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Montblanc Midnight Blue (Non-Iron Gall Formula)

montblanc midnight blue

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#1 Bigeddie

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Posted 06 October 2013 - 13:21

Hi all,

 

I picked up a bottle of the reformulated Midnight Blue yesterday, below are some photos and some first thoughts. 

 

Background: The old formula Midnight Blue has been a much loved 'iron gall' ink, an ink which contains a component that seems to result in fantastic performance, very little bleed and feathering, lots of shading and a degree of water resistance. As the ink reacts with the air it darkens to quite a deep blue black. The problem with iron gall inks is thier reactivity, which can increase corrosion of reactive metals such as steel (i.e. steel nibs), and can cause problems if they dry out in pens. Modern IG inks contain very low concentrations. As a result the cartridge versions (maybe they assume those who exclusively use cartridges are not going to wash out their pens as thoroughly?) of IG inks are often non-IG equivalents. MB is now following Lamy in replacing the bottled IG inks with a non-IG equivalent. I am not sure if this new ink is identical to the cartridge Midnight Blue, or something new entirely.

 

First, identifying the new ink from the old is quite easy. The boxes are different on one side (the new one does not make any claims about permanency), and the ident numbers on the bottom are different. 

 

10108355503_1d3ac229a9_z.jpg
IMAGE_2.jpg by Bigeddie100, on Flickr
 
In addition the new bottles are labled with "BLEU NUIT non perma" whereas the old bottles are labled with "BLEU NUIT".
 
 
Tests:
I have tested the inks on Rhodia and copy papers to see if there is a difference between the new and old formulas. My scanner is now older than some forum members, that is to say rather tired. I have taken photos in direct sunlight for comparison. Both inks were in Lamy Safari pens with medium nibs.
 
New formula on the top, old IG formula on the bottom. 
 
Analysis:
The new formula performs well on Rhodia, as well as the previous version (no bleed or feathering, and very minimal show through). It does not have the darkness that the old IG formula develops as it reacts and dries. On cheap copy paper the new formula soaks in and looses that depth completely, becoming more of a blue grey. 
 
Performance has declined with the removal of IG components, the new formula spreads out a little more on the copy paper and has more show through and bleed than the old formula.  
 
The new ink flows quite well, with the same degree of lubrication that the old formula has. 
 
Water fastness:

10116653463_80c76125ea_z.jpg

 

10116561223_bec75a871d_z.jpg

 

The new ink seems to be slightly less water resistant than the previous version, although not by much.

 

Conclusion:

The new ink is a pleasing enough colour and performance is not bad, but it's not the same as the old formula ink. Performance of the new ink seems to be on a par with some of the other MB offerings like Royal Blue. I'll miss the old formula, and when I run out I'll look for another IG replacement. 


Edited by Bigeddie, 06 October 2013 - 14:20.

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#2 Ytland

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Posted 06 October 2013 - 13:55

Bigeddie,

 

Thanks for your enlightening review! Finally speculation is made fact.

 

All I can say is that I'm happy I stocked up enough of the old stuff to last me through my studies...


Edited by Ytland, 06 October 2013 - 13:55.

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#3 Pens Woods

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Posted 06 October 2013 - 14:19

Bigeddie,

 

There we have it.  Right in front of us on paper!  A fantastic review!  The comparison is quite stark between the two inks.  I wonder if the new formula ink gets darker with age?  Time will tell.

Oh, well, I'll finish the two bottles of the original formula I have left and then cry!

 

Keep on writing,  Pete


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#4 Mainecoon

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Posted 06 October 2013 - 14:31

Thank for this contribution as well. This ends all speculation indeed. For me, I like the older formula more. It's darker and more a blue-black than the new one (more a blue-grey at best). I use it sparingly, because I have left just half a bottle.
Happy Writing!, Mainecoon

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#5 Chrissy

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Posted 06 October 2013 - 15:04

I've never particularly liked Blue Black ink, but I have a bottle in my 149 box, labelled 149 ink. So I assume that's the old version



#6 swanjun

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Posted 06 October 2013 - 15:07

Thank you very much for creating this comparison. Glad I was able to snag a backup bottle of the original.



#7 Laura N

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Posted 06 October 2013 - 15:46

Thank you so much.  Based on this, I added a backup bottle of the old version.



#8 cybaea

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Posted 06 October 2013 - 16:48

Thank you for this :thumbup:


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#9 Cepasaccus

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Posted 06 October 2013 - 17:49

How many hours/days have you soaked the sheet?

 

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#10 lapis

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Posted 06 October 2013 - 18:51

Thanks for this comparison. I was expecting a much bigger difference in water resistence. Like Cepasaccus, I also have the feeling that a real soak -- i.e. a bath in water for at least 5 min -- would show us something different. Your photos look like you "only" wiped a wet cloth over those lines. No harm meant.

 

Mike


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#11 The Good Captain

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Posted 06 October 2013 - 20:46

I'm glad you've done this before I get mine - due from Wheeler's very soon. I can now plan which pen to put it in and then do my usual. I will read your review properly, before I start scanning.


Edited by The Good Captain, 06 October 2013 - 21:57.

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#12 Bigeddie

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Posted 06 October 2013 - 22:17

How many hours/days have you soaked the sheet?

 

Cepasaccus with 3.5 bottles stock

 

 

Thanks for this comparison. I was expecting a much bigger difference in water resistence. Like Cepasaccus, I also have the feeling that a real soak -- i.e. a bath in water for at least 5 min -- would show us something different. Your photos look like you "only" wiped a wet cloth over those lines. No harm meant.

 

Mike

 

No harm taken :)

 

I let them soak without agitation for about 5 minutes in the dish of water you can see in the first water resistance picture; I didn't time it, but I did go away and do other things. The paper was then pegged up to drip dry for another 15 minutes or so and it looks like there was some more run off based on the bottom edges. I considered going for longer but I thought that 5 minutes of submersion would be the worst case scenario for anything I would write. I was really surprised about the Mystery Black sample at the bottom of the paper.

 

However I haven't washed out the pens yet (I thought I'd keep them filled and use them for a bit for longer duration testing) so I have put another sample if the Midnight Blues and the two permanent inks into soak. I'll fish it out tomorrow and report. 


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#13 RudyR

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Posted 07 October 2013 - 00:02

The new is a sorry replacement for the old.


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#14 Blade Runner

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Posted 07 October 2013 - 03:21

It's confusing for long time users of iron gall blue black.  On the bright side, the permanent blue and black are really water resistant!  



#15 Pterodactylus

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Posted 07 October 2013 - 12:27

uu49.jpg
 

(Pelikan 140 - OF ..... Mont Blanc Midnight Blue (old formulation))


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#16 lapis

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Posted 07 October 2013 - 13:02

 

 

 

No harm taken :)

 

I let them soak without agitation for about 5 minutes in the dish of water you can see in the first water resistance picture; I didn't time it, but I did go away and do other things. The paper was then pegged up to drip dry for another 15 minutes or so and it looks like there was some more run off based on the bottom edges. I considered going for longer but I thought that 5 minutes of submersion would be the worst case scenario for anything I would write. I was really surprised about the Mystery Black sample at the bottom of the paper.

 

However I haven't washed out the pens yet (I thought I'd keep them filled and use them for a bit for longer duration testing) so I have put another sample if the Midnight Blues and the two permanent inks into soak. I'll fish it out tomorrow and report. 

Thanks! I'll buy that, really!! I  usually don't go over 5 min myself (when testing an ink on paper, that is).  5 min is in most cases enough IMO. Lots of inks won't hold up 5 sec.

 

Mike


Edited by lapis, 07 October 2013 - 13:08.

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#17 Nek

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Posted 07 October 2013 - 13:18

Thanks for the review! I think I like the old Midnight Blue more. I will try to grab another bottle to use.



#18 Sandy1

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Posted 07 October 2013 - 14:42

Hi,

 

Many thanks for another wonderful Review!  :thumbup: 

 

It seems that my feeling of an approaching catastrophe was too right. *naughty_word*

 

Your efforts support inky enjoyment by allowing me to avoid an unrewarding purchase.

 

Bye,

S1


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#19 RudyR

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Posted 07 October 2013 - 17:54

I have to give my thanks to you for taking the bullet and confirming my suspicions that a new and unremarkable ink has been produced.


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#20 Bigeddie

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Posted 09 October 2013 - 23:40

[...]
 

(Pelikan 140 - OF ..... Mont Blanc Midnight Blue (old formulation))

 

I think you summed it up nicely there, there is nothing special about the new ink. I managed to pick up a couple more bottles of the old formula, and I still have 2 bottles of the old Blue-Black to keep me going for the next few years, I'll stock up in Salix in that time for the next decade. This ink game is hard work, you really have to think long term!

 

If anyone is hunting for old bottles try the independents; Old bottle (IG) bottom, new bottle (non-IG) top (at least they didn't do a Lamy and make the boxes the same!).

10108355503_1d3ac229a9_z.jpg
IMAGE_2.jpg by Bigeddie100, on Flickr

Edited by Bigeddie, 09 October 2013 - 23:41.

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