Caran d'Ache

Chromatic Colours: Cosmic Black, Magnetic Blue, Organic Brown, Divine Pink, Idyllic Blue, Vibrant Green, Electric Orange, Ultra Violet, Hypnotic Turquoise, Infra Red, Delicate Green, Infinite Grey

In 2012 Caran D'Ache InkI have had limited opportunity to try Caran D'Achine ink when I was in Rome. One of the previous members of the Vancouver Pen Club was a big fan of Amazon - a very interesting green, and I must admit, that is a very appealing green. But, the ink is at a high price point, and the bottle at that, while extremely attractive, only held 30 ml of ink and was too small for the large pen and nibs that I use.

New Colours, New Bottle

In the Spring 2014 I was in Paris and walked by a Caran D'Ache boutique pen counter in the Boutique de Ville Store. The bottles where in a round display and the shape and look of the bottles immediately caught my eye. The bottles are hexagonal in shape, and the bottom has a slight slant.

The cap is very heavy, giving the bottle, and opening the bottle, a very solid experience.

At 30 euro, the store price and the price listed on the Caran d'Ache web site, this is still expensive ink. I see the ink is now available in North America and is selling at about $32US a bottle.

Thankfully the bottle is larger than their previous "Colours of the Earth" line, as the ink comes in a more regular 50 ml in volume and it is taller so filling a pen is so much easier. The new line of inks comes in 13 colors.

The bottle is unique in that the base slants the bottle at about 30 degees so it truly looks different as it sits on the desk. The glass if substantial in terms of weight and the cap is silver toned and likewise feels substantial. When you remove it you will be surprised at how heavy the cap itslef is. The bottle comes in a six sided heavy cardboard case.

My first bottle was Magnetic Blue, which I found to be a nice blue black, and my second bottle was the Idyllic Blue, which is a bright clean blue with other tones. Both inks performed well. I was filling them with a couple of Delta Dolcebvita pens with size 6 nibs, and as substantial pens/nibs filling was no problem with the new bottle.

Caran d'Ache notes they use highly intense pigments with the goal to have intense colours that on white paper "do full justice to a writer's finest inspiration". The bottles are referred to as prisms that reflect light and the intensity of the colours of the ink.

Magnetic Blue

Magnetic Blue, Caran d'AcheWhile the brochure refers to this as a marine blue ink, for me it cam across as a good blue-black.

The ink dries to a flat finish, but that I mean there is no shine or stickness to the ink. Always an important characteristic in my books.

Flow was good, and the ink dried in a reasonable time, less than 5 seconds. No smearing after that.

I tried the ink a Delta Dolcevita fountain pen with a stub nib. That meant a line of good width was laid and the ink had enough colour to stand well. I also have loaded other pens, such as an Esterbrook LJ Medium Stuf nibg. Good performance regardless ofd the pen. Fro the broader lines written with the stub nib, there was a good enough strength in the colour and I found with the stubs, there was some nice shading going on.

Idyllic Blue

Idyllic Blue Caran d'Ache InkWhile I was happy with the Magnetic Blue, Blue is one of those colours that like black, becomes a defining experience for a line of inks.

The Idyllic Blue is brighter but still has strength in its colour although in the long run I do not see this colour making it into my most used inks. I like an even stronger blue.

The bottle makes the pen easy to filol. The performance of the ink was similar to that of the Magnetic Blue: good flow, not runny, dries in a reasonable time, and dries in a good flat format with no shine or stickyness.

Ultra Violet

Ultra Violet by Caran d'Ache


I use this colour on an off-and-on basis and I am having a hard time deciding if I like it. It was their old Storm colour when they produced the ink in the very small, unsuable bottles!

 I usually like colours with a bit more punch, but what I do like about the colour is the subdue tone. I have used this for business writing and Ultra Violet is not one of those colours that when I go back to a page of notes I find myself saying: "What did I use that colour for?" It is a conservative colour tone. For example, Pelikan Violet looks great when writing with a fine nib fountain pen, but when I use that ink in a stub or broad nib, the stroke is broad and the ink often comes across so very bright

Performance is good, although I would classify this as an ink that has slower flow. The sample above is written with the Pelikan M800 Broad Italic nib. That nib allows alot of ink to flow, and the feel of this ink is of control rather than an uncontrolled release.


Previous Ink Colours

Caran d'Ache Ink

  • Amazon - (Green) - described by some as a bright green with no yellow or blue tones. Good flow and good concentrated colour. Marcel wrote me to say that it has a "flow that brings a pen alive." Glenn Clark at one time tested this ink and gave it a 3.2 pH level. The image to the right shows a sample of the ink, very nice green. At one of our Vancouver Pen Club meetings I had the opportunity to try writing with a pen loaded with Storm as well as the Amazon Green. Nice colours, although the bottles were too small. If you see the examples above, in the new Chromatics line of colours, Storm has been replaced with Ultra Violet.

  • Caren D'Ache Blue Black Night - (Dark Blue Black) - In the Feb/Mar 2007 issue of Stylus, Greg Clark tested this ink and found it to be excellent in terms of water resistance and have a 5.5.pH level.

    In 2012 I bought a bottle when I was in Rome. I was pleased with the price, a real bargain in terms of price compared to what the ink costs in North America, but I did not like the colour. So the ink but a disappointment. Far too light for my liking I found it to be a "dry" ink. Some times the Blue-Black inks actually have a green undertone. But not with this ink. The ink dries closer to a dark gray.

  • Sky - (Blue) - this is described as a medium royal blue.
  • Grand Canyon - (Brown) this is said to be a rich dark brown without the red tones that often are found in the brown ink. A little less depth in colour tone.
  • Carbon - (Black) - this is the black for the Caran d'Ache line. Black ink typically has some colour tone and this one has shades of dark purple.
  • Caribbean Sea - (Turquoise) its bright, but will disappear if you spill water on it.
  • Saffron - (Orange) this is being described as a colour that jumps off the page, maybe a bit strong for a full page of text. (Thanks Marcel). Greg Clark's water test found this to all but disappeared when placed in water.