Mike is one of the few who have been with me since the beginning of my blog. He and I are very similar in some respects, both married, in our mid-twenties, performing arts backgrounds, and discovering fountain pens and fine writing for the first time without prior exposure to it growing up. He is a good example of the ‘newer’ generation of fountain pen users, using the internet to discover a seemingly lost passion. ~Brian Goulet

I’m a relative newcomer to the world of fountain pens. My background is in the performing arts. As both an actor and director I make heavy use of both pen and paper to make notes on scripts, analyze characters, breakdown scenes, and to generally work out difficult bits of a play somewhere other than in my head. I’m also an avid reader and frustrated wannabe writer, so I began carrying around a small Moleskine notebook to keep track of all of the interesting tidbits, factoids, quotes, and scraps of ideas that I came across every day. Since I tend to obsess over small things sometimes I began the hunt for the perfect pen to carry around with me to keep track of my thoughts. Pilot G-2s had long been my pen of choice and after discovering the world of pen blogs I started accumulating Japanese gel pens with microscopic points in a mind boggling array of colors. It was only a matter of time before I bought my first disposable fountain pen and a Rhodia pad. My desk is now splattered with numerous colors of ink, my hands perpetually stained, and I will soon need a shelf dedicated to all of the paper I have started stockpiling.

I stumbled upon Ink Nouveau last fall. I think it was the first fountain pen blog I started to regularly read. Brian was on his third entry or so and my obsession for pen, ink, and paper has steadily grown, largely because of blogs like this and the FPN. I’m very excited to be writing my first ever review as a guest blogger for Ink Nouveau! I hope you find it helpful.

Diamine Mediterranean Blue is an absolutely gorgeous shade of light blue. It is bright, fun, and vibrant but still very readable on both white and ivory paper.

From everything I have read, and from the few samples I have used, Diamine inks seem to be very well-behaved. Mediterranean Blue flowed nicely in my Lamy Vista which is normally a bit of a dry writer. Mediterranean Blue doesn’t have any skipping trouble and I never have trouble with the pen starting right up with this ink. There is no nib creep and I have no trouble rinsing it out of my pens or off of my fingers.

I am a big fan of highly saturated inks, vibrant colors, and inks that show off a lot of shading. What surprised me most about Mediterranean Blue was the amazing shading even with an extra fine nib. The color variation that I get when I write with this ink keeps me coming back for more. I was very impressed that I was able to get such great line variation without a broader nib.

The one draw back to the lovely line variation is that the ink takes longer to dry in spots. I have adapted to it when I use this pen and ink combo and can avoid smudging pretty easy. I think that a lot of this has to do with the pen and the absorbency of the paper so YMMV. For the most part it dries fast enough for my purposes.

I have had no problem with bleedthrough or feathering with Mediterranean Blue. This is no surprise since I use Clairefontaine  paper 90% of the time. But when I do write on cheap paper at work I still find this ink to be very well-behaved. It is one of the only inks I own that writes well on post-it notes so that’s a big plus as well. I know the pen plays a part in this but I haven’t had post-it success with other inks in this same pen. (I wish Clairefontaine made sticky notes…)

I don’t have many other blue inks to compare this to so I used Herbin’s Eclat de Saphir to help show how light of a blue the Mediterranean is. I used three papers for this review: Lined Rhodia 80g from a No. 18 pad, Clairefontaine Triomphe lined stationary, and Ivory G. Lalo Verge de France. The writing was done with a Lamy Vista EF Nib and a glass dip pen. I used the lyrics from a Tom Waits song in the writing sample.

-Mike Truppi

Diamine Mediterranean Blue is available in 2ml ink samples for $1.25 as well as 80ml bottles for $12.50 from The Goulet Pen Company, where you can also find a huge assortment of Clairefontaine, Rhodia, and G. Lalo fine papers.