Sailor Sky High Ink And That Sheen Thing


Have you heard of sheen as an ink characteristic? It’s that fleeting appearance of more than one color when an ink is first applied to paper. Don’t blink! It disappears in an instant, if you even see it.

Learned my lesson and will never buy an ink again on that sort of promise. If an ink does something exciting like show tons of shading or outlining, that’s a whole different matter. Those are enduring qualities. Ten years from now, they will still be evident. If an ink has amazing flow or seems to cushion the nib in a delightful way, well, at least those are tactile pleasures that enhance the writing experience. So those are worth a little extra money even if temporary thrills. But sheen? Bah, humbug.

On the right paper and with perfect lighting, you might see that second color. But I just want to write and for that Sailor Sky High does not disappoint. The Pelikan M215 Rings with the Binder stub nib has performed very well with Noodler’s Ottoman Azure and Eel Blue amongst other inks so I had a good basis for comparison. Sky High is a bit more lubricating than the former but better controlled than the latter. The Pel is quite content with it and good performance is always a treat. In fact, there is a nice degree of shading on Rhodia paper. The color is less saturated than the two Noodler’s inks, but not enough to make it less colorful. Any one of the three will work for an ink in this hue.

Sailor Gentle Ink - Sky High

The greatest difference between the three is the odor. Virtually no odor to Eel Blue, typical if mild Noodler’s odor to Ottoman Azure, but Sailor Sky High is pungent in comparison. That is from biocides and a good thing since it retards or prevents ink’s nemesis, mold. For the chemically sensitive, Sailor inks may not be a good option. Eel Blue will give you the color without the odor although it may be too free-flowing for all pens. That has not been an issue for me even with wide nibs and I find it an absolute joy in Japanese fine nibs since it has good lubrication. Sky High performs equally well though it is more pricey at $12.50 US for 50 ml. Noodler’s is the same price for 90 ml. The bottle design is quite different so one may suit better than the other.

If I had to pick one out of the three for my rotation, it would be Noodler’s Ottoman Azure. It’s been a top ten ink for me since I bought it. Sailor ink is excellent for quality but the standard colors haven’t caught my fancy although some of the limited editions from a few years ago remain unique and deserve special recognition. Retiring Sailor Brown and Red-Brown shouldn’t have happened but perhaps someday those colors will be re-released. In the meantime, Sailor Sky High will do as a mid-range, slightly green-biased blue. I mean an inkophile must have Sailor ink in at least one pen, right?



  1. Sailor Red-Brown is something I never had a chance to try, but I wish I did. It was before my time. The ink seems to have a myth and legend surrounding it. I really wish they would bring back the ink.

    Sailor Jentle Epinard is a very nice spinach green color and has a loyal following.

    The sailor colors I’ve come to rely on, and use on a regular basis, are Epinard, Grenade, and UltraMarine. All three have a nice sheen.

    And of course, the Kiwa-Guro Nano black is a miraculous ink. It doesn’t feather on anything at all. And has a matte black finish which is pleasant.


  2. I really don’t need any more inks, but Ooh, how tempting Ottoman Azure looks.


    • Ottoman Azure is such a pretty blue and perfect for those fine nibs of which you are so fond. There is a letter on its way written with Sky High, so you’ll get a good look at that one. It hasn’t quite the punch of OA, but it does have a lot of shading. It makes my Pel M215 stub write with no drag at all which makes the duo ideal for my Apica journal. Long sessions – no stops. OA is no less worthy and I am happy with both. I think you would be, too. 🙂


  3. I don’t get the sheen craze on FPN. I think it’s like the flex craze (which I fell into and I was like … but nails are fine for me!). Give me an ink that’s well lubricated and shades and I am happy.


    • The photos of sheen are beautiful, but as an ink characteristic, too fleeting. I’m with you on shading and lubrication. One is visually pleasing and the other makes using a fountain pen more pleasant. Sky High does have both of those properties and that makes it a recommended ink.

      My Sailor Sapporo is a nail and should work beautifully with Sky High. But I don’t think it’s ever met an ink it didn’t like. The Sailor company definitely has quality figured out. 🙂


  4. […] Fountain pens, ink, paper and more « Sailor Sky High Ink And That Sheen Thing […]


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