Berlin Notebook recently launched their own line of fountain pen ink, with their first color named Berlin Notebook Blue No. 1. You may remember that I previously reviewed their original Berlin Notebook, so I was delighted when they contacted me and asked if I’d like to try out their new ink. I, like most fountain pen users, am always up to try out a new ink, so of course I said yes!
I don’t do many ink reviews, so there’s no official template I’m going to follow here. I want to give you my thoughts on this ink, what I like about it and what I dislike about it. I’ll show you some photos and let you decide for yourself if this is a good blue ink for you. Sound good? Let’s take a look at it.
Please note, this ink was provided to me free of charge in exchange for this review. All opinions in this review are my own and were not influenced by the generosity of Berlin Notebook.
Berlin Notebook Blue No. 1 Ink
So the first question any fountain pen user should ask before buying a new ink (although we rarely do) is “do I need this ink”? How is it different from other colors that you have? Is it unique? Does it have properties that you’ve been looking for in an ink?
Blue inks might have it the toughest of all. There are so many different blues out there, it can be really hard to stand out, which is why I want to talk about the color of Berlin Notebook Blue No 1. It is a darker, more saturated blue than many that are on the market today. If it weren’t for the red sheen, I’d almost call it a blue-black. Wait, sheen you say? Yes, this ink has a ton of it. It is a beautiful reddish/maroon color. The sheen also gives the ink some nice shading, so where there isn’t any sheen the true color of the ink comes out.I tried this ink with a variety of different pens and fountain pen friendly papers. I was happy to see that it performed very well with almost all of them. I saw some slight feathering and bleedthrough from wet nibs with the paper in Leuchtturm and Baron Fig notebooks, but with the majority of papers I had no issues whatsoever. During normal, every day use I did run into a bit of smearing on sections of writing that were already dry, but this is something that is pretty common with any saturated, high-sheen ink. Still, it’s something to be aware of if you intend to use this ink in high-traffic areas like journals or planners. I also used it to do a little doodling. I was very careful not to smear any lines I had already drawn and waited until all of the lines were down until I filled in the bigger areas with ink. This isn’t any different from how I normally doodle, but I was a little more careful than normal because I have had high-sheen inks smear while doodling in the past. For both writing and doodling, I found this ink to flow very well, no matter which nib I was using. It goes down nice and wet, but surprisingly dries fairly fast! Compared to other saturated, sheeny inks I’ve used, I’d say it’s average, if not a little faster to dry than some of the more popular colors out there.
When I look at all of the different blue inks that I currently own, I am happy to have some Berlin Notebook Blue No. 1 in my collection. It fills a gap between lighter blues such as turquoise and teal and very dark blues like blue-blacks. It also fulfills my occasional need for sheen! One thing that I didn’t like about the small 5ml bottle is that most of my pens didn’t fit inside of it, which meant I had to fill my converter directly from the bottle or drop the ink into a pen with a removable nib like a Pelikan or Esterbrook. Because of this, I’d suggest going with the bigger 30ml bottle so you don’t run into any filling issues.
So would I recommend this ink? If you like sheeny inks, then yes. If you like dark blues, then yes. If you’re already placing an order for some notebooks with Berlin Notebook, then yes. If you use wet nibs on paper that isn’t high-quality, it might not be your best choice due to light bleeding and feathering. If you want to use it in a journal or planner where you could potentially smear it, you should treat it like any other high-sheen ink and decide accordingly. As it is, I think that the price is fairly reasonable, even with shipping from Europe and the color definitely appeals to me. Ultimately, I would recommend it, especially if you like sheeny, dark blue inks.
Disclaimer: This ink was provided to me for free for the purposes of this review. All opinions in this review are my own and were not influenced by the generosity of Berlin Notebook.