It certainly took me long enough to write a review of this equally coveted and disdained ink. The new(-ish) J. Herbin 1670 Stormy Grey ($27) “stormed” onto the market last year with raves and jeers. It took me an age to finally acquire a bottle as every place was selling out of it faster than I could place an order. Then finally, I got on Jet Pens’ email notification list and snagged a bottle of my very own.
This is a “made for me” sort of ink. I love grey inks, anything with historical implications and, hey, sparkles are a bonus! Of course, there are some warnings and downsides with the gold fleck inclusions in this ink but c’mon, who doesn’t love a fancy gold sheen?
When first using this ink, be sure to shake the gold flecks off the bottom of the bottle as they tend to settle. I suspect that if you leave the ink in your pen for any length of time, you may want to roll or shake the pen to redistribute the gold as well.
The warning that comes with the ink says the ink will stain so if you have a rare, vintage or super collectible pen, you may not want to use this ink with it or leave Stormy Grey in the pen for any extended length of time.
Now that I’ve finished with the “Don’t try this at home, kids” PSA, I had no noticeable flow issues in my Lamy Studio with 1.1mm stub nib, The ink flowed nicely, the grey color is dark and legible and I could discern some gold sparkle as the ink was drying. The gold flecks were less noticeable once dry in standard writing but the ink does have nice shading which more than made up for it.
In large swatches, the gold flecks are quite noticeable so this ink would show its best form with a flex nib, music nib or other ink-drenched application. I actually quite liked drawing with it with my paint brush.
Compared with other grey inks in my library, Stormy Grey is a bit bluer and darker than my others. De Atramentis Silver Grey was probably closest in hue but not as dark and the Mont Blanc Meisterstück 90 year Permanent Grey is a little more greenish but about as dark.
Bottom line: J. Herbin Stormy Grey is an ink collector’s ink. If you need a good workhorse grey that is not going to clog your pen or cost as much as a decent dinner-for-two, then this is not the ink for you. But if you like having a bottle of something “a little different, a little special” then grab a bottle of this when you see it available.