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Ink Shoot-Out : Mont Blanc Midnight Blue Vs Pelikan Edelstein Tanzanite

mont blanc midnight blue pelikan edelstein tanzanite blue-black

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18 replies to this topic

#1 namrehsnoom



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Posted 17 July 2016 - 18:35

Ink Shoot-Out : Mont Blanc Midnight Blue vs Pelikan Edelstein Tanzanite


Pelikan Edelstein Tanzanite was my very first blue-black ink, and one that I like a lot - it's usually to be found as the perfect companion for my Lamy 2000. Then I read visvamitra's review of Mont Blanc Midnight Blue, and found another blue-black that spoke to me. Recently I managed to get my hands on a bottle of the MB ink. A great opportunity to do a detailed comparison, and find out which one of these inks I like the most.


Enter... the Ink Shoot-Out. A brutal fight where heavyweight inks do battle for four rounds, to determine who is the winner. In the left corner - the challenger: Mont Blanc Midnight Blue. In the right corner - my current favorite: Pelikan Edelstein Tanzanite. Which champion will remain standing at the end of the fight ? Let's find out...




Round 1 - First Impressions




For the first round I made my usual swabs and scribbles on Rhodia N°16 80gsm notepad paper. Both inks are a pleasure to use, and exhibit a very professional-looking blue-black color - perfect inks for the workplace and for daily business writing. They also shade nicely, even in smaller nib sizes. But... darn... on this paper, I'm hard pressed to notice any difference. Maybe a small hint that the Tanzanite ink is a bit darker ?




Time for a second first impression ;-)

For this I used Midori Traveler's Notebook N°13 Refill paper - this is a lightweight paper that's supposed to be close to Tomoe River (and has the advantage of being readily available here in Belgium). Yes... on this paper the Edelstein ink is definitely darker. And a further test on Moleskine paper confirms this - Tanzanite is the darker-blue of the two inks.


Both inks are on par with each other, but there are some differences:

  • MB Midnight Blue shows a wider range of hues on different paper types, ranging from a more greyish blue to real dark blue-black. Tanzanite exhibits a more consistent blue-black across papers.
  • I didn't notice any sheening on the Rhodia paper, but on the Midori paper... wow... Tanzanite definitely is a real sheener ! You get a very prominent red-golden sheen where the ink is laid on thickly. The Mont Blanc ink doesn't stand a chance !



Both Midnight Blue and Tanzanite are top-of-the-line inks of their respective brands. And as expected, both are very fine-looking blue-black inks. For me personally, I appreciate the fact that the Edelstein ink is a darker blue-black, with a more consistent color range across different types of paper. And there is absolutely no competition for Tanzanite's splendid red-golden sheen. Knock-out ? No. But this round definitely goes to the Pelikan ink on points.


Round 2 - Writing Sample




The writing sample was done on Rhodia N°16 Notepad with 80 gsm paper. Both inks behaved flawlessly, with no feathering and no show-through or bleed-through. Both inks also showed good ink-flow and smooth writing with the EF nib. Here I was pleasantly surprised by Tanzanite - usually Edelstein inks are considered to be a bit dry in fine nib sizes, but that's not the case here ! I also like that both inks show decent shading even with the finer nibs. With many inks, shading almost disappears with EF/F nib sizes, losing some of the ink's character. Not so with these inks ! On the crappy Moleskine paper, both Midnight Blue and Tanzanite exhibit some minor feathering, as well as significant show-through and bleed-through.


In my opinion, both inks indubitably (hey - not often you get a chance to use a word like this ;-) measure up to each other, and no clear winner appears. As such, this round ends in a draw.


Round 3 - Ink Properties




Both inks have drying times in the 15-20 second range on the Rhodia paper, with Tanzanite closer to the 15 second range, drying a bit faster than Midnight Blue. Both inks also do fine on the smudge test, where a moist Q-tip cotton swab is drawn across the text lines. There is some smearing, but the text remains perfectly legible. For the droplet test, I dripped water onto the grid and let it sit there for 15 minutes, after which I removed the water droplets with a paper kitchen towel. Midnight Blue is clearly the more water-resistant of the two inks, and did really well on this test. But although Tanzanite did worse, the written word did not disappear and remained perfectly readable. I will absolutely call these inks water-resistant !




The chromatography shows that Midnight Blue leaves a darker footprint after soaking in water - as shown by the bottom part of the picture. The chroma's look really similar, which probably explains why these inks are so alike.


In this round, the Mont Blanc ink had a better technique, especially on the droplet test. Again - no knock-out, but this round definitely goes to the challenger - on points.


Round 4 - The Fun Factor




Welcome to the final round. Here I give you a purely personal impression of both inks, where I judge which of them I like most when doing some fun stuff like doodling and drawing. For this round - I really wished for a clear winner - but that's not to be... The dark-blue color of the inks is well-suited for some gloom-and-doom doodling and drawing. And both inks put their heart into it - nice flow, easy drawing, beautiful gloomy color ... what's not to like ? But in the end, they performed equally well, and no clear winner emerges. I'm sure there will be more of a difference on other papers - where Tanzanite is guaranteed to be a bit darker. Nevertheless, for this round, I call it a draw !


The Verdict


Both inks deserve their place at the top of my ink collection. They are beautiful professional-looking dark-blue inks. Both MB Midnight Blue and Pelikan's Tanzanite win a round, with the other rounds ending in a draw. Nevertheless... it's the Belgian judge that gives the points. Although Midnight Blue has some technical advantages, I find Tanzanite the more aesthetically pleasing of the two. You just can't compete with that golden-red sheen ! And Tanzanite has a more consistent behavior across paper types, which I also appreciate.


Both champions came out very close. But it's the judge's opinion that round 1 was the decisive one, and that Tanzanite comes out on top and remains the reigning champion !

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#2 lapis


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Posted 17 July 2016 - 19:06

Excellent shot again. Thanks for this duel.  I really like both and use both a lot. As you say, they are very similar, each has its own merits. All the more reason to have and use both!



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#3 visvamitra


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Posted 17 July 2016 - 20:03

Brutal fight indeed. Thank you for linking to my review and let me repeat I'm huge fan of your reviews. They're brilliant :) and always make me smile. Personally I think I prefer Tanzanite, mainly for the way it lubricates the nib, even the finest.

#4 Old_Inkyhand


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Posted 17 July 2016 - 21:31

These reviews make me smile as well... And also make me realise how similar some inks are. Tanzanite wins for me, I like its colour and sheen. I don't have this ink though.
Again, I really like your comparisons, they are funny and thorough at the same time. I am surprised how helpful they are in the process of making my mind :)

#5 OCArt



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Posted 17 July 2016 - 23:53

Thank you for doing this shoot out.  I am very much surprised how similar they are.  I would have never guessed it from their names.


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#6 Diderot



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Posted 18 July 2016 - 18:45

Nice review - thanks.

#7 mehandiratta


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Posted 19 July 2016 - 12:17

this is an awesome and fun filled shootout...


Edelstein Tanzanite is my favourite Blue Black Ink... And remains unbeatable... nice...

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#8 Kenlowe


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Posted 19 July 2016 - 16:10

Enjoyable and most excellent ink comparison. Thanks.

#9 KKay



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Posted 20 July 2016 - 03:56

Thanks for this great comparison.  From your work I've concluded I like Pelikan Edelstein Tanzanite just a little better than the Mont Blanc-Midnight Blue.

#10 amberleadavis


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Posted 11 August 2016 - 22:57

This is a STUNNING comparison. Thank you.

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#11 Tonux



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Posted 06 March 2017 - 00:04



Thank you for this excellent comparison of these inks. Really they are very identical. I use both indiscriminately. However, the only difference I notice is that Pelikan has a better flow.

#12 888007888



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Posted 22 March 2017 - 22:59

Both look the same to me and perform similarly in all my pens, from EF up to BB. Pelikan ink is pricier than the MB ink. Only difference I have found is the aforementioned sheen with good paper using the Pelikan.

#13 Jan2016


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Posted 24 March 2017 - 15:48

Your shoot outs always make my day!

As a big fan of Tanzanite  I cannot but totally agree with you.

And inks with sheen are very hard to resist for me.  :D

#14 Jan2016


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Posted 24 March 2017 - 15:49

Sheen is not always easy to "catch" but I posted some pictures:



#15 Aquaria


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Posted 14 April 2017 - 20:36

Love love love Tanzanite. One of the best blue-black inks to own.

#16 eyesa



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Posted 11 March 2018 - 14:22

Brilliant! Thank you!

#17 inkstainedruth


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Posted 11 March 2018 - 15:39

Thank you for your extensive comparison (somehow I'd missed this thread before now).  

I've tried both inks and I found that Midnight Blue just didn't wow me, and seemed fairly dry (I had it in a Pelikan M200 with an IM nib, which was a firehose -- and it seemed dry even then, and that nib was a gusher even with iron gall ink in the pen).  Whereas, I LOVE LOVE LOVE Edelstein Tanzanite and would never want to not have a bottle around.

Ironically, I have MB Lavender Purple, Edelstein Amethyst, and 4001 Violet, and love all three....  Go figure.

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#18 jmccarty3


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Posted 12 March 2018 - 15:16

I'm yet another big fan of Tanzanite, which in my pens has much better flow and lubrication than MB Midnight Blue.

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#19 Bo Bo Olson

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Posted 16 April 2018 - 12:53

Back when MB blue black or the IG  'newer' Midnight blue were both IG....either one was on my to get list...................which I didn't do. BB was not really an ink I was chasing.

...Don't know why or how I got 8 or 9 of them.


When MB BB non IG fell off the charts, it was then 'no big loss'....the BB folks in the know said........though here it seems fairly good. The old stuff has a much better reputation.


Am glad the Tanzanite, tested well enough, that I don't have to pick any MB Midnight Blue up.

I did get some 4001 BB today, so I'm still good to go with BB's.

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Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: mont blanc, midnight blue, pelikan edelstein, tanzanite, blue-black

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