I have a soft spot for the more unusual Robert Oster ink colors. Most people go straight for his blues like Fire & Ice, Australian Sky, Blue Water Ice, Soda Pop Blue, etc. And don’t get me wrong, those are fantastic colors! But I have the advantage of standing behind an Oster display for hours at a time at pen shows so I get a chance to notice the more unusual colors, like Melon Tea, Caffe Creme, Viola and Australian Opal Mauve. I like to think of these as the Oster Hidden Gems. Cherry Blossom ($17 for 50ml bottle) is another one of these gems.
I’ve talked in the past about the plastic bottles that Oster uses for his inks. Initially, I wasn’t a fan but having used some down to the last few millimeters, it turns out they are easier to use than I had anticipated. They store well in drawers and shoeboxes and utilize space fairly efficiently. I find if I wrap my hand around the outside of the bottle while filling a pen for stability, its pretty easy to submerge it all the way down into the bottle without issue. Once the bottle is down to the last few millimeters and can no longer cover a breather hole, I need to either use a syringe (filling a TWSBI with a syringe or filling a cartridge with a syringe) or an Ink Miser.
If you place a bunch of these bottles on a shelf though, they can be a bit precarious. If one tips over, they all go. However, since they are plastic, they don’t break but you will be left chasing them around your room as they tend to roll away. (Don’t ask me how I know this!)
Robert Oster Inks always write well on Col-o-ring and Col-o-dex cards. Since many of the inks are on the dry side, they don’t feather or bleed when used in dip pens.
Cherry Blossom is a slightly smoky raspberry magenta color. Its a lighter ink color overall. Its not super vibrant, with more of a subtle quality. If you’re looking for an eye searing pink, this is not the color for you but if you are looking for something with a softer hue that might feel more calming, vintage or sun-faded, this might appeal to you.
It reminds me more of a wine stained napkin or a cranberry smudge, very much like cherry juice rubbed fresh out of a red cherry rather than the bright color of concentrated cherry beverages. There’s a powdery quality to the color that is interesting. This is definitely not going to be a color that is water resistant but would make for a fun color to use with water brushes or brush pens for light washes or brush lettering.
In writing, I like Cherry Blossom for morning pages as it is easy on the eyes. It performs best with wider nibs and the color darkens a bit as it dries. Australian Opal Mauve is a bit more purply where Cherry Blossom is pinkier. There is nice shading but no sheen. Overall its a drier ink which I don’t mind as a lefty. It dries quickly on Rhodia paper in this humid July climate without ending up all over my hands.
Cherry Blossom is a lighter ink color in general so it won’t be for anyone but if you’re looking for something a little different, it’s definitely not blue.
- Paper: Rhodia Ice Pad No. 18 ($13.75)
- Pens: Shawn Newton Esterbrook Nib Holder and Esterbrook Nibs 9556 ($25), 2442 ($50) and 2668 ($20)
- Swatches: Col-o-Ring Ink Testing Cards ($10) and Col-o-dex Rotary Cards ($15)
- Brush: Kaimei Natural Weasel Hair Sumi Brush Pen – Black Body ($29)
- Ink: Robert Oster Cherry Blossom ($17 for 50ml bottle)
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