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Private Reserve - Ebony Blue


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Private Reserve is a US-based artisan ink company, originally an addition to the fountain pen department of Avalon Jewelers/Gallery.

Most PR inks feature being highly saturated/concentrated, neutral pH, lubricated, drying crazily slow, of reasonable price and with a cheap looking(IMO...).

Ebony Blue is one of the PR ink that is inaccurately named and labeled---the name suggests it being "blue" and the label is also a grayish Prussian blue. However, its color is in no way, blue.

Box & Bottle compared with Velvet Black


Writing Sample: dip pen on cheap copy paper


The color of Ebony Blue is actually GREEN--- a dark green that can almost pass for black even in EF nib.

When diluted, it varies from teal to mint green depending on the amount of water added.

Only when smeared with water and the dye being washed out, does it start to look blue.

Close up: original ink/ diluted in different ratios/ smeared with water



As mentioned before, PR inks are all highly saturated. The above pic shows the effect you will get if you drip water on the writing and blow on it. The green and blue dye is washed out, leaving the words dark bistre, still very legible. (So this ink is basically water-resistant, unless you dilute it too much)

Writing sample: with Noodler's Creaper, on FP-friendly creamy paper



With a broader nib Ebony Blue(or Green, but PR also has another ink named Ebony Green...) shows rich shading and red sheen.



Comparison with J. Herbin 1670 Emerald of Chivor


Ebony Blue: darker, greener, with brown undertone and wine-red sheen.

Emerald of Chivor: lighter, bluer, with copper-red sheen

Although I generally like this color and its various performance, it is too saturated and dries too slow for daily use, so eventually I only use it for sketching.

Here are some sketches done with different kinds of pens/ paper/ techniques, all with diluted or undiluted Ebony Blue.

Ebony Blue + 3776 14K EF + copy paper


Ebony Blue(diluted) + LAMY Safari EF + copy paper


Ebony Blue(diluted) + dip pen + copy paper


Backside---so blue! Why?


Ebony Blue + dip pen + copy paper + smeared with water


Ebony Blue + Dip pen + ROSSI paper


Smeared with water, with a Chinese paint brush


When dried (added some lines with Aladin gold ink)


With only one ink and water, you can get green, blue, black, red(sheen) all at once!



Color description: saturated deep dark green with brown undertone. Looks bluer when smeared with water.

Shading: rich

Sheen: red sheen shows easily.

Feathering/ Bleed through: only a little on cheap paper

Flow: medium

Lubrication: good

Water resistance: good

Cleaning: requires extra soaking and flushing (but no staining observed so far)

Dry speed: slow


A generally well-behaved ink that can always give you surprise, especially when use for sketching and painting.

If you like its color and want it as a daily-use ink, a little dilution is recommended--- to help improve the dry speed and decrease the sheen.

I love this ink! :wub: Just finished one 50ml bottle(well, I've probably given away about 15~20ml, but still)!


Thank you for reading this review : )

Edited by chingdamosaic
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Thanks for the excellent review! Especially your water tests and analyses really show what's up here. I've had this ink for a long time now and never really found it to be a real blue but then just thought "That's the way they see it". Like some of their other Ebonies are a bit "off" too IMO. Your sketchings and paintings are superb! Baffling! Actually I like this ink a lot and all one has to do is know what one is going to get, when one orders it!



Life is too short to drink bad wine (Goethe)

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Absolutely beautiful, thanks for sharing.

Please visit my store A&D Penworx.

Brands we carry: Benu Pen, Conklin, Kaweco, Monteverde, TWSBI - Diamine, J Herbin, KWZ- Clairefontaine, Field Notes, Rhodia, Whitelines

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I love the doodles and washes. Thank you.

Fountain pens are my preferred COLOR DELIVERY SYSTEM (in part because crayons melt in Las Vegas).

Want to get a special letter / gift from me, then create a Ghostly Avatar

Ink comparisons: The Great PPS Comparison 366 Inks in 2016

Check out inks sorted by color: Blue Purple Brown Red Green Dark Green Orange Black Pinks Yellows Blue-Blacks Grey/Gray UVInks Turquoise/Teal MURKY

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This ink looks beautiful diluted, and your reviews are amazing. Every time I see your username on a new ink review post, I get so excited to scroll down and see the art at the bottom. Your penmanship is also beautiful, which makes it a delight to learn about the inks you review! ♥

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Thanks for all the kind comments..... I really adore this ink and hope more people would get to know/like it! :wub:



I just added some water to the almost-emptied bottle, and the color and sheen still look quite the same as the original ink.

Here's a page done on creamy Tomoe River paper, with Dip pen and LAMY Safari ef.







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Nice effect! I think it's and interesting & slightly unusual ink. I like it but do find I get sick of it by the end of the "fill".

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  • 1 year later...



This is the most artistic review I have ever seen on here. Gorgeous. (I like the ink too.)

Walk in shadow / Walk in dread / Loosefish walk / As Like one dead

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When I first saw the review, I thought "Oh, don't like this color" -- but then I saw that exquisite drawing of the peacock....

Thanks for the review, and for letting us experience your talent.

Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth

"It's very nice, but frankly, when I signed that list for a P-51, what I had in mind was a fountain pen."

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OH MY - your drawings make any ink look amazing. I thought this ink was too teal, but the comparison with EOC really made me smile. Please keep sharing your work.

Fountain pens are my preferred COLOR DELIVERY SYSTEM (in part because crayons melt in Las Vegas).

Want to get a special letter / gift from me, then create a Ghostly Avatar

Ink comparisons: The Great PPS Comparison 366 Inks in 2016

Check out inks sorted by color: Blue Purple Brown Red Green Dark Green Orange Black Pinks Yellows Blue-Blacks Grey/Gray UVInks Turquoise/Teal MURKY

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