Penbbs is a Chinese online fountain pen community similar to FPN.
They not only talk about inks but also produce their own inks every year. Each series consists of ten to fifteen inks and 2017 marks the release of Penbbs’ fifteenth ink series. Due to Chinese postal restrictions, these inks are virtually impossible to obtain outside of China. Within China they are extremely affordable (21 RMB or about US$3 per 60ml bottle) and can easily be purchased through the Chinese online shopping giant Taobao.
This ink up for review is from Penbbs’ eleventh series. It is named after the Greek island of Santorini. In 2015, this island was named one of the world’s most beautiful islands. The color of this ink is undoubtedly meant to portray the beautiful blue waters of the Aegean Sea which surround the island. I’ve never been there, so I’d love to get an opinion from anyone who has, but I think the color is spot on.
This ink is the first I’ve reviewed from Penbbs so far that made me say, “Wow!” after first seeing it on the paper. It’s vibrant, cheery, and should be ranked up there with the best of the bright beachy blues. The closest color I found to it is Montblanc for BMW, but Santorini shades, sheens (!), and has just a tad more “pop” than that much more expensive counterpart.
No. 128 has some great writing properties. There is a little feathering and bleed through on copy paper and Moleskine, but it isn’t intolerable. This ink also dries quickly and flows freely. The only thing that keeps me from buying a bottle immediately is that the ink has absolutely ZERO water resistance. As you can see from the soak test below, it completely vanishes into the ether when exposed to more than a few drops of water.
Other than that one disappointment (which may be a non-issue for others), this is a great ink with amazing color. It behaves well, looks fabulous, and is a joy to write with.
Pens used (in order):
1. Pilot 78G Fine
2. Lamy Safari Broad
3. Pilot Plumix Italic
4. Noodler’s Nib Creaper Flex
5. Hero 5028 1.9mm Stub
Paper Towel Drop
73gsm Chinese Tomoe River Wannabe (brand unknown)
70gms Deli Copy Paper
*Special thanks to FPN member lapis for the samples of Montblanc for BMW and Sailor Yama-dori used in this comparison.
Check out this sheen!
Here is Penbbs’ image of the bottle and label for reference: