Troublemaker Petrichor fountain pen ink bottle

Ink of the Week – Troublemaker Petrichor

John BosleyFountain Pen Ink 12 Comments

This week we’re going to take a look at Troublemaker Petrichor. Troublemaker is an ink manufacturer from The Philippines. The word petrichor refers to the smell of the earth or soil after it rains. I’m not sure how a color can relate to a smell, but just like the smell, I’m a big fan of this color. Maybe it’s because both the smell and the ink are complex and pleasant? Whatever the reason, let’s dive in and check out this complex multichromatic ink.

Troublemaker Petrichor fountain pen ink doodles

Troublemaker Petrichor

To start, let’s take a look at the ink itself. I think I’d call this a green ink, but it’s also a purple ink, but it could be mistaken for a grey ink. It shades quite nicely, and that’s where the different colors come into play. Where the ink has pooled and is darker, it appears purple. Where the ink is lighter, it appears green. The overall impression when looking at a bunch of writing is more of a grey color. This effect is accentuated on high-sheen paper like Tomoe River, while on papers that don’t typically show as much sheen and have shorter dry times, the ink appears more solidly grey. Complicated? Yes. Lovely? Definitely.

As you might expect from an ink with such complex coloring when dry, it gets even more interesting when exposed to water. Petrichor has a lovely chromatography, separating out into pinks, purples and teals when it gets wet. It isn’t very waterproof and loses most of its color after being exposed to water.

Troublemaker Petrichor fountain pen ink waterproof

After exposure to water, most of the color is gone.

Troublemaker Petrichor fountain pen ink chromatography

The chromatography has some interesting colors.

I mentioned that this ink has nice shading. It showed up with pretty much every nib that I used. It doesn’t have any sheen. It also resists smearing once it is dry. I didn’t see any smearing while writing or doodling, even on warmer days when my hands were a little sweaty. As for dry times, it dries pretty quickly. I never felt like I had to wait very long for it to dry while writing or doodling with it.

The Pens I Used

Each week I choose five different pens to fill with the ink I’m testing. My goal is to get a variety of nib sizes and styles, as well as a mix of modern and vintage pens. Here are the pens I chose this week and some writing samples from each:

Troublemaker Petrichor fountain pen ink pens used

Pens used this week (L-R): Jinhao 100, Parker Challenger, Kaweco Sport, Lamy Al-Star, Pelikan 500

Troublemaker Petrichor fountain pen ink nibs

Nibs for this week (L-R): Jinhao F, Parker M flex, Kaweco M, Lamy M, Pelikan OB

Jinhao 599 – F nib

This combo was nice to write with. The ink dried quickly and, despite being a fine nib, was still easy to read.

Troublemaker Petrichor fountain pen ink F nib writing

Writing sample with F Jinhao nib

Parker Challenger (vintage) – M flex nib

This nib is fairly wet and gives the ink a darker look, especially when flexed.

Troublemaker Petrichor fountain pen ink m nib

Writings sample with M Parker flex nib

Lamy Al-Star – M nib

As always, this nib was a pleasure to use. It’s not super wet, so the ink had quite a bit of color variation and shading. I enjoyed writing and doodling with it.

Troublemaker Petrichor fountain pen ink m kaweco nib

Writing sample with M Kaweco nib

Kaweco Sport – M nib

This is a wetter nib and it made the ink look a lot darker. While writing I noticed a bit of variance in the ink flow, which you can see made a big difference in how purple the ink appeared.

Troublemaker Petrichor fountain pen ink m lamy nib

Writing sample with M Lamy nib

Pelikan 500 (vintage) – flexible OB nib

This big, wet nib is so much fun to use. It really brought out the best in this ink. With shading, color variation, and some line variation as well, this was easily my favorite combo of the week.

Troublemaker Petrichor fountain pen ink Pelikan ob nib

Writing sample with Pelikan OB nib


This ink is plays well with most paper. On cheap paper it did bleed a bit, but I didn’t see any feathering. On good paper I didn’t see any feathering or bleedthrough.

Troublemaker Petrichor fountain pen ink campus paper

Writing sample on Kokuyo Campus paper

Troublemaker Petrichor fountain pen ink clairefontaine paper

Writing sample on Clairefontaine Basic paper

Troublemaker Petrichor fountain pen ink stalogy paper

Writing sample on Stalogy paper

Cleaning The Ink Out Of Pens

One of the nice things about inks with lower saturation is how easy they are to clean out of pens. I had no problem getting my pens clean after being filled with this ink. I wouldn’t hesitate to use it in any pen that I own.


Troublemaker Petrichor is a fantastically complex ink that is easy to use and read. Many multichromatic inks have fairly light colors and can be hard to read when used with some nibs, but Petrichor is dark enough that it doesn’t suffer from that problem. Whether used with fine nibs or wet, flexible nibs, Petrichor consistently looks great. While it was previously only available directly from Troublemaker and had to be shipped from the Philippines, it is now available through a number of retailers. If you think it looks interesting, I’d encourage you to give it a try, along with any other Troublemaker inks that tickle your fancy. In my experience, they’re all great inks.

Troublemaker Petrichor fountain pen ink detail

Comments 12

  1. Intriguing! I’ve had my eye on some Troublemaker inks; love how varied this one is.
    I have a soft spot for Jinhao 599, my 1st fountain pen! I still use it but it now has a small crack at the ink window (whoops). I need to swap it out I guess, just haven’t done much research on what else might work (that isn’t another 599😊)

    1. Post

      Stephanie, if you’ve been eyeing them, you should treat yourself and get some! The Jinhao 599 is a copy of a Lamy Safari, so that would be a reasonable replacement.

  2. Interesting, as always, John. Availability is frequently a problem once we stray from the everyday and obvious. I am as unlikely to find this ink as I am to find the specialist up-market papers you review.

    1. Post
      1. According to Richard Binder, the country’s top fountain pen guru.
        Also, Terry Brack, President of The Long Island Pen Club, and Director of The Long Island Pen Show.
        You will also find Waterman cartridges and bottled inks at your local Staples.
        I would imagine pairing Waterman inks with the Carene fountain superb.

    1. Post

      Steven, this comment is completely out of context and doesn’t add anything to this post. It might be considered trolling by some. I appreciate that you love Waterman inks, but in the future, please keep your comments on topic.

  3. Petrichor is my current favorite ink (and one of my all-time favorite words!). Thank you for putting its complexity into words so beautifully, John!

    1. Post
    1. Post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.