When thinking about my favorite inks for 2016, I couldn’t narrow it down to just one color or even 10. But I had ranges of colors that ended up being my favorites this year. Some were colors that I discovered this year and some were new lines that were introduced this year and some are long held favorites I just can’t shake. Robert Oster, the new Sailor Jentle Four Seasons line, the J. Herbin 1670 colors are all worth noting. Lamy Dark Lilac was a big hit this year as well. Sheening inks were on the rise in 2016, while shimmering inks seemed to be too high maintenance for many fountain pen users and may not be as popular in 2017. That’s my prediction.
Pink ink became a big winner among pen enthusiasts of all persuasions. Boutique inks have become popular with brands like KWZ, Robert Oster, Papier Plume, and many others becoming the must haves. Boutique inks are the craft brews of the pen world.
Of course, I had to mention the coveted J. Herbin Emerald of Chivor even though technically it was released in 2015. I used the heck out of it in 2016. In the same boat is my beloved DeAtramentis Pigeon Blue, the only ink that I’ve purchased a second bottle. It’s my “house ink”. It’s just this smoky teal blue that I like. Everyone has to find their house ink. This one is mine. My close second is Kaweco Paradise Blue which is a slightly greener teal blue-green with a bit of a red sheen. So pretty and a very reasonably priced ink. Good stable, everyday ink. Then there’s Robert Oster knocking my socks off with Marine, Torquay, Fire & Ice and Aqua. All amazing teal and turquoise blues with sheen. Fab!
Callifolio is another brand I got to know well this year and Omi Osun, Oliphants and Equinoxe 5 are all inks I use regularly. Oliphants is the “Pigeon Blue” I keep at work. Its a bit more saturated. Equinoxe 5 is a good blue black, a bit more saturated than Bungbox 4B. Robert Oster Blue Sea can sheen almost magenta and Bookbinders Snake Ink Blue Coral has a similar sheen but is a bit lighter in color.
*There’s one more blue that accidentally escaped down into the Grey and Purples. It’s Bungbox 4B (or Blue Black). It’s not necessarily a new color this year but it was new-to-me this year. It’s a deep navy blue-black with a bit of a red sheen. You can read my full review here. If you’re going to buy a very expensive bottle of Bungbox, this is a pretty good one.
The Pinks, Reds and Oranges:
Sailor Jentle Irori blows my mind with the gold sheen on my swatch. I don’t see it as much in writing but the edges of the letters do darken a bit so wow! Lots of people have been happy about the Kin-Mokusei being a lovely orange and Papier Plume’s Sazerac is a wonderful orange with just a hint of amber making feel grown-up and not candy-colored. The Kobe inks were crazy popular at the DC Pen Show and I was happy to snag two bottles: #12 and #41, both unusual pink colors to add to my Callifolio Andrinople and Papier Plume Garden District Azalea. I am now a well-rounded connoisseur of pink inks.
And I love the Sailor Jentle Sakura-Mori. Its such a smoky petal pink (the swatch above looks a bit more saturated than it really is, sadly, since most were looking accurate today).
The Greys and Purples (and a renegade):
I love grey inks and was happy to find two new grey inks this year: Sailor Jentle Chu-Shu which is a grey-purple and Bookbinders Snake Ink Ground Rattler which is a perfect neutral grey.
In regards to purples, Sailor Jentle Four Seasons introduced a vivd purple violet Fuji-Musume that satisfies any bright purple urges I might have had. And Lamy’s Dark Lilac is a good deep usable purple-black with a gold sheen. Dark Lilac satisfied on all fronts, it was finally a dark-enough-to-be-usable ink from Lamy’s limited edition line, it sheens and its actually a nice color. Win-win-win!
*The details about Bungbox 4B is above in the Blues section.
The Green, Golds and Browns:
And finally, while not everyone was as thrilled with J. Herbin’s Caroube de Chypre, I really liked it. It was hot chocolate with gold sprinkles. How can that be a bad thing? Callifolio’s Huere D’Orée is the warm wheat gold ink that made a good substitute for a lot of people who decided that KWZ Honey wasn’t for them. I really prefer it. Once again, the new Sailor Jentle Four Seasons inks hit on all fronts… I love the Waka-Uguisu green AND the Rikyu-Cha brown too. Finally, as mentioned in my reviews, Robert Oster’s Khaki and Papier Plume’s Streetcar Green are both new favorites for me this year too.
Before you think every new ink I try is my new favorite, here are a few inks I tried that I wanted to like but didn’t: KWZ Grey Plum, Bungbox Ink of the Witch, Bungbox Tears of a Clown, KWZ Green Gold 2, and Lamy Charged Green. Keeping in mind, I play with color for a living so generally speaking I do like most colors but I like some more than others.
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Fascinating comparison, Ana. Oster aqua looks like Herbin’s Emerald of Chivor without the sparkles. But maybe more sheen?
I agree. I think in my review of Aqua I commented on that too. It’s quite a lovely ink.
I got a sample of Caroube and put it in my Lamy Safari. It clogged up something awful. What’s the trick?
Store the pen horizontally. Roll the pen on the table frequently to distribute the gold particles and do not leave it filled indefinitely. Clean it well.
“Boutique inks are the craft brews of the pen world.” could be a campaign slogan for any of the aforementioned brands! And as a craft brew and ink lover alike, I wholeheartedly agree 🙂 You have been one of my top ink enablers of the past years and I can’t wait to see what you have in store for us, ink wise, this year 🙂
Thanks so much for the kind words! I am so looking forward to getting inky in the new year!
I’m sorry, but I’m addicted to Private Reserve’s Plum ink when it’s purple time. Just enough red.
No apologies necessary. Everyone has their favorite.
I realize I’m writing this well into 2017… I just recently dug out my fountain pens, all purchased at least 10 years ago, and then got fully immersed in the enthusiasm again. I was at my firstpen show, in Chicago. Spent plenty of money with Vanness. I’m seeing this post for the first time and I’m blown away by one of your swatches. Kobe #12. On my screen it practically fluoresces. It’s quite saturated. And it looks…like a pink with…some orange? Is that possible? Please tell me what is really in that swatch. I’m not even a pink loving person, but I’m drawn to color, and I can’t take my eyes off this swatch.
Kobe actually numbers their ink colors, thankfully. It’s also known as Okamoto Pink. Kobe Ink is a Sailor created ink and can be purchased through Vanness Pens.