A short while ago, the very nice people at Cult Pens suggested I'd like to have some new inks to play with. Who am I to refuse an offer like that?
A year ago I started to use Cult Pens' own Deep Dark Blue ink. This was a colour they designed to match their own logo, and it was made by Diamine in the UK (a brilliant firm with the best range of fountain pen inks, I think). I love Deep Dark Blue, and in fact it took over as my mainstay. I tend to have two or three pens with me while working, and the one I use daily (the Visconti, because it's bullet-proof and will never scratch), is generally filled with this ink now.
Well, last month the nice people at Cult Pens gave me some more ink to try, and it was so good, I had to buy some more.
The inks I have tested are the Deep Dark range, including green, brown, red and purple. For comparison purposes I've also mentioned the blue again (which I'll need to replenish soon, since the tide's going out in my old bottle).
All the inks performed well in my pens. I used a pair of Cross pens, mostly my fine nibbed one, and my three Conway Stewarts, which include medium, B and italic medium.
First observation: it is clear to me that these inks deserve a fat nib. With the fine Cross the ink works well, but it's not so effective as using my standard, Diamine Passion Red, for marking up and editing. The main thing I use this pen for is putting in corrections on my MSs, and for this the Deep Dark Red fails utterly! It's so dark that (for my eyesight) when it is put on paper, it's impossible to tell an inserted comma from blank toner on the page. And it makes my writing look like a drunken spider's … (bottom para).
However, as with other inks, when it's used in a fatter nib (middle para) it suddenly takes on a gorgeous life of its own. The thicker lines start paler and go dark as the nib moves with my italic nib. The variation of line thickness and ink colour is quite noticeable on my Rhodia paper – I just hope that comes across in the photo. I think it's a very good alternative to Oxblood.
The brown ink in the top paragraph shows the colour depth with thicker lines even more distinctly, I think. The brown is a good colour that oddly seems to come out more pale than, say, Diamine's Saddle Brown, but that's no bad thing. I think I prefer this. It'll almost certainly be a regular ink in my Kaweco with the italic nib.
I thought it would be useful to look at a standard Prussian Blue in comparison with the Deep Dark inks. On the photo at the top you can see how the Deep Dark Blue compares.
The odd thing is, the purple comes over as darker than the Blue - and yet it's got a slight reddish hue that shows up very pleasantly even with my Visconti medium nib (both were written using this pen).
Once, when talking to another author, he scathingly mentioned fountain pen users who were so – well, let's just paraphrase – weird that they used green inks. I surreptitiously concealed my pen (Diamine Kelly Green at the time). This, for me, is the one colour I probably won't use. I do like greens (as the above anecdote confirms), but this is, for me, either not quite dark enough or too dark. If it were a little more concentrated, so that the hints of the colour came through in the same way as with the purple, I'd like it more. It does show good depth – look at the last couple of lines, where I say "Diamine's Emerald", for example. You can see an almost black shade with the overlapped strokes. However, for my money it could be deeper black so that the greenish tint only shows on occasion.
But that is the only one I won't be using regularly. I really love these new colours. The brown is a bit of an oddity, but I like the way the colour works. As for the others, they give hints of their base pigments which are not apparent at first sight. When I put down a page in Deep Dark Blue, for example, at first glance it could be a Mont Blanc black; the Deep Dark Purple could be anything. However, set the purple against the blue or the red, and all of them take on their own individuality. For me, working with several colours at the same time in multiple pens, this gives me a subtle variation in style that really appeals.
And for now, the only real problem I have is whether to refill my Visconti with Deep Dark Blue or Purple.
Decisions, decisions …
My thanks to Cult Pens for the Deep Dark Blue, Deep Dark Brown and Deep Dark Green – but I bought the other inks for myself. This review was not biased by bribery!