Ink Review: Private Reserve Old vs New

Private Reserve ink has had its share of controversy. I won’t elaborate on past issues in this post but instead, I will show some of the new colors and compare them with the original Private Reserve colors.

Private Reserve inks can clearly be divided into old and new versions. The brand was purchased by YAFA who has updated the line but kept the ink color names. I was curious if these colors stayed true through this change, especially some of the more popular inks. I recently received a bundle of the new PR inks from YAFA for review and this is the first batch: Burgundy Mist, Arabian Rose, Black Cherry, DC Supershow Blue, Tropical Blue, and Naples Blue.

First up is Private Reserve Burgundy Mist. This is the only ink in this batch where I do not have a swatch of the original ink, but I have compared it to other inks to see the color. Burgundy Mist is very close to Mercury Noir with better shading. I did see feathering with Burgundy Mist.

Black Cherry is up next. The new Black Cherry is close to Monteverde Blueberry Muffin. No feathering was present here and the shading is wonderful.

The new Black Cherry ink is a great match for the original Black Cherry but the shading has been enhanced. This is a great change, in my opinion.

Arabian Rose. This ink is the one that worried me – Arabian Rose is one color where I have never found an adequate replacement. ColorVerse Einstein Ring is the best I’ve found

Here’s a comparison between the new and old Arabian Rose inks. I like the new color, but I’m not completely satisfied with the change – the original Arabian Rose had a dusty finish that isn’t present in the new version. New Arabian Rose is darker, contains a bit more blue, and there is a sharper differentiation between the light and dark shades.

Private Reserve DC Supershow Blue was originally made for the DC pen show (supershow). It is a brilliant medium sheening blue that stands out on white paper.

This ink is one that has made a positive change in the move to YAFA. The blue is a touch more brilliant and the sheen has been played down just enough to deal with the smearing problem. I found no smearing in my use of Supershow blue.

Tropical Blue has just a bit more green in the undertone than DC Supershow Blue and is one of my favorite blues ever. The shading makes the color pop in writing.

I believe the old and new Tropical Blue inks are identical although new Tropical Blue has more shading.

Finally, Naples Blue. This is the lightest blue in this batch and seems to be an almost perfect match for Pelikan Edelstein Topaz in writing. It has a hint of red sheen as well.

Again, the base color is a perfect match here but the shading is better.

Here’s a look at the changes in the red/pink inks in this batch:

And a comparison of the blues.

The trend here is that the new Private Reserve colors are very close to their older versions but each one shades more readily or dramatically. So far the change is overwhelmingly positive, but I will mourn the loss of my beloved Arabian Rose ink.

Private Reserve inks have increased slightly in price but are still an amazing deal. Any of the bottles above retail for $15 and are sold in 60mL bottles. That comes in at $0.25/mL, slightly less than the $8 for a 30mL bottle of Diamine. I’m looking forward to seeing more of what YAFA has in store for these inks!

DISCLAIMER: Some of the items included in this review were provided to us free of charge for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.


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