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Ink Shoot-Out : Mont Blanc Burgundy Red Vs Papier Plume Red Beans And Rice

ink shoot-out mont blanc burgundy red papier plume red beans and rice

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#1 namrehsnoom



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Posted 03 February 2020 - 18:50

Ink Shoot-Out : Mont Blanc Burgundy Red vs Papier Plume Red Beans and Rice
The other day I was playing around with Mont Blanc Burgundy Red, enjoying the ink a lot. I just love these toned down colours that move towards pastel territory, and this ink fits the bill. This definitely is NOT a bright and vibrant red! It occurred to me that Red Beans and Rice from Papier Plume is from the same colour family. Time to do a detailed comparison, and find out which of these inks I like the most.
Enter... the Ink Shoot-Out. A brutal fight  spanning five rounds, where truly formidable inks do battle to determine who is the winner. This time around, it's a battle between a prominent heavyweight, and a new kid on the block. In the left corner, the Mont Blanc muscle-man: Burgundy Red. In the right corner, from the French Quarter in New Orleans, Red Beans and Rice -  a relatively new talent from the Papier Plume stable. Both champions enter the ring, the crowd starts cheering! Let the fight begin and may the best ink win…
Round 1 – First Impressions
The fighters immediately engange one another with a flurry of strikes and counterstrikes. They make a great first impression. These inks have a really nice toned-down dusty dark-red colour with a faded look, like text in an ages-old manuscript. Both inks are well-saturated, even in finer nibs, and provide excellent contrast with the page. Shading is delicate and subtle, without too much contrast between the light and darker parts - just as I like it. These inks are definitely on par with each other, but there are some differences:
  • Burgundy Red's colour is a bit more purple-leaning, while Red Beans and Rice has more of a brown undertone.  This is most obvious in swabs, less so in normal writing.
  • The Mont Blanc ink writes really smooth. In contrast, Red Beans and Rice has sub-par lubrication, and feels a bit scratchy, especially in smaller nibs.
  • With broader nibs - e.g. with the scribbles made with a 1.5 mm calligraphy nib - the Mont Blanc ink tends to be a bit oversaturated, drowning out most of the delicate shading. Red Beans and Rice, being a drier ink, looks better in these circumstances, and shows a bit more character.
Both inks make a great first impression. Personally I like the Mont Blanc colour a little bit better, but that's not what counts. When exchanging the first punches, Burgundy Red showed much smoother and fluid play, in stark contrast with the scratchy performance of the Papier Plume ink. With broader nibs, Red Beans and Rice recovers, becoming a smooth writer that manages to keep the delicate shading, while the Mont Blanc ink blows out most of the subtle shading with its wetness. But from this round, it's mostly the scratchiness from Red Beans and Rice that you'll remember - and not in a good way. As such, the first point goes to Mont Blanc Burgundy Red.
The chromatography clearly shows that both inks have lots in common. They have a really similar composition, with only a touch more blue instead of grey in Mont Blanc's mix of dyes.
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. With the EF nib, the wet Mont Blanc ink lays down a smooth line with excellent contrast and saturation. Red Beans and Rice struggles with the fine nib, and feels really scratchy. The low lubrication in fine nibs is a recurring theme with the Papier Plume inks. With broader nibs, the scratchy feeling of the Papier Plume ink disappears. In fact, it's more at home with broad nibs than the Mont Blanc ink. Look at the broad nib sample: Red Beans and Rice maintains the delicate shading present in the ink, while Burgundy Red loses some of the shading's appeal, flooding it away with its wetness.
Colourwise both inks look similar in writing, although there is definitely more of a red-purple undertone in the Mont Blanc ink. Both inks also shade nicely, without too much contrast between light and dark parts. This aesthetically pleasing shading gives more character to your writing. 
For this round, the focus is on writing, and here both inks show strengths and weaknesses. Burgundy Red is definitely the better ink with fine nibs. But with broader nibs, I feel that Red Beans and Rice gets the advantage. Overall, these strengths and weaknesses cancel each other out, so this round ends in a draw.
Round 3 – Pen on Paper
This round allows the batlling inks to show how they behave on a range of fine writing papers. From top to bottom, we have : FantasticPaper, Life Noble, Tomoe River and Original Crown Mill cotton paper. All scribbling and writing was done with a Lamy Safari M-nib.
Both champions did well, with no show-through nor bleed-through. But this round is not about technicalities, it is about aesthetics and beauty. Are the fighters able to make the paper shine ?
These muted red inks look best on pure white paper. In my opinion, they lose some of their appeal on more yellowish paper like that of Life Noble. With the Tomoe River paper, Red Beans and Rice looks a bit too faded, certainly compared with the more robust presence of Burgundy Red (the latter's wetness gives it an advantage here). Overall, I personally prefer the slightly more reddish look of the Mont Blanc ink.
Both inks are on par with each other, but Burgundy Red has a slight advantage in the looks department. For this round, victory is granted to the Mont Blanc ink. Not a knock-out, but definitely a win on points.
Round 4 – Ink Properties
These inks are not fast-drying, requiring 20-25 seconds to dry completely (with an M-nib on Rhodia paper). Red Beans and Rice takes a bit more time to dry. Both inks are reasonably smudge-resistant. Some colour rubs off when using a moist Q-tip cotton swab, but the text itself remains crisp and clear. The smudging is more pronounced with Burgundy Red. 
To test water resistance, I dripped water on the grid and let it sit there for 15 minutes, after which I removed the water with a paper towel. Here, the Papier Plume ink scores a real uppercut, drawing a roar from the crowd! Red Beans and Rices shows amazing water resistance! The red colour disappears, but a crisp grey line is left, that remains very readable. Really impressive.
For this round, the American ink floors its opponent, in a big way. A thundering uppercut... Burgundy Red drops to the floor. The crowds get on their feet, the applause is booming through the stadium. What a spectacle! This round is a well-deserved win for Papier Plume. 
Round 5 – 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. Both inks do well, and allow for some nice effects. They both have a fairly broad colour span, making them interesting inks to draw with. I really enjoyed using them.
In the picture, I used different water/ink ratios to draw in the background. The buildings were painted with pure ink, using bleach to draw in the windows. Both inks work well as drawing inks. With water added, Burgundy Red becomes a much more red ink, while Red Beans and Rice becomes more of a dirty grey-red. I personally prefer the more reddish looks of the Mont Blanc ink.
For drawing, Burgundy Red looks more vibrant and alive - in my opinion of course. And since it's the Belgian judge that awards the points, this round goes to Mont Blanc Burgundy Red.
The Verdict
Both inks are real vintage-vibed beauties, that work on all types of paper. And being water-resistant, they make fine inks for use at work in an EDC pen. Despite the uppercut in round 4, the Mont Blanc champion showed a more consistent play, and raked up the points across rounds. Counting the points, this makes Burgundy Red the winner of this exciting fight!

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#2 lapis


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Posted 03 February 2020 - 22:18

Thanks for the great duel. This was a tough fight (for me) because in many places both looked too similar. But I too would declare the MB as the winner because in some situations it has a half a tick more blue and at the same time is somehow "richer" -- no, not simply more saturated.

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#3 MsRedpen



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Posted 03 February 2020 - 22:32

Thank you - great comparison, write up and drawing (as always!).

Up to now I thought I needed also Red Beans and Rice, but MB Burgundy will be just enough. :)
Anyway it would be too complicated to get RBR in Europe...


#4 ENewton



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Posted 05 February 2020 - 02:09

Very nice.  Thank you.

#5 Eclipse157


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Posted 05 February 2020 - 16:41

Lovely comparison, thank you so much! :thumbup:

#6 inkstainedruth


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Posted 05 February 2020 - 17:40

Thanks for this.  The two inks did look really similar on my screen.  Even the chromatography results seem similar.  For me, since I tend not to use "burgundy" inks, it would be a toss up -- I like the dry time of the MB ink better, but the Paper Plume ink seems to be a tad more water resistant.

It would be interesting to see a comparison with the only burgundy ink I can stomach, color-wise: Campo Marzio Burgundy.  Someone was giving away a partial bottle of it here in the Pittsburgh area, and my friend snagged it for me (this is the same friend who gave me the "joke" gift of a Pelikan M200 with the Bayer logo on it that she had gotten on Freecycle, not realizing the pen's actual value -- it was probably some corporate gift shoved into a drawer and had clearly never been used before I got it.

Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth

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#7 jacksterp



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Posted 02 July 2020 - 08:41

This is one of, if not the, coolest ink comparisons I've yet seen!


Thanks for the education AND entertainment!


btw - I like both of the inks yet have neither...

Fool me once, shame on you.
Fool me twice; damn
There goes that fox again.

Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: ink shoot-out, mont blanc, burgundy red, papier plume, red beans and rice

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