J. Herbin Vert Olive


J. Herbin Vert Olive languished in my collection for months before it found the perfect pen. That is the long and short of the story – long time to find the right kind of pen and a very short list of pens that suit it really well. Now that represents my preferences in inks and your story may differ.

Maybe you will like it in a fine nib. The color was soft and pale in my fine and extra-fine Japanese pens but more robust in a free-flowing Levenger True Writer. While I dallied with lots of other inks, the bottle just gathered dust. I share my office with several birds so that doesn’t take long. Anyway, a couple of weeks ago I decided to follow my own advice and loaded Vert Olive into a pen with a wide nib, the Lamy Joy 1.1mm italic. The color was better than good and improved still more when I slowed my strokes allowing more ink to flow onto the paper. Now this was the green I’d hoped for all along.

On white paper Vert Olive has blue undertones and on a yellow based paper it has yellow undertones. Either way it is a bright olive color rather than the drab olive green that I associate with the military. I would have liked it either way. This is not a high saturation or high contrast ink but one that is very easy to read. It would be suitable for margin notes as well as correspondence and can hit a calm and relaxing note for journal writing.

To round out the characteristics, there is good shading and flow but not much lubrication which means that your nib may talk to you. I don’t mind since on occasion my birds tilt their heads and listen intently trying to catch the little squeaks coming from my bird/pen. However, people visiting my workspace have yet to comment on that extra bird so it isn’t loud enough to offend others.

J. Herbin Vert Olive Written Sample

J. Herbin Vert Olive Written Sample

Vert Olive did not reproduce very accurately but here’s the best my scanner could muster. Light behind an image, as you find on a monitor, seems to bring out a yellow that doesn’t appear on paper. I’ve attempted to compensate for that issue. Check out more reviews and scans from Biffybeans and La Plume Etoile. Each of us achieved a slightly different shade in our images of Vert Olive, a product of technology and not the ink itself. The true color is probably somewhere in between. On my monitor the image at J. Herbin is the closest to my written sample so go by that if you are uncertain.

Need to work on my letter forms but you can still get the idea from my written sample. J. Herbin Vert Olive is a lovely olive color but needs the right pen to reach its full potential. Wait. Isn’t that true of most inks? Duh!

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  1. I love that color.


  2. One of my favorites. I have it in a Waterman 52, with a flexy NY nib. It is a beautiful match.


  3. Now there’s a fine idea for the Waterman 52 that is en route from Australia. Yum!


  4. […] from Inkophile reviewed Vert […]


  5. […] J. Herbin Vert Olive […]


  6. […] Pen – Lamy Safari with a 1.1 nib. Paper – Rhodia R paper. Ink – J Herbin Vert Olive (love the shading). Good combo IMO.  (Great example of this combo from the Inkophile blog below!) […]


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