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Is Noodler's Color Consistency Always This Terrible?



ErrantSmudge

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ErrantSmudge

I've been building a collection of Noodler's Ink, and I'm up to six bottles so far - five colors and a huge bottle of Heart of Darkness.

 

For the most recent round of purchases, I first bought some samples from Goulet Pens, and I also received a sample of Ottoman Azure in an ink sample exchange with another FPN member.

 

I was rather surprised by the variability in color between batches of Noodler's Ink.

 

I got a Black Swan in Australian Roses sample vial from Goulet that looked a dark rose ink:

 

fpn_1483561483__noodlers_black_swan_aus_

 

The bottle of BSiAR I actually received was noticeably darker and more purplish:

 

fpn_1483561123__noodlers_bsiar_bottle.jp
The sample of Ottoman Azure I received looked like a pure medium blue, that leans toward turquoise:
post-132891-0-68584500-1482449289_thumb.jpg

 

The bottle of Ottoman Azure I received is a dark teal, which looks nothing like the sample, or the ink reviews I've seen on FPN:

 

fpn_1483561149__noodlers_ottoman_azure_b
(Rhodia paper and the same Aurora pen were used for all samples. The pen was dipped).
As I learned in another FPN thread (https://www.fountainpennetwork.com/forum/topic/279515-did-black-swan-in-australian-roses-ever-really-change/), the issues with BSiAR are known and Nathan Tardiff of Noodler's claims it to be a feature. The variability is part of the anti-forgery features he designs into the ink. And Noodler's website does list BSiAR as being forgery-resistant.
That leaves Ottoman Azure. The two samples I have are so far apart they should have different names and be sold as separate colors. According to Noodler's website, Ottoman Azure has no special properties. It almost looks like I got a bottle of Squeteague with the wrong label attached.
Now, I'm not unhappy with the colors I actually received. I do like both these new shades. But they are nothing at all like what I was led to expect based on the ink samples I received.
Is this extreme variability the norm with Noodlers? I can expect and accept some variability from batch to batch with hand-mixed inks, but two completely different hues isn't acceptable to me. I'm not sure I'll be buying much of their ink going forward if I don't have confidence in what color I get.
Edited by ErrantSmudge
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Some variability is common among the Noodler's arsenal. Some of the inks have it as an actual feature (the Warden series, if memory serves). BSiAR was actually reformulated a while back, resulting in a quite drastic color change. That was a product of Nathan being unable to source the dye or something like that.

 

However, the second sample of Ottoman Azure looks very odd. It shouldn't be anywhere near that green.

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Q: Is Noodler's Color Consistency Always This Terrible?

A: Yes.

Life is too short to drink bad wine (Goethe)

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Actually some of us prefer it to be this way. It makes every bottle we get, unique. And given that the dye lots from which Noodler's acquires it's raw materials are probably quite small, variations in those raw materials will also lead to unavoidable variation. I'm not affiliated with Noodler's in any way other than as a purchaser of their inks.

 

If you don't like variation, I'm sure Waterman, Quink, Pelikan 4001, etc will all be identical from bottle to bottle wherever you buy it.

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Not just Noodler's. I have had the same problem with other brands of ink, including the infamous Sheaffer Blue Black of some years back.

I suspect it is a problem with smaller manufacturers. The dyes used for inks are so concentrated, that even small differences in batches can cause major colour shifts.

fpn_1412827311__pg_d_104def64.gif




“Them as can do has to do for them as can’t.


And someone has to speak up for them as has no voices.”


Granny Aching

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A friend owns six or more bottles of Liberty's Elysium. He swears that none of them look alike. :lol:

 

There have been a couple of Noodler's inks that have significant press on colour variability: BSAR, Henry Hudson Blue, LCR, etcetera. Nathan Tardiff has even intentionally made certain inks variable. As someone who buys an ink for the particular colour it will give me, I prefer very very narrow variance too, but we can't do much about it (except doctoring the bottles to make them "look like what they're supposed to be").

But yes, that Ottoman Azure is very weird. It looks like Squeteague already and may be a mislabeled bottle.

Hero #232 Blue-Black is my Waterman Florida Blue.

 

Your Kilometrage May Vary (#ykmv), a Philippine blawg about ink and fountain pens.

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I only have a few Noodler's - none that I have used enough to be close to replacing. Batch variability certainly would explain some of it But like a couple of others have mentioned, a bottle could have been mislabeled inadvertently. (I don't have either of these colors)

 

I have Blue Eel, 54th Massachusetts, Black and Apache Sunset. (any guess which gets used the most?)

Brad

"Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind" - Rudyard Kipling
"None of us can have as many virtues as the fountain-pen, or half its cussedness; but we can try." - Mark Twain

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ErrantSmudge

 

But yes, that Ottoman Azure is very weird. It looks like Squeteague already and may be a mislabeled bottle.

 

I'm really thinking the Ottoman Azure is a mislabeled bottle of Squeteague. It looks close to the Squeteague samples posted in the reviews here. It's a good thing I like this teal color. The variation between the two Black Swans is close enough for me.

 

I can understand the appeal of a unique color that goes away forever when the bottle runs empty. But only up to a point. It would be easier to appreciate if I could sample the actual bottle beforehand so I know what I'm getting.

Edited by ErrantSmudge
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In my experience, yes. I got a bottle of 54th Mass, and it was a bright teal, not a dark blue black like it was supposed to be. My last bottle of black was very grey, and my bottle of Zhivago shifted colors in the bottle from that awesome and mysterious green black to an ugly dirty grass green.

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy. Hamlet, 1.5.167-168

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That is only two of the BSAR colors, there is a THIRD & as White Lotus said, "many seem to enjoy the variations." I traded my bottle of perhaps the second edition to a member in California who was sorry she had not been able to purchase same prior, to the THIRD variation that was on the market. I believe hers which she sent me was maybe the first, which was discontinued because of a difficulty with obtaining a dye used to make it.

 

Last year there was in fact one ink sold that was indeed in three different hues, you could not "choose" which you would get & many persons seemed happy to "take their chances for getting the one they liked best."

 

Another company will offer a NEW ink after discontinuing one similar & many people will offer an EXACT chroma example of the two inks made @ different times, under different names & some users will swear they are indeed different to "their eyes." I cannot say if one is right & the other wrong, because inks are subjective to each of us.

 

It is a strange part of the new order with so many wonderful ink choices; I will surely "take it" over my earlier world which looked like Black, Blue or Blue/Black, with an occasional red making it's appearance from a teacher's pen!

Edited by Barkingpig
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Q: Is Noodler's Color Consistency Always This Terrible?

A: Yes.

 

:( The only Noodler's I have is a sample of Red Black that Vanness sent with my last KWZ order. I really like it - a dark red that looks red, not brown. But I'm reluctant to order a whole bottle because of this reputation for inconsistency.

It's hard work to tell which is Old Harry when everybody's got boots on.

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I am another who has experienced significant color variation lot to lot. In addition to the examples mentioned thus far in this thread, those of us who participated in the grand "Inkmyn Sapphire" experiments have reported quite some variations in La Couleur Royale, which has ranged from purple to blue.

 

While variety is the spice of life, when I buy a specific ink I want to know what shade it is going to be. As much as I enjoy Nathan, the variation has greatly limited my willingness to purchase more Noodlers ink. I prefer Diamine, Sailor, and Iroshizuku.

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I've noticed individual bottles of ink aren't exactly what I tried out as a sample. They are usually close. Sometimes they'll be just enough off to be unsatisfying though.

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I am another who has experienced significant color variation lot to lot. In addition to the examples mentioned thus far in this thread, those of us who participated in the grand "Inkmyn Sapphire" experiments have reported quite some variations in La Couleur Royale, which has ranged from purple to blue.

 

While variety is the spice of life, when I buy a specific ink I want to know what shade it is going to be. As much as I enjoy Nathan, the variation has greatly limited my willingness to purchase more Noodlers ink. I prefer Diamine, Sailor, and Iroshizuku.

 

 

I forgot about La Couleur Royale. I had a bottle of that too. It was supposed to be a rich purply blue, but mine was a retina-searing purple.

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy. Hamlet, 1.5.167-168

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I don't mind variation over time. But I expect the swatches or other photos of the ink for sale to match the sample/bottle that the consumer will receive. Anything else is a form of marketing deceit.

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I have experienced this too. The difference has always been between a sample and a full bottle. (I've never purchased more than one bottle of any Noodler's ink color - I don't use ink that fast.)

 

Besides the known variations, I wonder if it might have something to do with evaporation. Maybe the sample bottles aren't quite air tight, or sit for a long time before they get to someone, causing changes in the sample ink that we won't see in a full bottle.

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I had a sample of BSB that was incredibly vibrant. While traveling I came across a pen store that had a bottle so I bought it only to discover when I brought it home that the color was very dull compared to my sample. Unfortunately I couldn't return the bottle and am now stuck with a bottle of ink I don't really want.

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