Ink Review: Sailor Virginia and Sailor Illinois

By Jessica Coles 

Sailor started releasing a new lineup – the 50 States collection – early in 2019 with California and Colorado inks. Recently New York and Texas followed. I was surprised when Virginia and Illinois joined the set so quickly with only about 2 months between releases. Thank you to Dromgoole’s for sending over both Virginia and Illinois so we could show the newest two states.

As with each ink in the Sailor 50 States collection, Virginia comes with a brief description of the reason behind the color choice. Virginia’s state bird, the cardinal, is a welcome sight to see, especially when standing out from the snow in the winter. The red is so striking that the Catholic church named Cardinals after the bird rather than the other way around!

The colorful backdrop of ink splatters on the labels is a wonderful touch for continuity through the States collection.

The sheen in Virginia can be seen as soon as the bottle is open with the first look at this orangish red ink.

I was quite happy seeing Virginia is so close to one of my favorite inks – Bungubox Ink of Naotora, although it is closest to Diamine Communication Breakdown but has less sheen. Brown undertones are brought out with the brownish-gold sheen.

Illinois is a brilliant blue that was inspired by the Chicago skyline. Even the drawing of the skyline makes me want to head out and catch a glimpse!

Again, the theme of the ink splatter background is a great touch with this series.

When first opened, there seemed to be a slight sheen on the bottle threads, but more understated than most of the previous States inks. Even just in the bottle cap the blue is brilliant blue rather than showing up as a dark navy.

Sailor Illinois is very close to Pure Pens Saltie (which is only sold from Pure Pens in England) and slightly darker than Robert Oster Flaming Blue. I was actually surprised to find more sheen in Illinois than in the Flaming Blue. Illinois’ sheen is very subtle, however. But it does show in normal writing – enough that it brings a special quality to your writing but not so much as to be obvious at first glance.

In writing, Sailor Virginia was on the dry side while Illinois was just barely on the dry side of normal.

The difference in the amount of sheen between Illinois and Virginia is easy to see when the two are beside one another. I did find I needed to be a bit careful with Illinois when it was drying. Even when I thought it was dry, it smeared a bit. After it had dried for an hour, however, this didn’t happen. I was didn’t have the same issue with Virginia, but I do recommend extra drying time for any sheening ink. I always keep a piece of blotter paper in the back of my notebook to ensure no ink transfers to the opposing page when I close it. If I can’t leave the book open after writing, I slip the blotter paper in front of the most recent page. It also doubles as a quick bookmark.

The price for the Sailor 50 States collection inks is $25 for 20mL at Dromgoole’s, making the inks rather expensive even for Sailor. But I do believe that a state ink from a special state is a special item to add to your ink collection or a wonderful gift idea for a fountain pen enthusiast. Do you have a favorite state that you want to see as the next ink from Sailor?


DISCLAIMER:  Some items in this review were provided free for the purpose of this review. Except for the Col-o-ring which was provided to me by a wonderful person who pays me to write blogs by keeping me supplied with Col-o-rings. Please see the About page for more details.

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2 comments / Add your comment below

  1. Actually, the bird was named after the priest. Catholics have been using the word “cardinal” since the 6th century. Great-looking ink, though.

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