Caran d’Ache Inks: Out With The Old, In With The New

New Caran d’Ache inks
Update 2/19/14: Caran d’Ache Chromatic inks now available for sale at Gouletpens.com.

You may recall I mentioned this blog post in early December 2012 that Caribbean Sea, Carbon, and Blue Night were discontinued. Well, now the whole line of Caran d’Ache inks is discontinued, and will not be available any longer in their current form. This comes as a bit of a surprise to us, and I’m sure to you, too. If you have any existing favorites in the Caran d’Ache ink line, get it now wherever you can, because they really will not be around long, they’re already out of them in Switzerland and I doubt many retailers stock large quantities of these inks so they’ll run out soon, too.

What’s interesting is that Caran d’Ache is completely revamping their ink line. They’re coming out with all new colors in what they’re calling the Chromatics, with new names, and new bottles. You may or may not have heard rumors floating around about this, and I’m here to say that it is officially true. These are supposed to be available in the US likely around late-May/early-June. Of course, that could always change. Basically, it’s going to be a little while.

There are going to be 12 new colors, Cosmic Black, Delicate Green, Divine Pink, Electric Orange, Hypnotic Turquoise, Idyllic Blue, Infinite Grey, Infra Red, Magnetic Blue, Organic Brown, Ultra Violet, and Vibrant Green. I’d really love you hear your thoughts on these ink names. They sure remind me of the Waterman name changes that we saw happen last year, and goodness knows there were some opinions about those!

12 new Caran d’Ache ink colors

Some people loved the old Caran d’Ache bottles because of the heft and attractiveness of the design, others didn’t love them because they were kind of hard to fill from. They’re making a very interesting change with these new bottles, one that I’m not sure how I feel about. They are going with a slanted bottom, so that the bottle actually tilts when it’s sitting on your desk. When it’s in the box, it stands straight up, but when out of the box, it slants. What I’m curious about is at what point the bottle is able to tilt without having ink spill out of the bottle. It looks to me like if you have a brand new bottle, then the ink level would be too high to put the slanted bottle straight on your desk and open the cap without spilling it all over the place. It could be that the bottles aren’t completely full, and that it’ll be okay slanted with a new bottle, but that’s something I’m not able to glean from the marketing materials and I probably won’t know until I see the bottles for myself. In any case, you will be able to fill from a fresh bottle if you have the bottle sitting in the box, so it appears.

When I originally posted this it was rumored the ink would be $40 a bottle, and I’ve since gotten confirmation (on 3/5/13) that it will in fact be $40 per bottle list price. That’s….pretty expensive, even more than Pilot Iroshizuku. This will be the most expensive fountain pen ink that is currently made, at least in the US. The bottles look nice and packaging looks great, but these are going to have to be some pretty darn impressive inks to justify this price. I don’t know anything about what the inks are supposed to be like, so I will be very eager to see for myself.

What do you think?

2017-10-12T15:25:29+00:00 February 21st, 2013|Ink Reviews, Pen News|78 Comments
  • Bleh. I do not like these new names at all. I hope the colours are outstanding.

    • I’m really curious to see for myself. The existing colors are nice, but I think for the higher price we’ll all be expecting a little something extra.

  • Rori Lieurance

    Uh–$40??? I don’t think so. And the names are stupid. Just like Waterman. The bottles are groovy tho. Not $40 groovy mind you…

    • Somewhere around $40, I don’t have a set price yet. But yeah, it’s a lot.

  • The bottle and box are indeed stunning. Will be interesting to see your review of these inks when they are available, Brian. The price has my jaw on the floor, but I suppose it’s a little hypocritical of me to balk at a street price of maybe the mid $30 range when I have happily paid $28 for Iroshizuku. And the price per mL of CdA is not changing much; it’s just that the bottle will be larger. Still, the colors will have to be unique and exquisite for me to plunk down that kind of cash. Looking forward to hearing about these inks.

    • Yeah, it’s good to note that per ml the price isn’t changing much from what it currently is, though it has gone up quite a bit just in the last couple of years from what it was (I remember it being $19 just about a year and a half ago, now it’s $23). Still though, that’s a lot to drop for a single color, I’m sure many people will point out you can get 3 Noodler’s bottles for the same price (with more than 5 times the ink).

      • Robert Matthews

        Never underestimate the power of a great bottle, though. I love my Noodler’s inks, but the showoff bottles I have on my desk are Iroshizuku and Bethge (the graceful Herbin bottle made even nicer by being frosted). It may sound stupid but I will pay more for an ink in a nice bottle: the packaging counts, too. I wouldn’t have paid $22 for Bleu Ocean if it had been packaged in a Scribal Workshop bottle: that elegant silvered box, hefty cubical bottle and antique-y wax cap made all the difference.

  • Matthew

    All told, the cost is only going from 76Β’ to 80Β’/mL. I will miss the old bottles though–they’re perfect for holding a sample vial to prevent tipovers! Curious to see what the new colours look like.

    • It’s true, but there’s definitely something psychological about paying that much for a single bottle of ink. I’m betting that swabs and samples will be really handy for these inks!

  • Estivalia

    Holy cannoli, $40?! For me, $28 for Iroshizuku was already a splurge and just last month, after 3 years of FP collecting, I could “convince” myself that I NEEDED Tsutsuji (great ink + beautiful packaging= WIN). This bottle shape and colors don’t make feel that way.

    • Well, it should be noted that Iroshizuku is technically $35 list, but most retailers sell it for $28 (that’s the lowest Pilot allows). I don’t know what kind of discounting policy Caran d’Ache will place on these inks, but if it’s the same discount, then it’ll end up being a street price of about $32. So it’s only a bit more than Iroshizuku, but many people share the same sentiment, that even Iroshizuku is a splurge. We’ll have to wait and see when the inks come out how comparable the inks are to Pilot’s.

  • Miss Thundercat

    Wow, I also wonder what brought on this change. Though the current inks are also expensive for the 30mil you get I love the colors and bottle a lot. The new ones, well I’m glad you guys are here for the review! I’m curious what they will sell for in europe.

    • I honestly don’t know the motivation, no doubt it’s because they saw the Iroshizuku and Edelstein bottles and wanted something fancier. Not that there was anything wrong than the 30ml bottles…

  • I think the samples will be popular…The names are fairly awful though. I wonder how much they’ll retail for in the UK? The bottles are cool but they’ll be a bugger to store unless you keep them boxed. There’s no purple unless Ultraviolet is a very different colour to that swatch, and the two blues look very similar. I’ll reserve judgement for now!

    • I don’t know…probably a lot πŸ˜› It does kind of stink to have to keep the box to store them, they would look pretty weird on a shelf leaning over.

  • For the next ink line who wants to do a relaunch / rebrand and rename their inks, I understand you are probably running out of ideas at this point. I have some humble suggestions:

    Vexing Black
    Ridiculous Blue
    Tepid Blue
    Irksome Violet
    Ecchymotic Blue-Black
    Puerile Green
    Abrading Red
    Ridiculous Orange
    Exasperating Brown
    Peevish Pink

    Feel free to use any or all of these. No charge.

    • somethingnottaken

      Bilious Green
      Vile Violet
      Cholic Yellow
      Rancid Red
      Bruised Brown
      Putrid Purple
      Necrotic Black
      Lascivious Lavender

    • mhosea

      I thought “Organic Brown” wasn’t a bad name, but my son thought it was hilarious. Apparently, one particular organic source of brown color rose to the top of his mind.

      • Yeah, some of the guys around our shop had the same reaction πŸ˜‰

    • Haha, creative, at least! πŸ˜‰

  • somethingnottaken

    Horrid names. I can’t decide whether they’re almost as bad as the new Waterman names, or if they’re even worse.

    On a positive note, I like the new bottles. Though I bet they’ll look a bit disconcerting sitting on a desk not in the box.

    The inks will have to turn in an exceptionally good performance to justify the high price.

    • I would have chosen different names, personally. The bottles are very different, that’s for sure. I can’t decide whether I love them or hate them yet…I’ll probably have to see them in person to decide. One thing is true, they’ll be unmistakable with that ‘melting into the desk’ look!

      • Lyander

        Hmm, that gives me an idea… how about decorating a desk with ink bottles that appear to be melting into the surface? Like, I’ll be placing a layer of sketchpad paper on top of my desk, then trace the bottoms of bottles (the new Cd’A bottles will be the selling point of all this) with their own inks. It’ll look as if the bottles were all embedded into my desk, haha.

        Now, if only the new inks weren’t so dang expensive ._.

  • RagingDragon

    Horrid names. I can't decide whether they're almost as bad as the new Waterman names, or if they're even worse.

  • Bradley A Harris

    Very interesting about the bottle design. Carn d’ Ache, inks is one boutique ink that I would buy.

    • Yeah, it’s intriguing. I’m eager to see it in person.

  • Bradley A Harris

    Very interesting about the bottle design. Carn d' Ache, inks is one boutique ink that I would buy.

  • RagingDragon

    Bilious Green
    Vile Violet
    Cholic Yellow
    Rancid Red
    Bruised Brown
    Putrid Purple
    Necrotic Black
    Lascivious Lavender

  • Robert Matthews

    I bought a bunch of Iroshizukus in Japan last year at less than $18 a bottle, but they’re so good that I would willingly pay $28 if there was another colour I had to own. (There probably isn’t: I have eleven of them, so I think I’m covered.) $40 is clearly an insane amount of money to pay for a single bottle of ink, no matter how good, but if the street price is really about $32, then I just might splurge on one, because that bottle is awesome. Too bad the names are so risible.

    What I really want is that display unit, though. Fully laden.

    • The price is $40 (officially), and I imagine that the street price will be around $32 each. That is definitely expensive!

  • I bought a bunch of Iroshizukus in Japan last year at less than $18 a bottle, but they're so good that I would willingly pay $28 if there was another colour I had to own. (There probably isn't: I have eleven of them, so I think I'm covered.) $40 is clearly an insane amount of money to pay for a single bottle of ink, no matter how good, but if the street price is really about $32, then I just might splurge on one, because that bottle is awesome. Too bad the names are so risible.

    What I really want is that display unit, though. Fully laden.

  • Never underestimate the power of a great bottle, though. I love my Noodler's inks, but the showoff bottles I have on my desk are Iroshizuku and Bethge (the graceful Herbin bottle made even nicer by being frosted). It may sound stupid but I will pay more for an ink in a nice bottle: the packaging counts, too. I wouldn't have paid $22 for Bleu Ocean if it had been packaged in a Scribal Workshop bottle: that elegant silvered box, hefty cubical bottle and antique-y wax cap made all the difference.

  • Michael Hosea

    I thought "Organic Brown" wasn't a bad name, but my son thought it was hilarious. Apparently, one particular organic source of brown color rose to the top of his mind.

  • David

    Apple already patented that bottle design.

  • Rustled

    $40?

    hahahahahahaha
    Oh wait. They’re serious?
    Let me laugh even harder:
    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
    Good luck with that Carrotdash; your inks are going to have to be magic (and I mean that literally) . Not even birdsplat mountain has the gall to sell ink at that price.
    Needless to say, I am not optimistic and am expecting another disappointment, like Edelstein.
    Oh well. Back to Noodler’s, Diamine and PR….

    • Tell me how you really feel! πŸ˜‰ I don’t know what to expect with this ink, honestly. The Caran d’Ache inks have always been good, it’s not like their inks are bad, but for them to cost more than Iroshizuku….it’s going to be tough for a lot of people to swallow that.

  • Kelli O

    Holy Molly! I wonder how much of that $32 (or $40) actually went into the ink. That said, I might just splurge and buy one just for the funky crooked bottle.The Ultra Violet doesn’t look anything violet though.

    • What’s a good question, I won’t know until I get the ink to test for myself. The bottle does look interesting though! I wouldn’t judge the color off those digitally rendered pics, though, they look like they’re just an approximation, not an actual swab of the ink.

  • Mel

    It will be interesting to see whether the colours are still the same… I’ve got a bottle of C d’A Saffron (lovely name!) and wonder how similar it will be to “Electric Orange”. In short, I like the bottles. I don’t like the names. I don’t like the price. But I still do like the bottles.

    I look forward to hearing your thoughts on the inks whenever you do get it!

    • I’ll be very curious to see how the inks are, too!

  • Ernest

    You could always use http://organicsstudio.com/ – πŸ™‚

  • Mona

    The bottle looks interesting. I’ll wait for reviews. But if I had $40 for ink it might more easily go towards an Iroshizuku.

    • I have the feeling I’m going to hear that last sentence a lot πŸ˜‰

  • Mona

    The bottle looks interesting. I'll wait for reviews. But if I had $40 for ink it might more easily go towards an Iroshizuku.

  • Andrew

    I hope that the formulas for Amazon and Saffron stay the same. Those are by far my favourite green and orange inks. As for the bottles, they look interesting. It looks like they will be more functional (when the ink level gets low just drop the bottle back in the bottom of the box to get the last few dregs). The name changes don’t really do much for me, but given that they don’t have any “earthy” named pens, the “colours of the earth” names might not make sense in thier opinions.

    • I hope so too, it would be nice if Grand Canyon was the same as Organic Brown, too. But wow, I would have a hard time telling people that I showed my pens to that I have them filled with “Organic Brown”, Grand Canyon sounds much more majestic.

  • Andrew

    I hope that the formulas for Amazon and Saffron stay the same. Those are by far my favourite green and orange inks. As for the bottles, they look interesting. It looks like they will be more functional (when the ink level gets low just drop the bottle back in the bottom of the box to get the last few dregs). The name changes don't really do much for me, but given that they don't have any "earthy" named pens, the "colours of the earth" names might not make sense in thier opinions.

  • Neels Kriek

    Those bottles look WAY too impractical. The idea with tilting the bottle is to get to the last bit of ink. Even with the slant you will STILL have to tilt the bottle and the added slant just looks like an accident waiting to happen, to me. The price? They must have smoked their socks. Unless that ink can magically unclog feeds, repair leaks, lube pistons and polish the outside of the pen all at the same time.

  • Neels Kriek

    Those bottles look WAY too impractical. The idea with tilting the bottle is to get to the last bit of ink. Even with the slant you will STILL have to tilt the bottle and the added slant just looks like an accident waiting to happen, to me. The price? They must have smoked their socks. Unless that ink can magically unclog feeds, repair leaks, lube pistons and polish the outside of the pen all at the same time.

  • ES

    I have trouble understanding which kind of fp user is meant to be interested in a display that makes the bottles look like a perfume set from the Jetsons at wintertime. And then be asked to spend that kind of money.

    • Clearly someone has to be into it or they wouldn’t design it that way…I know that a lot of people criticize Pelikan Edelstein and Pilot Iroshizuku for putting so much effort into their design (and it is undoubtedly a lot of the cost, too). Time will tell if this is a good move for Caran d’Ache.

  • ES

    I have trouble understanding which kind of fp user is meant to be interested in a display that makes the bottles look like a perfume set from the Jetsons at wintertime. And then be asked to spend that kind of money.

  • I honestly don't know the motivation, no doubt it's because they saw the Iroshizuku and Edelstein bottles and wanted something fancier. Not that there was anything wrong than the 30ml bottles…

  • I don't know…probably a lot πŸ˜› It does kind of stink to have to keep the box to store them, they would look pretty weird on a shelf leaning over.

  • Ouch!

  • Yeah, some of the guys around our shop had the same reaction πŸ˜‰

  • Haha, creative, at least! πŸ˜‰

  • I would have chosen different names, personally. The bottles are very different, that's for sure. I can't decide whether I love them or hate them yet…I'll probably have to see them in person to decide. One thing is true, they'll be unmistakable with that 'melting into the desk' look!

  • Yeah, it's intriguing. I'm eager to see it in person.

  • Krandall

    It would be so much more sensible to make the bottle stand straight up but slant the interior of the bottle to one side. Duh!

    • But then it wouldn’t look as cool on the display πŸ˜‰

  • Krandall Kraus

    It would be so much more sensible to make the bottle stand straight up but slant the interior of the bottle to one side. Duh!

  • The price is $40 (officially), and I imagine that the street price will be around $32 each. That is definitely expensive!

  • Tell me how you really feel! πŸ˜‰ I don't know what to expect with this ink, honestly. The Caran d'Ache inks have always been good, it's not like their inks are bad, but for them to cost more than Iroshizuku….it's going to be tough for a lot of people to swallow that.

  • What's a good question, I won't know until I get the ink to test for myself. The bottle does look interesting though! I wouldn't judge the color off those digitally rendered pics, though, they look like they're just an approximation, not an actual swab of the ink.

  • I'll be very curious to see how the inks are, too!

  • I have the feeling I'm going to hear that last sentence a lot πŸ˜‰

  • I hope so too, it would be nice if Grand Canyon was the same as Organic Brown, too. But wow, I would have a hard time telling people that I showed my pens to that I have them filled with "Organic Brown", Grand Canyon sounds much more majestic.

  • Maybe it can! Who knows…

  • But then it wouldn't look as cool on the display πŸ˜‰

  • Clearly someone has to be into it or they wouldn't design it that way…I know that a lot of people criticize Pelikan Edelstein and Pilot Iroshizuku for putting so much effort into their design (and it is undoubtedly a lot of the cost, too). Time will tell if this is a good move for Caran d'Ache.

  • I’m actually really angry they discontinued Sunset. It was one of the most well behaved inks I’ve reviewed.

    • I’m sorry….I liked that one, and Amazon, too. Perhaps Divine Pink will be like Sunset was?

  • I'm actually really angry they discontinued Sunset. It was one of the most well behaved inks I've reviewed.

  • I'm sorry….I liked that one, and Amazon, too. Perhaps Divine Pink will be like Sunset was?

  • Lyander

    Hmm, that gives me an idea… how about decorating a desk with ink bottles that appear to be melting into the surface? Like, I'll be placing a layer of sketchpad paper on top of my desk, then trace the bottoms of bottles (the new Cd'A bottles will be the selling point of all this) with their own inks. It'll look as if the bottles were all embedded into my desk, haha.

    Now, if only the new inks weren't so dang expensive ._.