So, I've been sampling inks at an alarming rate, and I thought I would share some of the results with you. Now bear in mind that I don't have a scanner so I had to photograph them. Obviously, I need a better photographing method--but to be honest, the colors are true--so I'm going to go ahead and post this.
I am a complete sample slut, and thanks to The Goulet Pen Company, I can sample ad infinitum and not waste money on whole bottles that turn out to be a disappointment. I'll admit that the vast majority of samples I've gotten have not turned into bottle "wants", so this has saved me some hefty spendage. (I sure don't have $ to waste on ink I don't like/use!)
Note: All reviews are done on Clairefontaine, 90gsm, bright white paper.
Noodler's Bulletproof Inks are forgery resistant and therefore water resistant.
Noodler's Eternal Inks are resistant to anything like water or light that would destroy/fade the ink.
Ok, without further ado, here we go:
The first one is Noodler's Walnut. In my seemingly eternal quest for a brown ink that I can stand, I finally caved and ordered a sample of this. Lo and behold! I actually like it. It is dark, warm and rich--reminiscent of an actual walnut (go figure, no?). Not red, not orange, just straight up dark brown. Walnut is a partially bulletproof ink, and as such is quite water resistant. Now, my idea of water resistance is not worrying about running the paper under the faucet, but worrying about spilling a glass of water all over my journal. As such, this ink behaves admirably, and if you have little *ahem* "accidents" with your water glass like I do, you won't lose everything you've written. The "top" color does wash off as you can see, but at least you won't completely lose your words. As you can see from the utterly unscientific dry time test, it does take a while to dry, but I'm ok with that.
Next is Noodler's Antietam. (Yes, yes I am a HUGE Noodler's fan, why do you ask?) As with brown inks, I've been trying to find an orange that I could live with in permanent rotation. I prefer the burnt oranges to the "Tang" oranges (for those of you born later than about 1982, Tang was a drink--Google is your friend, look it up), so I tried this. It is stunning. LOTS of pretty shading, and not hard to read later, so if you use it for your journal, you won't fry your retinas re-reading your entries. I could easily use this as an everyday ink in my regular rotation. My only hesitation here is the complete lack of any water resistance. Now, I do use some inks that aren't water resistant, but I still prefer them to have a bit of resistance. C'est la vie--this one's worth it.
Noodler's Warden Series of inks! Brilliant!! These are Bulletproof AND Eternal--SQUEEE!!! They should have NO problem standing up to my clumsy spillages! This one is Bad Green Gator--and it is FASCINATING stuff. When you first write, it goes down a bright, wet green, but you can literally watch it dry across your written line into this more subdued green. It had no discernible shading, but I find it quite fetching nonetheless. Another delightful by-product of sampling is that you may discover that a color of ink that you thought you didn't care for much quickly becomes your favorite, and vice versa. I've decided that I loves me some green ink! This is muted enough for everyday, but interesting enough to add some variety to your collection. AND waterproof to boot--what a bargain. Yet another Noodler's win.
Noodler's Bad Blue Heron--from-wait for it-- The WARDEN Series! This is a muted, soft blue. I put at the end of my review that it is a "blue-black", but upon further reflection and comparison with other Noodler's inks in my collection, I think not so much. It is a medium to light, very muted blue. This is a pretty ink, and of course waterproof, it's just not my favorite--a bit light for my tastes. I prefer Bad Belted Kingfisher.
Just when you thought I used Noodler's Ink exclusively-- TA DA! One of my top 3 favorite inks--Platinum Blue Black. I was introduced to this ink through this review by Peaceable Writer, and then sent a sample from a very kind inky friend. I was (and am) smitten. From the beginning, I have adored this ink. It is a true, soft, sweet blue. It behaves well, is water resistant, and is constantly surprising. In different pens, it demonstrates very different color qualities, making it ever enchanting. Absolutely no nib creep, and it dries fast if that concerns you.
Now, I know you're asking yourself "blue-black?" Yeah, not so much black, mostly blue. But trust me, you will adore this ink--and if by some bizarre chance you don't, I know where you can unload it!
Iron Gall Inks--much controversy--much fun! This is Rohrer and Klingner Scabiosa. I know, the name sounds like a really hideous spell from Harry Potter, but the ink is not "scabbish" at all. (Actually, this is Scabiosa, which I presume it is named after). Now, this ink is quite dry, and I'm not a big fan of dry inks. However, the color and shading properties of this ink are FABULOUS, and it may be worth it to you to at least try it out. I have since tried it in my Noodler's Flex pen, and it's still dry, but also still amazingly gorgeous. As with all Iron Gall Ink, it is waterproof. The top color will wash away, but the black will be left behind so you don't lose anything important.
Noodler's Bad Belted Kingfisher--yep, from the Warden Series!! This is another brilliant ink from the Warden Series. I prefer this to the Bad Blue Heron because the blue is darker and richer. This is a really nice blue black. It has a slight hint of turquoise--like many of Noodler's blue inks--but nothing like say--Navy. It is gorgeous stuff. It is a bit on the dry side in my Pilot Plumix, but that pen is a dry writer any way. This ink will find a permanent home in my rotation, I loveses it.
Aurora Black--need I say more really? This black seems to be the gold standard for super "black" blacks. It is dark, rich, and gorgeous. The flow is perfect, like a Goldilocks black--not too dry, not too wet. It is totally black, and the perfect ink for my Platinum Preppy. This is a brilliant everyday ink, and I use it all the time. Sadly, as you can see, a lot of it washes away with water--or I guess "smears" is a better word. If you need a truly waterproof black, I suggest Noodler's Black. It is just as black, and is Bulletproof. But even if you need waterproof ink, you should try this some time, it is a sweet, sweet ink.
Rohrer and Klingner Alt Goldgrun. Did I mention that I really like green ink? I bought Noodler's Green, which is like writing with lime Jell-O, and had decided that I adore green ink. When Goulet Pens got this in, I ordered a sample. I wish I had ordered a bottle, as now they are out of this one R&K ink. *sob* This, when I get a bottle, will be in my everyday permanent rotation. It is spectacularly gorgeous--and has amazing shading properties! It breaks my heart that this is not more water resistant, but like with Antietam, it won't be stopping me from using it!
I have yet to try a Rohrer and Klingner that I don't like...ruh roh! Here's another fabulous R&K:
Rohrer and Klingner Cassia--purple purple purple. I'm not sure why there are not more water resistant purple inks, but I think that's criminal. As it turns out, purple has become a favorite ink color of mine, and this is STUNNING stuff! Rich, dark and truly purple--FANTASTIC. This would not be one I would use for everyday journaling though, just because I prefer a more muted purple for that, such as Noodler's Purple Wampum, or the R&K Scabiosa. However, this would be brilliant for Zentangles or Mandalas, or just plain old letter writing.
Noodler's Navy, one of my Top 3, along with Platinum Blue Black and Aurora Black (mind you, now I have to make room for Alt Goldgrun). This ink ROCKS my world. Blue black with lots of turquoise--it doesn't get any better than this as far as I'm concerned. It has mega nib creep but I'm not particularly bothered by that. But even if you are, this ink is so incredibly gorgeous, it's still worth at least trying. Also, it is partially water resistant enough that a wee water accident won't utterly wipe out your written brilliance.
Last for today, but certainly not least: Rohrer and Klingner Solferino. HOLY FREAKING CRAP that's pretty, no? This is a pink purply mauvey piece of heaven right here, y'all. I put in the review that this and Cassia would be finding a place in my ink collection, but I think now that Cassia has moved way down my list. This is still way up there, but I've yet to decide if this is an everyday journaling ink. It is very bright stuff--and I'm not sure that I wouldn't get tired of it fast if I used it a lot. That being said, it is beautiful ink, and as well behaved as all the other R&K's I've tried (save for Scabiosa, the iron gall).
Well, I hope that as amateur as the photographs are, these mini-reviews have given you some helpful information about these inks. I don't seek in my reviews to list every single attribute of an ink, only those that to me are most useful--maybe that's more of an "impression" type of review, but those are the ones I find most helpful when I look for reviews--so hopefully these have been a bit helpful to you, or at least entertaining!
If you have any questions, don't hesitate to shoot me a comment, I try to reply to all of them!
**All the above ink samples (with the exception of Platinum Blue Black, but I did purchase a bottle of the ink at Goulet) were purchased by me at The Goulet Pen Company, as was the Clairefontaine notebook I used.