Whaleman’s Sepia or Manjirō Nakahama is quite a special ink that I have mentioned before. This is an ink with a historical inspiration that Noodlers Ink is great at producing. This ink has some caveats but also has some interesting properties based off of Manjirō Nakahama’s significance as well.
As Sepia inks go, this one is tough to beat, in my opinion. This ink, after it dries, looks like a true sepia and embodies exactly what I think of when I think of a sepia toned image. Per Nathan Tardif of Noodlers Ink, it is a bear to make and so small batches are made here and there and The Goulet Pen Company is one of the few places I have found it for sale. It is a tad finnicky in certain nibs due to the consistency on the ink. Generally, if you can see through the tines, this ink will flow through the nib. I currently have this ink in a Lamy Studio and it works beautifully.
The story of Manjirō Nakahama (aka John Mung) can be found here. To summarize, he is the first Japanese man to visit the US after shipwrecking with 4 others and being rescued by a US whaling vessel. Japan at the time was locked from any visitors so going home was not an option. Manjirō worked on whaling ships and participated in the gold rush where he made $600 and bought a ship, picked up his 4 friends in Hawaii and ventured to Japan. He made it back in and was an integral part on Japan to US relations going forward, among many other things.
The ink is based from a whaleman’s logbook, specifically Nathan Tardif’s Great Uncle Reginald. Squid ink is one of the major components of this ink and the ink used back then as it was plentiful seeing as squid was a main food source of whales. Nathan Tardif used the ink in the logbook to re-formulate this sepia ink for a true sepia color in tribute to the whalemen of the age as well as the accomplishments of Manjirō.
In keeping with the theme, this ink has a couple of fun properties that tie all of this together. It is a security based ink meaning it reacts to bleach tampering. If bleach touches this sepia ink, it will turn red. This is representative of the Japanese red sun on their flag in honor of Manjirō. If a purer form of bleach is used, it will turn to a purple color indicative to the royalty of Japan who visited Fairhaven Massachusetts in honor of the relationship between countries due to Manjirō Nakahama.
Pretty cool, right? I love this type of stuff. Ink is fun and fascinating as it is but when you can manufacture a high-quality ink with this intricate of historical influence is exceptional.
This is solely based off of my experience and opinion. I do not represent Noodlers nor am I being compensated in any way