Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Review: New J. Herbin Limited Edition Anniversary Ink 1670 Rouge Hematite

J. Herbin 340th Anniversary Ink Rouge Hematite

"This ink has been especially made to celebrate the 340th Anniversary of J.Herbin. With a dark red color and earthy tone, this intense and deep dye this ink will bring brightness and majesty to all your writing."

Dark red color and earthy tone... haha... This is blood red ink if I've ever seen it. Perhaps a way to indulge writers to write more vampire stories in the vein of Stephenie Meyer and Charlaine Harris.

In early French promotional literature for this ink, I saw it described as "Rouge Hematite" which could be translated as blood red. On the box and in the catalog, this ink is known as "1670" and the name of the color will be "Rouge Hematite."

J. Herbin 340th Anniversary Ink Rouge Hematite

50ml per bottle, and retailing for approximately $20 in the US, the cap is made with official wax cherry ref. H310/24, (not imported to the US by Exaclair) and the seal with glue gun wax gold ref. H358/04.

The bottle arrived with it's cap covered in wax and when I went to open the bottle, the cap came off quite easily... as if it might not have been tightly secured.

J. Herbin 340th Anniversary Ink Rouge Hematite

Once I put the cap back on and gave it a secure twist, the wax broke and crumbled off.... Hmmm... Not sure if I like this for two reasons. One, is that the aluminum cap under the wax is unattractive and doesn't go at all with the "classic" bottle theme. IMHO, it should have been black plastic like the rest of their caps, but maybe they couldn't get the wax to stick to the plastic. The second reason I don't care for it is unless you pick all of the wax off, when you open the bottle, you could inadvertently get wax inside the bottle and I have no idea how that could potentially affect the mixture, or if it could contaminate it in any way.

I am not crazy about the smaller opening on this bottle. As I can sometimes be a clumsy oaf when filling pens, I find it too narrow of an opening and in fact, when I submerged the nib of my Safari into the bottle, I managed to overflow the ink down the side.... This is one of 4 bottles Exaclair received directly from France and I go slopping it up all to heck. You can see the way I stained the gold elastic near the top of the bottle.

J. Herbin 340th Anniversary Ink Rouge Hematite

Front of the box, (which arrived shrink wrapped in plastic) note that the ink was made to match the color of the classic Herbin logo. No clue what all of the icons represent, thoughI have seen some on other bottles of Herbin ink.

J. Herbin 340th Anniversary Ink Rouge Hematite

To confirm, the back of the box reads, "Ink for fountain pens." (Note my stained inky fingers)

J. Herbin 1670 Rouge Hematite Ink

With maybe the exception of Herbin's Perle Noire, (only because I can't see through that ink to the bottom of the bottle,) this might be the most heavily saturated Herbin fountain pen ink I've yet to encounter. The black areas at the top of the image are (what I am guessing to be) undissolved dye. Of note, I tested this ink with only a little agitation in one pen, and then I shook the heck out it to dissolve the dye and filled it into a separate pen and once I wrote with them, the results were for the most part, indistinguishable.

If you are wondering about the inscriptions on the bottom of the bottle.

The manufacturer of the bottle provided the following information:
  • A means Food / Alimentary
  • 5 means 5 CL= measurement equivalent to 50ml
  • Logo VetroElite
  • 3 number referring to the mold used for the bottle

J. Herbin 340th Anniversary Ink Rouge Hematite

While I have tested most all of my J. Herbin inks in this Clairefontaine Basics journal, I'd like to point out that this 90g bright white paper can sometimes tend to make dry inks (ones without great flow) and pens with a less than magnificent flow seem kind of stingy and laborious to write with.

I initially tested the 1670 ink in a .5 cursive italic (specially cut by Pendemonium) Lamy Safari - (red of course,) and was at once surprised how saturated and how... orange this red ink was. (but don't get me wrong... it is definitely a red ink.) My first thought was of Diamine's Monaco Red but no... I'll get back to my comparisons in a minute. The ink had great flow in the Safari on the Clairefontaine paper, and later in the medium nibbed Al-Star as well. Looking closely, there is some shading but like most heavily saturated inks, it's not very pronounced.

Now for the interesting part, the pen with the thinner nib (the Safari) was filled from the bottle when I had only lightly agitated it. When I wrote with it, it looked slightly darker than the wider nibbed pen which was filled after I shook it violently. Go figure. I usually see thinner nibbed pens write lighter than wider nibbed pens filled with the same ink. In her recent review of this ink, Margana from Inkophile said she liked the chameleon aspect, and that it leans orange-red depending on lighting conditions as well as nib width and flow. I would tend to agree.

Though I have not tested every available red ink on the planet, I have tested quite a few and this not like any color of red I've sampled before.

The color I would say is the closest, would be my all-time favorite red, Diamine's Poppy - but the 1670 has more shading and leans more towards orange/brown. (Like blood) I find it looks more brown on off-white paper, my personal favorite, and I happen to prefer the way Poppy stays more "red" on off-white paper than the 1670.

These are the inks I compared it to, and how I perceived the differences:

It's more orange than Diamine Ruby
Brighter and more orange than Rohrer & Klingner's Morinda
Darker and more brown than Diamine's Vermillion
Darker and more brown than pink of Diamine's Passion Red
More red/orange than Diamine's Monaco Red
More reddish brown than Diamine's Maroon
and lastly, darker and more red/brown than Herbin's Rouge Caroubier.

Of the 4 bottles that Exaclair recently received, I received one to sample, as did Margana from Inkophile and Ryan from Pear Tree Pens. (The 4th bottle will be up for inspection at the National Stationery Show in NYC May 16-19th.) Margana and Ryan both noted that this ink seemed to have a longer than usual dry time, which could pose problematic for lefty writers. As I've come to expect some amount of drying time from all of my fountain pen ins, I quite honestly didn't give it much thought as I was testing it, but after reading their comments, I went back and checked and yes.... it does take a little longer to dry but still nowhere near what I have deemed to be "the ink with the longest drying time ever, in any pen, and on any paper, Noodler's Red-Brown."

While Margana and I both experienced the ink to have excellent flow, Ryan experienced the ink to be rather dry writing... he has told me that he will test the ink in a different pen to see if it is indeed the ink and not the pen.

The initial shipment from France is only 100 bottles and those are being limited 10 per retailer, on a first come first serve basis. As I am certain this first batch will sell out almost immediately, though set to be a limited edition ink, future shipments are expected.

J. Herbin 340th Anniversary Ink Rouge Hematite

I tested this ink against a myriad of other brands/shades of reddish inks. Top right hand color is Visconti Burgundy, a deeper darker more pink shade of red, and Herbin's Rouge Caroubier - a lighter more pinkish shade of red.

Mandala in Herbin Rouge Hematite

I created the above doodle on white Clairefontaine sketch paper and though the ink is what I would definitely describe as an "orangey-red" when I applied water to the ink from a waterbrush, it pulled out what looked to be bright shades of pink. I must emphasize that though this ink is not a pinkish red, it had those characteristics when water was applied. I've seen similar situations with several different orangey Diamine colors - water applied, pink comes out. I'm guessing it has something to do with the dye mixtures.


Speedmaster said...

FANTASTIC review and pics!!! ;-)

Note Booker, Esq. said...

Ugh! That cap under the wax is a huge disappointment! I think I'm just going to keep the bottle I buy sealed and pass it down to my kid. She'll turn 69 the year of J. Herbin's 400th anniversary, and maybe this bottle will be something of a valuable collector's item by then.

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