Sailor has made a dizzying number of inks, from standard black and blue to special editions that are only available under very specific locations. All Sailor inks have one thing in common, though – because they are high quality and (typically) amazing colors, they are usually in high demand.
While answering a question about Sailor Apricot recently, I tried to find a full history of the ink’s turbulent past but couldn’t find a clear explanation. So of course, I decided to write one.
One long-running ink line was the Jentle group. This line started with a group of six inks: Sky High, Ultra Marine, Peche, Apricot, Epinard, and Grenade (some include blue-black and black in this group as well).
However, in 2014, Sailor decided to update the Jentle line, with the subtitle Colors of Four Seasons. Four Seasons replaced the six inks with Miruai, Nioi-Sumiri, Doyou, Souten, Oku-Yama, Yama-Dori, Shigure, and Tokiwa-Matsu.
While there were several inks that were close to the original Jentle inks, they weren’t quite the same. Sky High had been a bit brighter than the new Souten. Oku-Yama was pinker than Grenade. Miruai and Tokiwa-Matsu were both close to Epinard, but not quite. Nothing quite replicated Ultra-Marine and there was no equivalent to Peche (no one complained about that, however). But the one that everyone missed was Apricot.
Soon Sailor Apricot became a currency by itself. Orange-ink-loving individuals hoarded the color when they could. People would exchange small vials of the ink in secret for large amounts of money… well, I don’t think it was ever quite that bad. But it became impossible to find.
Luckily, in 2016 (approximately), Sailor released another eight inks in the Colors of Four Seasons lineup. These inks were: Sakura-Mori, Kin-Mokusei, Yuki-Akari, Irori, Waka-Uguisu, Fuji-Musume, Chu-Shu, and Rikyu-cha.
Finally, Sailor answered the public’s need for an Apricot replacement.
Here’s a quick comparison of (approximately) equal colors between the Jentle inks and the Colors of Four Seasons inks:
But were Kin-Mokusei and Apricot truly equivalent? This was a question that obsessed many ink connoisseurs. This has been debated many times in the past and is not in the scope of this article. However, I will examine this question in the future.
First, let’s finish the Sailor timeline of these inks.
2017 brought a surprising announcement – Sailor was rereleasing the original 6 Jentle inks! Finally, we could restock our Apricot shelves and complain about Peche again.
Image from Goldspot
At this point, Sailor switched gears from the 50mL jars on ink to the pretty but small 20mL bottles that now make up the Shikiori ink line. Sadly, this change meant that the price per mL jumped to nearly $1/mL (from $0.36 or $0.50 per mL), however, the bottles are easier to store next to one another.
The 20 Shikiori inks combine the Jentle and Colors of Four Seasons (1 and 2) inks with a few inks changed or dropped. The missing colors are Ultra Marine, Peche, Apricot, Epinard, Sky High, Grenade, and Fuji-Musume while new colors include Fuji-Sugata, Yozakura, Yodaki, Yonaga, and Shimoyo.
Shikiori 20mL bottles: Miruai, Nioi-Sumiri, Doyou, Oku-Yama, Yama-Dori, Shigure, Sakura-Mori, Kin-Mokusei, Yuki-Akari, Waka-Uguisu, Chu-Shu, Rikyu-cha, Fuji-Sugata, Yozakura, Yodaki, Yonaga, Shimoyo, Tokiwa-Matsu, Souten, and Irori.
So to summarize this look at one small section of Sailor ink history, I have laid out the various colors and line-ups. In the future, I would love to take a deeper dive into a comparison of the ink colors.
Please note with this chart – the dates are very approximate and should really only be used to create a general timeline. Inks were released and received at varying times depending on retailer locations and availability.
DISCLAIMER: I purchased the items for this review with my own money and all opinions are my own. Please see the About page for more details.