‘Degrees of Grey’ guest blog by Jessica Varin

A special thanks to Jessica, who although is working diligently for final exams still took the time to put together this review for us. Greys have seemed to be fairly popular lately, so I hope you all enjoy the review! ~Brian Goulet

Degrees of Grey: A Comparison of Herbin Cacao du Brésil, Private Reserve Gray Flannel, J. Herbin Gris Nuage, and Diamine Grey.  Guest review by Jessica Varin.

Things that are grey: elephants, concrete, the New York Times. Oh, and ink.

Grey is not watered down black. It can be subtle, complex, and sophisticated. Grey ink may look like a pencil, but it commits like a pen. There are several “degrees of gray” to choose from.

This review focuses on J. Herbin Cacao du Brasil, Private Reserve Gray Flannel, J. Herbin Gris Nuage, and Diamine Grey. The undertones are more prominent than shown in the photos. All inks were tested in my Lamy Safari (EF nib) on a Rhodia dotPad.

J. Herbin Cacao du Brésil is a medium taupe, grey with prominent brown undertones. It has excellent shading, even in my extra-fine nib. Smooth ink; dried fairly quickly. Seems like a classic (yet currently trendy) color. Doesn’t have the harshness of steel grey.

Private Reserve Gray Flannel is a warm grey with yellow-green undertones. Good saturation with little shading. It’s slightly dry and dries surprisingly fast compared to other Private Reserve inks.

J. Herbin Gris Nuage is a cool grey with purple undertones. Low saturation, but good shading. This ink went down dark and dried lighter. I find it difficult to read.

Diamine Grey is what I call a true (cool) grey. Great flow and saturation, almost no shading. This is my favorite of the four.

Private Reserve Gray Flannel and J. Herbin Gris Nuage were provided by The Goulet Pen Company. I own J. Herbin Cacao du Brésil, Diamine Grey, and the Rhodia dotPad. Samples and full sizes of J. Herbin, Private Reserve, and Diamine inks are available at The Goulet Pen Company.

2017-10-11T14:38:51+00:00 June 7th, 2010|Ink Reviews|7 Comments
  • Steven A Horvat

    What about Noodler's 5o'Clock Shadow!

  • Indeed! 5 0'clock shadow is a new ink though, it came out about a year and two months after this post 😉

  • Jwadoski

    I find the private reserve gray flannel works very well with my safari vista with the 1.1 italic nib. Previously this nib was a bit to wet with parker's black. It was feathering and showing through the other side of the paper too much. But the grey flannel is just right. I look forward to trying the diamine gray in the future.

    Thanks for your review.

  • Notimetoulouse

    Two years after this post first landed here, I pitch up looking for the best grey I can find, and here is Jessica pushing me once more towards Diamine Grey. She is now the fifth out of six ink bloggers that rate DG as their favourite grey.
    Time to buy a bottle I think….thanks for this!

  • The crowd has spoken, huh? 😉

  • Notimetoulouse

    Nothing like sitting up here on the fence Brian – five out of six positive reviews nearly always pushes me into a snap decision!

  • James Luckett

    wonderful to find Richard Hugo in an ink review. thank you.