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Noodler’s Blue Nose Bear Ink – The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly

11/01/2011

Whether or not you are a Noodler’s Ink fan, it’s certain Nathan Tardif comes up with some of the best names in the business. Occasionally provocative, frequently amusing though often not descriptive. With so many color choices, the latter is not surprising. Unfortunately, The Blue Nose Bear has issues that a cute name can’t hide.

Noodler's Blue Nose Bear On A Paper Towel

Noodler's Blue Nose Bear On A Paper Towel

The beautiful color is blue-slanted teal with hints of turquoise that shades nicely from the flexible nib for which it was developed. There is even a bit of outlining, a rare treat with an ink this dark. So promising but BNB has a frustrating flaw. It feathers even on Rhodia paper. Bleed-through can be significant though the amount of flow that attends flex writing can make formerly well-behaved inks show through anything but the heaviest paper. BNB performance might be better with a dry-writing fine pen. But if you really want to flex your nib, expect one-sided paper use.

Noodler's Blue Nose Bear Ink

Noodler's Blue Nose Bear Ink

Noodler's Blue Nose Bear Bleed-Through Sample

Noodler's Blue Nose Bear Bleed-Through Sample

Just to round out my impression of other characteristics, flow, lubrication, and drying time are all good. The Esterbrook 9128 handled very well with BNB. A more free-flowing flexible nib might have gushed but the Estie was just right.

Unfortunately, the feathering produced indistinct outlines. That mushy look would not be ideal for correspondence or business use. So that relegates it to use in a journal or for personal notes or practice with a flex nib. My Apica A610 was not amused at the feathering and was insulted that I compared the result to the mess Moleskine makes with some fountain pen inks. I was forgiven as soon as I switched to a Namiki Falcon SB with Stipula Verde Muschiato. Whew!

To avoid preconceptions I do not read opinions before I order an ink that I plan to review. If I had, this one would never have made it into my shopping cart. Don’t get me wrong. I am a fan of Nathan. To put things in perspective, I’ve tested in excess of 30 Noodler’s inks and this is only the second one that disappointed due to feathering. (If you must know Pushkin was the other.) Depending on your tolerance, that might be an acceptable failure rate and waste of money. $25 at retail for two bottles of ink isn’t a disaster but two bottles of ink I love would have been a joy.

So skip the leaky diaper effect and find a better fit for your flexible nibs. This is one bear that can stay in the woods.

Noodler's Blue Nose Bear Ink on Apica

Noodler's Blue Nose Bear Ink on Apica

If you want a detailed review, Dizzypen did it up right with lots of scans as proof.

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8 comments

  1. This looks like a pretty cool color actually but the feathering is terrible.

    It reminds me a bit of Operation Overlord Orange which also bleeds like crazy.

    Too bad it’s got these issues, I might have picked up a bottle.

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  2. [...] Noodler’s Blue Nose Bear Ink – The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly [...]

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  3. The inky and the penmanship comes as eye candy after a long and weary day…. It gave me a moment. Thank you!

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    • You are most welcome, Doris. Have a great weekend. :)

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  4. Way too bad it bleeds so bad, because I would like to have that, for sure.

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  5. Lol, well the feathering is technically supposed to be there, that way you get the cool blue-nose effect Nathan says.

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  6. I absolutely adore this ink! Yes, I know it feathers like a puddle-drenched-seagull, but the colour is just so unique, I completely forgive it for the bleedthrough that occurs on almost all papers! As a form of compromise, I only use it for writing letters on Rhodia or Rhodia+ A4 tablets (I never write letters on both sides on the paper anyway) and in my Leuchtturm A5 journal.

    Because of the bleedthrough issues, I actually glue two pages together in said journal, because I love the colour so much, I just cannot bear to allow it to go unused! Yes, this might seem like a bit of a hassle, but 30 seconds with a Pritt Stick and the loss of a few pages are completely acceptable, when I get to then look back over 8 pages of writing in this gorgeous blue-green ink, reminiscent of the sea during a storm.

    Oh, I almost forgot. I also use it when writing in greetings cards or addressing envelopes as the bleedthrough isn’t an issue then and people have commented on the unusal hue. Next to Noodler’s Pasternak, it’s my favourite ink and I will continue to buy it, as long as it’s available.

    FYI: I use this ink solely in one of my Lamy Safari pens with a Fine Nib. Not that I think it matters, because it’s a naughty ink in almost any pen you fill with it; but I still manage to get some nice shading, despite it creating a narrow line with a fixed, rigid steel nib.

    It’s horses for courses really with this one. But I adore it!

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    • Thank you for sharing your love for Blue Nose Bear and how you use it. I’ll have to try the greeting card trick. That’s such a great idea!

      Liked by 1 person



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