Favorite Inks

The dozen in bold are my most favored few. Despite reducing inked pens to a minimal selection, two to four of them will always be in play.

  • DeAtramentis Cola (Finicky about paper, but a rich color. Yes, it does have a mild cola scent.)
  • Diamine Emerald
  • Diamine Marine
  • Diamine Mediterranean
  • Diamine Sepia
  • Diamine Vermilion
  • Diamine Violet
  • Iroshizuku Ku-Jaku
  • Iroshizuku Syo-ro (can stain plastic)
  • J. Herbin Café des Iles
  • J. Herbin Lie de Thé
  • J. Herbin Poussiere de Lune
  • J. Herbin Vert Empire
  • Noodler’s Black
  • Noodler’s Black Swan in English Roses
  • Noodler’s General of the Armies
  • Noodler’s Kiowa Pecan
  • Noodler’s Lexington Grey
  • Noodler’s Ottoman Azure
  • Noodler’s Purple Martin
  • Noodler’s Red-Black
  • Parker Penman Ruby (discontinued)
  • Pilot Blue-Black
  • Platinum Carbon Black
  • Robert Oster Red Orange
  • Rohrer & Klingner Magenta
  • Rohrer & Klingner Morinda
  • Sailor Brown (discontinued)
  • Sailor Deep Moss Black (limited edition)
  • Sailor Tokiwa-matsu
  • Sailor Uranari Green (limited edition)
  • Stipula Sapphron
  • Stipula Verde Muschiato (Moss Green)
  • Super 5 Dublin
  • Waterman Blue-Black
  • Waterman Florida Blue

Updated December 8, 2016.


  1. It is obvious from your list that you like a variety of colors but how would you rate the writing quality on various kinds of paper? For example, I found Shaeffer ink to have very poor quality (black ink was grey and bled) on moleskin paper. While the Waterman black and blue-black inks had very good line quality.


  2. Thanks for leaving a comment. Your remarks prompted a post that I hope you enjoy.

    If you would like to try a good variety of inks without filling a cupboard with mistakes, check out the sample ink program at http://www.peartreepens.com. The quantities are not large but sufficient to write several pages and easily enough to know whether an ink will meet your needs. I’ve ordered several times and been very happy with the results.


  3. I note tha tyou have Parker Penman Ruby on your list… I’ve been thinking of trying this ink, as the color is exactly what I want in a red. however, I have heard numerous horror stories about Penman causing clogging (and, of course, there is some validity to this concern, as Parker discontinued the ink). So, I just thought that I would ask if you’ve experienced any clogging or flow issues when using the Penman Ruby?

    By the way, thank you for posting your list. Anymore, I have 25-30 bottles of ink, but very little overlap with your list (though I also have and love Stipula Moss Green). I guess I need to break out the credit card and get cracking! 🙂


    • Like you I read horror stories about Penman inks before I bought Ruby but found the color too tempting to ignore. With reasonable care including a cleaning between fills, no pen has suffered from either Ruby or Sapphire though I limit use of Penman inks to a few modern pens that could easily be replaced should a disaster occur. Any pen that gets filled with Ruby, gets used regularly to avoid ink drying in the nib. That’s the only other precaution I take. So far, so good.

      There is no ink I know of that is exactly like Ruby though I’ve been told Diamine may come out with a color that would be a good substitute. No news on that since the summer of 2008 but maybe it will be included in new releases for 2009. Mont Blanc Bordeaux is somewhat close and a good ink to boot so I generally steer inkophiles in that direction. Between availability and price, it is a much better deal. But if like me you really have to have the color of Ruby in your rotation, there are bottles available on eBay from time to time. Use your pen daily, flush regularly and it should work out fine.

      You’ve a nice collection going and surely adding more ink can be addictive. Aesthetic colors and pleasing properties add significantly to the joy of using a fountain pen. However, if you have inks that never get used and likely never will, consider trading them via the Fountain Pen Network Wanted to Trade forum. That’s a good way to acquire something new while giving your credit card a rest. I’ve picked up a dozen bottles that way and sent some IMO real stinkers to people who loved them. Go figure!


  4. I did secure a bottle of Penman Ruby from eBay (surprisingly, I only paid $12, before shipping) and I’ve been using it for about a week now. So far, I’m very happy with it (it leans a little more purple than I was thinking that it would, but it’s still a very nice color). As for the FPN “Wanted to Trade” forum, that seems like a pretty good idea. Now that I’ve located the Penman Ruby, I’ve got an almost unused bottle of Noodler’s Tienanmen that I should pass on to someone who will use it (from some pens, it has strong pink notes that I just don’t care for). I’ve also got a bottle of Visconti Red that I hate; I just haven’t been able to make myself do anything with it because I so much like the “mushroom” bottle. Anyway, now to try to locate some Penman Emerald…



  5. Just noticed you have Rohrer & Klingner listed in your sidebar – I’ve just bought a bottle of their (iron gall) Scabiosa ink which I’m itching to try out. Not seen them widely listed.


    • R&K has some very nice inks but I have yet to try Scabiosa. The color looks terrific in online swatches but I’ve been leery due to warnings about iron gall inks damaging pens. Frequent cleanings are not my long suit but one of these days, I’ll take the plunge.

      Hope you will decide to post your experience with Scabiosa once you’ve given it a good test. R&K inks deserve more credit than they are given.


  6. I also read the warnings – the day after I’d ordered it; typical me. 😉

    I think I’ll try it in something potentially disposable first – I have a spare Preppy going begging which I was planning to convert into an eyedropper fill anyway, might as well kill two birds with one stone.

    I’ll be sure to post my experiences once I’ve given the Scabiosa a decent trial.

    Nice to finally meet someone who doesn’t go, “Rohrer & who?!” when I mention the brand! 🙂


  7. Enjoyed looking over your inks. Using Private Reserve primarily. But, my favorite is Parker Penman Mocha. Read once where someone described it as looking like used motor oil. That is appropriate. Tried to find another brown i liked. Couldn’t do it. No clogs yet. PR inks black Cherry, DC Electric Blue, Ebony Purple, and Avacado Green. Have Black Magic Blue also. Not sure if it’s a keeper yet.


    • Nice selection of inks. I’ve got PR Avacado in a Waterman Carene Stub and love the combination of ink and nib properties. It’s a keeper to be sure.


  8. I see that you love your green inks. I don’t use any greens, my colors being more in the blue, purple, rose/pink categories. I am intrigued by your use of J.Herbin Vert Empire. It seems to have a little blue in it, don’t you think? I am also trying Private Reserve Blue Suede which is more on the green scale.
    I am also an ink bottle lover, my Mother was a long time inkwell collector and I have some of those as well.
    Do you have any suggestions on the greens that I could try?


    • So you are second generation. That’s really cool!

      Yes, Vert Empire has some blue in it. Depending on the pen, it can appear rather muted. Blue Suede is very saturated and much more colorful. If you want to try several greens, check out the sample ink program at Pear Tree Pens. That’s the best way to get acquainted with new colors.


  9. […] Favorite Inks […]


  10. […] Favorite Inks […]


  11. […] organization is in order. So while waiting for the electrician yesterday afternoon, I updated my Favorite Inks and Favorite Matches. The lists are still too long but you wouldn’t believe how many I did […]


  12. […] Favorite Inks […]


  13. Hi-Who makes Montblanc black ink? -Joe


    • As far as I know Montblanc ink is unique to that company. I do not know the location of the factory or whether it makes ink for other companies.


  14. […] Favorite Inks […]


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