A dark bruiser: A review of Diamine 150th Anniversary 1864 blue-black

I’m not much of a drinker… in fact the last time I was drunk was on my eighteenth birthday, and let me tell you that was quite some while ago. I do imbibe the odd glass of red wine on occasion and at other times I have been seen with a glass of vintage port if I’m in the mood. However with wine I’ve never really understood the fascination with particular vintages noted in years, whether they be good or bad, I just don’t have a discerning enough palette I guess – I’m afraid to say it mostly tastes the same to me.

Interestingly, Diamine have named this ink their ‘1864’ blue-black commemorative of their establishment as an ink manufacturer in the same year. So like a good wine can we say that this ink is likewise a good vintage? Let’s see…

Presentation: As mentioned before please refer to the series overview post

On Test: Darkly attractive and reminiscent of the atramentously scratched out documents and ledgers of the mid 19th century this blue-black is a deep and rich colour that looks almost black when used with a wet nib. It is well lubricated and flows without effort from the pen. Mechanically there are no unpleasant surprises from this deeply saturated ink. I can see it being used in many contexts though again the fact it is not permanent may be something of a dissuader for some.

If I were to find fault with this shade I would say that for me it is almost too darkly blue, that’s weird I know, aren’t all blue-blacks the same? Well actually they’re not. In my limited experience, many have a much more delicate feel to them than this bruisingly dark ink. Some are lighter, some smkier, others with hints of grey that accentuate the ‘off’ colour that is so attractive with some blue blacks.

Summary: In my overview piece on this ink I noted that this ink would be, “up against some stiff competition in a crowded market these days”. I think that comment stands. While I’m sure this will have many fans I personally prefer the more delicate blue-blacks on offer elsewhere. On reflection this ink calls to mind other dark blue inks rather than what I would call classic blue-blacks, shades such as Cult Pens deep dark blue for one. But each to their own, this ink might just be the perfect vintage for you…



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