Ink Review: J. Herbin 1670 Bleu Ocean

J. Herbin !670 bleu ocean with gold flecks

J. Herbin !670 bleu ocean with gold flecks

Following the success and enthusiasm over the gold fleck-filled Stormy Grey and Rouge Hematite, J. Herbin reformulated the 1670 Bleu Ocean to include gold flecks as well. I was really excited about this change because who doesn’t like sparkles?

J. Herbin !670 bleu ocean with gold flecks

I love the shape and look of the 1670 series bottle. Its a square glass bottle with a wax seal label and “wax sealed cap”. The cap is not actually wax sealed, its a traditional threaded twist cap but the cap is covered with a faux wax material so it looks like wax. I think the bottles are gorgeous and I love the details that have been added to make them look special. I have not tried to get ink out of the bottom of the bottle yet but I imagine it will not be easy. I suspect that to completely use all the ink i the bottle, I’ll have to use a syringe or transfer the ink into another container to access the ink as the opening will not be convenient to dipping a pen after multiple uses. That said, its really pretty.

As with the other versions of the 1670 ink, the gold flecks will settle to the bottom of the bottle and will require some stirring, shaking or rolling to redistribute the gold in the ink. I’ve heard folks mention that if they fill a pen with any of these 1670 inks, they will often roll their pen on a table to keep the gold flecks from settling in the reservoir.

J. Herbin !670 bleu ocean with gold flecks

The ink color is actually a darker blue than most of the “true blues” in my collection and the addition of the gold flecks makes it even more appealing. The gold was quite noticeable in my swab sample, more so than with either the Rouge Hematite or Stormy Grey.

J. Herbin !670 bleu ocean with gold flecks J. Herbin !670 bleu ocean with gold flecks

When I painted the title, I got really excited about this ink. It sparkled, there were lots of color variation and I really liked the color. All this enthusiasm took a nose dive when I dipped my Esterbrook 9314M Medium Stub into the ink and the ink softened around the edges as I wrote. It didn’t bleed or feather per se, but it smooshed all my writing together making the line edges indistinct and filled in the counters of my letter. I dipped my pen in the ink and then wiped the nib of excess just once but the ink continued to display as runny and soft to the end of the page. I can’t imagine how much this would bleed or feather on lower quality paper instead of the Rhodia stock I used!

J. Herbin !670 bleu ocean with gold flecks

Does this photo sum up my  feelings about the new formulation of Bleu Ocean? Yes it does.

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9 comments / Add your comment below

  1. That’s how I felt when I ordered a sample of this ink. I was so excited to try it and really wanted to love it, but I was a little let down. It’s more of a novelty ink than a practical ink.

  2. I jumped in and bought a whole bottle, but find it clogs any pens I fill with it within a day or two, to the point that they won’t write. That has never happened with the Rouge Hematite, which I’ve had in some of my finer piston-fillers for months without incident.

  3. I bought this when a local (Aussie) online retailer had 15% off all its French stationery products – and I have to say, so far I’ve been pleasantly surprised. I’ve only tried it in the one pen – a Jinhao x750 with 1.1mm Goulet stub nib – and didn’t find it too runny. The ink is a very dark blue, but I love the gold speckles. Sorry your experience has been less positive – but this does seem to be a polarising ink…

    1. I almost threw my Monteverde Napa fine nib pen out the window when I inked up with this ink. It would never start, then stall, then restart, then totally dry up. I took the pen apart, cleaned it thoroughly with a pen flush about four times. I even appealed to a reputable pen shop over an online chat room. Nothing worked and I was poised to throw out a new and what I thought was a defective pen. Then, something the chat person said regarding the different wet and dry inks stirred me to do a final good cleaning and switch to the Monteverde brand ink which is supposed to be an oily ink. Guess what? My Napa works like a charm! Now I’m left wondering is the ink is best used for a thicker nib?


  4. I just got this new Ocean Blue myself. Have to say I’m severely disappointed in it. It is a very badly-behaved ink. I just want the sparkles. But this blue one doesn’t deliver. I have tried all sorts of nibs from Japanese EF Pilots to Waterman Mediums to Lamy Stubs and a Pelikan Broad, but the sparkles just don’t come out consistently.

    If you leave the pen lying for a while, the sparkles creep up to the nib and the first few words you write will be golden. Aftewards it just reverts to a boring blue, and the ink isn’t a nice kind of blue with lots of shading, it’s just a splotchy blotty blue mess.

    Pretty disappointed with this ink.

    1. I agree that new sparkly Bleu Ocean is the worst of the 1670 inks. I was so sad because I had such high hopes. I’m kind of excited to try the new Diamine Shimmering inks though. I hope the sparkle will be better behaved.

  5. I didn’t have any of these problems with Bleu Ocean. Even in my Pilot CH92 pen with a fine nib (and the Pilot Fs are might F), it had beautiful shading and shimmer similar to your first photo. The primary shade was indigo, and it just flowed. It’s still a J. Herbin ink, down deep, and that’s a good thing.

    The only real downside for me is that it’s too nice of an ink for my college classes, and I otherwise don’t have a lot of uses for it, really, beyond the one I got it for. I landed the task of handwriting names on certificates for all the participants and winners in a speech contest for a non-profit I belong to, and, believe me, this ink on those certificates was a huge hit. Everyone talked about how special and classy the certificates look this year, so guess who will probably do the certificates next year, too? Now to talk them into using a higher grade paper…

    1. So glad to hear that. I know different iterations behaved differently. I may have had one of the earlier formulations.

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