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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Noodler's Liberty's Elysium Reformulation...?



After my original video on Noodler's Liberty's Elysium (here), there was a little kerfuffle on the Fountain Pen Network over the definition of the term 'bulletproof' and what it means for an ink's waterproofness. In a good faith effort to try to give everyone what they wanted (more waterproofness), I worked with Nathan on a reformulation as we had announced two weeks ago (here).

I don't want to sway your opinion, so I will just give you the facts here and let you decide for yourself if you like the original or the reformulation. If you have 30 seconds to spare, I'd love if you could fill out a quick survey about which version of the ink you like better.

Go here to fill out the quick survey about Liberty's Elysium. 

I will say that Nathan worked on many different formulas including ones using much more expensive components, and this one I show here was the best he could make that was the closest to the original color. Here are some tests I did:

Brian's review of the original Noodler's Liberty's Elysium formula

Brian's review of the reformulated Liberty's Elysium, better water resistance, but at a price. 

Water drip and smear test with both inks.

Ink dried for 1 hour, then submersed for 30 minutes in water. New LE is better,
but still not what everyone was hoping for.

Top shows rubbing with a  q-tip soaked with bleach until the paper began to
wear away (ink still is readable), bottom shows paper soaking in bleach for
10 full minutes. Both inks lost about 70% visibility, but remain readable. 

These tests, especially the ones with the bleach, are pretty aggressive tests that conventional fountain pen inks would not withstand hardly at all. Only the strongest of inks will withstand this type of testing and I'll be the first to admit that other Noodler's inks like Luxury Blue and Polar Blue are more impenetrable, but at what cost. The most permanent Noodler's inks are flat, chalky-looking colors, and LE does not look like that at all.

After all of this reformulation and with extensive talks with Nathan on the phone, I now have a pretty good understanding of the relationship of the blue dyes in this color range. It would seem there's an inverse relationship between the lubrication/color vibrance of Liberty's Elysium and the permanence/waterproofness. The more vibrant the color, the less permanent it is likely to be, and the more permanent you make it, the flatter and more chalky the color appears, like Luxury Blue and Polar Blue.

So the story of the Liberty's Elysium reformulation is one of give and take, and I'd love to know what you think. Take a second to take the poll and voice your opinion about whether we should move forward with the original or new formulation of this ink.

***Update as of 6/28/2012: The results are in, and it's pretty conclusive! See what everyone thinks of the two inks here

Write On,
Brian Goulet

39 comments:

  1. I'm take the vibrancy over the increased water resistance.

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  2. I seconding the vibrancy over the water fastness.

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  3. A couple of comments. First, even though the video reveals that the reformulated blue is sensibly darker than the original formula, such difference is not shown on the scans above. In these the two colours are very much the same. Is it possibly to upload a swab of the new formula more easily comparable with the original one? Secondly, if they are noticebly different, why to choose between one and the other? You could keep the original formulation under the label Liberty's Elysyum and brand the new one with a different name.

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  4. This seems to be the consensus, especially if you check the comments on the YouTube vid.

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  5. The differences are somewhat subtle and may be muted a bit by your particular computer monitor, I can assure you the two colors are close but easily identifiable apart from each other. Everyone in person I've shown the two colors can pick out the reformulated version without hesitation. You're not the first to suggest making two different inks, but that's not really an option in this case. Nathan's not interested in that, it's one or the other.

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  6. I like the original. I don't need an absolute water resistant blue ink. I have Noodler's Black for that. Don't let the naysayers kill this beautiful ink.

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  7. I much prefer the original color. And it is the color that makes this ink so appealing.

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  8. Please keep original formulation.

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  9. I'm joining the crowd as well.

    I can live with a lack of waterproofness. I jumped on a bottle of the ink due to the prospect of waterproofness, and was a bit let down, but I stayed for the color and shading. If you could wow us with something completely impervious to water, then perhaps the reformulation would be more welcome, but I think what I like about LE is that it finds a sweet spot for shading, saturation, color value (blue-violet balance), and lightness that subtly surpasses even other good blues in this range. Sacrificing that delicate sweet spot for a minor increase in water resistance would be unwise.

    Still, many thanks to you and Nathan for your efforts.

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  10. Put it this way. If the original formulation was so bad, why can't I buy it anymore? Bring back the original.

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  11. I would rather have the reformulation. While I do like the original color, I will take increased water resistance over vibrant colors any day.

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  12. In that case, I prefer the original formulation as water resistance has not been dramatically increased in the new one after all.

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  13. I'm an original fan too. The vibrancy of the original caught my eye and I didn't have any problems with it. I'd like to echo as well the huge thank you's for all your efforts and energy in coming up with this and do many original products!

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  14. I vote for the original. Not a lot of difference in waterproofness between the two, and the original looks like a fountain pen ink instead of something written with a blue Sharpie.

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  15. Michael MattesonJune 21, 2012 at 3:16 PM

    I don't see enough difference to switch formulations. 

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  16. +1 for the original... just bought another bottle in case things go the other way.... so make that +2

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  17. I feel the same way. We were shooting for a vibrant blue with the best permanence possible, and it seems after Nathan's many reformulations that the original was there to begin with.

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  18. This seems to be the general consensus.

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  19. Thanks for your honesty. After testing these inks and preparing a torture experiment with 14 different blues (coming soon), I went back to using original LE again today and I must say, the color is just so nice. I really love the original.

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  20. You can, we still have some of the original. Thought we're almost out, so I will be talking to Nathan soon about what to do moving forward.

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  21. Haha, yeah, that's definitely true. You can see there is a difference in the two inks in digital form, though I can say that in person the difference is even more apparent. I wouldn't' say it looks quite like a Sharpie (Polar Blue and Luxury Blue definitely do!), but the more permanent you go (with blues anyway), the more Sharpie-looking the inks get....

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  22. Haha, well there you have it then, voting with your dollars on that one! 

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  23. I'm pretty much just joining the chorus at this stage but, even though the reformulation does seem to have a little more staying power, it doesn't have the lovely colour of the original. It actually appears to be missing something, some vital quality that made the original pop. It's still a nice colour but it's not the vibrant blue of the original. 

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  24. Actually, scratch that - the color difference is much more apparent with a color calibrated monitor. While the extra water-resistance is nice, the original color is much more vibrant and appealing.

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  25. I prefer the vibrancy and shading of the original formula.

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  26. Ah yes, the color calibration. This is pretty important especially when comparing very close colors. Thanks for your thoughts.

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  27. Yeah, you're right. The new color just doesn't seem to have the 'it' factor of the original...

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  28. Brian, I think there is limited value to Elysium if it doesn't obtain a better level of permanency.  There are plenty of similar blues out there which could substitute Elysium - what would have set Elysium apart, and the only reason I would get Elysium, is because of its permanency and it just isn't at that level yet. I definitely would not replace with the reformulation.  We already have Luxury and Polar Blue.  I would like it if you and Nathan didn't give up, maybe continue your efforts.  I feel passionately about Elysium, as the original shade of blue is something I have been pursuing for some time now.  I don't know what "not really possible" means.  It seems a bit difficult to accept that in the modern day, given all we know about dyes and dye chemistry that you would not be able to economically achieve permanence.

    Something like this would become a standard day-to-day ink for me, so economy is also important.

    Could you and Nathan continue to pursue this?  I really want this ink to work for me - I'd buy it for sure if you could resolve the permanency issue without sacrificing the vibrancy. 

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  29. I fall into a class of FP/ink users where the market is really restrictive for me.  Permance is an absolute necessity for me, because my documents are frequently exposed to wet lab conditions, in addition to the daily risks of spillage and rain.  My information is valuable, I cannot afford to lose information due to a lack of water resistance.  So that is why I was really pinning my hopes on this ink.

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  30. Nathan has done extensive testing and reformulating (far more than just this version I've shown here), and it's by his testimony I am saying that a blue this vibrant isn't possible (right now) to be made more permanent without sacrificing its other qualities. Perhaps future ink chemistry will allow it to happen, but with the dye components currently available, this is the best we'll get. If you need more permanence, then there are several other inks that will get you that. I wish I didn't have to say that, believe me, but we've exhausted all our resources.

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  31. I prefer the color of the original better and it's permanence is good enough for me. Both are equally legible in your tests so I don't see the advantage of sacrificing the color to gain such a small increase in permanency.  

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  32. Exactly, I think most people feel the same way. 

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  33. I currently use Luxury Blue as my everyday blue. If I was after something with the vibrancy of Elysium Blue, but with the permancy of Luxury blue, what are my options?

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  34. Your option would be Liberty's Elysium. Even though it's not as permanent as Luxury Blue, it's the only blue that's not as chalky and flat as Luxury Blue that even has much permanence to it. But if you really need the waterproofness of Luxury Blue, than you're going to need to stick with Luxury Blue or Polar Blue, because unfortunately there's just not a good substitute.

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