De Atramentis Ink – A Brief Look10/23/2009
De Atramentis has an enormous range of colors so there’s a rainbow from which to choose. If color determines your fondness for an ink, this manufacturer has got your number. If other properties count as much, then caveat emptor. Certainly some will meet your standards. However, others may only work in a limited number of pens or on a limited selection of papers. This is one brand of ink that may take some trial and error to find a satisfying combination.
Lest you think I am unhappy with the whole line, perish the thought. While it won’t replace my favorite brands, I did find good things about Aubergine, Sepiabraun, and Cement Grey. No coverage issue though Sepiabraun and Cement Grey are incredibly wet. There was a small amount of feathering with the latter on Apica though not on Staples bagasse or Rhodia. I no longer have a sample of Aubergine but the color was a favorite in the past. No issues with performance either.
Sepiabraun is similar to Noodler’s Walnut but less saturated while Cement Grey looks like wet cement or maybe a piece of charcoal depending on line thickness. Olive Green is close in color to J. Herbin Vert Olive with some blue added. Aubergine bears a resemblance to Parker Penman Ruby. It isn’t a substitute but it is similar.
Now for Olive Green. It is a pretty color but did not make the grade for performance. Two pens and three brands of paper plus various scraps on my desk were tested. Poor coverage with both a Lamy Vista 1.1 italic and a Sailor 1911 fine nib revealed an issue with skipping/poor coverage on Rhodia and Apica. The lack of cleanly filled in lines was less evident on Staples bagasse and more closely resembled skipping than poor coverage. On bagasse the dried ink showed some shading but not with any consistency. The pale color would be well suited to wide nibs but the performance with my pens was not satisfactory. Perhaps in a wet broad nib issues would be non-existent but there is nothing suitable in my collection to give Olive Green a proper test.
I am loathe to include YMMV in a review but it’s true. Please post in the comments if you have used De Atramentis ink. I hope you can add good experiences to balance my so-so one.