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Robert Oster Signature - Marrone Mustard


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Robert Oster Signature - Marrone Mustard


Robert Oster is an Australian ink maker that is well-known for its unique range of colours. On his website, he describes our shared love quite eloquently: “Robert Oster Signature originates from one of the most famous wine producing regions of the world, the Coonawarra district of South Australia, an idyllic setting with great influence on the senses. There is my inspiration. It’s a joy to share it with you.” Well, we are certainly fortunate to have inspiring ink makers like Robert Oster to satiate our thirst for glorious inks.




In this review, I take a closer look at Marrone Mustard. Catherine from Sakura provided me with a sample of this ink to play around with – much appreciated! This particular incarnation of a Robert Oster ink is of the golden-brown variety. It’s a really nice light-brown colour with orange undertones. The ink contrasts nicely with the paper. It’s dark enough to make for a very readable text, yet not too contrast-rich in that it tries to dominate the page.
Marrone Mustard is more at home in broader nibs. I didn’t like the way it looks in a EF nib – too flat and too light. In my opinion, this ink’s Goldilocks zone encompasses the M-B-1.1 range. Here the ink really shines, with great shading and the optimal expression of its colour range. With these wetter/broader nibs, you are rewarded with really good-looking writing.
To show you the impact of saturation on the ink’s look & feel on paper, I made some scribbles where I really saturated portions of the paper with ink. This gives you a good idea of what the ink is capable of in terms of colour range.
Like most Robert Oster inks, Marrone Mustard has no water resistance. Short exposures to water completely obliterate the text. All that remains are some orangy smudges. This is evident from the chromatography – the ink detaches easily from the paper, as can be seen in the bottom part of the chroma. The ink also smudges easily, with orange smudges on the page. The text itself remains very readable though.

I’ve tested the ink on a wide variety of paper – from crappy Moleskine to high-end Tomoe River. On every small band of paper I show you:
  • An ink swab, made with a cotton Q-tip
  • 1-2-3 pass swab, to show increasing saturation
  • An ink scribble made with an M-nib fountain pen
  • The name of the paper used, written with a B-nib
  • A small text sample, written with an M-nib
  • Drying times of the ink on the paper (with the M-nib)
Marrone Mustard behaved perfectly on all paper types, with just a tiny bit of feathering on the Moleskine paper. The ink manages to look good on both white and more yellowish paper. While writing, the ink lays down a rather wet line, but still dries quickly within the 5 to 10 second range. The initial wetness means that you have to look out for smudging while writing – as such it’s not an ideal ink for lefties.
I also show the back-side of the different paper types at the end of the review. No troubles there, except with the Moleskine paper, which shows a bit of bleed-through. All in all, a very well-behaving ink.

Robert Oster Marrone Mustard is a beautiful golden-brown ink, that is at home on all types of paper. The ink is at its best in broader nibs, where it truly shows off its colour range and great shading. Unfortunately, the ink has zero water resistance – the briefest touch of water completely obliterates your writing. I consider Marrone Mustard an excellent choice for journaling, but be sure to use a wet M or B-nib to bring out the best from this ink. If you typically use EF/F nibs, this one is probably not for you.

Technical test results on Rhodia N° 16 notepad paper, written with Lamy Safari, M-nib
Back-side of writing samples on different paper types


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  • Tas


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This one is going to be a "maybe" ink for me. Not wild about the lack of water resistance, but it does look to be an interesting color.

Thanks for the review. I especially appreciated that your comparisons include Edelstein Smoky Quartz, an ink I like a lot.

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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Thank you for this review, which was a joy to explore.


I just refilled a pen with this ink last nite after I had depleted it's first fill of MM; usually I am content to clean & try another new ink awaiting it's turn, but not for this one!

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Thanks for the extensive review. What a joy to rediscover all those sharp quotes from the Dune cycle.

How would this ink compare to Sailor Jentle Rikyu-Cha, Herbin Lie de thé and KWZ Aztec Gold? Anyone?



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  • 3 weeks later...

You do great reviews.

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

Create a Ghostly Avatar and I'll send you a letter. Check out some Ink comparisons: The Great PPS Comparison 

Don't know where to start?  Look at the Inky Topics O'day.  Then, see 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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What a great review; I can't make up my mind about the colour.. But it might complement Ancient Copper well.

"The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt."


B. Russell

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