This is a no frills brown color. It really runs right in the middle of the road value wise and is rather mediocre when written with. It is a decent brown but one I do not use often at all.
Now this brown is interesting. The inspiration for this ink was the battle of Antietam from the Civil War and is the bloodiest battle to date in American history. This ink is way towards the red spectrum of brown but really looks like bloody earth when written with. It is quite an interesting brown and a little creepy when you know the source of inspiration.
Noodler's Manjiro Nakahama
Manjiro Nakahama (aka Whaleman's Sepia) is another special ink from Noodler's and has a story. It is a reformulation of the ink Asian whalemen used when out to sea. This ink is based off of the original and does use squid ink in the formulation. It is a dry running ink in a nib with tight tines. I believe the only place I have seen this ink is Goulet Pens. This ink is rich and very dark but a wonderful sepia brown. It is also the only brown here on this list that is permanent.
Noodler's Black Swan in English Roses
This is more of a Burgundy color but has leanings towards brown. It is a decent shading ink and looks nice in a stub or italic but doesn't have any wow factor. It is a darker burgundy and is a tad light in value.
Private Reserve Ebony Brown
Easily my favorite brown ink of the bunch and seeing as I have 3 pens inked with it at the moment, it is a staple of mine. It is a rich, dark brown with nice flow and it cleans out of a pen easily. This brown can be used in a professional setting and is an all purpose ink.
J. Herbin Caroube de Chypre
This is a nice reddish brown that looks much like cocoa. Without the sparkles, it is a decent color of brown and writes darker than it is showed in the swab here. This is one of the 1670 Anniversary inks from J. Herbin and has gold shimmer in the writing when the bottle is shaken before filling. It is also a very easy ink to clean out of feeds in the pens I have used.
J. Herbin Cafe des Iles
This is a wonderful brown color which resembles its name which is coffee of the islands. When written with, it looks like you are using coffee rather than ink. For a coffee lover, it is resonant and is quite nice to use. I will caution that it is a pain to clean out of feeds. It is really clingy.
Pilot Iroshizuku Yama-Guri
This ink is translated as wild chestnut and is a brown with a greenish tint. The flow on this ink is synonymous with the Iroshizuku line of ink and it looks great. It is a nice brown, has good flow and cleans out nicely. It is a bit pricey though.
Private Reserve Chocolat
Much like the J. Herbin Caroube de Chypre, we have another chocolate enthusiast here. This ink looks great in a swab but is much lighter written out, in my experience. It does shade well but it too light for my tastes.
We have another burgundy here but this particular burgundy is much darker and leans heavily towards the browner value. It translates as distant mountain and is a wonderful dark brown when written. It shades amazingly well, flows nice and is also a breeze to clean out of a pen.
Terracotta is a tad watery, like a lot of Diamine inks I have tried. It shades well, and definitely reminds me of terracotta colored buildings. It is a lighter brown than the swab shows and is not for everyone. Diamine inks are not known for any water resistance and cleanup is a breeze with this ink offering.
Diamine Autumn Oak
This ink is very thin and quite light for a brown color. What I do like is how it really does invoke thoughts of fall with this color. For those of you who like season specific ink colors, this is a definite must have for the autumn season.
Diamine Burnt Sienna
Burnt Sienna seems to be the middle value brown between Terracotta and Autumn Oak. This is a light reddy brown that can also be used for seasonal inspiration but falls into the too light for me group, as with the other two Diamine inks here.
Platinum Earth Brown
Much like Noodler's Brown, this is a fine offering for a run of the mill brown color. It shades ok, flows well but just has a bland brown color that will appeal to some. If I had to choose between the Noodler's Brown or this one, Platinum wins easily.
DeAtramentis William Shakespeare
I have said this before and will time and time again, I am not a fan of DeAtramentis inks or their naming. This ink is a decent brown with good shading but it is wooly in appearance which I am not a fan of. If you like the wooly texture, then this is the brown for you.
I really like the KWZ inks I have thus far and I am getting a few. These inks are made in Poland and are very nice inks. This one is much lighter in value than I like but for whatever reason, I like writing with it. Perhaps it has something to do with me being a coffee addict. Who knows. It shades decent and flows great as well as cleaning. It looks like a cappuccino and I do like it.
If I were to rate these by my preferences and experiences, here they are in order.
- Private Reserve Ebony Brown
- Iroshizuku Yama-Guri
- Noodler's Manjiro Nakahama
- J. Herbin Caroube de Chypre
- Sailor Oku-Yama
- KWZ Cappuccino
- J. Herbin Cafe des Iles
- Noodler's Antietam
- Platinum Earth Brown
- Noodler's Black Swan in English Roses
- Private Reserve Chocolat
- Diamine Burnt Sienna
- Diamine Terracotta
- Diamine Autumn Oak
- Noodler's Brown
- DeAtramentis William Shakespeare
This post is based off of my opinions and experiences. I am not affiliated with any of the above companies nor am I being paid by anyone.