Ink Review: J. Herbin Violet Scented Ink

I have never really purchased any scented inks so when a sample of  J. Herbin Violet came into the office along side the Lavender and Rose, I decided to give it a try. I had sniffed several of the different inks at work but we decided to stock the Lavender rather than the Violet.

Read on to find out why…

The J. Herbin  scented inks come in the same style packaging and bottles as regular J. Herbin inks.  On the box was indications that the ink was safe for dip pens or fountain pens. I know J. Herbin sells other scented inks that are specifically for dip pens so proceed with caution.

Once I took the cap off the Violet scented ink I realized that the scent, in the bottle is really potent. And the violet scent is really cloying. As an asthmatic, I swatched quickly and recapped the bottle before it could overwhelm me.

First off, the ink bled on our Col-o-ring cards. Not many inks bleed on our cards so I am always suspect when an ink does bleed. As the swatch dried, the smell of the ink seemed to get stronger. It got so potent I started to choke on the overly perfume-y scent. This is more a result of my asthma and general dislike for the actual smell of violet perfume. YMMV. Needless to say, I had put the swatch outside to dry because the scent was too strong for me.

I also tested the ink on Tomoe River and it didn’t bleed but the scent again, when wet, was too strong for me. Once dry, the scent is not nearly as strong but since I ended up not being a fan of the violet scent, I am going to have to razor the page out of my notebook because … ugh. The violet smell reminds me of the air freshners used in truck stop bathrooms. I’m really selling this ink, aren’t I?

To that end, the Rose and Lavender inks do not bother me to the same extent (nor did the Amber ink which I also got a chance to try) and I actually like the smell of roses and lavender so if the scent is your catnip, go for it. Bob will tell you, I am very sensitive to smell on top of being an asthmatic. Really, I should have known better than to get a scented ink.

Just to complete this review, here are my recommendations for other violet colored inks that don’t smell like urinal cakes. Robert Oster Cosmic Swirl is very similar and Sheaffer Purple is just a little bit more red but very close in color. Finally, if I were just going to recommend a violet colored ink, it would be either Waterman Tender Purple or Pilot Iroshizuku Mirasaki Shikibu depending on the situation.

Finally, the scented ink is supposed to be safe for fountain pens but I would be very hesitant to fill a pen with this ink in case the scent permeates the resins, plastics, or feed, especially if you are not sure if you’ll like the scent. Nothing worse than being nose-haunted by an ink-poltergeist.

My Final Thoughts

The idea of scented inks seems romantic but I think if you really want to add a little something to a letter, spritz the paper with your personal perfume.  Use the ink color and brand you like best and skip the scented ink, especially if it smells like this.

Do you use scented inks? Do you have a favorite? Convince me to try a different scented ink.

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

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15 comments / Add your comment below

  1. Awww this makes me sad because this is one of my all time favorite inks! I absolutely love the violet scent, it smells like Parma Violets and I’m obsessed. I also think the blue-violet color is exquisite. Murasaki-shikibu is a lot redder, unfortunately. I never had a problem with it bleeding or feathering more than any other ink, either. I have a sharp nose and while not subtle, the intensity doesn’t bother me (although I DO like violet scent), but you are correct that the scent lingers on my purple TWSBI ECO even after inking it with something else.

  2. Skip the scented inks altogether! Not romantic to make people sneeze and cough. Terrible for recipients with allergies or asthma as well as those who may have to handle mail while it’s in the postal system. If the scent rubs off – highly likely – it becomes ‘second-hand scent’ (as noxious as second-hand smoke from cigarettes). I’d love to see fragrances banned from magazines while we’re at it!

    1. Judi,

      “Yes” to everything you wrote, especially the perfume samples in magazines. Their scent seems to linger for days no matter how quickly I shift them out to the trash bin. Like Ana, there are some scents I tolerate or like (clean/poignant ones like lavender or rosemary), but I need it to be my choice when to have them in my environment.


  3. I can’t convince you to try a scented ink. I’m in the same boat with scented things that make it hard to breathe. And so many things have scent in them now; toilet paper, yarn, ink, nail polish, etc.

  4. This review made me lol! Thank you for the honesty. As a fellow scent sensitive asthmatic, I avoid scented products wherever possible. Scented ink is definitely a no go for me.

  5. Hi Ana, I have a Herbin scented ink that also bleeds through TR and every other paper tried. Feathers like crazy on ColoRing cards as well. I think it’s because of the scent which must be alcohol based. Just like Sharpies, the alcohol would cause inks to bleed and feather on every kind of paper.

  6. I put J. H. Violet scented ink in my Nakaya Portable Writer 4 years ago. In order to stop the nose haunting I had to buy a new converter. Also, unusual for J. H. inks, it stained the converter.

  7. Thanks for the review Ana!.As a fellow asthmatic, I will steer clear of any scented ink – more $ to spend on other inks!

  8. I don’t have asthma, but I avoid all scented products — ack, cough, cough! Only natural cedar pencil scent for me. 😉

  9. Hi!
    Just a very small correction – the Pilot ink is named Murasaki Shikibu, most likely after very famous japanese writer and lady-in-waiting M.S., author of first novel in the world, Genji Monogatari or “The Tale of Genji”.
    Thank you very much for your great pages!
    P.S.: Please excuse my poor English. 🙂

  10. I had asthma as a child (I fortunately grew out of it), but perfumes can still be a major challenge. I only have a couple of De Atramentis scented inks that haven’t been an issue. I rather enjoy the vanilla smell that many KWZ inks have. I’m somewhat concerned that Diamine has stated that some of the Inkvent inks in this year’s calendar will be scented. Diamine hasn’t been too heavy-handed in their shimmer inks, so, perhaps, the inks will not have to be segregated from my other samples!

  11. This ink is driving me mad. The colour is lovely, I actually like the scent, but it bleeds through everything except Hobonichi. It’s the only fountain pen ink I’ve ever had bleed thorough Midori paper, even with an EF nib.

  12. I have adored this ink from the moment I bought it in Paris and put it in my Montblanc extra wide nib fountain pen! I write with it every day in various notebooks and I have never had a problem with bleeding!

  13. I put it in my Nakaya two years ago. It stained the converter and i can still smell it in the pen. Ink poltergeist indeed

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