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Papier Plume - Bayou Nightfall (New Orleans Collection)


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Papier Plume - Bayou Nightfall (New Orleans Collection)


Papier Plume is a stationary shop in New Orleans, that’s been getting some attention lately on this forum with their “New Orleans Inks”, that celebrate the rich colours and history of the city. One of their inks in this series is Bayou Nightfall, an ink with a grey-green-blue hue, that’s unlike any colour in my collection. Definitely an ink with a unique personality.




Bayou Nightfall’s colour is rather unique – it’s kind of a dark blue-leaning teal with heavy grey undertones, a mix of grey-green-blue that’s hard to describe. But the resulting mix is beautiful, and captures the ambiance of a nightfall, when the Bayou landscape’s colours fade away, and darkness descends. The shading is really noticeable, but well executed. There’s quite a bit of contrast between the light and darker parts, which tends to be exaggerated in a scan (in real-life I find the shading to be quite pleasing).




The ink itself writes quite wet, but lacks a bit of lubrication (which I found to be true of other Papier Plume inks I tested). Saturation is quite good though, even in finer nibs. I did notice however that the ink behaves very differently in dry and wet pens. With drier pens, saturation depends on the speed of your writing, resulting in heavily shaded text, with a broader contrast range between light and dark parts. With wet pens, the text is more evenly saturated, and shading is more subtle. Personally, I prefer the way the ink looks in my wetter pens. The writing sample below shows the ink with my dry Lamy Safari pens, and with my wet Parker and Pelikan pens. The difference in saturation is really obvious.




The ink has a wonderfully dynamic colour span. To illustrate this, I did a swab where I really saturated portions of the paper with ink, pooling it on. This beautifully illustrates the dynamics of Bayou Nightfall. The range moves from a very light blue-grey to a deep dark blue-black colour, capturing the dynamics of a nightfall.




On the smudge test – rubbing text with a moist Q-tip cotton swab – the ink behaved perfectly. Water resistance is amazing – the ink effortlessly survived even longer exposures to water. Kudos! This is also apparent from the lower part of the chromatography, which shows that the grey components of the ink remain on the paper. Only the light-blue dies in the ink are very water-soluable. If you need a water-resistant ink, Bayou Nightfall certainly fits the bill.




Be aware though that this is a slow-drying ink, especially in wetter pens. With my Safari M test pen, drying times were acceptable, with a decent 20-25 seconds on the slow-drying Tomoe River paper. With wet pens though, drying times on Tomoe River climb to over a minute, with some parts of the text requiring almost a full two minutes to dry completely. This is something to keep in mind.




I’ve tested the ink on a wide variety of paper – from crappy Moleskine to high-end Tomoe River. On each scrap 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 a Lamy Safari M-nib fountain pen
  • The name of the paper used, written with a Lamy Safari B-nib
  • A small text sample, written with an M-nib
  • The source of the quote, written with a wet Parker Sonnet (F-nib)
  • Drying times of the ink on the paper (with the M-nib)
Bayou Nightfall looks really nice on most papers in my test set. I don’t like the way it looks on the very yellow Life Noble notebook paper, and I find it to be too pale on Moleskine en Leuchtturm 1917. On the other papers though, the text looks stunning, with very good contrast to the paper. There’s one but though… the ink exhibits some small but noticeable feathering on the more absorbent papers. This is especially noticeable where a wet pen is used - take a look at the quote sources written with a wet Parket Sonnet (F-nib) on the Fantasticpaper, Paperblanks and Moleskine writing samples.
At the end of the review, I also show the back-side of the different paper types, in the same order. The ink behaved superbly on most paper types. Only with Moleskine and Graf von Faber Castell was there significant show-through and some bleed-through. Bayou Nightfall is a well-behaving ink in this respect.

Inkxperiment – Nazca spider
I’ve recently started to experiment with ink drawings, keeping things simple and more-or-less abstract. I find it to be a fun extension of the hobby, and have found single-ink drawings a nice challenge. It also gives you an idea of what the ink is capable of in a more artistic setting. For this drawing I used 300 gsm rough watercolour paper. I started off with water-diluted ink for the lighter parts in the drawing, gradually adding more ink to the mix for the darker parts. The spider square is painted with pure Bayou Nightfall. After drying, I used a small brush with a 25% bleach-solution to draw in the Nazca spider. The bleach reacts quite nicely with this ink, leaving a golden-yellow trace. The end result gives you a good idea of the colour span that Bayou Nightfall is capable of.

Bayou Nightfall from Papier Plume is a grey-green-blue ink, with a unique colour that really captures the ink’s name. The ink has excellent contrast with the paper, shades nicely, and is water-resistant to boot. On the downside, the ink is rather slow-drying and can exhibit some minor feathering on more absorbent papers. Overall though, I’m quite pleased with this ink despite its minor shortcomings. I can forgive a lot for the unique colour I get in return. Well worth your attention!
Technical test results on Rhodia N° 16 notepad paper, written with Lamy Safari, M-nib
Backside of writing samples on different paper types


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  • lapis


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Really nice, this review. Also the ink. 'Specially your 'xperiment! Thanks for your time and effort!!

Life is too short to drink bad wine (Goethe)

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Not a color for me. But thanks for the 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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Excellent review! Do you happen to have Oyster Grey for a side by side comparison?

“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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Excellent review! Do you happen to have Oyster Grey for a side by side comparison?

I don't have Papier Plume Oyster Grey myself, but please take a look at visvamitra's review. When compared side-by-side in browser windows, Bayou Nightfall is more of a dark teal, while Oyster Grey is much closer to a true grey.

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I have Oyster Grey and it's quite teal-shifted, far from neutral gray, that's why I'm interested in seeing it next to Bayou Nightfall.

“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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  • 2 years later...

Excellent review! Do you happen to have Oyster Grey for a side by side comparison?

This color reminds me of the difficult to describe color of the shell of a live blue crab. I'm also reminded of DeAtramentis Cement/Charles Dickens ink, although Bayou Nightfall is less saturated and a bit bluer. Here is a comparison with Paper Plume Oyster Grey, as Intensity requested in 2018, and with Cement/CD.


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