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 !
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 !