Rhodia paper.

J. Herbin 1670 Caroube de Chypre in the sunlight 2

I took my ink samples out into the sunlight to best capture the gold. I took two different shots. Depending on how much I turned the swatch in the light, you can get a better impression of the ink catching the light, both in the swab and even in the writing. I hope it is easier to see the greenish halo as well. There’s such a variety of depth to the color. I’m not normally a fan of brown inks because I find them rather flat and dull. They don’t have the variety and sheens and shading that blues and purples and reds often get but Caroube de Chypre is the exception to that. Thank you, sparkle, shimmer and shine!

J. Herbin 1670 Caroube de Chypre in the sunlight

J. Herbin 1670 Caroube de Chypre swatch comparison

Back inside, under more sedate lighting conditions, you can see the brown in comparison with some of the few brown inks in my collection. Caroube de Chypre is a bit more of a neutral brown than Kaweco Caramel Brown which has a bit more red in it. I put in the swatches of KWZ Honey and Callifolio Heure d’Oree knowing those are both quite popular colors at the moment and every other brown or sepia color I had was much darker, or cooler in tone. These were the closest in hue, all feeling the most candy-like.

I know that, of the 1670 colors, Emerald of Chivor has been one of the most popular colors but I actually quite like Caroube de Chypre and I think moving into fall and winter, this is the perfect hot cocoa color. I do find that the gold particles seem to settle even faster in Caroube de Chypre but I also think that means that they are smaller and lighter and less likely to clog overall. It does mean that you’ll want to roll your pen regularly to redistribute the gold as you use it though. My best recommendation is to put this ink in a demonstrator pen like a TWSBI 580 or a Lamy Safari with a wide nib so you can see when the gold flecks start to settle. Then gentle roll the pen on the table a couple times to redistribute the gold in the ink.

J. Herbin Caroube de Chypre

I purchased my bottle of Caroube de Chypre at the DC Pen Show from Federalist Pens.

The Giveaway:

The fine folks at Exaclair kindly sent me a bottle of J. Herbin Caroube de Chypre so that I could spread the love of chocolate gold dust around. So, one lucky reader can win a bottle of Caroube de Chypre of their very own.

All you have to do is leave a comment and tell me what Caroube de Chypre reminds you of.

FINE PRINT: All entries must be submitted by 10pm CST on Sunday, September 25, 2016. All entries must be submitted at wellappointeddesk.com, not Twitter, Tumblr or Facebook, okay? Winner will be announced on Monday. Winner will be selected by random number generator from entries that played by the rules (see above). Please use your REAL email address (not some crappy Hotmail account you never check) in the comment form so that I can contact you if you win. I will not save email addresses or sell them to anyone — pinky swear. If the winner does not respond within 14 days, I will draw a new giveaway winner. Shipping via USPS first class is covered. Additional shipping options or insurance will have to be paid by the winner. We are generous but we’re not made of money. US residents & APO only. Sorry international folks… but hey, your croissants are better!


DISCLAIMER: This item was sent to me free of charge by Exaclair for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.

Ink Review: Robert Oster Torquay

Robert Oster Torquay

I confess I had to look up what exactly Torquay was in the dictionary and it turns out to be the name of a resort town in Devon, England, considered to the English Rivera. Its also the name of strip of coastline in Victoria, Australia, home to Bells Beach where iconic surf brands like Quicksilver and Rip Curl got their start. That explains why Robert Oster Inks chose this name for this exquisitely turquoise blue-green ink shade so reminiscent of seas, surf and ocean waves.

Robert Oster Torquay writing sample

In a very fine nib pen, tested specifically because I’d read elsewhere that folks found Oster inks to be a bit dry, resulted in a lovely light turquoise shade. And no, I did not find the ink to be a hard starting ink at all. Not even in an extra fine, budget-priced fountain pen. With a dip pen, like the Kaweco Special Dip Pen, I found it well behaved and a much deeper ocean blue. There was lots of shading and a hit of red/purple edging in some places.

Robert Oster Torquay writing sample close-up

I must admit that the color is so vivid that it was very difficult to capture it on camera. It glows.

Robert Oster Torquay Swatch Comparison

Compared with other aqua and turquoise shades, it has a bit more green to it. Diamine Aqua Lagoon being the closest in color to it that I had in my collection. All the other shades were much more blue turquoise shades and the reddish halo around the Torquay made it a very unique color.

The Oster inks come in recyclable plastic bottles which are nice in that you don’t have to worry about breakage in shipping and their slender shape make them easy to store. However, they will become challenging to fill pens with them after awhile because they are so tall and skinny. The inks really will need to be transferred into more user-friendly containers over time, something lower and wider, or syringe or pipettes will need to be used to transfer inks into pens. Just a warning. Overall though, I think there are some really great colors at very reasonable prices so when the time comes, I am prepared to transfer my inks into other containers.

A 50ml bottle of Torquay is available from Anderson Pens for $16 or a 3ml sample for $1.25.


DISCLAIMER: This item was sent to me free of charge by Robert Oster Inks for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.