Who would have guessed ink reviews are a thing? I have used a fountain pen for going on 30 years now; even back in school, in the days of the disposable Bics with their masticated tips, I could never get my head around ballpoint pens. My cursive writing with its long looping letters just wouldn’t play nicely with fine-nibbed and scratchy roller ball pens and I never, ever, saw them as superior in any way.
Currently my go-to pens are by Lamy and Montblanc and though I love the pens of the latter, I don’t care much for the Montblanc ink (packaging aside – the bottles are amazing!). I currently have a rather plain Montblanc black in my Lamy and find that it is slow to dry, somewhat watery, tends to smudge, and is prone to bleeding through the paper of my journal. It was quite by chance that I stumbled into a colourful and vibrant world that had somehow, up till now, eluded my notice.
I was reading one of Neil Gaiman’s blog posts where a fan was asking him about his favourite fountain pens and the conversation went naturally to the inks he likes best. Neil mentioned he wasn’t a fan of the Montblanc inks either preferring others like Private Reserve. One quick Google search later and I was hooked. I had no idea that reviewing inks was a thing … how bad is that? I’ve always just bought brand inks without realising there is this whole other world of colourful possibility. The reviewers assess characteristics of inks, breaking them down into their component characteristics like a connoisseur of fine wines. They talk about shading, shimmer, feathering, bleed, and reactivity to water and other solvents. The penmanship and artistic sketches highlight the vibrant hues in all their macro-lens enhanced glory. Websites like Inkophile and Inkdependence gave me an insight into a world of possibility hitherto unknown. Websites like Notemaker, LarryPost, and Massdrop thereafter did a fine job of divesting me of my hard-earned cash.
Perhaps gone are the days of washed out blacks and faded blues. My notebooks will now sport more Machiavellian options like American Blue, Copper Burst, Sherwood Green, and Rouge Hematite. Bold vibrant strokes filling page after page. After a few bottles of ink and three new pens I think it’s time to quit. The hour is exceedingly late, the single malt is drunk, and there is work in the morning (well today to be precise).
Dear Santa, if you’re reading this, please leave a Lamy 2000 in my stocking. Like potato chips, and cats apparently, you can never have too many fountain pens.