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Noodler's Qin Shi Huang Review And Giveaway


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Noodler's Qin Shi Huang Review

& Election Week Giveaway


Note: Note: this review is also available on my personal reviews site with more pictures and better formatting. If you'd like to take a look, click here. The giveaway is also only available through that site. Click here for more details.


Red inks are a peculiar bunch. They come in all sorts of shades—from dark maroon all the way to candy red. Noodler’s Inks is no stranger to this as they have 16 different shades of red available themselves. One of these inks I have to review today: Noodler’s Qin Shi Huang Red (pronounced Chin-Shi Huang). The ink is quite fantastic as it is a bright, popping red ink that is not too painful to look at, and has a professional, teacher’s-red hue.

The ink is named after the first Emperor of China: Qin Shi Huang, later named Qin Shi Huangdi, after he unified China and proclaimed himself the first emperor in 221BC. (He is also famous for having the Terracotta Warrior Mausoleum, which he had created for himself). The bottle and box are standard Noodler’s three ounce set; and, while polarizing to some people, I like the bottle quite a bit. The bottle is slightly tinted, allowing for good storage, and is very functional in its shape, allowing for the most ink in as small a package as possible. It is also very easy to organize in a collection thanks to its cubical form.
The label of the ink is something quite interesting. Unlike most inks, the name of the ink is neither in English, nor is it front and center of the label. Instead, the name ‘Qin Shi Huang’ is in Mandarin Chinese, written as ‘秦始皇.’ The label, instead, is dominated by a painting of Emperor Qin’s boat, sailing to find immortality. I also believe that the label is an original painting, done by Noodler’s Founder Nathan Tardiff. The paining is, honestly, quite striking, and a beauty to look at. The bottle is exceptional, and I always appreciate the effort Noodler’s puts in towards having both wonderful form and fantastic function.
The Qin Shi Huang ink has a very pleasing color. It is, to quote Noodler’s founder Nathan Tardiff, “A very red red ink,” and while somewhat confusing in terms of vocabulary, this sentiment runs true. The ink could never be mistaken for a pink, or a brown, or an orange, or anything but red itself. It’s a very red ink. However, despite the ink’s hue, it is not eye-gougingly bright or annoying to look at; it is actually quite pleasant. However, this ink is not serene, as it calls attention to itself on a page the way a teacher’s red pen may. The ink is also quite saturated—however, it does not have much sheening or shading to speak of (it is quite constant in color).
The ink is also quite water-resistant. Even though it is not an ‘immortal’ ink, it is quite water resistant whilst maintaining relative ease of cleaning. It is a slow drier, however, taking about 50 seconds to dry thoroughly. However, it does not feather or bleed, unless it is only less expensive paper, where it will absorb immediately while feathering and bleeding like crazy.
This is also one of the Noodler’s inks which also happens to be a weak acid (with a pH around 4.5 or 5). This means that it does not mix well with other inks, so it should only be used alone, as a reaction might occur when used in concert with other inks that may end up ruining your pen. So, please, use it alone (for the sake of your pens).
The ink also has one quite cool property: it fluoresces under UV lights (also known as black lights). While not glow-in-the-dark per se, it does have a lighter, extra dimension, so to speak, when underneath a UV light.
Noodler’s Qin Shi Huang Red is a very nice, well-behaved red ink with a few tricks up its sleeve. And, even though it is a red ink, it is not eye-popping or annoying to look at for long periods of time. It could even be used, albeit rather more dramatically than blue or black ink, for professional use. Regardless, I’d recommend you give it a try. It is available on Goulet for $12.50 and on Amazon for $13.50 with Prime Shipping (most of the time)—(this link is not an affiliate link).
Hope you enjoyed this review, if you did, please consider subscribing—it helps a great deal.
Plus, as a special for the 2016 American Elections, once you subscribe, you will be eligible to win a new bottle of one of the inks reviewed today. All subscribing requires is your email, and I promise not to spam your inbox.
Edited by caleb
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Beware of the Amazon seller listed in the main post. I purchased a bottle of Qin Shi Huang from them, and the ink was unusable: 1/3 of the bottle was sediments, the rest light brownish liquid barely visible on paper. Re-suspending the sediments resulted in clogged pens and little improvements in color or intensity. I re-ordered from Anderson and the ink was as described.

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It looks like a great red with a lot of interesting characteristics. Have you tested this on any other papers? I am just curious if the dry time is consistently so long on other, lesser, papers.

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It looks like a great red with a lot of interesting characteristics. Have you tested this on any other papers? I am just curious if the dry time is consistently so long on other, lesser, papers.

Normal dry time for me on HP 24lb laserjet paper. Warning, it's a retina-searing ink

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Thanks for the review.

I will give QSH as being "eye-searing". Because oh, BOY is it. What I will not give it is as being "red". At least not my bottle, which is more of a magenta-pink.

I bought a bottle of it not realizing what it was: it was labeled as "First Emperor" at the Bromfield Pen Shop up in Boston, and I didn't recognize it by that name (so I thought it might be some exclusive ink). It's pretty, but I'm not sure I would have bought it otherwise, because a lot of the early reviews showed it feathering badly.

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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OK, but why has no one put this under UV light and posted the photo? It supposedly fluoresces a quite bright red.

Edited by FLZapped
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This ink was really fussy for me and I've never refilled with it. Your review has convinced me, I will try it again.

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

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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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