Brian Goulet’s 5 Favorite Fountain Pen Inks

I get asked a lot what my favorite fountain pen ink colors are, and the honest truth is that I love a huge variety of color. I am a serial ink sampler and love changing colors all the time because to me, that’s a huge part of the enjoyment of using fountain pens! But over the last 3 years or so, I have definitely noticed there are some inks more than others that I am more likely to fill in my pens. I have a “Brian’s Favorites” ink sample package set on my site and have talked about my favorites in various blog posts and videos, but I haven’t sat down and talked about which are at the top for me and why.

I am a retailer and while you can certainly buy these inks from me, that is not at all the intention behind this blog post. I didn’t check any of my inventory levels before doing this blog post so I have no idea if I’m low or out of any of these colors, but that’s inconsequential to me because I’m posting this purely to share with you my own individual preferences. That said, I really would love to hear what your top 5 inks are, so be sure to post in the comments below! Here are mine, in no particular order:

Noodler’s Black

This ink is just my standby. I am actually not a huge fan of black ink in general, mainly because I just find them boring. But they are necessary in life, and when I need a black this is the one I go to. There are a lot of other great black inks and I will not try to debate with anyone that this one is the best for everyone. But I like it for several reasons: it performs well, it’s permanent, it’s easy to clean, and as a blogger/reviewer it’s a commonly recognized that’s a great basis of comparison when talking about other inks since so many people are familiar with it. It’s for these reasons I have standardized on Noodler’s Black for my Nib Nook writing samples, and why it’s my go-to black ink when I need one.

Diamine Majestic Blue

I both love and hate this ink. It smears, it has a really long dry time, and if you’re writing with it in a muggy Virginia summer on an ink resistant paper, just forget that it will ever fully dry. But even with all the fuss, I still absolutely love this ink. The color is spellbinding to me. It’s a deep, rich navy blue with a distinct and vibrant red sheen, unlike just about any other ink. I use it mostly in either very fine nibs to get the deepest blue shade possible, or in italic nibs to have that sheen really pop.

Noodler’s Apache Sunset

If you’ve watched just about any video where I’m using a flexible nib, you’ll know this is my go-to. I adore the multi-color properties of this ink. To say that it shades is an understatement, it shades so intensely that it actually shifts from yellow to orange to red as you write with more or less ink, especially on an ink resistant paper. I love it in italic/stub nibs as well. Even though yellows and oranges aren’t normally my thing, this ink is one I always grab when I want to see something cool happen.

Noodler’s Liberty’s Elysium

I’m willing to bet that a lot of you who’ve followed me for a while might guess I would pick Noodler’s Blue or Pilot Iroshizuku Kon-Peki, and they were certainly close contenders. I’m a real sucker for this mid-range cerulean shade of blue, as evidenced by the color in the Goulet ink splatter logo, and even the shirt I’m wearing in this video! But what won out Liberty’s Elysium for me is my obvious personal interest and affiliation with the ink’s creation. This is a color that helped bring to life with Nathan Tardif of Noodler’s Ink. I was born and raised just miles from Patrick Henry’s Scotchtown, and I graduated from Patrick Henry High School. I proposed the idea to Nathan about doing a Patrick Henry-themed ink, and expressed to him that I wanted a blue like Noodler’s Blue, but with permanent qualities. After several formulations we settled on the current shade, and Nathan admittedly used his vast knowledge and love of US history to incorporate Nathan Hale and Mary Dyer into the bottle label to tie in his roots from the Boston, Mass. area. Not only is this ink something I find a pleasure to use, but I also appreciate the history behind its name and label.

Diamine Red Dragon

There are a number of strong red inks available from several different brands, and you could easily argue any of them to be the best based on your own personal preference. I have a great respect for colors like Diamine Matador, Diamine Oxblood, Noodler’s Tiananmen, and Sheaffer Red, but for one reason or another ever since I inked up my pen with Diamine Red Dragon I fell in love. I tend to use it in finer nibs, to get a deep, punchy red on my page. I have little explanation for why I love this color, I just do.

If you’re a loyal fan, I doubt you’re too shocked by my choices. However, I don’t know what yours are! I would really love to hear, so please post your top 5’s in the comments below…

Write On,
Brian Goulet

2017-10-11T13:57:25+00:00 October 1st, 2013|Top 10 Lists|118 Comments
  • Susan_T_meowmda

    While I do try lots of different inks, my reliable and well-behaved favorite is Noodler’s Purple Heart.

    • Nice! I do love that ink (obviously, I worked with Nathan on this one, too).

  • Susan_T_meowmda

    While I do try lots of different inks, my reliable and well-behaved favorite is Noodler's Purple Heart.

  • Richard Ingles

    I, too, really like the Diamine Red Dragon. It is one of my two favorite colored inks. The other is De Atramentis Steel Blue. For everyday black I found I prefer J. Herbin Perle Noir. All of these are smooth writing, attractive and quick drying on paper, and stay wet in the pen.

    • Nice, good choices. Steel Blue is a really cool color.

  • Richard Ingles

    I, too, really like the Diamine Red Dragon. It is one of my two favorite colored inks. The other is De Atramentis Steel Blue. For everyday black I found I prefer J. Herbin Perle Noir. All of these are smooth writing, attractive and quick drying on paper, and stay wet in the pen.

  • Garrett K

    That is a great list. I am looking for a red ink and definitely will be considering the Diamine Red Dragon. Also the Noodler’s Liberty’s Elysium remains tempting, I will have to buy that one sometime soon.

    My favourite in no particular order are:

    Diamine Denim – This is only used in my Esterbrook which is a beautiful blue and I wanted an ink to match.

    Pilot Iroshizumu Kon-Peki – An amazing ink that I usually save for my TWSBI because it looks amazing both on paper and in the demonstrator. Have not had any problems with this ink in any of my pens so far.

    Noodler’s Baystate Blue – Bright and vibrant I just love how this ink looks on the page. It more than makes up for possible staining issues and is currently in my TWSBI. Decided to roll the dice on the staining issue but I’m not too worried – pens should be inky. At the very worst it will just be a dedicated Baystate Blue pen.

    Diamine Ancient Copper – I love the shading on this ink and how it looks when using a stub or flexible nib. A very good choice when I am feeling like moving away from blue or black inks.

    Noodler’s North African Violet – I was hesitant about using a purple ink but this one is great. I usually have it in my Noodler’s Ahab (Pequot). I really enjoy the rich purple of this ink whether I am using a flxible nib or the EF Goulet nib I bought to go with it.

  • Garrett K

    That is a great list. I am looking for a red ink and definitely will be considering the Diamine Red Dragon. Also the Noodler's Liberty's Elysium remains tempting, I will have to buy that one sometime soon.

    My favourite in no particular order are:

    Diamine Denim – This is only used in my Esterbrook which is a beautiful blue and I wanted an ink to match.

    Pilot Iroshizumu Kon-Peki – An amazing ink that I usually save for my TWSBI because it looks amazing both on paper and in the demonstrator. Have not had any problems with this ink in any of my pens so far.

    Noodler's Baystate Blue – Bright and vibrant I just love how this ink looks on the page. It more than makes up for possible staining issues and is currently in my TWSBI. Decided to roll the dice on the staining issue but I'm not too worried – pens should be inky. At the very worst it will just be a dedicated Baystate Blue pen.

    Diamine Ancient Copper – I love the shading on this ink and how it looks when using a stub or flexible nib. A very good choice when I am feeling like moving away from blue or black inks.

    Noodler's North African Violet – I was hesitant about using a purple ink but this one is great. I usually have it in my Noodler's Ahab (Pequot). I really enjoy the rich purple of this ink whether I am using a flxible nib or the EF Goulet nib I bought to go with it.

  • sygyzy

    Brian, it’d be cool if you packaged these five inks together for a Goulet Special, offering a small discount.

    • PenGuy

      Ditto! Or even sold a sample pack. There are three there that I haven’t tried. Love the red.

  • sygyzy

    Brian, it'd be cool if you packaged these five inks together for a Goulet Special, offering a small discount.

  • My favorite ink: Private Reserve Avacado. It’s one of those things like you and Red Dragon. I just love it! There’s shading but it’s dark and very rich. I like green the way you like blue. I could write with it all the time.

  • bessicajach

    My favorite ink: Private Reserve Avacado. It's one of those things like you and Red Dragon. I just love it! There's shading but it's dark and very rich. I like green the way you like blue. I could write with it all the time.

  • PenGuy

    Ditto! Or even sold a sample pack. There are three there that I haven't tried. Love the red.

  • hsianloon

    Pelikan Brilliant Black 4001 – After all the blacks I’ve used, it’s highly reliable, not to mention cheap. Heresy to say here, but it’s just black after all ! (awaiting the firing squad…

    Noodlers Aircorp Blue Black – Now this my ideal dark green. Don’t know who named it blue black…there’s no hint of blue as far as I can see.

    Those are my two work inks.

    Yama-budo. Good for highlighting notes
    Fuyu Syogun – I’m new into the world of grey, but this is a very relaxing grey to have, with great shading in most pens
    Nagasawa Kobe Sourakuen Green – A subdued green, which brings the imagery of pandas eating bamboo and drinking green tea with wise samurais.

    • Arika Harman Cloud

      You’re right about that Aircorp Blue Black! I think Green Black is more accurate. I got a sample of it in my last order and I like it quite a bit!

      • Austin

        I can’t get anything but black out of Aircorps unless i smear or dilute it. I was actually disappointed. any tips?

  • hsianloon

    Pelikan Brilliant Black 4001 – After all the blacks I've used, it's highly reliable, not to mention cheap. Heresy to say here, but it's just black after all ! (awaiting the firing squad…

    Noodlers Aircorp Blue Black – Now this my ideal dark green. Don't know who named it blue black…there's no hint of blue as far as I can see.

    Those are my two work inks.

    Yama-budo. Good for highlighting notes
    Fuyu Syogun – I'm new into the world of grey, but this is a very relaxing grey to have, with great shading in most pens
    Nagasawa Kobe Sourakuen Green – A subdued green, which brings the imagery of pandas eating bamboo and drinking green tea with wise samurais.

  • Sandra

    Diamine soft mint
    Noodlers Apache sunset
    Diamine Deep magenta
    the rest are yet to be determined

  • Sandra

    Diamine soft mint
    Noodlers Apache sunset
    Diamine Deep magenta
    the rest are yet to be determined

  • Giovanni’s Roomba

    In no particular order:

    Apache Sunset, because I don’t know how he packs all those reds, oranges, and yellows into one ink, but it is just magic (especially in a flex pen);

    Pelikan Edelstein Tanzanite, without question the most beautiful blue-black in the world (and I’ve tried at least twenty of them);

    Pilot Iroshizuku Fuyu-syogun, a gloriously cold, neutral grey;

    Scribal Workshop Zhulong, the best red I can imagine, a pure red with no violet or orange to it;

    Diamine Damson, the perfect dark violet.

  • Giovanni’s Roomba

    In no particular order:

    Apache Sunset, because I don't know how he packs all those reds, oranges, and yellows into one ink, but it is just magic (especially in a flex pen);

    Pelikan Edelstein Tanzanite, without question the most beautiful blue-black in the world (and I've tried at least twenty of them);

    Pilot Iroshizuku Fuyu-syogun, a gloriously cold, neutral grey;

    Scribal Workshop Zhulong, the best red I can imagine, a pure red with no violet or orange to it;

    Diamine Damson, the perfect dark violet.

  • Nice! I do love that ink (obviously, I worked with Nathan on this one, too).

  • Nice, good choices. Steel Blue is a really cool color.

  • Julian Popp

    Diamine Majestic Blue (Notes) and Red Dragon (Notes, Corrections) are within my top five as well. DMB really smears a lot – especially on Post-It. But it really IS special – as Brian said in the video.

    Noodlers Eel Blue (Personal and Business Letters), Walnut (Filofax) and Lamy Red (Corrections and Grading) complete the top five. In my office, I always have a pen with Lamy Blue at hand. Compared to DMB, Lamy Blue is really business compatible (dry time, paper compatibility) – yet a little bit boring. Therefore I use it with a 1.1mm Lamy nib for more “character”. I used Diamine Evergreen a lot last year but somehow it fell of the top 5 list beginning of 2013.

  • Julian Popp

    Diamine Majestic Blue (Notes) and Red Dragon (Notes, Corrections) are within my top five as well. DMB really smears a lot – especially on Post-It. But it really IS special – as Brian said in the video.

    Noodlers Eel Blue (Personal and Business Letters), Walnut (Filofax) and Lamy Red (Corrections and Grading) complete the top five. In my office, I always have a pen with Lamy Blue at hand. Compared to DMB, Lamy Blue is really business compatible (dry time, paper compatibility) – yet a little bit boring. Therefore I use it with a 1.1mm Lamy nib for more "character". I used Diamine Evergreen a lot last year but somehow it fell of the top 5 list beginning of 2013.

  • Samer

    In no particular order:

    Montblanc Lavender Purple
    Montblanc Irish Green

    Montblanc Albert Einstein – Charcoal Grey

    Pilot Iroshizuku Kon Peki (Cerulean Blue)
    Noodler’s Ottoman Azure (a beautiful Blue color, close but different from Kon Peki)

  • Samer

    In no particular order:

    Montblanc Lavender Purple
    Montblanc Irish Green

    Montblanc Albert Einstein – Charcoal Grey

    Pilot Iroshizuku Kon Peki (Cerulean Blue)
    Noodler's Ottoman Azure (a beautiful Blue color, close but different from Kon Peki)

  • L Bogdan

    Diamine red dragon looks fine. put on the list. Now i am using waterman nostalgia absolute brown. I like color. Stipula dark red another beautiful color but still not dark. lets say these 2 are my favorite for the moment.

  • L Bogdan

    Diamine red dragon looks fine. put on the list. Now i am using waterman nostalgia absolute brown. I like color. Stipula dark red another beautiful color but still not dark. lets say these 2 are my favorite for the moment.

  • Robert Guthrie

    I started out with Noodler’s Black, and have yet to find a more well-behaved ink. Not that I’ve been in the hobby that long, but I’ve sampled about 15 inks so far, and even selected several Noodler’s inks specifically for properties they share with Black; so far none do better on papers that do poorly with fountain pen ink.

    I love Noodler’s Black Swan in Australian Roses. It’s my go-to ink in 1.1 mm nib; I love the shading, but it also behaves well on cheaper papers in a pen with fine or extra fine nib. It’s as close as I’m likely to come to purple, which isn’t very close, as this ink is more of a Burgundy.

    I’m still looking for my blue, but am hovering on Noodler’s “Navy”. I’m not 100% convinced, but it shades so nicely. My main issue with the color is that it hues awfully close to that swimming pool aqua blue (pretty low down on the list of colors I like). But that shading is so very nice…

    I’m still in the process of sampling some reds, but I think Black swan is close enough to satisfy me on that front, and then it’s on to samples in the green and brown inks. No doubt, I’ll settle on Noodler’s, though I do sample other brands; it’s just that permanence and reduced bleed-through are important to me, and it’s the brand that seems to deliver on those fronts (Partial bulletproofness is good enough for me).

    Yes, I am pretty Noodler’s heavy in my inks; I’m new to the hobby like I said, but also, they are the only inks that advertise permanent and waterproof properties.

  • Robert Guthrie

    I started out with Noodler's Black, and have yet to find a more well-behaved ink. Not that I've been in the hobby that long, but I've sampled about 15 inks so far, and even selected several Noodler's inks specifically for properties they share with Black; so far none do better on papers that do poorly with fountain pen ink.

    I love Noodler's Black Swan in Australian Roses. It's my go-to ink in 1.1 mm nib; I love the shading, but it also behaves well on cheaper papers in a pen with fine or extra fine nib. It's as close as I'm likely to come to purple, which isn't very close, as this ink is more of a Burgundy.

    I'm still looking for my blue, but am hovering on Noodler's "Navy". I'm not 100% convinced, but it shades so nicely. My main issue with the color is that it hues awfully close to that swimming pool aqua blue (pretty low down on the list of colors I like). But that shading is so very nice…

    I'm still in the process of sampling some reds, but I think Black swan is close enough to satisfy me on that front, and then it's on to samples in the green and brown inks. No doubt, I'll settle on Noodler's, though I do sample other brands; it's just that permanence and reduced bleed-through are important to me, and it's the brand that seems to deliver on those fronts (Partial bulletproofness is good enough for me).

    Yes, I am pretty Noodler's heavy in my inks; I'm new to the hobby like I said, but also, they are the only inks that advertise permanent and waterproof properties.

  • $29304501

    Which is my favorite child? (Just kidding)

    1. Noodler’s Black: my absolute favorite ink.
    2. Sailor Epinard: I love this color even though I am currently boycotting the brand. Hopefully their relationship with Goulet Pens changes when I use up this bottle.
    3. Noodler’s Baystate Blue: normally I don’t like blues, but this one is just special.
    4. Noodler’s Apache Sunset: Nice shading and I like orange

    5. Noodler’s Black Swan in English Rose or Burgundy: I’m tying these two. I like a red, and both belong on the list.

    I’ve finally wised up and started buying mostly samples, unless I love a color and have a use for it. For a while I had too many bottles with colors I liked but didn’t use, and also some bottles with colors I didn’t like at all. I gave them all away and got a much nicer sized collection of inks I love. Other than the Black, this was a tough list to write.

  • Waski_the_Squirrel

    Which is my favorite child? (Just kidding)

    1. Noodler's Black: my absolute favorite ink.
    2. Sailor Epinard: I love this color even though I am currently boycotting the brand. Hopefully their relationship with Goulet Pens changes when I use up this bottle.
    3. Noodler's Baystate Blue: normally I don't like blues, but this one is just special.
    4. Noodler's Apache Sunset: Nice shading and I like orange

    5. Noodler's Black Swan in English Rose or Burgundy: I'm tying these two. I like a red, and both belong on the list.

    I've finally wised up and started buying mostly samples, unless I love a color and have a use for it. For a while I had too many bottles with colors I liked but didn't use, and also some bottles with colors I didn't like at all. I gave them all away and got a much nicer sized collection of inks I love. Other than the Black, this was a tough list to write.

  • GimmieCookiee

    just top 3 because I don’t have that many inks unfortunately 🙁

    1)Noodler’s Prime of the Commons: I like how its in between blue and green depending on the light and wetness of the line and is dark enough to pass off as black to the unassuming, so I can use it for more ‘formal’ purposes.

    2)Waterman Tender Purple: Besides being a nice colour, its one of the most well behaved inks I’ve used in terms of smearing due to sweaty palms and washing out from pens.

    3)Noodler’s X-Feather: My go-to ink for calligraphy and writing on fountain pen unfriendly paper.

    I seem to be the only person who doesn’t like Apache Sunset. Bought a bottle after reading overwhelming number of positive reviews but I can’t seem to get the same effect on my flex pens. The shading doesn’t last after drying and I end up with yellows on (intentionally) very fast upstrokes and brown everywhere else.

  • GimmieCookiee

    just top 3 because I don't have that many inks unfortunately 🙁

    1)Noodler's Prime of the Commons: I like how its in between blue and green depending on the light and wetness of the line and is dark enough to pass off as black to the unassuming, so I can use it for more 'formal' purposes.

    2)Waterman Tender Purple: Besides being a nice colour, its one of the most well behaved inks I've used in terms of smearing due to sweaty palms and washing out from pens.

    3)Noodler's X-Feather: My go-to ink for calligraphy and writing on fountain pen unfriendly paper.

    I seem to be the only person who doesn't like Apache Sunset. Bought a bottle after reading overwhelming number of positive reviews but I can't seem to get the same effect on my flex pens. The shading doesn't last after drying and I end up with yellows on (intentionally) very fast upstrokes and brown everywhere else.

  • Carlos

    I really like Liberty’s Elysium!!! I use it everyday with my Lamy Vista… It is just an awesome ink!! I love the bottle, I love the story and the history behind it!! And I love the color and the properties of the ink!! I actualy started grading papers and exams with this ink!!! I just love the color too much!! I stopped using my Waterman red colored ink for grading!!! Is there a red ink with the properties of the Liberty’s Elysium??

  • Carlos

    I really like Liberty's Elysium!!! I use it everyday with my Lamy Vista… It is just an awesome ink!! I love the bottle, I love the story and the history behind it!! And I love the color and the properties of the ink!! I actualy started grading papers and exams with this ink!!! I just love the color too much!! I stopped using my Waterman red colored ink for grading!!! Is there a red ink with the properties of the Liberty's Elysium??

  • Mary

    Noodler’s Black — I use this everyday in my work.
    Diamine Burnt Sienna — The color I use in my journal. Makes my heart sing.
    Diamine Bilberry — The pretty deep blue I use with my italic nib.
    Noodler’s Black Swan Australian Roses — The color I can’t live without.

  • Mary

    Noodler's Black — I use this everyday in my work.
    Diamine Burnt Sienna — The color I use in my journal. Makes my heart sing.
    Diamine Bilberry — The pretty deep blue I use with my italic nib.
    Noodler's Black Swan Australian Roses — The color I can't live without.

  • anaximander70

    J. Herbin Pearle Noir
    Pilot Iroshizuku Asa-gao
    Pelikan 4001 Blue-black
    Noodler’s Zhivago
    J. Herbin Vert Empire

  • anaximander70

    J. Herbin Pearle Noir
    Pilot Iroshizuku Asa-gao
    Pelikan 4001 Blue-black
    Noodler's Zhivago
    J. Herbin Vert Empire

  • Rori Lieurance

    I would have said Kon Peki! lol

  • Rori Lieurance

    I would have said Kon Peki! lol

  • Rori Lieurance

    5 favorite inks in order of adoration:

    Noodler’s 54th Massachusetts (FANTASTIC STUFF!)
    Iroshi Fuyu Syogun

    Noodler’s El Lawrence (pain in the rear, but AWESOME any way)

    Noodler’s Navy

    Diamine Graphite

    Ok, picking just 5 is hard! So a few others I dig:

    Iroshi Tsuki Yo
    Noodler’s Blue Black

    Noodler’s Saguaro Wine or Cactus Fruit Eel
    Every Noodler’s black ink I’ve tried

    Hands down, if I could only ever have one brand of ink, it would be Noodler’s, and I use FAR more Noodler’s than anything else. (No, I don’t work for Nathan 😉

    • Chuck Roemer

      I agree about El Lawrence – I love it but it is a pain. Works well in an Ahab with the Goulet nib.

      • Rori Lieurance

        Thank you! I was just adding a Konrad/Goulet nib to my cart for Whaleman’s Sepia-which is also a pain-and yet a really neat ink.

  • pepms

    In no particular order:

    Diamine Mediterranean Blue
    Noodlers Army Green
    Noodlers Black Swann in Australian Roses
    Aurora Black

    Pilot Iroshizuku Kon-Peki

  • DMac

    In no particular order…

    Noodler’s 54th Massachusetts: Waterproof and interesting-looking blue-black that doesn’t feather or bleed even on crappy paper. Obligatory “work-appropriate” choice.

    Private Reserve Sherwood Green Fast-Dry: A bit of an unusual choice but I really like this ink. The only thing I’ll put in my Apple Green Lamy Safari. The perfect green colour for me and shades really well.

    Diamine Steel Blue: Awesome blue-green, great shading. Reminds me of the old Sheaffer’s Peacock Blue (which I loved).

    Diamine Bilberry: Blue-violet with loads of gold sheen! Really cool (even if it’s a little smeary).

    Diamine Oxblood: A tough choice for the last ink, but Oxblood is such a nice, classy dark red.

    I’m a bit of a Diamine fan… such a great range of inks and so many colours by them that just barely missed making the list.

  • Chuck Roemer

    I have two: Private Reserve Sherwood Green Fast Dry for Christmas cards, and Sailor Jentle Blue-Black, which is a very saturated, refined color that still dries fast.

  • Chuck Roemer

    I have two: Private Reserve Sherwood Green Fast Dry for Christmas cards, and Sailor Jentle Blue-Black, which is a very saturated, refined color that still dries fast.

  • Chuck Roemer

    I agree about El Lawrence – I love it but it is a pain. Works well in an Ahab with the Goulet nib.

  • Dr. Moby

    My top 5:
    PR Tanzanite
    Diamine Grey
    Montblanc Irish Green
    Iroshizuku Shin-Kai (love to watch it change color as it dries!)
    PR Velvet Black–for drawing, w/ dark line & beautiful purple wash

    • Rori Lieurance

      Ooh, I just ordered some Velvet Blk to draw with 😀

  • Dr. Moby

    My top 5:
    PR Tanzanite
    Diamine Grey
    Montblanc Irish Green
    Iroshizuku Shin-Kai (love to watch it change color as it dries!)
    PR Velvet Black–for drawing, w/ dark line & beautiful purple wash

  • Rori Lieurance

    Thank you! I was just adding a Konrad/Goulet nib to my cart for Whaleman's Sepia-which is also a pain-and yet a really neat ink.

  • Rori Lieurance

    Ooh, I just ordered some Velvet Blk to draw with 😀

  • Tina

    My favorites for sketching:
    Platinum Carbon Black
    Iroshizuku Take-Sumi
    PR Black Velvet
    Diamine Chocolate Brown
    Diamine Eclipse

    My favorites for writing (I rotate these):

    Iroshizuku Yama-Budo
    Iroshizuku Ku-Jaku
    Iroshizuku Chizu-Rin
    Diamine Red Dragon
    And about a hundred others! (These would not be possible without your delightful samples… Thank you for letting us buy in small quantities!)

  • Tina

    My favorites for sketching:
    Platinum Carbon Black
    Iroshizuku Take-Sumi
    PR Black Velvet
    Diamine Chocolate Brown
    Diamine Eclipse

    My favorites for writing (I rotate these):

    Iroshizuku Yama-Budo
    Iroshizuku Ku-Jaku
    Iroshizuku Chizu-Rin
    Diamine Red Dragon
    And about a hundred others! (These would not be possible without your delightful samples… Thank you for letting us buy in small quantities!)

  • jordanjay29

    My current favorites are:
    -Noodler’s Black
    -Noodler’s Apache Sunset
    -Diamine Imperial Purple
    -Diamine Red Dragon
    -Pilot Iroshizuku Kon-Peki

    I’m trying to find a good green and brown ink to round out that color scheme, but for the most part this is my set of colors.

  • jordanjay29

    My current favorites are:
    -Noodler's Black
    -Noodler's Apache Sunset
    -Diamine Imperial Purple
    -Diamine Red Dragon
    -Pilot Iroshizuku Kon-Peki

    I'm trying to find a good green and brown ink to round out that color scheme, but for the most part this is my set of colors.

  • BlessedEgg

    -Rohrer & Klingner Salix. I can’t believe how well behaved this
    stuff is on every paper I’ve tried. It even shades on 24 lb copy paper.
    Astonishing. This is my everyday ink.
    -Noodler’s black, obviously
    -Diamine Ancient Copper – Is it brown or is it orange? Brorange?
    -Pilot Iroshizuku Tsuki-yo – A free flowing ink for my finer nibs.
    -Caran d’Ache Amazon – I need a replacement for this. I love it and I’m running out.

  • BlessedEgg

    -Rohrer & Klingner Salix. I can't believe how well behaved this
    stuff is on every paper I've tried. It even shades on 24 lb copy paper.
    Astonishing. This is my everyday ink.
    -Noodler's black, obviously
    -Diamine Ancient Copper – Is it brown or is it orange? Brorange?
    -Iroshizuku Tsuki-yo – A free flowing ink for my finer nibs.
    -Caran d'Ache Amazon – I need a replacement for this. I love it and I'm running out.

  • mhosea

    My top 5 are all blues! Instead of that, I’ll limit myself to 2 blues and mix it up a little bit color-wise. In no particular order:

    1. Mix of 2 parts Namiki Blue to 1 part Noodler’s Midway Blue.
    2. Sailor Sei Boku
    3. Noodler’s Nikita
    4. Noodler’s Army Green
    5. Waterman Purple

  • mhosea

    My top 5 are all blues! Instead of that, I'll limit myself to 2 blues and mix it up a little bit color-wise. In no particular order:

    1. Mix of 2 parts Namiki Blue to 1 part Noodler's Midway Blue.
    2. Sailor Sei Boku
    3. Noodler's Nikita
    4. Noodler's Army Green
    5. Waterman Purple

  • David

    I’m surprised the Noodler’s Eel lubricated inks aren’t showing up more. They’re great for dragging the final notch of smoothness out of a near-perfect nib and paper combo. Plus they’re great to have around for those pens that you just can’t seem to tune past being a bit dry.

  • David

    I'm surprised the Noodler's Eel lubricated inks aren't showing up more. They're great for dragging the final notch of smoothness out of a near-perfect nib and paper combo. Plus they're great to have around for those pens that you just can't seem to tune past being a bit dry.

  • David Holland

    Great vid Brian! After your EDC video I was waiting for this, I expected it to be blue/noodlers heavy but I didn’t see Red Dragon ever getting a look in maybe I’ve just missed you talking about it. There is something about that which I love, it could simply come down to having dragon in the name, but when I ink it up I always think why don’t I use it more!

    Anyway, top 5 inks in no particular order

    Diamine Sapphire – My go to Blue, I really like Majestic but I can’t cope with it smearing everywhere, my hands look like a smurf when I use it! Or its drying time, I find Sapphire is a good in between, still a solid blue with much better properties!

    Iroshizuku Yama-Guri – My go to Black… Yes, I know its not black, but I bought some great blacks, Pelikan 4001, Aurora, and I get bored with them, Yama Guri is dark enough to look black but brown enough to keep me interested, I bought it by accident, i put the wrong thing in my basket and its now one of my favourite inks!

    Diamine Green/Black – Not much to say about this one, just a great shade of green.

    Edelstein Topaz – Great lighter Blue to combat the wetness of my Pelikans.

    Caran d’Ache Saffron – I guess this is an expensive version of Apache Sunset, I wish AS was easier to pick up in the UK but as it isn’t, this takes its place. Great shading, but now its no longer made, I’m not sure what will take its place when my stock is gone!

    And as it deserves a mention, Red Dragon gets 6th place.

    • Giovanni’s Roomba

      Caran d’Ache Saffron is awesome: kind of like Apache Sunset, but a purer red-orange where AS has more brown and yellow shading — orange gelatin versus autumn leaves. They’re similar, but different enough that I have a full bottle of each, just in case (you never know, and I really wanted that wonderful Cd’A bottle).

  • David Holland

    Great vid Brian! After your EDC video I was waiting for this, I expected it to be blue/noodlers heavy but I didn't see Red Dragon ever getting a look in maybe I've just missed you talking about it. There is something about that which I love, it could simply come down to having dragon in the name, but when I ink it up I always think why don't I use it more!

    Anyway, top 5 inks in no particular order

    Diamine Sapphire – My go to Blue, I really like Majestic but I can't cope with it smearing everywhere, my hands look like a smurf when I use it! Or its drying time, I find Sapphire is a good in between, still a solid blue with much better properties!

    Iroshizuku Yama-Guri – My go to Black… Yes, I know its not black, but I bought some great blacks, Pelikan 4001, Aurora, and I get bored with them, Yama Guri is dark enough to look black but brown enough to keep me interested, I bought it by accident, i put the wrong thing in my basket and its now one of my favourite inks!

    Diamine Green/Black – Not much to say about this one, just a great shade of green.

    Edelstein Topaz – Great lighter Blue to combat the wetness of my Pelikans.

    Caran d'Ache Saffron – I guess this is an expensive version of Apache Sunset, I wish AS was easier to pick up in the UK but as it isn't, this takes its place. Great shading, but now its no longer made, I'm not sure what will take its place when my stock is gone!

    And as it deserves a mention, Red Dragon gets 6th place.

  • Wildman

    I am still a bit new to inks, but of the ones I have tried:

    Noodler’s Baystate Blue : This was my first ink that I tried with a fountain pen. Its a very eye-popping blue that contrasts against any other color. I did buy a 3oz bottle of it (and love finer nibs), so BSB and I have a long future up ahead.

    Noodler’s Apache Sunset. (currently loaded into my platinum preppy). While the shading may make it a bit difficult to use for general writing (YMMV) its beautiful and is a nice ink when you need a few words to stand out. It also is a nice “fall” color

    Noodler’s Antietam (currently loaded in my Lamy Safari). Its a nice rust/blood/orange color that is a bit calmer in appearance (than apache sunset) and is probably going to be another go-to ink for me. Really stands out against blue inks.

    Worth a mention.

    Platinum blue black (from the preppy cartridge). Quite a mysterious color due as it goes on blue but dries a solid blueblack. However, my tendancy to carry BSB in a pen at all times prevents me from liking this ink (usage of PlatinumBB and BSB on the same sheet of paper will make P-BB look weird and muted)

    • Rori Lieurance

      Ooh Antietam is such a neat color. 🙂

  • Wildman

    I am still a bit new to inks, but of the ones I have tried:

    Noodler's Baystate Blue : This was my first ink that I tried with a fountain pen. Its a very eye-popping blue that contrasts against any other color. I did buy a 3oz bottle of it (and love finer nibs), so BSB and I have a long future up ahead.

    Noodler's Apache Sunset. (currently loaded into my platinum preppy). While the shading may make it a bit difficult to use for general writing (YMMV) its beautiful and is a nice ink when you need a few words to stand out. It also is a nice "fall" color

    Noodler's Antietam (currently loaded in my Lamy Safari). Its a nice rust/blood/orange color that is a bit calmer in appearance (than apache sunset) and is probably going to be another go-to ink for me. Really stands out against blue inks.

    Worth a mention.

    Platinum blue black (from the preppy cartridge). Quite a mysterious color due as it goes on blue but dries a solid blueblack. However, my tendancy to carry BSB in a pen at all times prevents me from liking this ink (usage of PlatinumBB and BSB on the same sheet of paper will make P-BB look weird and muted)

  • Diamine Pumpkin….Boom!..in-your-face orange.

    Private Reserve Spearmint….great shading qualities.

    Noodler’s Black….because, really.

    Iroshizuku Fuyu syogun….the perfect gray

    Mm..that’s four already.

    Diamine Flamingo Pink. Crazy, right? Here’s a link to it over on my blog (hope it’s ok to link there) http://pentulant.blogspot.com/2013/08/ink-review-diamine-flamingo-pink-second.html

    Honorable mention goes to Noodler’s Liberty’s Elysium. Just tried it for the first time very recently and I’m pretty sure I love it.

  • Christine Witt

    Diamine Pumpkin….Boom!..in-your-face orange.

    Private Reserve Spearmint….great shading qualities.

    Noodler's Black….because, really.

    Iroshizuku Fuyu syogun….the perfect gray

    Mm..that's four already.

    Diamine Flamingo Pink. Crazy, right? Here's a link to it over on my blog (hope it's ok to link there) http://pentulant.blogspot.com/2013/08/ink-review-diamine-flamingo-pink-second.html

    Honorable mention goes to Noodler's Liberty's Elysium. Just tried it for the first time very recently and I'm pretty sure I love it.

  • Nana

    My top 5 inks in no particular order…

    Iroshizuku Tsuki-yo
    J. Herbin Poussiere de Lune
    Noodler’s Black Swan in Australian Roses
    Diamine Bilberry
    Waterman Absolute Brown

    Honorable mention goes to:

    Private Reserve Arabian Rose (LOVE the color, but not a whole lot of places where I can use it, other than journal and greeting cards…)

  • Nana

    My top 5 inks in no particular order…

    Iroshizuku Tsuki-yo
    J. Herbin Poussiere de Lune
    Noodler's Black Swan in Australian Roses
    Diamine Bilberry
    Waterman Absolute Brown

    Honorable mention goes to:

    Private Reserve Arabian Rose (LOVE the color, but not a whole lot of places where I can use it, other than journal and greeting cards…)

  • Diane Maher

    Brian,
    I applaud you for not going overboard with the blues, but I am not so disciplined. 🙂 My color to go overboard with is black.

    Noodler’s Dark Matter – I’m a scientist and love the back story for this ink. Enough so that I bought it in one of the really BIG bottles! 🙂

    Private Reserve Invincible Black (old formulation) – the swatch on your site makes the new version of this one look gray. What do you think when this ink is compared with some other blacks?

    Pilot Iroshizuku Take-sumi – I have one F nib Namiki pen that this ink makes useable! The pen is a really cool looking maki-e pen, but it writes like an XXF at least! I say this after comparing it to my MB EF nib.

    Noodler’s Borealis Black – This stuff makes all my pens write smoothly!

    Diamine Onyx Black, MB Mystery Black, Levenger Raven Black, and Noodler’s Heart of Darkness – well, I like these too!

    So, for the non-black favorites:

    Private Reserve DC Supershow Violet – Ooo pretty!

    Diamine Eclipse – So dark it’s almost black!

    Levenger Claret/Noodler’s Red Dragon – I haven’t compared these two side by side yet. Red Dragon stained my 74’s converter. Oh well. The pen is well-loved. 🙂

    Levenger Cobalt Blue/Noodler’s Liberty’s Elysium – I haven’t compared these two side by side.
    Diamine Green Black – It’s not totally black! 🙂

    MB Oyster Grey/Pilot Iroshizuku Fuyu-syogun – I haven’t compared these two side by side.

    Honorable mention:
    Noodler’s Red Black
    DeAtramentis Black Edition Brown/Diamine Chocolate Brown/MB Toffee Brown
    DeAtramentis Magic Alchemist (scented) – it was really cool, but in a B nib, it gave me a headache after a while. Too much scent, but fun nevertheless!

    • Giovanni’s Roomba

      I just bought a bottle of MB Oyster Grey last week! I already had a bottle of Fuyu-syogun and Herbin’s Gris Nuage in cartridges, but you can never have enough greys (or in fact ink). Fuyu-syogun is a very cold gunmetal grey with a bluish cast, where Oyster Grey is warmer, with just a bare hint of brown.

  • Diane Maher

    Brian,
    I applaud you for not going overboard with the blues, but I am not so disciplined. 🙂 My color to go overboard with is black.

    Noodler's Dark Matter – I'm a scientist and love the back story for this ink. Enough so that I bought it in one of the really BIG bottles! 🙂

    Private Reserve Invincible Black (old formulation) – the swatch on your site makes the new version of this one look gray. What do you think when this ink is compared with some other blacks?

    Pilot Iroshizuku Take-sumi – I have one F nib Namiki pen that this ink makes useable! The pen is a really cool looking maki-e pen, but it writes like an XXF at least! I say this after comparing it to my MB EF nib.

    Noodler's Borealis Black – This stuff makes all my pens write smoothly!

    Diamine Onyx Black, MB Mystery Black, Levenger Raven Black, and Noodler's Heart of Darkness – well, I like these too!

    So, for the non-black favorites:

    Private Reserve DC Supershow Violet – Ooo pretty!

    Diamine Eclipse – So dark it's almost black!

    Levenger Claret/Noodler's Red Dragon – I haven't compared these two side by side yet. Red Dragon stained my 74's converter. Oh well. The pen is well-loved. 🙂

    Levenger Cobalt Blue/Noodler's Liberty's Elysium – I haven't compared these two side by side.
    Diamine Green Black – It's not totally black! 🙂

    MB Oyster Grey/Pilot Iroshizuku Fuyu-syogun – I haven't compared these two side by side.

    Honorable mention:
    Noodler's Red Black
    DeAtramentis Black Edition Brown/Diamine Chocolate Brown/MB Toffee Brown
    DeAtramentis Magic Alchemist (scented) – it was really cool, but in a B nib, it gave me a headache after a while. Too much scent, but fun nevertheless!

  • Jim

    Pilot Iroshizuku Kon Peki and Yama Budo.
    Waterman purple
    Aurora black
    Rohrer and Klinger Blue Swhwarz

  • Jim

    Pilot Iroshizuku Kon Peki and Yama Budo.
    Waterman purple
    Aurora black
    Rohrer and Klinger Blue Swhwarz

  • Rori Lieurance

    Ooh Antietam is such a neat color. 🙂

  • soniasimone

    – Noodler’s Legal Lapis (as close as I get to black, a lot like Aircorps Blue-Black but bulletproof)
    – Apache Sunset (love)
    – R&K Alt Bordaux
    – Noodler’s Baystate Blue (my favorite PITA ink, love that intense color)
    – Noodler’s Black Swan Australian Roses, for when I want something a little brighter than Alt Bordeaux but still complex & interesting.

    Honorary mention to R&K Alt Goldgrun and to Levenger’s Cobalt Blue, which is really rich and dark and has a little sheen going on.

    • soniasimone

      and another honorary mention for Blue Ghost, which I just got a bottle of and which has a definitely intense “neato factor.”

    • soniasimone

      and one more honorary mention to Noodler’s Golden Brown, which is so beautiful. Hm, hard to narrow these down!

  • soniasimone

    – Noodler's Legal Lapis (as close as I get to black, a lot like Aircorps Blue-Black but bulletproof)
    – Apache Sunset (love)
    – R&K Alt Bordaux
    – Noodler's Baystate Blue (my favorite PITA ink, love that intense color)
    – Noodler's Black Swan Australian Roses, for when I want something a little brighter than Alt Bordeaux but still complex & interesting.

    Honorary mention to R&K Alt Goldgrun and to Levenger's Cobalt Blue, which is really rich and dark and has a little sheen going on.

  • soniasimone

    and another honorary mention for Blue Ghost, which I just got a bottle of and which has a definitely intense "neato factor."

  • soniasimone

    and one more honorary mention to Noodler's Golden Brown, which is so beautiful. Hm, hard to narrow these down!

  • Miss Thundercat

    Great ink choices Brian! My top 5 in no particular order; Roher and Klinger Alt Goldgrun (an inkdrop instant fave!), iroshizuku Ku Yaku, Noodlers Apache Sunset, Caran d’Ache Storm and Diamine Eu de Nil.

  • Miss Thundercat

    Great ink choices Brian! My top 5 in no particular order; Roher and Klinger Alt Goldgrun (an inkdrop instant fave!), iroshizuku Ku Yaku, Noodlers Apache Sunset, Caran d'Ache Storm and Diamine Eu de Nil.

  • Chris C

    Great blog Brian,

    My top 5 in no particular order are:

    Aurora Black
    Visconti Blue – for me this is the perfect blue
    Diamine Imperial Purple
    Noodlers Widowmaker (Red Dragon is a close second)
    Waterman Florida Blue

  • Chris C

    Great blog Brian,

    My top 5 in no particular order are:

    Aurora Black
    Visconti Blue – for me this is the perfect blue
    Diamine Imperial Purple
    Noodlers Widowmaker (Red Dragon is a close second)
    Waterman Florida Blue

  • Giovanni’s Roomba

    Caran d'Ache Saffron is awesome: kind of like Apache Sunset, but a purer red-orange where AS has more brown and yellow shading — orange gelatin versus autumn leaves. They're similar, but different enough that I have a full bottle of each, just in case (you never know, and I really wanted that wonderful Cd'A bottle).

  • Giovanni’s Roomba

    I just bought a bottle of MB Oyster Grey last week! I already had a bottle of Fuyu-syogun and Herbin's Gris Nuage in cartridges, but you can never have enough greys (or in fact ink). Fuyu-syogun is a very cold gunmetal grey with a bluish cast, where Oyster Grey is warmer, with just a bare hint of brown.

  • Maja

    Excellent choices, Brian! I also have Noodler’s Apache Sunset & Diamine Majestic Blue in my top 5. Rounding out my personal favourites are Noodler’s Baystate Blue (because of its “colour punch”) Private Reserve Avacado and R&K Alt-Goldgrun (the latter recently purchased from your online store–thanks!). Also-rans include Noodler’s El Lawrence (an ink I hated originally, but grew to love) and Noodler’s #41 Brown (original formulation—haven’t tried the newer version yet).

  • Maja

    Excellent choices, Brian! I also have Noodler's Apache Sunset & Diamine Majestic Blue in my top 5. Rounding out my personal favourites are Noodler's Baystate Blue (because of its "colour punch") Private Reserve Avacado and R&K Alt-Goldgrun (the latter recently purchased from your online store–thanks!). Also-rans include Noodler's El Lawrence (an ink I hated originally, but grew to love) and Noodler's #41 Brown (original formulation—haven't tried the newer version yet).

  • vommarlowe

    1. For writing, my number one go-to ink is Iroshizuku Asa-Gao. I don’t know why this ink doesn’t get more love! It has the most amazing shading qualities, and it’s dark enough to be beautifully formal for work purposes. My number one go-to ink, and the first ink sample I ordered from Goulet.
    2. Waterman Black, my go to ink for drawing. I know, tragically boring, but I need to use something I can easily wash out of my vintage flex nib. Waterman Black is really well behaved that way. Boring, but nice.
    3. El Lawrence. I love this ink. I don’t know why, but there is something really special about the color. So excited to hear it’s back in stock. I’ve been in withdrawal.
    4. Iroshizuku Yama-Budo, my go to dark red. So classy and behaves beautifully.
    5. Lady Murasaki, Pilot Iroshizuku Japanese Beautyberry (murasaki-shikibu), although I find it much drier for some reason, than my other Pilot inks. I love the color, and the history.

  • vommarlowe

    1. For writing, my number one go-to ink is Iroshizuku Asa-Gao. I don't know why this ink doesn't get more love! It has the most amazing shading qualities, and it's dark enough to be beautifully formal for work purposes. My number one go-to ink, and the first ink sample I ordered from Goulet.
    2. Waterman Black, my go to ink for drawing. I know, tragically boring, but I need to use something I can easily wash out of my vintage flex nib. Waterman Black is really well behaved that way. Boring, but nice.
    3. El Lawrence. I love this ink. I don't know why, but there is something really special about the color. So excited to hear it's back in stock. I've been in withdrawal.
    4. Iroshizuku Yama-Budo, my go to dark red. So classy and behaves beautifully.
    5. Lady Murasaki, Pilot Iroshizuku Japanese Beautyberry (murasaki-shikibu), although I find it much drier for some reason, than my other Pilot inks. I love the color, and the history.

  • Purr1st

    Many interesting favorites…. many of which I will try. I am suprised I have not seen one of my favorite inks…. noodlers rome burning. I bought the ink at my daughter request and found I really enjoy multiple color aspects it has… yellow purple and who knows what else. Do I travel this color path by myself??

  • Purr1st

    Many interesting favorites…. many of which I will try. I am suprised I have not seen one of my favorite inks…. noodlers rome burning. I bought the ink at my daughter request and found I really enjoy multiple color aspects it has… yellow purple and who knows what else. Do I travel this color path by myself??

  • Hank the Tank

    Tough one to name the top 5, but here are mine:

    – Montblanc Irish Green (great color and flow, wonderful shading)
    – Montblanc Midnight Blue (fascinating color and water resistant – iron gall)
    – Rohrer & Klingner Salix (great blue-black and water proof – iron gall)
    – Lamy Blue (my go-to blue for every day use)
    – Lamy Black (my fastest flowing ink and a great value if the note taking has do be quick without beeing dirty)

  • Hank the Tank

    Tough one to name the top 5, but here are mine:

    – Montblanc Irish Green (great color and flow, wonderful shading)
    – Montblanc Midnight Blue (fascinating color and water resistant – iron gall)
    – Rohrer & Klingner Salix (great blue-black and water proof – iron gall)
    – Lamy Blue (my go-to blue for every day use)
    – Lamy Black (my fastest flowing ink and a great value if the note taking has do be quick without beeing dirty)

  • Rich S

    Fun topic, and really interesting to read the comments. Based on roughly 70 samples leading to 12 bottled inks, here are my favorites to date:

    Roher and Klingner Alt-Goldgrun: I remember seeing your initial video of this ink and wondering who in their right mind would ever order it. Thanks to Ink Drop I got to sample it and promptly ordered a bottle. Crazy gold-green, intense shading, I love it in particular with italic nibs. Not for work–in fact it is hard to determine the appropriate occasion for this regurgitated-pea-soup color, but here it is in my top 5!

    Diamine Ancient Copper: Perfect name, to me a rusty reddish brown that stands out whenever I ink it up. Beautiful shading, and a particularly good choice for Autumn.

    Private Reserve Avacado (sic): I find it funny that a US ink company misspelled the name, but they nailed the color. Strikes me as dark green with a touch of black that manages to show itself here and there.

    Noodler’s Kiowa Pecan: I like browns, and this one stands out. It is not saturated, but golden-warm, sweet, and inviting–like pecan pie in a pen (but flows much better!) This ink also shades beautifully.

    Private Reserve Blue Suede: Discovered in the Mystery Ink Drop, I find it to be a creative blue color, and it pairs particularly well with my Pilot Custom 74. The shading is wonderful.

    The hardest three to exclude: Lamy Turquoise, Diamine Graphite, and (for work) Noodler’s Bad Blue Heron.

  • Rich S

    Fun topic, and really interesting to read the comments. Based on roughly 70 samples leading to 12 bottled inks, here are my favorites to date:

    Roher and Klingner Alt-Goldgrun: I remember seeing your initial video of this ink and wondering who in their right mind would ever order it. Thanks to Ink Drop I got to sample it and promptly ordered a bottle. Crazy gold-green, intense shading, I love it in particular with italic nibs. Not for work–in fact it is hard to determine the appropriate occasion for this regurgitated-pea-soup color, but here it is in my top 5!

    Diamine Ancient Copper: Perfect name, to me a rusty reddish brown that stands out whenever I ink it up. Beautiful shading, and a particularly good choice for Autumn.

    Private Reserve Avacado (sic): I find it funny that a US ink company misspelled the name, but they nailed the color. Strikes me as dark green with a touch of black that manages to show itself here and there.

    Noodler's Kiowa Pecan: I like browns, and this one stands out. It is not saturated, but golden-warm, sweet, and inviting–like pecan pie in a pen (but flows much better!) This ink also shades beautifully.

    Private Reserve Blue Suede: Discovered in the Mystery Ink Drop, I find it to be a creative blue color, and it pairs particularly well with my Pilot Custom 74. The shading is wonderful.

    The hardest three to exclude: Lamy Turquoise, Diamine Graphite, and (for work) Noodler's Bad Blue Heron.

  • snedwos

    I can’t settle on five, because I get bored very quickly, but I shall use my current note taking triad
    Noodlers 54th Mass — love the history, and I live within walking distance of where Frederick Douglass is buried!
    Diamine Ancient Copper –wow.
    Diamine Kelly Green.

    These three colours work very well together, I think.

    Lets see i I don’t miss out on el Lawrence again…

  • snedwos

    I can't settle on five, because I get bored very quickly, but I shall use my current note taking triad
    Noodlers 54th Mass — love the history, and I live within walking distance of where Frederick Douglass is buried!
    Diamine Ancient Copper –wow.
    Diamine Kelly Green.

    These three colours work very well together, I think.

    Lets see i I don't miss out on el Lawrence again…

  • Arika Harman Cloud

    We have 3 favorites in common- Noodler’s Black, Apache Sunset and Liberty’s Elysium! I always keep LE in my TWSBI Vac 700, and I’ve gotten to where I have Apache Sunset almost always in one of my pens as well.

    Two more…I’d have to go with J. Herbin’s Rouge Hematite. (And btw, I appreciate your addressing my question about your swatch of it in the last video! Oddly enough, I used my Rouge Hematite on a plain old sheet of notebook paper last week, and I got some of that green/khaki shading like you show in the swatch! lol)

    And last, I’m going with an ink I don’t even own a full bottle of yet…De Altramentis Mint Turquoise! I’ve really fallen in love with this one and will be buying when it comes back in stock!

    I have to say, I almost put Noodler’s Rome Burning in the last slot. It’s such a weird color, but I’m so attracted to it. I normally want very saturated inks, but this one just appeals to me in the weirdest way.

    • Arika Harman Cloud

      Because I can’t help myself, I have to give runner-up status to a few inks:

      – Iroshizuku Kon-Peki
      – Iroshizuku Yama-Budo
      – Diamine Oxblood

      So many gorgeous inks out there…

  • Arika Harman Cloud

    We have 3 favorites in common- Noodler's Black, Apache Sunset and Liberty's Elysium! I always keep LE in my TWSBI Vac 700, and I've gotten to where I have Apache Sunset almost always in one of my pens as well.

    Two more…I'd have to go with J. Herbin's Rouge Hematite. (And btw, I appreciate your addressing my question about your swatch of it in the last video! Oddly enough, I used my Rouge Hematite on a plain old sheet of notebook paper last week, and I got some of that green/khaki shading like you show in the swatch! lol)

    And last, I'm going with an ink I don't even own a full bottle of yet…De Altramentis Mint Turquoise! I've really fallen in love with this one and will be buying when it comes back in stock!

    I have to say, I almost put Noodler's Rome Burning in the last slot. It's such a weird color, but I'm so attracted to it. I normally want very saturated inks, but this one just appeals to me in the weirdest way.

  • Arika Harman Cloud

    Because I can't help myself, I have to give runner-up status to a few inks:

    – Iroshizuku Kon-Peki
    – Iroshizuku Yama-Budo
    – Diamine Oxblood

    So many gorgeous inks out there…

  • Arika Harman Cloud

    You're right about that Aircorp Blue Black! I think Green Black is more accurate. I got a sample of it in my last order and I like it quite a bit!

  • astra2

    1) PR Avacado: deep green, tending to olive but not quite getting there

    2) R&K Cassia: a bright, cheery purple
    3) Iroshizuko tsukushi: a warm brown with reddish tints
    4) Caran d’Ache Sunset: oh well. I’ll have to try Brian’s red recommendations

    5) Diamine Ancient Copper: what a color!

  • astra2

    1) PR Avacado: deep green, tending to olive but not quite getting there

    2) R&K Cassia: a bright, cheery purple
    3) Iroshizuko tsukushi: a warm brown with reddish tints
    4) Caran d'Ache Sunset: oh well. I'll have to try Brian's red recommendations

    5) Diamine Ancient Copper: what a color!

  • Kevin Joric Apolonio

    I don’t really have much in the way of inks, but I’ve managed to accumulate over a dozen bottles so far. I have a general idea of what I like now, so I’ve at least got that going for me. Anyway, of the inks I own, my top five (no particular order either) would have to be:

    NOODLER’S X-Feather – It’s a great, solid black that works excellently on cheaper papers (a necessity in this day and age), and the archival qualities make this an excellent ink for more important papers. It does have a bit of an odour to it, but it’s not the worst I’ve smelled. This is my daily writing ink, but since I’ve no experience with plain ol’ Noodler’s Black yet, that could change; the dry time on this ink is a bit bothersome.

    J. HERBIN Vert Empire – Of all of J. Herbin’s standard colours (I’ve only personally tried four, though), Vert Empire has got to be my favourite. It has the characteristic excellent flow of Herbin inks, and the colour reminds me of a deep summery forest, with notable shading. I don’t think it’d pass well for formal writing, but it gets a thumbs up from me for personal journalling, sketching, and correspondence. Also, I rather like the smell of the ink 😛

    J. HERBIN 1670 Anniversary Rouge Hematite – A lot has been said about this ink, really, so I’m not sure where exactly to start. It’s unique in that it has microparticles of gold pigment in it (pigment usually spells death for FP feeds), so I’m of two minds about using this in pens I can’t fully disassemble. Still, though the ink is far from waterproof or smudge resistant, it’s quite simply one of the most beautiful and fun to use inks I’ve ever had. I rarely use it, save for cards and the like, so the one bottle I have is likely to last me a very long time.

    SAILOR Jentle Sou-Ten – This is my newest ink, so I’ve less experience with this than the rest. It’s a nice deep blue with hints of turquoise, and it definitely lives up to its name; Sou-ten is Japanese for “summer sky”, I believe. Anyway, it’s well behaved and shades extremely well, with a beautiful red sheen that sometimes transforms its colour into a dark purple. The only thing I don’t really like about it is its strong chemical odour.

    SHEAFFER Skrip Turquoise – This was my very first fountain pen ink, and it still holds a place in my heart (and daily rotation, haha). It’s a bright, convivial colour that’s definitely not suited to formal occasions, but works well for sketches and random notes. Decent shading and excellent flow. Not all that waterproof from what I remember (okay, I haven’t used it in a while), but I’m not likely to use this for top-security documents or anything.

  • TrevorY

    I am still very new to the fountain pen world and thanks to an amazing friend of mine I am hooked and she is sharing some of her samples with me and hopefully my wife will give the gift of Ink Drop membership for Christmas. That being said my favorite inks so far, in no particular order are:

    1. Diamine Ancient Copper: This one just has a classy color and shading to it. I saw some complain of it getting crusty over night but I’ve not had that problem with the two different pens I’ve used it in and it has always flowed very consistently as well.

    2. Private Reserve Avacado: I received a sample of this from my friend above and I am now waiting for it to be back in stock because I am almost out. This is a very consistent dark green and it has played well with all the papers I’ve used it on.

    3. Noodler’s Apache Sunset: I am with you on this one, it is so cool in a flex nib pen. I have one pen in particular reserved for this and I love to show it off because it is fun to see the reaction of some people as to how the ink changes.

    4. Private Reserve DC Supershow Blue: This is a great deep blue and I have only recently discovered this ink but I have been using it for my daily writing and with a fine nib it has been flawless so far.

    5. Noodler’s Baystate Blue: I love the vibrancy of this ink. It doesn’t play well with all papers but that just gives me an excuse to by better notebooks 🙂

  • Eva Yaa Asantewaa

    Breaking the rules and listing seven: Diamine Sherwood Green, Pilot Iroshizuku Kon-peki, Pilot Iroshizuku Kiri-same (this came as a big surprise to me!), De Atramentis Ruby Red (which is why something like Kiri-same would be a surprise), Private Reserve Ebony Purple, J. Herbin Violette Pensee, and Rohrer & Klingner Solferino. I’m still exploring, and there are probably a few more that could go on that list, but that’s enough for now. I have unopened samples of Red Dragon and Apache Sunset and will be getting Liberty’s Elysium at some point. I would go for the Noodler’s Black but already plan on getting Aurora Black with my next order. I tried Majestic Blue, but I don’t think I tried it with the right nib for it to really make an impression. I’ll have to give that another go. Gosh! I love color–whether it be yarn or nail polish or fine art or nature. So, I’m going quite nuts with all of this ink!

  • Diamine Ancient Copper
    Noodler’s 54th Mass.
    Noodler’s Bad Blue Heron
    J. Herbin Ambre de Birmanie
    Diamine Macassar

    Honorable Mentions: Noodler’s Air-Corp Blue-Black & Stipula Musk Green