Monday Matchup: Noodler’s Ahab & Black Swan in Australian Roses

We’re feeling a bit purple today. What better pair than a flex pen with an awesome shading ink? This week features the Noodler’s Ahab Flex Pen in translucent King Philip Purple, matched up with the recently reformulated Noodler’s Black Swan in Australian Roses ink (see today’s earlier blog post). They make a lovely pair!

The writing samples are by Alex[andra] Ross, and the artwork by Joe O.

So what do you think of this week’s pairing – a match made in heaven?

2017-10-11T14:19:54+00:00 July 14th, 2014|Monday Matchup|59 Comments
  • Liz N.

    Gorgeous shading on the new Australian Roses! I'm digging the darker hue on this one. Love all the sketches. There are some seriously talented folks at GP!

  • Tom Johnson

    Alex, Joe: wonderful artwork! Whoever arranged the photography did a wonderful job, choosing and laying out the props (what are the flowers?). Looks like Goulet talent is as good as their service! This makes me want to get the new BSAR to go with my old BSAR! Look at the shading they got with this ink. Just lovely.

  • Freddy

    The art work and penmanship are stunning but the reformulated BSiAR just doesn't cut it for me.

  • Ted

    🙂 I appreciate the efforts at softening the blow of this change and trying to sell the new color. This layout is fabulous. And great match, if this new color is what one is seeking.

  • soulcomfort

    I know Nathan can't help the change, but I still love the burgundy better. That said, this is a gorgeous post that highlights the new color beautifully. You have some talented people working there! 😉

  • Michael

    This ink is dead to me. Discontinue this and let me remember BSAR fondly.

  • Alexander Faust

    🙁 I really liked the old color and was considering this as a future ink. I don't like the new color as much, it's too hard in the magenta range. I like purples but this is more a darkened magenta pink as a real purple. Too bad there's nothing that can be done to get the old color again.

    I think you might want to include a hint in on the shop page for this color as the color change is pretty drastic and some people could get disappointed when inking this up after seening some old color swaps somewhere.

  • David

    There's no color perceptible to humans that can't be duplicated by properly mixing dyes. In the new formulation one or more ink property may change slightly due to the use of different dyes but the color would be duplicated. The ink may be a bit more complex to mix than the original, but again, the color would match. There are machines that will automatically make the new recipe for you. You just send in a sample of the dye to be duplicated and the results are pop out.

    So there is no reason I can think of not to duplicate the old ink color other than slightly added complexity in the formula and/or a small increase in the dye cost. In short, the manufacturer doesn't want to be bothered.

    Fountain pen ink is a product very much like restaurant food, Once your customers like something, they will remain faithful to it provided the product quality is consistent over time. Remember the "New" Coke? Nathan Tardif of Noodler's Ink could learn something from that story,

  • Tom Johnson

    My wife told me the flowers are crepe myrtle.

  • Lois in SWPA

    Color me Devastated. I bought a sample a while ago and finally got around to inking up with it in the last 3 weeks. I loved it. I have been savoring what is in my pen and planning to buy a bottle with my next purchase. The new version is pretty, but not BSiAR. Nathan should re-name it and let BSiAR rest in peace. The last two drops in my pen and the remains of the sample will be treasured… boo hoo.

  • Waski_the_Squirrel

    I really like this ink. I'm glad I have a full bottle of the original formulation.

    But I have to wonder what Mr. Tardif thinks. I imagine he is frustrated by this change that occurred outside his control. It is even more frustrating that many will blame him for the change.

  • David

    In Reply to: Tom Johnson,

    Thank you for your excellent reply. I was hoping someone more knowlegable than me on this topic would chime in. I am an EE, but I have some experience in this subject from a manufacturing stand-point. Matching print dyes ages ago for me was simple given vendor support. I suspect these dye vendors are still in business and even more capable. That's what I was referring to in terms of matching (and if you will "remix") of basic dye colors.

    You are right, different "base" dyes may behave differently at the "molecular level" as you say. But I seriously doubt this is the case with Noodler's (or other) typical FP inks. "Standard" dyes are purchased and mixed to make the PF inks in terms of volume FP ink manufacturers. So with a bit more effort, and with a relatively consistent supplier of dyes, you can match most any color to be the same or very similar to a color (AND with the same or VERY similar properties) of the previous mixed color based on a dye that has changed from same supplier.

    We don't need to go to the "molecular level" for a minor single dye change in the mix from a single supplier.

    No doubt, Noodler's is sourcing dyes from reputable and (mostly) reproducible sources. Of course – if that is not the case (e.g., dyes from China, India, Pakistan; to name a few)… Then all bets are off. If that is the case (problematic dye suppliers), then maybe it is time for Noodler's to reconsider their sources.

    Summary, with dyes from reputable manufacturer's with repeatable properties, the discontinuance of one color lost in the manufacturer's inventory can be easily reformulated with a bit more complexity to match a previous color. If the previous color had the proper properties as a fountain pen ink, the minor dye change to reformulate to match a previous color should be simple – and retain the same/similar properties.

    Regards, David

  • Jeremy

    Have they solved the issues with the finishes of these pens? Almost every review I see says the finish has come off. I really like the gun metal/red pen but I don't want to pay $40 for a pen that the finish is going to come off?

  • szedpens

    I think a name change would be a good idea. I like this new color, but the original was one of my favorites, and I'm not sure the new shade will be a go-to color for me.

  • Kate

    I'm actually excited about this. I've been on the hunt for a bulletproof purple, and I'm adding this to my "must sample" list. It looks beautiful in the drawings. The original wasn't vibrant enough for me. Happy accident! (for me, anyway 🙂 )

  • soniasimone

    I love BSiAR and I have to say, I'm glad I have a nice full bottle of the original. The new one is pretty but the original color is something special.

    Thanks for letting us know about the change!

    For those who want something more muted, R&K's Alt Bordeaux is a gorgeous option, but alas, it is not at all water resistant.

  • soniasimone

    I've found that Golden Brown changes in the bottle over time, I've gone through 3-4 bottles of it (over quite a few years). It starts beautiful but then gets a bit of a greenish tinge that makes it look a little like baby diapers. :/

    It's one of my favorite inks, though.

  • soniasimone

    The idea of a name change is a really good suggestion.

  • soniasimone

    A color that's surprisingly similar to BSiAR coming out of the pen (vs. in a swab) is Noodler's Red-Black, as well.

  • Ted

    Interesting. Mine isn't greenish; it just doesn't have that strong yellow shade (less golden) that I witnessed in the sample I tried first a few months before I bought the bottle.

  • Brett Butts

    I've noticed that El Lawrence seems to have changed recently from a dark motor oil color to a lighter shade – closer to a dark olive. Seems like there is a yellow component that is more prevalent now, and the ink is more fluorescent under black light than before.

  • Nicky

    I second the Alt-Bordeaux suggestion, it's a lovely colour.

  • S. Tom

    Appreciate your efforts to keep us informed, Brian. And appreciate all of Nathan's efforts to produce all the great products he does. I actually like the new color too, but I have to agree with those who said it should have a new name. It's too different from the previous shade to be using the same name. It would be different if it wasn't so popular. But too many people loved it as it was.

    Doesn't mean the new ink isn't a great Noodler's ink, with all the great properties we expect from Noodler's. Just seems more accurate to rename it….or at least call it "New BSiAR."

  • Tom Johnson

    David, I don't think you still grasp the magnitude involved. Noodler's is far far from any typical FP inks, so far they are in another galaxy. Dyes have complex properties (used in THOUSANDS of different kinds of products). One dye back in the 70's anesthetized fish (not intentionally), and collectors were spraying it into the Florida coral reefs to collect tropical fish to sell. It was removed from the market, there was no other dye that did this. You can bet Nathan is not purchasing "Standard" dyes, but those with the specific chemical properties beyond color that is needed. A "bit more effort" could mean a project that takes hundreds of man hours to complete, Nathan has all he can do to keep his ink and pens flowing into the marketplace. He is a one man show. You can bet he has thought all this through and knows the dye industry through and through.

  • BillF

    Since Black Swans cavorting among roses in Australia and those romping through the Roses in England produced related colors (or should it be colours?), should we assume that the English swans will shift hues as well?

  • washbear

    I'll miss the old color– it was my favorite burgundy. But the new one sure looks pretty, too.

  • Vicki

    Oh, I'm so not happy. That was my all time favorite color of Noodler's. Not good 🙁

  • Cherry

    Glad I managed to obtain the original but this one is pretty cool looking. I may pick this up.

  • Herb

    I like the new shade better.

  • Derik Ling Yii Zhan

    Why was it reformulated? I like the new colour but im gonna miss the old colour. Any side by side comparison?

  • Derik Ling Yii Zhan

    Sad news as BSIAR is my fav Noodler's ink. The new ink is nice but its no longer BSIAR to me 🙁

  • 79spitfire

    I like the new color!

  • Nicky

    I have a full bottle of the original colour, so my disappointment mostly comes from not being able to share it with others. The new colour is pretty, though, and I do appreciate yours and Nathan's efforts to keep us informed.

  • Danny

    Oh, some background. I am old enough, older than Brian by a few years, that I was taught cursive and told that it was the proper way to write. And as for why I think my use of fountain pens is heretical: I like to use a 1.1 or 1.5 with my terrible all-caps handwriting. I just like the way it looks.

  • TJ

    See the previous blog, Brian explains the whole situation in great detail and he has a side by side comparison.

  • Ann Pace

    I am so sorry to hear this news. BSIAR has been at the top of my "want to have colors" list. The old one was a mysterious, wonderful color — I just hadn't ordered it yet. I wish Noodler's had dropped the color entirely and called this new one something else. It's like substituting cherry pie for blueberry pie and still calling it blueberry pie. Or substituting pie for cake, for that matter, and calling it cake! It isn't.

  • Ann Pace

    My apologies to everyone who had already said basically the same thing. I was just so disappointed I reacted right away. (I didn't read your comments 'til after I posted mine.)

  • Kathy Brothers

    I loved the old color as well. I won't touch the conversation re. Nathan's ability or inability to duplicate the old color. But, PLEASE, Nathan, rename it. It's a different color!!!! The Goulet folks have shown their commitment to honest customer service. I wish Nathan would do the same.

  • Kyle Caalim

    This is the most disappointed I have ever been in the fountain pen world. This was by far my absolute favorite ink and I have only had the pleasure of purchasing one bottle. This new formulation should not even be called BSIAR. BSIAR is gone. BSIAR was a beautiful burgundy. This new formula is PURPLE.

  • TJ

    I have most of a bottle left of the original BSiAR, which is one of my favorite inks of all time. However, I don't have a purple ink, so I ordered a bottle of the "new" color today to add to my collection. I think they should change the name. I recommend "Black Swan in Virginia Muscadines", which is a wild grape. Could also be "…Blue Ridge Muscadines". I bet Nathan Tardiff will change the name.

  • Tom Johnson

    OK, I like the new BSAR so I ordered a bottle today so I will have both color variations! I have no purple inks so this new version will give me a good one.

  • TJ

    Danny, if you were taught cursive you could pick it up quickly. I was taught cursive back in the 50's and also print too. I've been practicing my cursive lately and it has improved a lot. I too like the look of the 1.1 and 1.5 stub nibs with printing and go back and forth from cursive to printing, sometimes printing the first letter of a word. I don't like the cursive version of the capital "G", so I almost always print it. I print for things like addresses on envelopes, pens, checks, etc. which I want to be legible. And fountain pens just feel and write right! No matter what your writing style is.

  • Chemicalfencer

    Hi Brian and the rest of the Goulet Team,

    I love your Q&A sessions, an was hoping you might be able to answer this one . . . well . . . two.

    I have had problems in the past with rusting and pitting on some pens – usually on the clip and other areas of trim. Do you know of a way to avoid such things from happening to my pen expanding pen collection?

    My second question if about lending fountain pens. I keep hearing that the nib will change or bend if someone else uses it, even for a fraction of a second. It is true or an old wives tale?


  • Astra

    Maybe I should auction off my bottle of the old color. I seem to have a preference for more vivid purples and don't use Aussie Roses very often.

  • dorothy_notgale

    The new version is drastically different, and needs a new "Black Swan in ______ Roses" name to reflect that. And I say this as someone who never liked the old color and is considering purchasing the new one.

  • TJ

    I got the new bottle of BSiAR today and I love it! I love both, and now I have both variations. I think I would have used this new version if I'd had it at work before I retired. Nice and wet in a 1.5 mm nib (what ink isn't?).

  • Tiffany

    This new color is vivid and beautiful. I have an old bottle of BSiAR and it's a little unfortunate to say that I like this new color better. They really should change the name though.

  • Alex at Goulet Pens

    Thanks, Ted! We appreciate you sharing that with us. It's always tough to share this kind of information, but always try to be optimistic. We're sad to see the old BSIAR go, but are loving this new formulation!

  • Alex at Goulet Pens

    Totally understandable! It is very different.

  • Alex at Goulet Pens

    The layouts are done by our newest Media Specialist, Sarah. She is EXTREMELY gifted and we are so lucky to have her — your wife is likely right, but I'll try to double check with Sarah to see!

  • Alex at Goulet Pens

    We couldn't agree more — I think Sarah and Joe are incredible assets to our team! They seriously make us (and this ink) look good!

  • Jordan Lang

    What camera was this taken with? These pictures are beautiful and crystal clear.

  • Alex at Goulet Pens

    Sarah used the Canon 24-70mm 2.8L for most of them, and then the 100mm 2.8L Macro lens for the shots of the nib and closeups. 🙂

  • Olivia from the Penventory

    I managed to find a bottle of the old version from an independent seller on Amazon — it was just by chance, though. Glad I snagged some when I had the chance, despite never having sampled it before….

  • I agree, I love the look of the rose gold as well as the chrome but having the finish come off would be a shame.

  • Twoznek

    Reading reviews, yes I'm concerned bout the finish coming off as well.

  • Hibbard Pens

    The finish on mine came off within 5 days. They did offer to replace the pen free of charge and I might them up on the offer deepening of if I have to pay to have it shipped back. The firm they sent says there's is a charge of 12 to ship it back.

  • Dave M

    What happened happened…it is what it is. I have a bottle of the new and live it…a great ink with many positive properties. I'm on the new name side though. Common! It's a totally different color! How about Black Swan in Canadian Roses…or New Zealand Roses…keeping it in the commonwealth, etc. Or better yet, bring it to the USA as …Black Swan in Portland Roses! (Um, Portland is one of the USA rose cities). Well whatever happens I still love the ink!

  • Jibber Jabber Joe

    I am constantly frustrated by this pen. I tried all different kinds of ink and spread the nib tines to increase flow but it still almost always starts dry leaving the first letter of every sentence half drawn. Worst pen I ever owned.