Eye Candy: Penlux Inks

Penlux ink boxes

Penlux ink is available from The Pen Show. Each bottle is 50ml and is made by Sailor for Penlux. The colors are based on antique Japanese colors. Originally, I purchased three colors (Amber, Pine and Rouge) from the Dolives at the DC Show ($30 each) but there are six colors currently available. I broke down after the DC Show and ordered the other three colors from the website. I couldn’t help myself.

Pen Lux Ink Box

I keep saying that I don’t care about packaging but I realize I am clearly lying. I want the packaging to be good, protective, interesting and/or environmentally sound. The boxes for Penlux meet all this criteria. The boxes are simple, coated paperboard that fold like origami with the top flap tucking in to close the box. Penlux boxes are elegant. Japanese design and worthy of an upscale fountain pen ink. It’s simple and protective. The packaging makes the bottles stackable and giftable. I was also told that the characters on the front of the box are the Japanese characters for “ink.”

Pen Lux Ink

Inside, the bottles are simple. square glass with a faceted, plastic cap. They are elegant but do not have the color name indicated on the individual bottles so keeping the inks in the boxes is handy for identification purposes. I ended up putting small labels on the caps with the names just in case the bottles got separated from the boxes.

Pen Lux Ink Swatches

Penlux swatches

The colors in the line are Pine, Amber, Rouge, Peacock Blue, Cobalt Blue and Charcoal. There are also black and blue black available in standard Sailor flat, tea bottles but I skipped those. What I noticed most about these inks, though made by Sailor, was that the colors had a matte, almost chalky quality. The colors seem opaque and fairly dry. Maybe this is what they mean when they describe it as traditional Japanese ink?

Penlux and Sailor swatches

I definitely felt compelled to compare the Penlux colors to their closest Sailor cousins. I was quick to discover that in the regularly available Jentle line, there was no close match for the Amber. Penlux Rouge and Sailor Grenade were fairly close although the matte, opaque coloring of the Penlux ink made it seem darker and it had none of the green sheen of Grenade. Penlux Peacock Blue also had no close match though Sailor Blue Black might come close. Penlux Charcoal is definitely more black than Sailor Chu-Shu which leans more purple than grey or black.

Penlux and Sailor swatches

Penlux Pine and Sailor Rikyu-Cha are definitely kissing cousins. Pine is a bit warmer making it slightly more brown where Rikyu-Cha is a touch more green but they are very close.

Penlux Cobalt hangs in there with Sailor Jentle Souten and Sky High with less shading. I also think its a serious contender to the new Akkerman Delft Blau for sheer pop. It would Yves Klein a run for his money.

Penlux and Sailor swatches

If you are looking for something a little different, Penlux is definitely an inky treat. Amber and Cobalt are the standouts for me with Rouge and Peacock Blue as the runners-up.


I purchased these inks with my own money.

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4 comments / Add your comment below

  1. Within my swatch collection, I found that my Penlux Cobalt Blue swatch falls between Bung Box Hatsukoi Sapphire Blue and Private Reserve DC Supershow Blue. That is, Souten and Sky High (and Kobe #17) all lean more towards green than Cobalt does.

  2. I picked up Amber at the DC show and it has become a favorite. It’s got a nice warm reddish brown that I don’t see as much in my other inks that tend to have yellow and green.

    It’s currently in my vintage Pelikan 400NN and matches the pen wonderfully.

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