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J. Herbin Lie De Thé - Mini Review


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When I started out on my quest for inks that look nice AND have very good water resistance properties, honestly the last ink series I thought I'd be getting were J. Herbin's standard fountain pen inks. I had a very misguided opinion of the line as being too faded looking, low saturation, dull, certainly not water resistant. That's until I accidentally found some reviews that showed water tests of J. Herbin's Lie de Thé. I also realized how interesting of an ink it is. It led me down the path of reanalyzing the whole line of inks, and I almost got a large size of Poussiere de Lune and some other colors. But back to Lie de Thé! I take back what I thought and welcome this ink with open arms to the top of my favorite inks list.


The color:

It's a very complex sepia color! It keeps shifting between looking more green? or is it more orange? or yellow? As a paper towel drip test below shows (green-gray-brown base, orange and yellow elements over that), this ink has all of those colors, and due to the excellent shading property, all those colors are visible to some extent. But this ink definitely keeps you guessing if you stare at it for a while, influenced also by lighting conditions.



Amazing shading! Not only that, but there's some color variation between different intensity parts of writing. This ink's ability to shade comes through well in all of my pens: from dry writers with wide italic nibs to wet writers with round nibs.



none, I really tried to make it appear, but it's not there


Ink flow:

Pretty high flow ink in all of my pens, lubrication is medium, not as high as, say, Organics Studio Walden Pond Blue, which is highly lubricating.



none observed on Fabriano's Bioprima or Clairefontaine paper. A small amount with a wet nib pen on standard [low quality] printer paper



none on high quality paper, a little bit on cheap paper.


Water resistance:

another stand-out property of this ink! Some pale color wash off, but what remains is a highly legible and neat gray-green-brown base color.



Photographs were made in diffuse natural daylight indoors on a somewhat sunny day. I don't like using my scanner to show inks, as it's not terribly accurate. I can get accurate photographs much more easily with my set-up

(paper shown below is Fabriano Bioprima 85g/m2, pale cream color)







Edited by Intensity

“I admit it, I'm surprised that fountain pens are a hobby. ... it's a bit like stumbling into a fork convention - when you've used a fork all your life.” 

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Great review. If I didn't already have Lie de Thé among my favourite inks I would buy it! :)

It's all about the greys...

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Easily one of my favorite inks. I only got this one around ~3 months ago, but have had at least one pen inked with it since then.


Also, nice photos! I wish more people would take photos instead of scans. I tend to ignore scans altogether because they never seem to look right...

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  • 1 year later...

I'm a little late to the party, but thanks for this nice review! Your photos capture the color of the ink well. Lie de The is probably one of my top two favorite inks period; the other would have to be a blue-black hehe.


Due to the gentle nature of the materials used in Herbin's standard inks, this ink is also totally safe for vintage pens. The combination of vintage flex and this ink's capabilities result in some really fantastic shading.


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