Private Reserve

Private Reserve

Check the Private Reserve website for the latest list of available colours.

There are positive and negative comments expressed about Private Reserve ink. When the line of inks was first introduced, I like many, were very impressed with the range of colours. Now this is what writing with a fountain pen is all about!

Over the years, however, there have been numerous colours that I put on my watch-out list because of the composition of the ink.

In 2007 Private Reserve came out with three inks in a "fast dry" version. See my comments below.

I have noticed a change in the ink over the years. Some of the colours I had previously used I now find unacceptable. Within a few strokes of use I can see if the ink dries on the paper with a shine. That shine is a stickiness. The ink takes a very long time to dry and is subject to smearing.

Because most of the inks that I have purchased in the past year of so (2012, 2013) have not performed that well, it is one of those brands that I am moving away from using. There are other brands and colours that I feel more secure buying. At the price of ink, I don't need to bring another bottle home to find that it is not performing to what I require.

Now, in 2017 I have moved away from this ink, I still use it from time to time, but I found better performing, and more consistency is colour, with other brands.

Comments on the range of colours are as follows:


American Blue

American Blue - Private ReserverWhen this ink came out, I tried it and liked the depth of colour to the blue, so as with all ink addicts, I bought three bottles - a bottle for home, for the office, for the brief case. Doesn't everyone do that?

Now that I have used the ink for a while I find that it is really great in a medium nib, but in a broad or stub nib the flow is heavy and the ink is easy to smudge. But I really like the colour.

On a 2010 trip to Paradise Pen in Dallas, Texas, I was told this is one of the most popular selling colours by Private Reserve. From time to time in using the ink I had a love, and then not so much love it relationship. It is still a great colour, as long as the ink works for you.


Avocado Green

My first reaction to this green was very positive and I ended up buying a couple of bottles. The ink has a softer tone than Sherwood Green, but I have reverted back to Sherwood Green for my green, as I find that colour crisper.

Black Cherry

I must admit, the colour has an appeal. It is almost a burgundy but there is a brown undertone. Overall, good dark tone, writes well with both broad and medium nibs. I tend not to use this colour on a regular basis as when you look at a page of writing, it sometimes just looks like mud. It is one of those colours that looks good, in small amounts!

Black Magic Blue

Private Reserve Black Magic BlueI picked up a few bottled of this, when you open the bottle and see some of the ink on the cardboard liner of the cap you will think you have opened a bottle of Tanzanite Purple in error. The colour is the dark rich purple with added colour to give a very dark blue-black look. I like it, it would be better if it did not have the purple undertones.

Over the years as I would purchase a new bottle I found flow and colour tones were not consistent.


Blue Suede

This is really closer to a teal blue/green, but it does have a nice rich tone in both medium and broad nibs. It has been an ink of choice for the past few months. Again, the colour is deep enough to look okay for business writing. I find I use it regularly. Can't wait for my OMAS 360 Vintage Teal to arrive in October 2012. This colour is made for the pen!

The ink has been around for a long time, and since I keep my ink in a closed cupboard, some five years later I opened up a bottle to use in one of my pens. Ink worked find. But, from what I hear from some retailers is that if I was using a newer bottle, I am not be saying the same thing.

Burgundy Mist

Don't be mistaken by the title, there is really nothing "misty" about this colour. It is a nice rich Burgundy-color ink, and quickly becoming one I am enjoying to write with. It has even edged into my Inks of Choice.


DC Supershow Blue

Private Reserve DC Supershow BlueLike most pen users, I am always looking for the perfect blue. This has a more punch that Lake Placid Blue and I am enjoying using this colour .

The ink was first produced in 2003 for the Washington DC Pen Show. It was to be a Special Edition Ink, one run only. Well not so as they then produced the ink in later years.

It is one of those stunning blues. I have found it takes well over five second to dry, in fact, closer to ten seconds. Draw your finger across writing before that and it will smear. This ink did not have the stickiness that are in some of the Private Reserve colours - and I say that with the reservation that I am still using some of the ink from the old round glass bottle production years.


Ebony Blue

Private Reserve, Ebony BlueThis is a new colour out in the spring/summer of 2008. Looking at the name, I thought this would be a very rich blue black, but it is really a dark Suede Green tone ink.

I found the ink to have good flow. In terms of dry time, is reasonable, with the ink drying totally on the paper between five to ten seconds. I typically test ink by wiping my finger across the ink after five seconds - some smearing. But, most importantly, there was no stickiness of the ink on the paper after it dried. That is important for me as it means there will not be ongoing smearing of the ink.


Electric DC Blue

Brillant DC BlueWow, what a pleasant surprise. In 2007 I was at my local pen store, Vancouver Pen, and of course went to check out what was new in ink, and there was a new blue by Private Reserve. This one I really like. Rich, bold, lots of character. This blue looks great on the paper.


Lake Placid Blue

Lake Placid BolueSome say this is a neutral blue. I have used this colour from time to time, although I say that with the caution that I am using ink from the old round bottles. When it is freshly laid on the paper, there is a nice brightness about it. Sometimes I go back and look at notes taken with the pen and especially with medium nibs, the ink has a non-de script blue look.

Midnight Blues

Private Reserve Midnight BluesThis used to be one of my Inks of Note and it was a real staple on my desk. Great rich blue tones. Good flow, worked in every pen I have tried. The bottles I purchased in November of 2007 had much different characteristics. If found the ink to have a faster flow, and to tend to feather on various paper. I wrote Private Reserve to ask if they had changed their formula, or did I just get a bad bottle. Unfortunately, no reply, and for the time being, I have returned the bottles I most recently bought and not using this ink anymore.

Unfortunately, this went from an Ink of Choice to one that I avoid.


Midnight Blues - Fast Dry

I bought this in great anticipation but have been disappointed. It does dry faster. But the ink bleeds into the paper. My thought was to stick with the regular line, however, my most recent purchases were disappointing.



Naples Blue

Naples Blue by Private ReserveRich peacock blue, colour and tone dark enough for business writing. I always seem to get good comments when people see this colour on the page.

The ink is smooth flowing. I have been using it for years and had a good supply on ink on hand.

2013 Update

Unfortunately, in 2013 when I purchased additional bottles of the ink I found that the ink has changed.

On a hard finish paper the ink takes up to ten seconds to dry. There is a sticky feel to the ink. It has a real sheen. It is bad in terms of smearing. With regrets, I will not be using this ink any longer.



Plum - Private ReserveGood tone, somewhat like the Pelikan Purple, but has a rich colour all its own. I find it great for my personal notes but a little too startling for office documents! Your writing certainly stands off the page!


Sherwood Green

Sherwood Green, Private ReserveWhen I first tried this ink I wrote that I had now found a replacement for the deep rich Penman Green ink that I used to enjoy. Anyone who likes green, will see this ink and says that is it for them! Rich, dark green, and a colour that is easy on the eye, it has become one of my Inks of Choice.

So now, five years later I am still using this colour. The ink has good performance. The only restriction is that it seems any spill of ink in my house is always a green, so I am restricted in my use.

Other than my house issues, the ink has good performance, dries in five seconds and no smearing.


Shoreline Gold

Wow, what a pleasant surprise. In 2007 I was at my local pen store, Vancouver Pen, and of course went to check out what was new in ink, and there was a new blue by Private Reserve. This one I really like. Rich, bold, lots of character. This blue looks great on the paper.

Shoreline Gold

Private Reserve Shoreline GoldGustavo at send a note back with a nib that he had ground for me. The note was written with a distinct gold/orange ink. It was one of those colours that I kept looking at.

I found a bottle at Vancouver Pen and started to use it. I think it will remain as one of the many colours of ink I will keep, but only use from time to time.

There is good tone variations on the strokes. The sample to the left is written with a broad oblique Pelikan nib. The ink has a very different look depending on the paper used. It also dries to a darker richer tone than when wet.

Tanzanite Purple

Tanzanite by Private ReserveA deep, rich purple, almost a dark blue, I use this ink often. It is a purple that does not seem out of place on business documents.

This is one of the fastest flowing inks I have every owned. If you have a pen that typically has a slow ink flow this colour has flow. Like a variety of the Private Reserve colours, various pen discussion boards will include this as an ink with performance issues.

I found the ink to take more than 10 seconds to dry, and that is based on different papers that range from good quality Rhodia to regular office quality paper.

Lots of dyes in this ink so use accordingly.


Ultra Black

Ultra BlackI was waiting with eager anticipation for this ink to arrive in Vancouver. When Vancouver Pen received their shipment I made my way down to the store and picked up a few bottles. I expected this to be an Ink of Choice. Big disappointment. Yes it is one of the blackest inks around, but the flow of this ink is too much. It just gushes out of a pen. With a medium or fine nib you have a chance. With my stub and broad nibs, however, I found the ink to be unusable.

Ultra Black - Fast Dry

In the fall 2007 Private Reserve came out with a line of Fast Dry Inks. Ultra Black is one of the colours in this series. It costs more, but I do like the taller narrower bottle (easier to fill a pen with a big nib).

Virtually unusable with a broad-nib pen. It just flows and bleeds into the paper. I also did not like the way the ink coated the metal bottom of the nib section or how it coated the nib itself.


Velvet Black

Black VelvetThe original Private Reserve Velvet Black is an ink that I was having good success. I found the ink to have a good rich black tone. No gray or blue undertones to this ink.

The bottles that I still have are from a number of years ago so new production could result in ink with different results. I found the flow good with none of the "gushing" properties I found with Ultra Black. Looking at the two samples, almost an indistinguishable difference, although you can see the Ultra Black is a tone darker. Too bad I can't use it.