Category: Ink Review

Ink Review: Bung Box 88 Green Tea

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Several months ago, some friends went in together on a group order for some Bung Box inks. By the time they finally arrived, I was up to my eye bals in things I needed to review so I pushed the Bung Box inks to the back of the pile. My friend was adamant I try the Bung Box 88 Green Tea ink ASAP. So I relented and moved it to the top of the pile this week and am i ever glad I did. Part of my hesitation might have been because I keep hoping I’ll find the perfect lime green ink and I’ve yet to find “the one” yet. So I didn’t want to have another pricey disappointment.

Bung Box 88 Green Tea

This particular ink came in the taller facted bottle which I really like. Initially I was not fond of the sort of low budget hand-drawn sticker labels but I find them sort of charming now. They are sort of quaint.

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It turns out I didn’t have so much to worry about. The Bung Box 88 Green Tea is a wonderfully usable “old money” green. I did, however, have some challenges photographing it. It looks a tad more yellowy in the photos than it actually appears in real life. Its as if the ink did not want me to capture its true spirit, like someone giving an awkward half smile when you try to take their picture.

I tested it with a Franklin-Christoph Fine Italic nib on Rhodia paper as well as a watercolor paintbrush and it gave lovely shading and dried in a reasonable amount of time. It wrote a bit greener than it dried, drying to a slightly browner hue but was quite legible and easy to read which is an issue I’ve had with green inks. If the color is a lovely lime, its often too light and transparent to be easily read at normal writing sizes or too dark and then becomes more of an evergreen or green black and no longer lime colored.

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I pulled out swatches of other green ink contenders. Pilot Iroshizuku Chiku-Rin is definitely a more vibrant lime color but can be difficult to read in fine nibbed pens as it is very translucent. The darker yellow brown in the Bung Box 88 makes it a better option for daily use, I think. Daniel De Foe and Diamine Safari are quite similar in color but are both from special edition runs and a touch more green than the yellowy green of the Bung Box 88 Green Tea. The last two inks I included are easier to acquire, regular edition inks but are definitely not as complex in color but are still good options if you’re looking for a different kind of green.

Like all Bung Box inks, #88 Green Tea is a custom created Sailor ink so it has all the fabulous properties Sailor puts into its inks. Its smooth flowing and writes beautifully. If you have the opportunity to invest in a bottle of Bung Box ink, I think its worth adding a bottle to your collection. No, they are not cheap. It’s definitely a luxury item. Depending on how you purchase your bottle, the cost per bottle ranges between $30-$40 per bottle but the colors are unique and well-made and definitely something you’ll enjoy using.

Ink Review: BungBox Ink of Witch

Bungbox Ink of Witch

Earlier this year, I went in on a group buy of some Bungbox inks and they finally arrived a few weeks ago. I am so far behind on my pile of reviews though that I am just getting around to trying them out. First up is the Bungbox Ink of Witch. I wanted to have the review up in time for Halloween but I grew up believing that Everyday is Halloween so let’s stick with that theory, shall we?

Ink of Witch comes in the beautiful low slung Sailor bottle I love with the little plastic cone inside to make filling a pen easy and pretty tidy. I used my Lamy Studio with a 1.1mm stub nib to show of maximum line variation. There’s a good deal of shading to the ink with the wide nib and it glides. Oh, Sailor! You really do make lovely inks!

I found the ink to actually be much blacker in color than the purple color I had anticipated. It reminded me of the sort of faded black of antique fabrics or documents. I always think old fabrics and documents get a purplish cast to them.

Bungbox Ink of Witch

That said, I think the color shows a definite purple sheen compared with the few (okay ONE) black ink in my collection. I’m definitely more inclined to use a purple black than I would be to use a black for everyday writing and note-taking.

When I start to think about black blacks, I want hardcore, waterproof black like Platinum Carbon Black for art-making purposes so Ink of Witch is actually quite appealing as a writing ink.

Ink of Witch can be purchased through Vanness in the US for $43 per bottle.

Ink Review: J. Herbin 1670 Emerald of Chivor (plus giveaway!)

J. Herbin 1670 Emerald of Chivor

First, I want to say a huge thanks to JetPens, Goulet Pens and Rhodia Drive for all coming through for me and getting me this much-coveted ink. They are all responsible for allowing me to review this product and give some goodies away. Now, on the the review and giveaway details!

J. Herbin 1670 Emerald of Chivor

I cannot tell you how long I’ve been waiting to ink this ink in my hands and, by now, you and I have seen dozens of other reviews of this ink. So, there’s probably not a lot I could say that hasn’t already been said. But bear with me…

Maybe I could tell you that before the name was settled upon, Emerald of Chivor was called “Emeraude des Ardes v.2”? This tidbit of information came from the sample bottle that Rhodia sent to me. Pretty cool, huh?

 

J. Herbin 1670 Emerald of Chivor

Before I shook up the inks, you can see the gold flecks floating at the bottom. Such a beautiful sea blue-green!

J. Herbin 1670 Emerald of Chivor

Sadly, when I photographed my full writing page, you don’t see much of the sparkle. The flash flattens out all the color. At the same time, in my TWSBI 580 in green with a fine nib, not much of the sparkle showed in the writing anyway. These types of twinkly inks definitely benefit from a stub, broad or italic nib in order to show them in their full glory.

However, the color is amazing! With or without the sparkles.

J. Herbin 1670 Emerald of Chivor ink comparison

When compared with my ever-growing collection of teal blue inks, there is a vibrancy to the Emerald of Chivor that is lacking in the other contenders in this color category. Don’t get me wrong, I think they are all beautiful colors. The Emerald of Chivor is definitely more bluish than Ku-Jaku or Yama Dori. The Callifolio Olifants is a tad more blue than the Chivor. So if you’re looking for ink in a similar color family but sparkle-free, any of these others are good options with Callifolio Olifants and Noodler’s Air Corps Blue Black being the most wallet friendly.

I’ve left the EoC in my 580 for over a week, gave it a little twirl to mix in the gold fleck and started writing with no issues. I’ve heard there’s some challenges cleaning it out but so far I’m not having any clogging issues so I am really happy with this ink.

So what can I do to wow you with the new Emerald of Chivor?  I can giveaway a whole bottle of Emerald of Chivor (thanks to JetPens for this bottle!) and the runner-up will get the super, rare sample bottle of Emerald of Chivor BEFORE the name was settled upon (thanks to Rhodia for this!). While to color is identical, its a cool little bit of ink history.

Leave a comment below and tell me what sparkly color you think J. Herbin should do next to be entered to win. I’ll draw two winners: the first will get a full bottle of J. Herbin 1670 Emerald of Chivor and the second will get the preliminary sample bottle.


FINE PRINT: All entries must be submitted by 10pm CST on Wednesday, October 14, 2015. All entries must be submitted at wellappointeddesk.com, not Twitter, Tumblr or Facebook, okay? Winners will be announced on Thursday. Winner will be selected by random number generator from entries that played by the rules (see above). Please include your email address 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 winner does not respond within 30 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 only please.

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

Ink Review: P.W. Akkerman #22 Hopjesbraun

Akkerman Hopjesbraun Ink

I don’t tend to purchase much brown ink. When I first got into fountain pens, all I wanted was the perfect, vintage sepia ink but I bought a few bottles early on that I didn’t like and swayed away from browns for a long time. This P.W. Akkerman #22 Hopjesbraun is making me rethink my stance on brown inks. Its got TONS of shading and is a warm, dusty reddish/golden brown that reminds me of the Southwest and cowboys and Albuquerque sunsets. How a Dutch ink company can generate a color that reminds me of New Mexico? Quite the impressive feat.

Akkerman Hopjesbraun Ink

There is a wonderful, dark halo around the letters when writing with my stub nib Esterbrook. Its just such fun to watch the ink darken around the edges of the letterforms as the ink dries. But that’s the catch.

Hopjesbraun dries slowly. I even smudged a bit in my painting at the top of the page because it dried quite a bit slower than the Zuiderpark I tested last week. I suspect in a finer pen or on slightly more absorbent paper, it wouldn’t be quite as big a deal but as a messy left, the dry time was a bit long. For letter writing where I could pause here and there to let the ink dry before I stuck my arm in it, it would not be a problem but as a daily use ink… well, for this lefty I’ll have to save it for special occasions. But it is one of the prettiest browns I’ve ever used.

Akkerman Hopjesbraun Ink

So if you’re a tidy righty, grab a bottle ASAP. And my fellow messy lefties, you’ve been warned to proceed with caution.


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

Ink Review: P.W. Akkerman #24 Zuiderpark Bluaw-Groen

Akkerman Zuiderpark Blauw-Groen

P.W. Akkerman #24 Zuiderpark Blauw-Greon is another in a long line of blue-black inks to pass across The Desk. It could be because I seek out the blue-blacks in particular but, this time fate intervened and this lovely ink arrived thanks to Lisa at Vanness.

Akkerman Zuiderpark Blauw-Groen Ink

There is definitely more of a greenish undertone to Zuiderpark that makes it less a true blue-black and more of a teal-black. At first thought, I anticipated that Zuiderpark might be very similar in color to de Atramentis Petrol but Zuiderpark is much darker. I included a swab of Diamine Twilight which I consider to be a true blue-black as a contrast so that the greenishness of Zuiderpark might be more noticeable.

Zuiderpark dries in a reasonable amount of time, even on Rhodia paper in the humidity of a Midwest August. In my water test, it had a some stay-ability too. I actually scrubbed a wet paintbrush across the sample a couple times after I dropped water on it to see if the ink would move. It leaves a stain on the paper which means Zuiderpark could handle a drop or two of water without losing all your hard work. If you like to paint with ink, it won’t move as completely as other colors. You can decide if that’s a plus or a minus.

Akkerman Zuiderpark Blauw-Groen Ink Comparison

The advantage of this sort of color is that it looks quite unique but maintains an air of “respectability” since it still runs in the blue family. If you want a work-appropriate ink with a little something extra, Zuiderpark would be a good option. And it goes without saying that Akkerman makes the coolest looking ink bottles.

This is a case where I definitely wish I had a whole bottle of this ink. So, I’ll be investing in one soon. Or you folks in DC can pick up a bottle for me!


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: Montblanc Midnight Hour

MontBlanc Blue Hour Ink

I must confess right away that the new Montblanc Meisterstück Blue Hour Twilight Blue ($17 for a 30ml bottle), despite its lengthy name, is an ink color that is totally in my wheelhouse. Initially I was thinking it was a blue black but its actually more of a dark teal/black, if that makes sense. It reminds me more of a dark stormy sea blue than a midnight sky blue.

MontBlanc Blue Hour Ink

Blue Hour looks more like a blue black when wet and then dries to a more greenish deep teal blue. The ink dries pretty quickly. I managed to not have any smudges while writing this sample page so that’s saying something. I really like the square, ripple glass bottles that Montblanc has been using for their inks this year. The JFK and Pink Ink also came in these bottles.

MontBlanc Blue Hour Ink

I had lots of similar ink colors. Similar, but not the same as Blue Hour. In the swab sample, there’s a little reddish halo to the Blue Hour sample which reminds me of Sailor Jentle Yama Dori and Pilot Iroshizuku Ku-Jaku (both of which are favorite inks of mine) but the Blue Hour ink is more greenish than Ku-Jaku and a bit lighter overall than the Yama Dori. So, do you need Blue Hour if you have any of these ink colors? Logically no, but since when are pen addicts logical?

All-in-all, Blue Hour fills a sliver of a gap in my teal-y blue/black ink collection that I’m glad to have filled. This ink seems to be selling out quickly so if you’re interested in acquiring a bottle, I recommend that you act fast. I couldn’t find any specific info whether Blue Hour would be a limited edition color but as an ink hoarder, I’m not taking any chances.

MontBlanc Blue Hour Ink

Oops! I always forget to go back and add water to me test page. In this case, I photographed everything before realizing I didn’t do the water test. With a few stroked of a wet paint brush, the ink definitely lifted and moved quickly. Plus side, it should be pretty easy to clean out of your pens. Minus side, this ink is not recommended for documents that require permanent ink. It might make for interesting drawings as the ink can be blended nicely like a watercolor.


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: KWZ Gummiberry

KWZ Iron Gall Gummiberry

KWZ Inks is a one-man ink operation from Poland started by Konrad Żurawski in 2012, a chemistry PhD student that clearly combines his tow loves: chemistry and fountain pens. Just this year, his inks are starting to get a wider distribution and, thanks to Vanness Pens, I had the opportunity to try the KWZ Iron Gall Gummiberry ($14 for 60ml bottle). Iron gall inks are both loved and reviled because of its permanent nature. Iron gall inks can be used to sign important documents because the inks will bond to the paper fibers making it near impossible to remove. At the same time, if iron gall inks are left indefinitely in a fountain pen, it can stain the ink reservoir and possibly corrode stainless steel nibs. Also, iron gall inks darken over time.

I don’t have a lot of experience with iron gall inks but the KWZ provides some advice on his web site about how to properly clean and protect your pens from any possible issues that might be caused by using an iron gall ink. That said, for testing purposes, I used my Shawn Netwon dip pen with an Esterbrook #2442 nib and cleaned it out as soon as I had finished my writing samples and did not have any issues getting the ink out of the nib by just rinsing it with water.

KWZ Iron Gall Gummiberry

The KWZ Iron Gall Gummiberry is notable first for its fabulous name. Who doesn’t love gummi bears? And second, for its amazing jeweled purple color. Honestly, after all the purple inks I tested this year, the color of Gummiberry is just gorgeous and is moving up my ink color charts fast. The fact that the rich jewel tone darkens as it dries and settles into an almost purple-black when dry makes it fun to write with and still looks sophisticated.

The ink dries a little bit slower than many of my standard inks on the Rhodia paper I use for testing but I am also in the midst of humidity wave here in the Midwest so I cannot be sure if the slowness is the result of the ink or the heat and humidity.

When tested with water after several hours (not 10 minutes as labelled because I went to lunch and forgot to do the water test) a little bit of color ran but not much. I suspect after drying for a week or two, there is likely to be even less movement of the color as it bonds with the paper fibers.

The color is so rich that I’m willing to experiment with this ink in one of my everyday pens. Maybe its a good excuse to purchase a TWSBI Eco as an iron gall test pen? Then I would have an excuse to try a variety of colors!

KWZ Iron Gall Gummiberry Ink Comparison

Compared with some of the many purple inks in my stash, even the other purple iron gall Rohrer & Klingner Scabiosa, Gummiberry is clearly a rich, deep hue. I will check back with the swab and the writing samples in a few weeks to see if the color darkens significantly but as of writing this, several days after doing the swab and writing sample, the color looks indistinguishable from the photos.

Overall, I’m thrilled with my experience with KWZ Iron Gall Gummiberry and am very interested in trying some of the other colors available. The prices are more than reasonable for such a substantial sized bottle too. Yep, definitely going to be purchasing a pen specifically for iron gall inks.


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