Sunday, May 27, 2018

Montblanc Swan Illusion Plume Ink

When this ink came out, I was intrigued by it as every photo of it looked different. Was it really a grey or a brown? It is a rather unique color, in my opinion and I purchased a bottle at the Chicago Pen Show. 


These special edition inks from Montblanc are a tad pricey but I got a great deal on this one. Once I purchased it, I filled my Diplomat Aero with it and it was gorgeous. I do have a love of grey colored inks but this one isn't a static grey. 

When I was doing my ink swabs, I looked at the napkin I was using and wow, for a grey ink, look at this. 


The chromatography shows brown, green, purple and orange. It is quite beautiful. The ink itself tends to lean grey but has tones of brown and red and green in it, all at the same time. 

Tomoe River Paper

It shades quite nicely, has a saturation that Montblanc is known for and flows well. It is also well behaved on various papers tested. What I did find interesting was how the color varies on different paper types. 

Rhodia Paper

Apica Paper

Leuchtturm Paper

Franklin-Christoph Paper


I showed the ink to a friend of mine and they said it looks similar to an ink they had. Kyo-Iro Stone Road to Gion and they are super similar. 

Tomoe River Paper

Tomoe River Paper

Tomoe River Paper


Stone Road to Gion has much of the same properties as Swan Illusion Plume but possesses more brown.  

I really like this ink and the properties it has. It is normally listed at $43 in the U.S. but I was able to get it for $30. 

This review is based off of my experiences and opinion. I do not represent Montblanc and I am not being compensated in any way.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Monteverde Monza and Monteverde Canyon Rust Review

Yafa Brands were kind enough to send me a Monteverde Monza fountain pen along with a 30mL bottle of Monteverde Canyon Rust ink to review. I promised to provide a fair review. 


i am going to start with the ink first. This is a nice reddish-brown ink with nice flow, great saturation, nice shading and is very well behaved on different papers.

Tomoe River Paper

Apica Paper

Leuchtturm Paper

Franklin-Christoph Paper

As far as comparisons go, this ink is fairly similar to some other ink colors . 


Montblanc Toffee Brown is still my go to brown ink color but Canyon Rust is a nice fill in and has an amazing value at $8 for 30mL. 

Rhodia Paper

I really like the Canyon Rust ink and I do really like the new Monteverde ink formulation.



 Now the Monza fountain pen, however, was a disappointment. The pen itself is a nice starter-based pen which is valued between $16 - $20. When I opened the box and took the pen in hand, it felt light and the plastic feels like plastic. The pen itself reminded me of something but I had some trouble deciding what it was. Then it hit me, this looks, feels and writes just like a Jinhao 992. 

Jinhao 992

Monteverde Monza

This is a 992 fountain pen but the feed is clear and the cap band is branded with Monteverde. 



The pen has a #5 sized nib that writes very smooth and I am forced to post the pen, due to the size of my hands. I do not like to post my pens so keep this in mind if you are like me. This pen requires posting if you have larger hands. 

I am disappointed that the Monza is a re-branded Jinhao 992 but it is what it is. The Jinhao 992 is valued anywhere between $2 and $8, depending on where you look to shop. The Monza is more than that price, obviously, but depending on what you are looking for, this pen could be for you. The Monteverde Monza seems to be more readily available for purchase here in the U.S. than the 992 and that could factor in to the decision as well.


Yafa Brands was very generous in sending this box of goodies to me for the sake of a fair review and even sent a nice note. Thank you Yafa Brands and Bob the cat loved the box a little too much.


I do not represent Yafa Brands nor Monteverde. I am not being compensated by anyone for this review.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Chicago Pen Show 2018

Last year I made a journey to the Dallas Pen Show and had a great time. This year I decided to attend a show a little closer to home and a 4.5 hour drive seemed more appealing than an 11 hour one, quite frankly. 

The Chicago Pen show is much larger than the Dallas show. I arrived Thursday night so i could be there bright and early on Friday. The show opens to the public on Friday at noon but if you purchase a weekend pass, you can get in at 8am. Wait...I can get 4 whole hours before the general public? sold. 

I spent that time browsing all of the vendors and looking to see what i would be interested in. I had a budget, of course, and did not want to spend beyond my means. So many lovely items on display but the first purchase was ink. Papier Plume made the trek from Louisiana and had two show exclusive colors. Da Blue and Bootlegger's Sacrament.


One of the best parts of a pen show is meeting people and the pen community is one of the nicest around. I was able to meet Mandy from Franklin-Christoph with whom I had emailed many times. I had a lovely discussion with Lisa Anderson about pen shows from the patron point of view. Shawn Newton and Liz were there and so was Leigh Reyes. Ralph Reyes was also there with his amazing nib creations and Lisa Vanness was nearby. Love her Hi Y'all greeting.




I also was able to meet some pen pals and people who follow my Instagram page. I met some new friends and made some great connections. One of which was one of the show's organizers, Laura. Laura is a kindred spirit in the art of sarcasm. We hit it off and are now planning on sending each others ink samples of our favorite inks.  

Along with the great people here, some wonderful deals can be found. I found one of my grail pens and I could afford it so after some deliberation, i pulled the trigger on a Sailor King of Pen in ebonite. Oh man does it write like an effortless dream.


I ended up spending all day Friday and Saturday at the show with a great pen mixer Saturday night which was sponsored by Vanness Pens and the Chicago Pen Show. There was even an appearance by an 8 foot long, 30 pound gummi snake. The things that can be purchased on Amazon. 



I had a great time at the show and will go again next year. Here is what the haul consisted of:


  • Papier Plume Da Blue ink
  • Papier Plume Bootlegger's Sacrament ink
  • Sailor King of Pen
  • Pilot Custom 74
  • Monteverde Smoke Noir ink
  • Monteverde Jade Noir ink
  • Montblanc Swan Illusion Plume ink
  • Monteverde Olivine ink
  • 2 pen wraps by NOIA
  • 6 pen penvelope by Franklin-Christoph
  • A5 Clairefontaine Flying Spirit notebook
  • A5 Stifflexible Berlin subway notebook
  • A5 Franklin-Christoph notebook
  • Colorverse Matter/Anti-Matter ink set
  • Architect nib grind by The Nibsmith
I recommend attending a pen show at some point if you have not ever been. Great people, great pens and great stories. 

Monday, April 30, 2018

Pelikan Edelstein Olivine vs Monteverde Gemstone Olivine

2018 seems to be the year of Olivine and olive green colors. The 2018 Pelikan Edelstein Ink of the Year is Olivine and Monteverde has a gemstone collection with Olivine. Faber Castell recently unveiled new colors and guess what? Olive green is one of them. I, myself, am very excited as green is my favorite color so lets see what is happening. 



Olivine is one of the most common minerals on earth and is most known as a major rock forming mineral. Olivine can appear in color as olive green, light-green, dark-green, yellow-green and brown. As a gemstone, it is known as Peridot.


I was very anxious to try both Olivine inks together and compare the two. What I found was two very different offerings of Olivine.


Pelikan Edelstein Olivine is a green with much more blue added to it where the Monteverde Olivine is more of a true olive green with more yellow added to it. I found it to be somewhat fascinating.


Both inks behave very well. Both have a nice flow, have nice saturation and shade wonderfully. It really boils down to what color you prefer and what you may have been expecting. I was expecting an olive green color, as that is what I identify Olivine to be. Monteverde hits that color out of the park, in my opinion.




I also need to look at value. Pelikan Edelstein Olivine is a 50mL bottle and is approx $28 here in the U.S. The bottles are gorgeous, however. The Monteverde Olivine is a 30mL bottle and is approx $8 in the U.S. Monteverde wins again.

Everyone has their own opinions and that is great. Mine is that Olivine is an olive green based color and not a blue-green color. Monteverde Olivine wins this by a landslide when comparing Olivine properties. Pelikan Edelstein Olivine is a lovely ink and I like it, it is just not a solid Olivine to me.


This review is based off of my opinions and experience. I do not represent either Monteverde nor Pelikan and I am not being compensated in any way.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Colorverse Voyager 1 Limited Edition Ink Set

I learned a very important piece of information about myself this past week. Ink + Space Theme + Historical Tie-In + Limited Edition = I must buy it. Ever since I was a kid, I have been in love with outer space and planets. If you are a regular blog follower here, then you know I love historical significance and stories behind my ink. Well, let's see what makes this Limited Edition set for Voyager 1 so special.



We should start with a touch of history here. Voyager 1 is a space probe that was launched September 5, 1977 and it is still on it's mission today. Voyager 1 had a historic flyby of Jupiter and it took some great photos that allowed us our first glimpse of this giant up close. These inks have a magnificent tie in to this entire mission. It starts with the packaging.





This Limited Edition set is limited to only 1,977 pieces. See the tie in to the launch in 1977? Each set comes with a numbered card to let the owner know what numbered set they now possess. Mine is #1,250



The set comes in 4 different colors and the bottles are small 15mL bottles. I like the looks of the bottles but as far as function goes, filling from them is a pain. I was forced to either use an ink syringe of place the converter in the bottle to fill all by itself. It is a small nuisance.

Let's look at the colors and what makes them special.

Golden Record

Aboard the Voyager is a phonograph record, a 12" gold-plated copper disk containing sounds and images selected to portray the diversity of life and culture on Earth. It has images, music, sounds and greetings. Think of it as a time capsule for extra-terrestrial life. The color of the ink is a copper based hue.
Rhodia Paper
It is very similar to Diamine Ancient Copper


Here is a writing sample:


Jupiter Flyby

Voyager 1 had some amazing photos of Jupiter taken and gave scientists a great "look" at the planet to further learn more of this giant of a planet and it's moons. Jupiter is well-known for being the "banded" planet and this brown color is very representative of the bands seen on Jupiter. 

Rhodia Paper
This color is very similar to Platinum Classic Sepia-Black


Here is a writing sample:


Pale Blue Dot

The Pale Blue Dot is Earth. On Valentine's Day in 1990, Voyager 1 turned around and took a photo of Earth. This was not part of the planned mission but Carl Sagan had the idea of pointing the spacecraft back toward its home for one last look. In the photo, Earth is close to the size of a pixel and is within a sunbeam that is reflected by the camera. Why is this significant? It reminds us that Earth is merely a spec in the grander scheme of things. At least that is my opinion.

The color is more of a teal towards the green side


Here is a writing sample:


The color is very similar to Monteverde California Teal



Interstellar Space

This is where Voyager 1 is at now. This is the space between solar systems so it is officially no longer in our solar system. The color itself is a lovely shade of green. I would think that Interstellar Space would be black but I love the color green. so I am good with it.


Here is a writing sample:


The color is very similar to F-C Loden and Blackstone Daintree Green


What I also really like here, is that the package comes with a little booklet with the ink colors and it has the RGB codes as well as the Hex codes to recreate these colors digitally. 


It is a nice touch and these colors are all throughout the physical packaging.

I like the set. It is Limited Edition with a specific number of units and then they are gone. It is $50 USD which isn't terrible but it is super fun for ink lovers and space lovers alike.

This review is based off of my experience and opinion. I am not representing Colorverse Ink nor am I being compensated in any way.