I’m almost afraid to write this review… There are two reasons for this. First, this ink was a gift from my local pen shop owner (thanks to Malcolm from Iridium Kendal) who asked me to do a review on one of the inks in this series. Second is the fear of the ink being something of an anti-climax after I’ve read so many, almost reverential, write-ups about Iroshizuku inks – in a sense I’m instantly transported back to being 11 years old and stealing that first highly anticipated kiss from Amanda my first official girlfriend… It was nice don’t get me wrong, but it didn’t quite match my level of anticipation and I’ve had way better since (my fault I’m sure not hers).
Presentation: What is in no way disappoints about these inks is the way that they are presented. The brushed silver effect packaging with contrasting ink coloured inlay is classy and inviting and the inner support mechanism for the bottle that has to be dismantled in the process of getting the bottle out of the box is reassuring. The bottles themselves are pure works of art. The inks are encased in slim, rounded glass bottles with a wide neck that are perfect combinations of style and function, even down to the dimple in the bottom of the bottle which should allow the user to get to the last few precious drops of elixir before having to mortgage the house to buy some more.
On Test: I opened the bottle almost hesitantly, expecting something of an angelic chorus as the ink was opened to the air. Sadly nothing happened leaving me to quickly ink up my chosen pen for this text. I must record a note here: If you are one of those ink buyers and reviewers that thinks that ink tests should be done in a totally unchanging and controlled environment even down to the pen, time of day etc, I have something to say to you… Get a life! Being an ex-analytical chemist I’m not interested in providing a lab report on a particular water based dye (that’s ink to the uninitiated). I am more about telling you roughly how it performs, which is as much about how I feel about the writing experience that the ink helps to give as it is about anything else. So I choose to match the particular ink with the pen I think will bring out its character in the best way possible and that’s that. Enough of the rant, back to business… During the test the ink could not be faulted, although I did experience the feared feeling of a slight anti-climax. But on reflection this was not the ink’s fault, after all it is just that, ink. This is a very good bottle of blue ink , not dragon’s blood, it is no more and no less than that – sometimes I forget this and elevate these things to a higher realm than is justified.
That being said this is a delightfully intense ink that delivers a colour that is both sophisticated and subtle. Pleasing to the eye it exhibits great flow which allows the pen to literally glide over the paper. I think the colour is not only lovely but also restful to the eye and would fit into a formal setting well. It has a truly classic sensibility to the point where I almost want to put a tie on and retire into the drawing-room for tea after using it. The dry time was excellent even with my usual test companion Rhodia paper and there was a nice variety of shade across the piece.
Summary: Iroshizuku inks, in my mind, occupy the top end of the mainline ink spectrum, certainly in terms of price. If I compare this ink with my staple Diamine brand it icomes in at over four times more expensive. So in delivering a writing experience is it four times as good? The answer is no. It just isn’t. Don’t misunderstand me… it’s a good ink, perhaps even a great ink, certainly a premium ink that does everything a premium ink should and does it really well. But, in my view, at this price point it has to do more just to be the same if you know what I mean. Then again maybe I’m just looking a gift horse in the mouth. I’ll keep you posted on my relationship with it anyway!