Glenn's Pen Page - all about pens and ink

Inks of Choice

Welcome to Inks of Choice

I often am asked as to what inks I prefer. There is a limit to how much ink you can keep. My cupboard of ink bottles is a testimony to a maximum capacity of stored ink!


The index listing to the left links to specific page on each company's ink. For some I have been able to provide a fair amount of information. For example, In 2008 I undertook to test the entire line of Diamine Ink.


Here are some of what I refer to as my "inks of Choice", the brands and colours of fountain pen ink that I keep using on a more reqular basis.


Blue Inks


Parker Penmen Saphire Blue


This has always been one of my favorite inks. A few years ago a very kind individual sent me a case of the ink and I have been storing the bottles in a dark cubboard, and using the ink for special writing occassions.


Penman ink was always at the far ends of the spectrum. Users reported it as a great or bad ink. All I can say is that my experience with the ink was good. Of course all is moot now as the ink is no longer available.

May 09 - Just updating my inks and this is still one of the all time best inks in terms of blue. I have a few bottles left. I still use it, and it is my benchmark for comparison to other blues.

Electric DC Blue

Private Reserve - Electric DC Blue


This was one of my new blues, and one that when it was first released I really liked. I found the colour to be a very rich, bold blue.


Like many of the Private Reserve inks, there is some smearing, but the ink does dry relatively quickly and it is no where near as "moist on the page" that I find with some of the other colours they produce.

May 2009 - Well this ink, at least what I have left of it, has now moved to the back of the ink cupboard and one that I rarely use. The smearing is the main problem. It may look like the ink is dry, but if a finger touches it, well, its all over the place.


Waterman Florida Blue


This is my staple.


I always travel with a bottle of Waterman Florida Blue ink in my briefcase. Other than the fact production batches vary in colour density this is one of the standard inks I always use.


The Waterman ink bottle is well designed, easy to rest on a side and fills even the largest nib. The ink has great flow from any pen. There have been countless cases where I have given a pen user a bottle of this ink and they tell me it is like they have a new pen!


The ink stands the test of time. Return years later to a to a document written in Florida Blue and you have no regrets. I can't say that for all my colour testing!

Visconti Blue Ink

Visconti Blue


I first used Visconti Blue when I was in Italy in September 2008. I had just visited the Visconti factory and wanted to try to the ink to get the total Visconti experience. I immediately like the Blue. because of its bold, strong, rich colour. Great flow.

Aurora Blue

Aurora Blue


I discovered this colour a number of years ago and was immediately pleased. It is a great blue rich blue, although there is a purplish tone to the ink.


Aurora ink only comes in two colours, blue and black. The packaging of the bottles makes both look the same. So you will probably end up home with some black when you through you bought blue. No problem. It is a great black ink also.


It is a tall narrow bottle and getting ink out of the last end of the bottle is a bit of a pain.

Noodler's Manhattan Blue

Noodler - Manhattan Blue


I am always looking for a rich blue ink to use, and this one caught my eye.


As soon as I had loaded up a pen with it and from the time the nib hit the paper ... it really fills a niche in my collection of inks.


This ink is made for Art Brown in New York, so you have to visit his shop to pick it up (




Blue Black Inks

Waterman Blue Black

Waterman Blue Black


Okay, I am back to Waterman Blue Black.


This is a colour that I tend to use for a while, and then stop using. But I always find I am returning to it. I was pleased when the rumours it was being discontinued turned out to be untrue.


With a medium nib the ink has enough concentration that it looks okay. With a broad or stub nib more tone variations appear and the lighter tones of the blue show up in the writing.


For a while I was using Private Reserve Midnight Blue more but in 2007 the consistency of Private Reserve Midnight Blue changed. I had problems with the flow of the ink and now I always seem to be carrying around the Waterman Blue Black.


May 2009 - This is still one of my standby inks. I reguarly use it and it just works well in every pen.


There have been some consistency issues as I did get one lot of ink where it had a distinctive washed-out look. But that was a particular bottle.

Noodler`s Midnight Blue

Noodler`s Midnight Blue


So with the name Midnight Blue I had an expectation that this ink would be similar to Private Reserve`s. In terms of colour it is, and I like this colour very much. I have used it for a few days in the office and I found the trying time to be a bit getter than Private Reserve and it certain has a great flow.



Private Reserver Midnight Blue

Private Reserve Midnight Blue


The Private Reserve line gives pen owners a great selection of colours.


Their Midnight Blue has joined what I call my "regular collection" and there is always a bottle in my briefcase. Very dark in tone. In a medium nib it is very close to the Levenger Cobalt blue. It is only with broad or stub nibs that the blue/black tones emerge.


But starting in late 2007 I experienced flow problems with the ink and I use it less now. Still a great colour.

May 09 - I am using this ink less and less as the most recent batches that I have purchased seem to perform differently. The ink does not dry quick enough and has a problem smearing on the page.
Noodler Legal Lapis Blue

Noodler Legal Lapis Blue


Great blue tones to this rich permanent blue-black ink. Now I have only had it for a short time, and there have been no spills to reconsider the permanent aspect but I like the rich blue tones. There is a good variation in dark and light tones without a washed-out look to the lights. This was written with a M1000 Broad nib and no feathering - just a good controlled flow.


You can see the results of my water test on the Noodler Ink Page.

Noodler Blue Black

Noodler Permanent Blue Black


In contracts to the blue tones of Legal Lapis, the Blue Black, written with an Oblique Double Broad nib, comes across as a solid blue-black and this may nicely fill in for a regular dark blue ink in my books.




Black Inks

Aurora Black

Aurora Black


Of the two black inks that I use the most, Aurora and Pelikan consistently make the list. I find the Waterman Black has a grey tone and lacks the flow of these two great inks.


The Aurora Black, hard to find in Canada, but available through the US and in Italy tends to be my travel journal ink. Good flow, looks great when you read your journal years later. You will like the deep rich colour.


Noodler`s Borealis Black


Borealis Black - Water Effect

Noodler`s Borealis Black


Within moments of writing with this ink I knew this would be a regular feature in my ink cupboard. This is one of the blackest of black inks around. It is water resistent - not waterproof - and that little distinction does help.


So wrote with the ink, and poured a glass of water over the writing. That is way more water than some rain drops on the way to the mail box. Yes there was some ink that flowed across the paper with the water, but on whole, the writing stuck.


Blue Black

Pelikan Black


Pelikan Black ranks right up there with Aurora and is available in many locations. You may be travelling where a pen store is hard to find, but most art/drafting supply stores stock this ink. Good flow, deep rich colour.

Damine Black

Diamine Black


I purchased some of the Diamine ink as the suggestion from visitors of the site. I am glad I did.


The Jet Black is a true, rich black. The flow is very good, no feathering and the ink dries at a good rate. I sample before is with my Omas Paragon with a double broad nib - and with that size of nib there are some inks that just don't work. This leaves a dark rich trail. If an ink looks great with a broad nib, there usually is not problems with mediums and fines.

Private Reserve - Black Velvet

Private Reserve - Black Velvet


In my search for great black inks this one is standing the text of multiple uses and in multiple types of pens. I had a couple of bottles, and was happy with the ink.


Yet, always thinking there is something better, I waited for Private Reserse's Ultra Black to arrive at Vancouver Pen. When I did I purchased a couple of bottles and found the Ultra Black ink to be too fluid - okay in a medium or slow flowing pen, but hopeless in pens with broad and double broad nibs.


That ink being tossed, I am back to using by Black Velvet and very happy with it in a wide range of pens.




Green Inks


Waterman Green


Green is a colour I used quite often, and my two choices always are the Waterman Green and Private Reserve Sherwood Green. The Waterman Green has somewhat less intensity with a broad nib but the tone is such that it looks okay on office documents. The flow is a little less than the Private Reserve, but a good all round ink.

JUuly 2009 - I am picking up a pen that has returned from repairs. The store offers to fill the pen with some ink so I can try the nib out. They filled it with Waterman Gree. What a colour. Now, my only problem is thta the consistency between lots is not that great. As I picked up a couple of bottles of the green to go, but found the green of the ink I bought to be a lighter shade.

Private Reserver



Private Reserve - Sherwood Green


I was a fan of the colour of Emerald Green by Penman although it tended to leave ink flakes under the bottle cap. Everytime I opened the bottle these little flakes would get all over the desk. Well no similar problem has surfaced with the Private Reserve Sherwood Green. Watch your fingers as it is a difficult pen to wash off. But the colour has a nice rich tone... easy replacement for the Penman Sherwood Green. Good flow also.


The Private Reserve Advacado Green is very close, just a bit more of a yellow tone to the ink. When I looked back at a couple pages of meeting notes I concluded the Sherwood Green had a cleaner, crisper look. Becareful, as it takes its time to dry, and therefore is subject to smearing.

Private Reserve Blue Suede

Private Reserve - Blue Suede


Private Reserve Blue Suede is one of my favorite greens. It has a good tone, even in the widest of nibs, good flow, and just looks good on documents.








Purple Inks

Ink  - Waterman Purple

Waterman Purple


Purple is a standby and the Waterman Purple is one colour I have been using for years. I can go back and read hearing notes written years ago and they look fine. Some other colours have not has such a favourable revisit! Good flow. The broader the nib the less the intensity.

Private Reserve

Private Reserve - Tanzanite


he Private Reserve Tanzanite is such a rich purple that it often looks like a very dark blue. No problem with documents. The ink flows like none other I have used. If you have a pen that seens a bit sluggish with ink give this a try!

Burgundy Mist in by Private Reserve

Private Reserve - Burgundy Mist


Private Reserver Burgundy Mist was a surprise, when I first heard about it the term "mist" led me to believe I would never use or try the ink. But I read an article in Stylophiles and sure enough, it is a beauty. Rich tone. If you had blue ink in your pen besure to really clean it out otherwise you will not get the subtle tones.

Montlblanc Violet

Montblanc - Violet


This ink came out near the end of 2007 and from the first time I tried it I must say the colour, intensity and flow of the ink have been very good. It is very similar to Burgundy Mist by Private Reserve, but has a slightly crisper look. It is a dark enough colour that a full page of text is easy on the eye. I even get to use that great Montblanc ink bottle.

May 09 - Well there may not be very many Montblanc inks that I use regularly, but ths one continually finds its way onto my desk at work.






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