Another cool goodie in the mail today. Got some really cool stuff from the folks at Exaclair, Rhodia and Clairefontaine notebooks and a couple of bottles of J Herbrin ink in blue and black. The subject of this first review will be the blue ink.
Let me first set this up. My favorite blue of all time is the old fashioned Sheaffer traditional blue (they also make a turquoise and a blue-black, both of which I also have). I know, boring to most. It’s not as bright or vibrant as a lot of other blues, and it has a tendency to shadow as I right. But that’s exactly why I like it. I like the fact that when it goes on the paper, it looks old. I also like that on pretty much all of the papers I commonly use, it doesn’t bleed or feather. I mean not at all. Counting the internet, it’s easy to find and cheap to buy. My problem is that I can no longer find it anywhere locally. We have a really nice shop here in Lexington that specializes in leather goods (attaches, briefcases, pad covers, etc) pens and inks. They have a great assortment of Omas, Private Reserve, Lamy and a few others, but no Sheaffer. Even the local office supply store (a local mom ‘n pop) I used to get it from, no longer carries it in house. So I’ve been on a quest to find the closest blue I can find to the Sheaffers, with the same sort of characteristics, and if at all possible, one that might be “bullet proof” like some in the Noodlers line up – that I can buy locally. That last item would just be a nice bonus. Lamy’s blue is really good; it’s in the same shade range, but it’s definitely brighter. I really like the fact that like the Sheaffer, it doesn’t bleed at all. Noodler’s Luxury Blue is a great color (I like it at least as well as the Sheafers), but bleeds horribly. So both locally, and via the net, I continue my quest.
That leads me to J Herbin. I’ve seen a lot about this ink online for some time now, all of it good. The blue I received is their “Bleu Pervenche”. Not sure how that translates into English from French, but my guess is turquoise. Not Sheaffer Blue. That’s definitely not what it translates into. But…..I like it. I like it quite a bit, especially when I immediately resolve not to compare it with the Sheaffers. It’s just a different kind of blue. And a nice one at that.
It’s definitely Turquoise – at least what I classify as turquoise – and when paired with my trusty old Skyliner with a fine point, lays down a nice wet line. I cheated a bit for this initial inking and used the Rhodia pad that came with it. Man, the paper is sweet! A review of that pad later, but for now, let me just say that the paper quality in this pad is much better than any of my normal (I use C.R. Gibson Markings journals, a Moleskin knockoff, for daily use) daily writer journals. That being said, with the Rhodia, there was no bleeding or feathering at all. When I tried it in my daily journal…there was. Nothing horrible, typical of most of the inks I use (outside of the Sheaffers or Lamy stuff). Not nearly as bad as the Noodlers Luxury Blue.
In the end, this is definitely an ink I like. I have shades of Turquoise from Noodler’s, Private Reserve and Sheaffers. For a Turquoise, I think I like this one the best. Now to keep looking for my “perfect” blue….