Ink Review: Montblanc Year of the Rat (Charm Yellow)

By Jessica Coles

Recently I decided to try to track down all Montblanc limited edition inks. This was a bad idea. Montblanc LE inks seem to be one of the most coveted in the fountain pen world, especially those that are no longer available. Even current Montblanc inks are among the highest-priced inks available. These pieces of reality seem to have no bearing in my desire, however. I love these inks!

One current theme of Montblanc’s ink lineup is the Legend of the Zodiacs – each year a new ink is released and is named after the Chinese Zodiac calendar animal. This calendar has a different animal that represents the year in a 12-year cycle.

2019 is the Year of the Rat, the third ink in the Legend of the Zodiacs.

As with all recent Montblanc inks, the Year of the Rat ink is presented in a heavy cardboard box with a pull-out drawer and matching ribbon pull.

Montblanc’s ink bottles never disappoint – Year of the Rat comes in a beautifully faceted glass bottle with the heavy Montblanc-logoed lid.

At first glance, the ink reminded me of Montblanc’s Golden Yellow special edition ink with perhaps a touch more orange.

On a Col-o-Ring card, however, the ink seemed to be closer to peach than orange. Not difficult to read at all.

Limited edition inks from Montblanc have lately included a few yellows. Here’s a comparison of the three most recent yellow MB inks – again, Year of the Rat seems to be closer to peach than orange or yellow.

The swatch of YotR is very close to Diamine Marigold, but in writing it is closer to Bungubox Sweet Potato Yellow.

Montblanc calls this color Charm Yellow. Although Rats and Charm are not two things I usually associate with one another, I do like the color name. Shading in YotR is definitely present but subtle. I had no problem reading the color on paper although when I used the ink in a room that was not well lit, I had to keep checking to make sure my previous line was dark enough. In normal lighting, this wasn’t an issue.

While writing with YotR, I didn’t feel like I was writing with an orange-ish ink. It is truly a yellow ink experience. In large swatches, however, orange rules.

I am very happy with my purchase of Year of the Rat – it joins only a small handful of yellow inks in my collection. I have had no desire to flush out the pen I used in this review – instead it has become a part of my daily use pen lineup (around 4-7 pens) and it brings a bright cheerfulness to my writing!


  • Paper: Musubi Tomoe River Refill ($30-35 USD)
  • Pen: Franklin-Christoph Model 20 Vintage Green, Broad Cursive Italic nib ($190)
  • Ink:  Montblanc Year of the Rat Charm Yellow ($43 for 50ml bottle)

DISCLAIMER: The ink included in this review was provided at a discount by Dromgoole’s for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.

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3 comments / Add your comment below

  1. Such a beautiful colour! I’ve been trying to foray more into the yellows myself 🙂 This colour is full of sunshine! Definitely a splurge, but seems worth it!

  2. Thanks for the helpful comparison. Is the Walt Disney Technicolor Yellow similar to the Year of the Rat?

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