Mont Blanc - Swan Illusion Plume
When Mont Blanc brings out a new pen, you can be sure that there is an LE ink to accompany it. With the MB Patron of Art Ludwig II pen comes the mysteriously sounding "Swan Illusion" accompanying ink. A bit of digging on Wikipedia removes the mystery though: Ludwig II from Bavaria (1845-1886) is also known as the Swan King, hence the ink's name.
The ink's packaging looks lovely, and shows a not so easily described colour... brown? sepia? grey? I'm not quite sure what to make of it. But for me, grey-brown best captures the mood of this ink. The box also suggests a broad colour spectrum spanning from very faint light greyish brown to a really dark grey-brown colour. Looks promising.
Swan Illusion delivers on the promise: the ink has a unique colour. I would definitely classify it as a brown that leans heavily towards the grey. Quite a captivating colour, and one that I really like. The ink has relatively low saturation, which translates into a subdued and somewhat faded look. The result on the page is well-balanced though, and makes for easy reading. There is tons of shading in this ink, but this only shows up in broader nibs. This is not an ink for fine nibs, use a B or above to bring out its beauty.
The ink itself lacks a bit of lubrication, especially in drier pens like my Lamy Safari. With my wetter Pelikan pens this was not a problem; here the ink writes like a dream. The ink also has a wonderfully dynamic colour span. To illustrate this, I did a swab on Tomoe River paper where I really saturated portions of the paper with ink. This beautifully illustrates the ink's broad colour range. Swan Illusion moves from a very light sepia-brown to a very dark brown-grey. Impressive!
On the smudge test - rubbing text with a moist Q-tip cotton swab - the ink behaved perfectly. Water resistance is amazing - the ink effortlessly survived even longer exposures to water. Kudos! This is also apparent from the lower part of the chromatography, which shows that the grey components of the ink remain on the paper. If you need a water-resistant ink, Swan Illusion certainly fits the bill. The chromatography also shows that this is a wonderfully complex ink, with tons of undertones - orange, yellow, blue…
- An ink swab, made with a cotton Q-tip
- 1-2-3 pass swab, to show increasing saturation
- An ink scribble made with a Lamy Safari M-nib fountain pen
- The name of the paper used, written with a Lamy Safari B-nib
- A small text sample, written with an M-nib
- Drying times of the ink on the paper (with the M-nib)