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.