Ink Overview: Esterbrook Ink

Esterbook introduced its own ink line with the same enthusiasm for color that it has shown in its Estie pen line. I was lucky enough to get a hold of five of their standard ink colors and three of the shimmer colors. As far as I can tell, the inks are not yet available for sale but I decided to go ahead and whet your appetite anyway.

Details regarding pricing and full color range have not yet been announced so I will provide an overview from the samples I have on hand.

Esterbrook ink bottle and ink

The Esterbrook inks are available in 50ml bottles, similar in shape to Kaweco inks and

The samples I received were:

  • Aqua and Shimmer Aqua
  • Tangerine and Shimmer Tangerine
  • Cobalt Blue
  • Evergreen
  • Scarlet
  • Shimmer Lilac

I suspect there is a standard Lilac formulations and the potential for shimmer variations of the Scarlet, Cobalt Blue and Evergreen though I do not have confirmation about this.

All three shimmer inks I received have gold particles. The particles seem very fine but seem to settle in the bottle quickly so, despite the fineness of the particles, I suspect pens will need to be rolled regularly while using in order to keep them evenly distributed. I does make me wonder if the next Estie won’t be a demonstrator model to take full advantage of showing off the ink colors and shimmer particles?

The color difference between the Aqua and Cobalt Blue is very minor. Instinctually, if an ink is called Aqua, I tend to expect it to be more, well, aqua. The Esterbrook Aqua is much more of a royal blue. The Scarlet and Tangerine are pleasing shades of “stock colors” while the Evergreen and Shimmer Lilac are more adventurous colors in an IIO (initial ink offering). Both the Lilac and Evergreen seem to have been designed to coordinate with the Estie pen colors.

Shimmer Ink Comparisons:

I don’t have a ton of shimmer inks but I was surprised to discover that I had very close matches for all three of the Esterbrook shimmer inks. Depending on the price per bottles from Esterbrook, there are some options or alternatives for each ink color.

Esterbrook Evergreen is a dark pine-y green. Finding similar ink colors was a game of finding other dark greens that were neither too blue or too yellow. The Ferris Wheel Press Misguided Mistletoe, though a shimmer ink, was the closest match. The other deep greens were either a little darker or a little more blue.

Esterbrook Scarlet is a classic red albeit a little on the orange side. There is no sheening like several of the comparison swatches (Irori and Aka, specifically).

Esterbrook Tangerine is sitting in that sweet spot of oranges that is so popular these days in the pen community. Esterbrook Tangerine is very close in color to Robert Oster x Pen Addict Fire on Fire. I’d be hard pressed to tell them apart if they were not on labelled cards.

Finally, the Esterbrook Cobalt and Aqua. I found these two inks too similar in hue for a first ink launch. I also think that the Aqua ink was not what most would view as aqua. I’ve included swatches above that are colors I tend to associate when I hear the word aqua. I think the Cobalt Blue is a good rich blue to include in aa first ink release but the Aqua left me seriously wanting.

Overall, the launch of the Esterbrook ink line is interesting. The color range chosen is a bit different than many classic pen companies (Waterman, Sheaffer, Cross, etc) but covers similar ground. The addition of shimmers to its IIO (initial ink offering) is a bold move. I’m curious to see if this is all the colors that Esterbrook is planning to do or if this is just the first collection of many.


DISCLAIMER: The items included in this review were provided free of charge by Kenro for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.

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6 comments / Add your comment below

  1. Ana,

    Nice overview. The Esterbrook colours are nice, but are too close to many other ink colours to interest me much. Is there any quality that makes them stand out, such as an outstandingly consistent flow or smoothness of writing, a tendency to inspire eloquence in the writer or to boost immunity to viruses? Do they work particularly well in Esterbrook pens or with Esterbrook vintage nibs?


    1. I haven’t done a deep dive with all the inks so I don’t know if they have any particular qualifications that make them better than any other ink. I only received samples so I don’t have a lot of ink to fill pens but I am definitely planning to see if there are any added benefits to these inks. The immunity factor seems good so far though. No Covid-19 here!

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