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Mont Blanc - Velvet Red

mont blanc velvet red blood-red red

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11 replies to this topic

#1 namrehsnoom



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Posted 12 January 2019 - 16:39

Mont Blanc - Velvet Red
When Mont Blanc brings out a new pen, you can be sure that there is an LE ink in its wake. Accompanying the release of the MB Writer's Edition William Shakespeare pen in 2016, came the aptly named corresponding LE ink "Velvet Red".  This ink is probably difficult to find today, but I'm still doing the review for its comparison value. 
The ink's packaging looks lovely, and shows the Bard with his writing instrument. The feathered pen shows off the blood-red colour of this ink. In the box you'll find a very nice 35 ml bottle of Velvet Red. 
To my eye, Velvet Red is what I would call a blood-red colour. But still reasonably oxygenated blood... meaning it's still more red than brown-leaning. Personally I like the colour. It's a non-vibrant, dusty red that nicely captures the ambiance of a renaissance period writing chamber illuminated by candlelight. The ink is well-saturated, and looks great in all nib sizes. Being a non-vibrant dark red ink, it even works surprisingly well as an everyday writing ink, that makes for easy reading. Shading is prominent but not overdone, with just the right amount of contrast between the light and darker parts. 
Velvet Red has an average 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 colour range. The ink moves from a light blood-red to a very dark brown-red.
On the smudge test - rubbing text with a moist Q-tip cotton swab - the ink behaved reasonably well. There is quite some smudging, but the text itself remains perfectly readable. Water resistance is quite good. The red colour disappears completely, but you are left with a grey ghost image that is still readable without too much effort. This is also apparent from the lower part of the chromatography, which shows that the grey components of the ink remain on the paper. 
Velvet Red is also a fast-drying ink - with typical drying times in the 5-10 second range with my Lamy Safari (M-nib). As such, this ink is also suitable for lefties (when using finer nibs). Also: fast drying times and good water resistance make it a perfect ink for the workplace. And the ink's classy looks will certainly draw attention. 
I've tested the ink on a wide variety of paper - from crappy Moleskine to high-end Tomoe River. On each scrap of paper I show you:
  • 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)
Velvet Red looks really nice on all my test papers. This is an ink that looks good on any type of paper, both the white and more yellow ones.  With the exception of Moleskine, I didn't notice any feathering. With lower-quality paper, you get some see-through and even a bit of bleed-through. All-in-all though, this is a well-behaving ink.
Writing with different nib sizes
The picture below shows the effect of nib sizes on the writing. All samples were written with a Lamy Safari, which is typically a dry pen. I also added a visiting pen - a wet Pelikan M101N Red Tortoise with an F-nib. Here the ink leaves a much more saturated dark-red line. With Velvet Red, wet pens definitely show a darker red compared to the colour you get from a dry pen. 
The ink works well with all nib sizes, and shows off a subdued & serious colour. Combine this with good water resistance and relatively fast drying times, and you have an ink that is quite suited for office-related note taking. 
Related inks
To compare Velvet Red with related inks, I use a nine-grid format with the currently reviewed ink at the center. This format shows the name of related inks, a saturation sample, a 1-2-3 swab and a water resistance test - all in a very compact format. I hope that you'll find this way of presenting related inks useful. It's a bit more work, but in my opinion worth the effort for the extra information you gain.
Inkxperiment - Enlightenment
As a personal experiment, I try to produce interesting drawings using only the ink I'm reviewing, keeping things simple and more-or-less abstract. For me, this significantly enhances my experience of the hobby. It is great fun to explore an ink's colour range in a more artistic context.  For this drawing I used HP Premium photo paper. I started off by submerging the paper in water, adding a few drops of Red Velvet to obtain a rose-red background. I then painted in the stairs & temple complex using a few different concentrations of ink/water. For the hilly foreground, I spread out some ink using lots of water. Finally I added blobs of water above the horizon line, to which I added some droplets of ink. After drying, these produced the trees. Overall I'm quite pleased by the use of the photo paper as a medium for ink paintings - the ink's character shows off really well. 
Mont Blanc's Velvet Red LE ink is a classy-looking blood-red ink, that is at home with all types of nibs and all types of paper. The ink totally fits my taste: dark & dusty, and with non-aggressive shading. And as a welcome bonus: fast-drying and fairly water-resistant. A pity that this is an LE ink, that is no longer available. 
Technical test results on Rhodia N° 16 notepad paper, written with Lamy Safari, M-nib
Backside of writing samples on different paper types

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#2 pararis


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Posted 12 January 2019 - 17:03

Let it sit in a Platinum 3776 for a couple of months, and velvet red turns to pumpkin orange.


#3 Lgsoltek


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Posted 12 January 2019 - 17:24

One of the last worthy Montblanc inks... After this one they've been making all those more expensive and more diluted inks...



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Posted 12 January 2019 - 17:30

Pretty color, thanks for the review!


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#5 Tom Kellie

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Posted 12 January 2019 - 21:20

~ namrehsnoom:


Thank you so much for the comprehensive review of Montblanc William Shakespeare Velvet Red.


It's one of the few inks of which three bottles sit on my writing desk.


Reliable in all of my pens, I use it for work.


Your review more than does it justice.


Tom K.

Edited by Tom Kellie, 12 January 2019 - 21:20.

#6 praxim


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Posted 12 January 2019 - 23:21

This is one of two reds that I will use as a standard ink, enjoying the colour without feeling as though the writing might look like a page of corrections.
When you receive new information you can change your mind, or you can close it; or you can try shooting the messenger.

#7 TSherbs


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Posted 13 January 2019 - 00:39

I prefer the cake flavor over the color of this ink.

#8 Mr.Rene



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Posted 13 January 2019 - 01:35

Looks like Montblanc HITCHCOCK red...  ;)

#9 almoore


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Posted 13 January 2019 - 09:48

~ namrehsnoom:

Thank you so much for the comprehensive review of Montblanc William Shakespeare Velvet Red.


It's one of the few inks of which three bottles sit on my writing desk.


Reliable in all of my pens, I use it for work.


Your review more than does it justice.


Tom K.


Probably my favourite red. Always reliable, I use it sparingly.

#10 5Cavaliers


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Posted 15 January 2019 - 23:35

Great review!  Thank you for posting!

"Today will be gone in less than 24 hours.  When it is gone, it is gone.  Be wise, but enjoy!  - anonymous today




#11 Shevock


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Posted 22 January 2019 - 01:53

Cool review! I'm looking for more red ink options (grading is one of the few things I don't use a computer for).

#12 pengirl18


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Posted 22 January 2019 - 06:09

Wow! Thank you for putting in so much work to review this ink! It’s amazing how the same ink can look so different on all those papers. One of the best, most thorough and informative reviews ever. Can’t wait to read your next one!

Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: mont blanc, velvet red, blood-red, red

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