Berlin Notebook Blue No 1 Fountain Pen Ink bottle and notebook

Berlin Notebook Blue No 1 Fountain Pen Ink – Quick Review

John BosleyReviews 6 Comments

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 Fountain Pen Ink with fountain pen

Pairing the ink with a Berlin Notebook is a great match!

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.

Berlin Notebook Blue No 1 Fountain Pen Ink color

This top-down look gives you an idea of the ink color without sheen and with.

Berlin Notebook Blue No 1 Fountain Pen Ink sheen

This ink has beautiful sheen.

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.

Berlin Notebook Blue No 1 Fountain Pen Ink baron fig

This ink feathered a bit on Baron Fig paper.

Berlin Notebook Blue No 1 Fountain Pen Ink leuchtturm

It also feathered on Leuchtturm paper.

Berlin Notebook Blue No 1 Fountain Pen Ink bleed

It bled through to the other side of the Leuchtturm as well.

Berlin Notebook Blue No 1 Fountain Pen Ink rhodia

On Rhodia it performed very well.

Berlin Notebook Blue No 1 Fountain Pen Ink tomoe river

It also looks great on Tomoe River paper!

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.

Berlin Notebook Blue No 1 Fountain Pen Ink smearing

Here you can see where the ink smeared a bit after it had already dried.

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.

Berlin Notebook Blue No 1 Fountain Pen Ink doodle

Here’s a doodle I did with Berlin Notebook Blue No1. It was great to doodle with!

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.

Final Thoughts

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.

Berlin Notebook Blue No 1 Fountain Pen Ink red sheen

Here’s a final look at the sheen of this ink. Isn’t it beautiful?

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.

Comments 6

  1. You think that the price is fairly reasonable, but failed to tell us the price. What jumped out at me is that they gave you a 5ml bottle and expected a review. What cheapskates they are. 5ml of Diamine regular ink would cost 33 pence. I wouldn’t do it for less than 30ml.
    There is an enormous choice of ink, pens and quality paper; I don’t like getting fleeced. Their website says €3 for 5ml, €12 for 30ml. Add on tax and postage. € is roughly equivalent to $. I can’t find a shop selling this ink. I shan’t be buying this.
    Berlin Notebook claims that this was designed for common copier paper. I think they should go back to the drawing board.

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      Noel, don’t be too quick to judge, please. I was happy to do the review, regardless of what was sent to me. I think it’s great when smaller companies start making unique products and like to support them if I can. More options are good for everyone. For what ink costs these days, I still think that the price is fairly reasonable. You don’t have to buy it if you don’t want to, but I’m sure many people will enjoy it.

  2. Your blog review is the only reference I could find to Berlin Notebook Blue No. 1, so I checked out their website. I wound up purchasing a 5 ml sample, a 30 ml bottle, and a two-pack of Berlin Notebooks. With shipping and foreign transaction fee, the whole package cost me $28.97 and arrived (in north Texas) in about a week. The order and purchase process on their website could use some improvement: when you submit your order, they email you a message containing a link that you click to confirm your order, but the submission click does not tell you this. I actually placed my order twice and gave up when no confirmation appeared. I found the email messages only later and clicked the link in one to confirm my order. They processed and shipped my order in a day and I received it via USPS a week later. I chose the least expensive shipping method so there was no tracking.
    My interest was the ink; I only ordered the notebooks as an afterthought. I love the color of this ink. It’s slightly darker than Diamine Blue Velvet. And duskier, the blue is a little more muted. The folks at Berlin Notebook stated that the color is modeled on Prussian Blue so that is to be expected. Beyond color and minimal feathering or bleed-through, my expectations for my inks are not very stringent. This ink looks good and performs well on the four papers I used it on, so I will buy more when what I have is gone. It has taken its place in my blue lineup of (light to dark) Monteverde Horizon Blue, Diamine Blue Velvet, Berlin Notebook Blue No. 1, and Jaques Herbin Bleu de Minuit.
    The surprise to me is how delighted I am with these unpretentious little notebooks. The page size is just large enough for a single, moderate length paragraph, so you have room to write but with a constraint that makes you think before touching pen to paper. When I want to write anything more complicated than a shopping list, I’m finding that I reach for the Berlin Notebook in preference to my “nicer” Rhodia or Clairefontaine A5 notebooks. The paper is lovely. The sizing used on this paper is not as sophisticated as found on more expensive papers; the surface is not Clairefontaine or Tomoe River smooth. But it’s more than smooth enough. The four inks I’ve used on it so far have performed to my satisfaction. And the number of pages in these notebooks leads me to believe that I might actually fill one or more of them before I die 😉 I will definitely be getting more of these.
    All-in-all, I’m satisfied with what I received and plan to continue using these products.

    richard hargrove

    Don’t listen to the person who has the answers; listen to the person who has the questions.
    – Albert Einstein

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      Richard, that’s wonderful to hear, both about your experience with the ink and the notebooks. I’ll be sure to pass this along to the folks at Berlin Notebook. I’m sure they’d love to hear about your experience!

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