J. Herbin Cacao du Brésil – A Change of Shade05/09/2009
Have you ever thought the ink from a new bottle just didn’t look like your last purchase? Or have you wondered if a formulation changed without notice? Well, your eyes weren’t deceiving you if you questioned the color of J. Herbin Cacao du Brésil.
Thanks to a Twitter exchange with Laura, a/k/a Phthalo on Fountain Pen Network, and a comparison swatch, the alteration came to light.
No question there is a difference in color. Karen Doherty at Exaclair offered to check with J. Herbin regarding that difference and allowed me to publish the reply.
Here is the (translated) answer from France – “Cacao du Bresil ink ref H130/45= Indeed Herbin confirmed that the change in color is due to a new colorant added; the older one was unbalanced and unstable.”
Certainly the new formula has more black to it and could well pass for black or dark gray in some lighting conditions. This cool brown isn’t highly saturated so the color of the paper comes through in a charming way. Tests on G. Lalo Verge de France Rose Stationery proved especially interesting.
Cacao du Brésil is a bit dry and might tame a free-flowing pen though I haven’t put that to the test. There’s a small amount of shading so it might be lovely for drawing but it is also conservative enough for business. In a black pen it could do double duty at your desk and for a little sketching during lunch hour. Versatility is always a plus.
If you have been wedded to black ink but think there might be more to ink than basic black, J. Herbin Cacao du Brésil might be just the thing to make the transition. If you like bright and lively colors, Cacao du Brésil may not be exciting on its own. However, paired with the right paper, it might be a good addition to your ink rotation. For five years it has slipped in and out of use here. I never traded it as I have many other inks and that’s actually a pretty good recommendation.