Saturday, December 20, 2008

Review: Swab Test of 10 Different J. Herbin Fountain Pen Inks

J Herbin Fountain Pen Inks

9 of the 10 J. Herbin inks pictured above were provided by Karen at Exaclair for testing. A few months back, (without my prior knowledge,) she sent me the bottle of Eclat De Saphir, (Previously reviewed here) and needless to say, I liked it so much that it's been loaded in one of my 10 pens ever since. (It's in the F Pelikan M200 right now)

Since I really liked the Eclat De Saphir, I decided to try another of the Herbin inks - the Poussiere De Lune, which I bought from The Pear Tree Pen Company. Bingo. Another one for the "yes" pile.

J Herbin Fountain Pen Inks

So now I'm two for two with the J Herbin inks, and I ask Karen if I can sample a few more. My wish list included the following:

Bleu Pervenche
Vert Olive
Vert Empire
Larmes De Cassis
Rose Cyclamen
Rouge Caroubier
Orange Indien

and Karen included the Rouge Bourgone as an extra.

J Herbin, photo taken outside

J Herbin, photo taken outside

A. Bleu Pervenche
B. Eclat De Saphir
C. Vert Olive
D. Vert Empire
E. Poussiere De Lune
F. Larmes De Cassis
G. Rose Cyclamen
H. Rouge Bourgogne
I. Rouge Caroubier
J. Orange Indien

Overjoyed with the ability to test all of these beautiful inks, I decided to do a quick swab test just to get an idea of what each one looked like. The paper is a pad of Dick Blick drawing paper.

Each color was swabbed 6 times, twice each of 1 stroke, 2 strokes and 3 strokes.

With this test and the images that follow, I ask that you keep an open mind with the fact that these might look different on your monitor, in your hand, in your pen, or if you swab them yourself.

Some of the swabs might have been inadvertently more saturated than another. Each of these inks will be pen tested at a later date.

We've got gray snow clouds in the sky today, and it frustrates me that I couldn't get better pictures. My scanner also seemed to have a bit of difficulty in accurately representing the colors of the ink. I did my best - hope it's at least a little bit helpful.

So here are the 10 inks, and my initial impressions of each:

A. Bleu Pervenche - a nice bright turquoise, unsure how saturated it will look in a pen.

B. Eclat De Saphir
- a nice moderately warm saturated blue. Been using it for a while and I really like it.

C. Vert Olive - I totally dig this color. Love it's vibrancy.

D. Vert Empire - a bit disappointed with this one. It does not seem to be very saturated, and I don't care for the color. I'm not sure what I was expecting.

E. Poussiere De Lune
- a moderately saturated grayish burgundy/aubergine that I have been using for a while and really like. Similar to Private Reserve's Burgundy Mist but I like this better.

F. Larmes De Cassis
- unsure how I feel about this one. It's a very pretty shade, but it might not be dark enough for me.

G. Rose Cyclamen - this color is out of control. Reminds me of a shade of Wet & Wild $1 lipstick from Woolworth's in the 1980's. It seems to be moderately saturated. I'm unsure about it as I don't typically use inks this bright, but it's a very pretty color and I'm more than willing to give it a chance.

H. Rouge Bourgogne - this is the one that Karen snuck in and you know what? I really, really like it a LOT. It's probably going to be one of the first of this new batch that are loaded into a pen.

I. Rouge Caroubier - it's just ok. Seems to be very, very thin. I wanted it to be brighter/darker.

J. Orange Indien - not what I expected at all. It's like a orange/brownish rust color. Will be interesting to see how it pen tests.

** When I say "moderately saturated" I'm kind of doing a mental comparison of how very saturated Private Reserve's inks are.

J Herbin, scanned

J Herbin inks, scanned.

With the exception of the Vert Empire, I'm really excited to try all of these inks. I think the first two to get loaded will be the Vert Olive and the Rouge Bourgogne.

Buy J Herbin inks online in the US:

The Ink Flow

The Pear Tree Pen Company

Online in the UK:

The Writing Desk


Ontheroad said...

I was just swabbing the Bleu Azur and the Perle Noire an hour ago. I've been using carts for years but just acquired some bottles.

Do you have any cart pens left?

Biffybeans said...

Lamy, Sailor & Sheaffer all use proprietary carts.

and Great Minds think alike, eh?

Ontheroad said...

I'll have to try a Herbin cart in an old Sheaffer to see if they fit.

And yes "great minds" think!!!

Anonymous said...

Is J.Herbin ink available at Exaclair? said...

I love this post, Steph! You have some of my favorite inks here - PdL and Rose Cyclamen - and you have me rethinking Vert Olive. I did not really like the sample I got earlier this summer but it was in a fine pen. I think I'll try it in a broader nib and see how it comes out.

Biffybeans said...

Good question -

Exaclair is not a retailer, it's the US distributor of J Herbin, Clairefontaine, Rhodia and several other companies.

Biffybeans said...

Thank you Sophie! Some of these colors look really awesome, but I worry that I saturated the page too much with the single swab for them to be anywhere near accurate. I'm flushing two pens right now. .05 CI and the F Safari that's really more like an EF.

Kata said...

I *love* the rose cyclamen, its one of my favourite J Herbin inks. I have the vert olive as well and I find that in pens it doesn't saturate as much as I'd like it too. Sad!

I have a few others too.. amber de birmanie, diablo menthe and terre de feu.

My favourites I've used in the past are the rose cyclamen and poussiere de lune for sure! I really want to try the eclat de saphir now!

Stephen said...

I know that the review, photos, and scans take time and energy. Thanks for sharing this!

(I've purchased both Bleue Nuit and Café des Iles, and really like the Bleue Nuit.)

Kate the Elder said...

I love Rose Cyclamen, Perle Noire and Violette Pensee.

inkophile said...

Love your description of Orange Indien. Time to give that one a test drive.

Biffybeans said...

Hi Kata! I've got the Vert Olive inked up right now. Tried it on a few different kinds of paper. It seems to really like non-white paper. (Like cream or ivory)

Stephen - thank you, I really appreciate your words!

Kate - thank you for stopping by!

Inkophile - let me know how you like it!

Speedmaster said...

VERY cool, great post! ;-)

BT Irwin said...

I find it very difficult to load the longer nibbed pens such as Visconti, Montblanc, or Omas from the Herbin bottles. Are there any larger sized bottles or plans to make them deeper?

Biffybeans said...

Speedmaster - thank you!

BT Irwin - Good point. I do not know if they will be making larger bottles. I usually just tip the bottle to the side to fill.

lilnizzie from FPN said...

i think that the vert empire might be good for drawing (different saturations working well for tree shading) but it's the one that you see the most difference in swabbings. The orange indien is nice also, i'm a huge burnt orange colour fan.

Torrey said...

Wow, and here I was blown away that, upon requesting to try Lierre Sauvage, Karen from Exaclair included Vert Empire as well! But look at your scan... you got the goods, Biffybeans!

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