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J. Herbin Bleu Ocean 1670


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Here's my review of the interesting Bleu Ocean, J. Herbin's much less striking brother of the outlandishly gorgeous Rouge Hematite. This review is sponsored by FPN member Spotted and Speckled, who kindly sent me a sample of this ink to review. Thanks Spotted and Speckled! :thumbup:


A word about the color of this ink. All of the samples I'd seen of this ink showed a deep blue with slight violet undertones, but when I began writing the review of this ink it turned out to be distinctly violet-leaning. I do have a calibrated monitor, but that certainly doesn't mean it's perfectly representative of the true color. But the color on the screen matches the color of the review in front of me with about 95% confidence. I'm not sure how your monitor will represent the true color, so if it seems way too purple, it might be the monitor. But let it be know that this ink is definitely verging on purple, though I'd still say it's a blue.


On to the review!














I think I like this ink more when diluted than straight out of the bottle. :)


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Great review, this ink surely seems leaning towards the violet, very interesting! I was wondering whether to buy this ink or not, but with this violet hue, I will buy and try it for sure.

Good job! :thumbup:

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Noodler's Navy and Rohrer & Klingner Salix show up true to color on my monitor, but the Bleau Ocean is DEFINITELY a vibrant violet on my screen BSB looks more like concord grape as well.

"Do you know the legend about cicadas? They say they are the souls of poets who cannot keep quiet because, when they were alive, they never wrote the poems they wanted to."

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I don't use fp inks with dip pens, so I wouldn't know anything about that, but this ink performs flawlessly in the pens I've tried it in. The color looks about right on my iPad. It's slightly violet leaning but really a unique color. When I use a violet or even something like MB Royal Blue, switching to this ink seems a step away from violet back towards blue, albeit a dark blue, and yes a little flat somehow. I'm not as enamored with the color as I am the performance of the ink: lubricious and never hard starting. Doesn't have feathering or bleedthrough problems for me. It's in my top 5. Agree that the expectations were off, though I'm really glad there are no settling particles in this ink. If there had been, I wouldn't even have bought a sample.

I know my id is "mhosea", but you can call me Mike. It's an old Unix thing.

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Thanks for the good review. I think my monitor is okay but everything definitely looks pretty (or un-pretty) red. I don't have this ink yet but I do have the other 6 you used for comparison. Especially the Èclat is too violet. The Navy has less red but still a hint. The shading of your dilution is stunning!



Life is too short to drink bad wine (Goethe)

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Perhaps it is my monitor, (or it could be your scanner) but the image is very violet. Similarly Eclat de Saphir in the review is significantly more violet than it appears in real life (an ink I do own, so it suggests that there is something funky going on)


The lines on Rhodia paper are blue, not violet right? On my monitor I see that the lines on your paper are a bright violet, with hints of red.

Edited by awc
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Perhaps it is my monitor, (or it could be your scanner) but the image is very violet. Similarly Eclat de Saphir in the review is significantly more violet than it appears in real life (an ink I do own, so it suggests that there is something funky going on)


Indeed. Something funky. I am viewing this at work now, and the color is too violet. In fact both monitors I have here at work display it as too violet. Lest it be blamed entirely on calibration, I note that this is well above and beyond the normal variation I see. As I said before, on my iPad the colors appeared more correct. I will try calibrating my monitor here at work to see what changes...



OK, so I re-calibrated. I did end up reducing the red level slightly, but it wasn't nearly enough. For some reason the color is significantly too purple. The difference is still huge, actually, and I don't understand why the iPad is giving a color so much closer. I will have to re-check that. BTW, I am writing with the ink today and am holding up a paper under indirect sunlight (slightly filtered by the gray-tinted windows here at work). To get the ink color to look right by direct comparison I have to reduce the Red values (of RGB) by nearly 100, but this makes the paper blue. It's a mystery.

Edited by mhosea

I know my id is "mhosea", but you can call me Mike. It's an old Unix thing.

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In support of depicting the [relative] colour HBlO, here's an image of swabs made from my bottles of HBlO and Montblanc Royal Blue.


Swabs on HPJ1124. (Flaky as ever, but . . .)

Left: Herbin Bleu Ocean. Right: Montblanc Royal Blue.







- - -

Edit to add: The image above is an extract from the topic Comparison - Herbin 1670 Bleu Ocean : Montblanc Royal Blue LINK

Edited by Sandy1

The only time you have too much fuel is when you're on fire.


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Huge disappointment, not what I thought at all. I'm impressed with the permanence though.

"One always looking for flaws leaves too little time for construction" ...

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Interestingly enough, I also have bottles of both of those inks. I love them both, but I do not find them to be nearly so similar. I haven't yet needed to fill from my bottle of Bleu Ocean, but I compared swabs when I got it, and I think my bottle is the same as my sample, which is to say much darker and more highly saturated than MB Royal Blue. MB Royal Blue seems more purple to me. Possibly they would appear more similar if I diluted the Bleu Ocean. I will try to get a scan and photo comparison up soon. In fact I know how hard it is to get scans to come out with accurate colors, and my scanner is probably 8-10 years old. It still serves me well for less exacting purposes, but I think it is not quite up to the task of representing ink colors accurately. Still, the relative comparison may be useful. A swab will be quickest and easiest to do, and may be the best thing for comparing and contrasting the colors, anyway, if not the best thing for predicting how the ink will look when written with in a given pen.

I know my id is "mhosea", but you can call me Mike. It's an old Unix thing.

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I do have to say that i enjoy this ink in its own way. I ordered a bottle from the first batch so maybe that might change things.


my bottle after a few different fills, seems to write out a sort of violet/ deep purple but drys to a more bluish, with slight violet/ purple color.


very enjoyable to watch well scribbling notes down in marine biology lecture :cloud9:


it is not like the rouge hematite, and I think that people expect the same sort of thing even though it is a different ink.


personally it has its own characteristics about it as does every ink and is to me very fun and enjoyable to use :thumbup:

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Now that I look at this from my home PC, it doesn't look that far off again. Weird. Anyway, here's my comparison. It does look like Montblanc Royal Blue would be closer if the Bleu Ocean were diluted a little.



InkSwabs by mehosea, on Flickr


All I've done here is dial back the brightness and contrast a little. The colors still aren't quite right. Anyway, it's for comparison purposes. Pictured:


Herbin 1670 Bleu Ocean

Montblanc Royal Blue

Waterman Blue

Waterman Purple

Noodler's North African Violets

Noodler's Blue

Waterman Red

Noodler's Nikita

Noodler's Gruene Cactus Eel

Noodler's Liberty's Elysium

Noodler's Upper Ganges Blue


All the small writing and the vertical and horizontal lines (apart from the individual swabs) are in Herbin 1670 Bleu Ocean. The swabs are from the bottle, the writing from my sample. It's been in the pen awhile so may be slightly concentrated.

I know my id is "mhosea", but you can call me Mike. It's an old Unix thing.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Thank you for the review and thanks all for the color comparisons. I too thought the ink looked really purplish. (I checked my monitor and it's fine). I had hoped this ink would have those strange notes like the JH red anniversary ink. Sadly, your review says they are missing.


I liked how you described the saturation as "Noodler's" -- which I think is becoming a standard.

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It's likely your home computer's monitor is calibrated very far to the "blue" side. Many monitors have a "color temperature" setting -- try messing around with that and comparing with a friend to get something that looks good on most monitors or on properly calibrated displays.


Sandy1's probably the expert on this, though -- if you calibrate your monitor based on the spec she heads her reviews with, you'll probably be good to go!


Otherwise, nice review! Strangely enough, it comforts me to see a negative sponsored review, since it reinforced to some extent that the sponsorship doesn't affect the review's veracity or integrity very much in this sphere (I'm looking at you, IGN).

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Beyond all of the back and forth on color correction, the samples look quite nice. On my screen the writing samples of this ink look quite dark (blue, whether purple or violet, I don't know). Quite different than the swab samples.


Glenn (love those pen posses)

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  • 2 weeks later...

Herbin Bleu Ocean isn't too bad but I will stick with MB Royale Blue

Pens are like watches , once you start a collection, you can hardly go back. And pens like all fine luxury items do improve with time


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