Update February 2015: Black Swan is Australian Roses has returned to its original formula, so the “old” color noted here is now the color we are seeing. We’re leaving this blog post up purely for historical reference. 

Video Highlights:

  • Overview of the situation (0:01)
  • Showing inks that compare to the original color (3:17)
  • Showing inks that compare to the new color (4:52)
  • Inking up and writing with both colors in an Ahab flex (6:40)

It’s true, the color of the famous Noodler’s Black Swan in Australian Roses has changed from a burgundy to more of a purple. The difference is noticeable, but not as drastic as it sounds. I know this will seem like some big kind of scandal, especially given that this is one of the most popular inks sold today at GouletPens.com.

We discovered this a couple of months ago, when one of our on-point team members noticed a slight color difference when sampling up the color. We checked all the ink we had on hand and pulled the purply color off the shelf while we talked to our Noodler’s distributor and the man who makes Noodler’s ink, Nathan Tardif. We had to test some things, rule out some other things, as we thought that it could be a batch variation, maybe the ink needed more time to settle on its final color (because it can change slightly over time), and rule out every possibility that we could because Nathan told us he did not change the formula.

What we ultimately discovered through all this is that there is apparently some raw dye component that changed from Nathan’s manufacturer that caused the color shift, even though the formula itself hadn’t been changed by him. We asked him if it was possible to reformulate the ink using different components (as he’s done before with other inks like Noodler’s #41 Brown back in 2012), but he told us that in this dye family, there is no replacement. This is it, it’s either this color or he discontinues it altogether.

We tested the ink, and the properties like shading, flow, water resistance and everything else are the same as the original color, it’s just slightly more purple than burgundy. It’s still a very impressive color, and I personally actually really like it for what it is. Of course, it’s not the same as the original and I know that many of you will be disappointed about this change, and for that I’m sorry. Nathan is sorry, as well. All our hands are tied on this one.

The thing that’s going to be just a little confusing in the meantime is that it’s kind of unclear when the color change actually happened. Because it wasn’t caught right away, it’s likely that for several months the new color has been getting mixed in at the distributor and at retailers (more so at the retailer level, as I don’t think this ink sits around long at all at the distributor). So it’s not going to be clear which color you’re actually buying unless the retailer in question knows the difference between the two and opens up every bottle to see what color they have, like we’ve done.

So I know what you’re thinking, “Brian, do you have any of the old color left, I really really really want it!” Well, I’m sorry to say that we don’t have any of the old stuff, everything we have at GouletPens.com from here moving forward will be the new color. And I’m willing to bet that at this point just about every other retailer will have the new stuff, too. You’re going to be hard-pressed to find the original color still laying around anywhere, but if you absolutely must have it, I’d get on the phone now with whoever you can think might have it and start calling around asking them to test their stock.

It’s unfortunate to have to announce a color change like this to one of the most popular inks, especially when we don’t have any of the old stock to offer you. I’m deeply sorry for that, but please don’t shoot the messenger. And please, please don’t be upset at Nathan for it either. He is one man making all of the Noodler’s ink in the world, and for him to have caught this before this point probably would mean that he’d spend half his time testing every batch of every dye component for a change every time he gets it in, which is impractical and would probably cut his ability to supply Noodler’s ink in half if he did that.

It’s an unfortunate circumstance, but look at the bright side. We now have a gorgeous intense-shading purple with a bulletproof component to it, something that actually has been highly requested. The purple dye itself isn’t permanent, but the black component to this ink is.

And hey, it’s still a pretty awesome ink. Just look at what our very own Joe, Alex, and Sarah did with the new color in today’s Monday Matchup:

I’d love to hear your thoughts, good or bad. I put together information like this to “Empower through education” (Goulet Value #4). Leave me a comment below to share what you think.

Write On,
Brian Goulet