Category: Ink Review

Ink Review: Lamy Dark Lilac

Lamy Dark Lilac Ink

I feel terrible that I keep reviewing inks that are sold out already but what can I do? I buy them as fast as I can but, when they are limited edition, they sell out. But you want to know if they are good, right? So here it is… my take on Lamy Dark Lilac $10.50. Some shops are saying they will get a restock towards the end of May, beginning of June so keep your eyes peeled.

Lamy Dark Lilac Ink Writing Sample

I tested Dark Lilac with my new-to-me Lamy Safari Lime (the 2008 edition, thanks to Susan Wirth for this wonderful pen!) with an EF nib. I’d heard there was not a lot of shading with the Dark Lilac so I didn’t think using a fine nib would be doing the ink a disservice. I did do a few sentences with my Esterbrook 9315F relief stub, just to check, but the color is so dense that it really did not shade much. As a result, Dark Lilac really is a good color for legibility in fine and extra fine nibs and a great alternative to a black or blue-black ink as an everyday use ink. It flowed beautifully in the Safari with an EF nib and I think would be equally effective with a Japanese F or EF nib as well. It might even look a little lighter in an even finer nib and might show off the vividness of the color a bit more.

Lamy Dark Lilac Ink Comparison

In the ink swabs, the Dark Lilac shows a slight gold sheen but its also evident how dense and the vibrant the color is compared to the other inks. Noodler’s Purple Wampum is really the only ink I could find that was close in hue. KWZ Gummiberry Iron Gall was close in color density. I’m not sure if the regular version of Gummiberry is as deep as the iron gall formula but that may be another alternative.

The last few special edition colors of the Lamy Safaris and AL-Stars with matching inks have offered ink colors that have been way too light to be genuinely usable until now.  Dark Lilac is one of the most usable and interesting ink colors from Lamy since their BlueBlack. If you happen upon a bottle (or even some cartridges), grab it while you have the chance. This is definitely one of the better limited edition ink offerings from Lamy.

Ink Review: Callifolio Andrinople (and Sailor Pro Gear Slim Pink Love)

Callifolio Andrinople Ink

When Brad Dowdy told me he was looking for a bottle of ink that would match his new Sailor Pro Gear Slim Pink Love that he ordered from Bung Box and had delivered by his darling wife on Sunday to the Atlanta Pen Show, I helped him pick Callifolio Andrinople. In the process of picking the ink, I both fell in love with the Sailor Pink Love and Callifolio Andrinople. So, by the time the Chicago Pen Show rolled around two weeks later, I found someone willing to sell me their Pink Love pen and had Lisa Vanness to hold one of the last foil packs of Andrinople for me to pick up in Chicago. So, thanks to Brad, I developed an instant lust for a pink pen and a pink ink. Who thought I’d ever have to blame him for that?

Callifolio Andrinople Ink Etched Bottle

The great thing about the Callifolio foil pouches is the cost-to-volume value. The pouches hold 50ml for a mere $8. Then I was able to transfer the contents to the custom, laser-etched bottle that Lisa made for me with my logo on an empty KWZ bottle. Pretty spiffy, huh?

Callifolio Andrinople Ink Writing Sample

As for the ink itself, I think its a pretty great match for the Sailor Pro Gear Slim Pink Love pen from Bung Box, without being too girly. Andrinople is a fruit punch pink without being garish and totally legible, particularly in the wide music nib.

Callifolio Andrinople Ink Comparison

I did not have many other inks that were similar in color to Andrinople. Caran d’Ache Divine Pink is very similar in color but at three times the price. And J. Herbin Rouge Opera is similar but a little more pink and maybe slightly more coral. I was going to show Platinum Cyclamen Pink here but it was so far removed in color that it didn’t seem appropriate. Way too fluorescent red.

As you can tell, I’m a big fan of Callifolio Andrinople. The color is lovely and a great match for the Sailor Pink Love.

FYI: I looked it up and Andrinople is a reference to a location in Turkey now known as Edirne, historically known as Adrianople, was known for making a type red dye known as “Turkey red” or in France “rouge d’Andrinople“.


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

Ink Review: Franklin-Christoph Emerald Midnight

Franklin-Christoph Midnight Emerald Ink

Please don’t shoot me for reviewing another teal blue ink so soon after Pelikan Edelstein AquamarineFranklin-Christoph Midnight Emerald ($12.50 for 2oz.) is a much deeper blue-teal color than Aquamarine. It’s in that space between teal and blue-black that you didn’t know you needed an ink. Did you?

FC- Midnight Emerald writing sample

I tested the ink in my Franklin-Christoph Pocket Ice 66 eyedropper with a Fine nib and the ink still shaded quite nicely. The ink dried pretty quickly in the fine nib and I didn’t have any smearing issues even with my left-handedness. The painted lettering took a little bit longer to dry on the Rhodia paper so I suspect a wider nib would also take a bit longer to dry. Not a scientific analysis but this ink dried faster than a lot of inks I test.

The color strikes a nice balance between being a teal and a blue-black. Professional enough for everyday work but unique enough to be fun to use.

The ink is not waterproof so it means clean-up is pretty easy despite the depth of color.

Franklin-Christoph Midnight Emerald Ink comparisons

Midnight Emerald is very similar in color to Akkerman #24 Zuiderpark Blauw-Green but Midnight Emerald is a tiny bit more blue than Zuiderpark. The price for Midnight Emerald is considerably lower. Diamine Twilight is  more blue black and Callifolio Olifants is more indigo blue so Midnight Emerald really does seem to hit an unusual niche.

Overall, Midnight Emerald is a really lovely color and I’m grateful to have it in my arsenal.


Erin Marie A lovely fan in Atlanta gave me this bottle of ink because she knew how much I loved teal colors but I forgot to write down her name so, if you’re out there, please leave a message in the comments so I can give you a proper thank you and shout out for this lovely gift which I will cherish. We had such a lovely conversation but I have a brain like a sieve sometimes and trying to remember Slack handles, real names, email addresses and Rav names often leaves me not remembering any name at all! So sorry!

Ink Review: Sailor Bungbox Blue Black

Bung Box Blue-Black ink

Sailor Bung Box Blue Black is also called “4B” and boy, is it another one of those colors I just love. Its a rich indigo blue with a halo of red that gives it such a pop. I decided to test it in the teeny, tiniest pen I own, my Kaweco Liliput with an EF nib — maybe I’m just channeliing the vibe of the teeny tiny Bung Box shop in Tokyo Hamamatsu, Japan (Thanks to Mel for setting me straight!)?

Bung Box Blue-Black ink

The advantage of testing BB BB (Ah, there’s the four Bs!) in a small, fine nibbed pen is that the dark indigo blue-black is dark enough to show even in a fine nibbed pen and the red halo even adds some shading and character to small, fine writing. If you, too, write small or like fine nibs, this blue-black has enough character and shading to be interesting even in such a delicate line. Quite exciting.

Bung Box Blue-Black ink

I put the quarter in the photo above to show how small the writing is, just for scale. But also to show this ink is not waterproof which means it will easily clean out of your most delicate pens. Just don’t sign your mortgage papers with it.

Bung Box Blue-Black ink

And finally, it was hard to narrow down to just a few blue-black ink comparisons because I literally have a dozen to choose from! But I picked the ones that were the closest in hue. Diamine 1864 150th Blue Black and Sheaffer Blue Black both had the same sort of red halo but the actual shade of blue was different. Diamine 1864 is a bit more violet and Sheaffer is a little more on the green side. I included a couple more common blue black inks like Lamy and  Kaweco and they both feel flat compared to the sheen and halo on the 4B. The MontBlanc Midnight Blue is much darker overall and the Caran d’Ache Magnetic Blue has a sheen too but is more denim-y.

So there you have it. Another in a long line of options in the hunt for the perfect blue-black. I think 4B is pretty darn close to perfect. But Sailor really does make delicious inks. Pricey, but delicious. So if you have a chance to pick up a bottle of this rarity, and you like blue-black inks, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.


Big thanks to Junee at Alt. Haven for sending me this sample of ink. I love the pen community!

Ink Review: Pelikan Edelstein Aquamarine – Ink of the Year 2016

Pelikan Edelstein Aquamarine ink

Oooooo, Pelikan Edelstein Aquamarine – Ink of the Year 2016 ($28 for 50ml bottle)! I don’t know what it is with me and the Pelikan Edelstein Ink of the Year Colors. Since I discovered that there was such a thing as a special color each year, I’ve pretty much made a point of either buying or trying each one. The color for 2013 was Amber, then 2014 was Garnet (which is the only one I’ve missed), 2015 was Amethyst and now Aquamarine. Now, I have to say that the Aquamarine is squarely in my “color wheelhouse”. I love this sort of complex, teal-blue-grey so I am so glad to get to try it out. It also makes me not very impartial about it. So bear that in mind.

Pelikan Edelstein Aquamarine ink writing sample

I drew the header with a watercolor brush to get a range of hues and intensities and was thrilled with the color right out of the bottle. I seem to forget just how well-behaved Pelikan Edelstein inks are. Then I dipped my Esterbook 2442 stub nib to experience the ink in more “real world” circumstances. There’s a good deal of shading in the ink and the color is deep enough to hold up even with my small, light writing. It just glided across the Rhodia paper stock and dried is a reasonable amount of time. I did not smudge, nor did I time my writing. I just wrote at a regular pace. (Says the overhand lefty.)

Pelikan Edelstein Aquamarine ink

I also went back to my Seawhite of Brighton sketchbook and tested the ink on 140 gsm “cartridge paper” and added water to see how it behaved if I wanted to use it as more of a drawing ink and I loved the sea green colors that emerged. Also, the Seawhite of Brighton paper once again performed quite well.  The ink stood up beautifully. Good pairing!

Pelikan Edelstein Aquamarine ink comparisons

When compared with some of the many other shades of teal-y blues in my arsenal, it may be hard to discern a difference from the photos. Both Pilot Iroshizuku Ku-Jaku and Sailor Jentle Yama Dori have a very distinct reddish halo that Pelikan Edelstein Aquamarine does not have. De Atramentis Pigeon Blue is much brighter than Aquamarine and Noodler’s AirCorps Blue Black is a good deal darker, especially once its in a pen. Of course, Aquamarine is a limited edition color and its a bit pricier than some of these others so if you’re looking for similar options, any one of these would be good.

If FOMO is a driving factor for you, than I definitely recommend grabbing a bottle of Aquamarine while you have a chance. If you’re a fan of teal-y blues, that goes double for you!


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

Ink Review: Noodler’s Berning Red

Noodler's Berning Red

I’ve always wanted to try one of Noodler’s quick drying inks but I could never decide which color to try. Then along came the new Noodler’s Berning Red ($12.50), and my decision became a little easier. “Let’s try the new one!”

Noodler's Berning Red ink writing sample

I don’t usually go for red inks but I thought it would be nice to have one and one that dried quickly is definitely a perk. I was surprised when I started my painted lettering how much it bled. I don’t think I’ve ever had an ink do that on Rhodia before. I was getting a little nervous that the ink was going to misbehave. Once loaded into my Esterbrook with the 2442 falcon stub nib, the ink was much better behaved but the unusual behavior in the painted lettering made me want to test the ink on some other paper stocks to make sure that it wasn’t a fluke. I pulled out a piece of Moleskine Volant paper and a piece from my Filofax notebook (also available from Pen Boutique) to see how the ink behaved. Berning Red was amazingly well-behaved on the Moleskine paper and only a little soft on the Filofax paper, even with the stub nib. Phew.

Now to talk about the shading… not much to speak of. Mostly the color shifted because I dipped the Esterbrook rather than filling it.

Also, while the ink is quick drying, it is not permanent so it will clean up easily and the ink will run if wet so plan accordingly.

Noodler's Berning Red ink comparison

Colorwise, its just a little lighter than Noodler’s Rattler Red Eel, slightly warmer in color than Diamine Red Dragon and slightly cooler than Waterman Red. It’s very much a true bright red though I did find it a bit darker in the larger swashes of the painted lettering, not as vivid. I find it looks brighter in the writing sample.

If you’ve been waiting for a quick drying red ink, you can’t go wrong with Noodler’s. The Bernake line of blues and blacks have been quite popular and I’m sure the same will be said for Berning Red. Noodler’s bottles are full-to-overflowing so you get your money’s worth too.


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

Ink Review: Akkerman Treves-Turquoise

Akkerman Treves Turquoise header

I must be on a blinded-myself-with-turquoise kick this month because Akkerman Treves-Turquoise is a kissing cousin to Private Reserve Daphne Blue which I recently reviewed. I guess I’m just ready for blue skies, turquoise swimming pools and burn-your-retinas summer colors. Akkerman Treves-Turquoise is definitely on the vivid end of the ink spectrum but its not quite as bright as Daphne Blue.

Akkerman Treves Turquoise

Treves-Turquoise does have a much more distinct red halo though, especially in wider nibs, in swatches, and in my painted lettering.

I started out testing this ink in my Pilot Retro Pop with medium nib but the ink seemed a little light. I switched to my Esterbrook 2442 stub italic and both the color and the red halo became much more evident. This ink is definitely at its best advantage in wider nibs.

It shades with a great ranges of blues from a light sky blue to a deep turquoise. When wet, the ink completely puddles so it would be fun to play with for some light watercolor washes but do not dip your carefully crafted manuscript or latest letter into the tub or it will be lost forever.

Akkerman Treves Turquoise Ink comparison

When comparing swatches, you can see how similar Treves-Turquoise is to Daphne Blue. If you’re on a budget, Daphne Blue is a perfectly fine substitute for Treves-Turquoise which is pretty pricey to acquire in the States. Treves-Turquoise is a richer color than Iroshizuku Ama-Iro so if you’re looking for something more retina searing, Daphne Blue or Treves-Turquoise would definitely be more saturated than Ama-Iro.


Special thanks to Junee Lim at Alt.Haven for sending me a sample of this ink to try out. I’ve had it for absolutely ages and FINALLY got around to trying it out. Luckily, Vanness Pens will be in Atlanta for the pen show and they stock Akkerman inks so I might be able to score a bottle of this ink of my very own in a couple weeks.