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Robert Oster Signature - Blue Denim


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Robert Oster Signature - Blue Denim


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, the stage is taken by Blue Denim. Catherine from Sakura provided me with a sample of this ink to play around with – much appreciated! This particular Robert Oster creation is a nice teal ink that is a very close relative of both Pelikan Edelstein Aquamarine and iroshizuku ku-jaku. It’s a teal colour that leans towards the blue side of the spectrum, which I really appreciate. The ink contrasts nicely with the paper, and works well with all nib sizes. I found this ink to flow well with superb lubrication – a real pleasure to write with. The ink also offers lots of shading, even in finer nibs.




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. What really wows here is the beautiful reddish sheen that the ink exhibits – quite nice! If you use broad & wet nibs, you’re in for a treat.






Like most Robert Oster inks, Blue Denim has no water resistance. Short exposures to water completely obliterate the text. All that remains are some unreadable 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 bluish 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)
Blue Denim behaved perfectly on all paper types, with just a tiny bit of feathering on the Moleskine paper. The ink is equally at home 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 well-behaving ink.
Robert Oster Blue Denim is a beautiful teal ink, that is at home on all types of paper. The ink looks good in all nib sizes, and offers a very smooth writing experience. Unfortunately, the ink has zero water resistance – the briefest touch of water completely obliterates your writing. If you already own other teals like Aquamarine or ku-jaku, you might pass on this one. There is however that alluring reddish sheen, that might make it worth your while to get a bottle…
Technical test results on Rhodia N° 16 notepad paper, written with Lamy Safari, M-nib
Back-side of writing samples on different paper types
Edited by namrehsnoom
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Not a color for me (and also NOT what I think of when I see the word "denim").

But thanks for the comprehensive review.

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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Thanks for the review! This is much more green/teal than I would expect from a name like "Blue Denim," but it wouldn't be the first time RO's choice of names confused me. It looks nice, but it's in a pretty crowded color range, so I don't feel the need to get this one.

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I gave up on Robert Oster's naming a long time ago so, ignoring niceties of preferred shades of clothing, this ink looks to have some promise as a teal, which is a colour range where I would like to add one or two.


Thank you for your review, namrehsnoom

Edited by praxim


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Great review! I do like the color. But my sample was dry even in my wetter nibs. I have other colors this shade that I like better.

"Today will be gone in less than 24 hours. When it is gone, it is gone. Be wise, but enjoy! - anonymous today




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Interesting; this comment that the ink is dry, my usual experience with RO inks, against the review that it is well lubricated.


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Interesting; this comment that the ink is dry, my usual experience with RO inks, against the review that it is well lubricated.

In my experience, the ink was really well lubricated and flowed real nicely. Then again... I'm a big fan of the French Callifolio inks, which some consider too dry to be usable. So the relativity principle might be at play :D

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