Montblanc has released two new permanent inks, Permanent Blue and Permanent Black. Both of these new inks are ISO 14145-2 certified; this is the same standard applied to roller ball refills with permanent ink suitable for documents. Montblanc Mightnight Blue was previously formulated as a permanent ink but I do not believe it held this same ISO certification. The new Midnight Blue is no longer permanent. Interestingly, the Permanent Black costs $28 while the Permanent Blue costs $17 (same as the other MB inks). I went for the Blue because the saleswomen couldn’t explain to me why the black was worth an extra $11 (…if someone knows why please let me know).
The branding on the these new permanent inks is a little bit different. The boxes and labels on the bottles are white instead of the normal black with a color fade. The permanent inks use the same great 60ml Montblanc bottle which has a little hump in the middle making it easy to fill your pen when the bottle is low. Montblanc does an all around superb job with their packaging. There is an expiration date on the box and bottle which is a feature I love.
Permanent Blue is a nice true blue color with some shading. Permanent inks tend to write on the dry side and MB Permanent Blue is no exception. The flow was comparable to the R&K Salix (permanent) ink but noticeably dryer than the Waterman Florida Blue. I saw no feathering in my test and the ink had an average dry time on the Maruman Smooth-To-Write paper. I have tested the ink and it is completely waterproof. I dripped water on the word “Waterproof?” and the result is what you see below. Overall I really like this ink. I am going to see how it behaves in my Pilot VP for a couple of weeks and if I don’t run into any issues with clogging as I have with some other permanent inks, I will use it regularly.
J. Herbin is the oldest ink manufacturer in the world and was established in 1670. The J. Herbin roller ball is special because it is designed to use fountain pen ink. It takes short standard international cartridges which gives you a very wide variety of inks to choose from. I have been able to fit a Monteverde mini ink converter and now the ink possibilities are endless.
When I received the pen the first thing I noticed was that it was quite small at 4.5″ capped and about 5.5″ posted. The translucent demonstrator body is decently made. If you look closely you can see some seams but you cannot feel them. The metal clip feels pretty sturdy. I don’t like the “J. HERBIN” in red along the cap; I would have preferred something more subtle. There are three little holes on the bottom of the body so this pen could not be used as an eyedropper. The cap snaps on to the body to close and posts securely. Due to the small size of the pen, some people will need to post the cap to use this pen comfortably.
I filled the pen with Diamine Turquoise and the roller ball wrote quite well. Nice clean lines no skipping or any other bad behavior to report. It is not as smooth as a hybrid gel ink roller ball but that is to be expected. The line is about a medium width. The Monteverde mini converter does not hold a lot of ink so the standard international cartridge may be a better choice for some.
Overall I really like this little pen; it’s well-made, a good writer and can use all my favorite inks but if you are willing to put up with the hassle of fountain pen ink and cleaning the feed when changing colors why wouldn’t you use a fountain pen instead? I can’t come up with any reasons.
Here are some great reviews of the J. Herbin Roller Ball:
I have been hearing about this supernatural Tomoe River paper for a while but I could not find it in a format that I liked. Through The Fountain Pen Network I saw that is was available in notebook form from PaperForFountainPens.com (no affiliation).
Tomoe River paper is ultra light weight at 52 gsm with a very smooth texture. This paper has been getting a lot of praise in the fountain pen community for its ability to handle fountain pen ink. I have been playing with this paper the last few days and it is amazing. There is virtually no bleed through. With some abuse I did get it to bleed in one spot. I used my Rohrer & Klinger glass dip pen without removing the excess ink first and the only point of bleed through is where the bottom of the “g” made contact with the “a” in “Scabiosa”. The wettest letter though is the first “R” in “Rohrer” which had zero bleed through. There is no feathering to mention and ink looks beautiful on this paper. The paper is fragile and easily crinkles; to me this is just part of the charm of the paper. Dry times are comparable to Rhodia and Clairefontaine papers.
I did abuse the paper a bit more. I tried a drop Noodler’s Qin Shi Huang on the paper. There was no bleed through for about the first hour. Here is the result after 3 hours:
The results are very impressive. I let the ink sit overnight and the ink finally bled through all the way. The ink did not spread at all and if you use the widest and juiciest of pens with blotter paper you should experience no bleed. This is an excellent paper for fountain pens.
The notebook contains 320 cream colored pages (160 leaves) that measure 4.9″ x 8″. There is ghosting so I only like to write on one side. It is worth noting that because this paper is so thin you will get ghosting even with a pencil. The notebook is nicely made and lays pretty flat. I am really happy with these notebooks and plan to use them as my primary journal. The price per notebook varies based on how many you order: 1 for $29, 2 for $53 ($26.50 each), and 3 for $75 ($25 each).
The only paper I can compare to the Tomoe River is Smythson’s Featherweight 50 gsm paper. Smythson’s paper handles fountain pen ink just as well but costs an absolute fortune. Think $29 is a lot for a notebook? A 5.5″ x 7.5″ Smythson notebook with 192 leaves (not refillable) costs £135 (approx. $220 USD)! To by fair, Smythson notebooks have beautiful leather covers, blue paper with gilt edges and three real ROYAL WARRANTS. Having been gifted a Smythson’s Panama diary a few years ago I can say that they are easily the nicest notebooks (calendar) I have ever used but for almost 1/10th the price of a Smythson, the Paper For Fountain Pens Tomoe River notebook is a fantastic value. I haven’t been this happy with a notebook in a long time. I highly recommend giving one a try.
Noodler’s Qin Shi Huang is rich red with a bit of a pink hue. The flow is average but this ink seems to feather quite a lot on the Maruman Smooth to Write paper I used for the written review. I tried this ink on a Rhodia No.18 pad and my Exacompta FAF pad and there was less but still noticeable feathering. I have heard of feathering issues even with extra fine nibs which is too bad because this ink is beautiful. There is some shading and the ink is fluorescent. Qin Shi Huang is not waterproof and has an average dry time. I really love the color of this ink but the feathering even on high quality paper is a turn off.
I purchased a Rohrer & Klingner glass dip pen and thought I would test it out on the lastest. For those that don’t know, Ink Drop is a subscription service through The Goulet Pen Company (no affiliation) that consists of monthly shipments of 5 ink samples. Each shipment is $10. It’s a great way to try ink without making a full commitment to an entire bottle. More than once I have paid $10+ for a bottle and ended up hating it. Last month I bought J. Herbin Gris Nuage and I know I wont be using it again…no idea why I thought a grey ink would be appealing.
The Noodlers Qin Shi Huang and Noodler’s Antietam are my favorites. You can read my full review of Antietam here and Qin Shi Huang here.
I am rarely a fan of orange inks but Noodler’s Antietam is special. Antietam is a very unusual rust orange/red with great shading. I have been using Antietam this last week and I love it. The color varies red to orange in different pens and on different paper; it is a real chameleon ink. The flow is good, not too dry not too wet.
I tested this ink on Maruman Smooth to Write paper (my go-to for use with fountain pens) and used dry cotton swabs to test the dry time. Even after 90 seconds it wouldn’t fully dry; I got bored and gave up. The Maruman paper is quite smooth and for most ink I see an average dry time around 15-25 seconds. I did try later on more absorbent Exacompta 60gsm paper and it was near dry in 15 seconds and completely dry in 25. The ink is not waterproof; to test this I waited 5 minutes for the ink to dry and wiped the paper with a damp cotton swab. If you can put up with the long dry time Noodler’s Antietam is definitely worth a try.
Here are some great reviews of Noodler’s Antietam Ink:
(I have no affiliation with the sites linked below)