Because I know each Mystery Ink’s identity, I normally post my report on the MI after all the volunteers have tried it, and right before I reveal it. I don’t want to influence anyone or let slip any clues. With MI-10, one participant still hasn’t gotten a chance to test the ink, because the package took a little while to arrive. So I am going to post my MI-10 impressions here instead. I still can’t reveal the identities of the inks yet.
Carli is an ink in a shade of blue that seems almost like cyan or turquoise, but is a purer blue without green. I’m not sure what is the correct name for that shade of blue, and I learned years ago that people are picky about that, so I won’t dare hazard a guess. But, as so many people said in the MI-10 thread, Carli is like a dream of the Caribbean Sea. After years of use, I think it’s fair to say that Carli has always shown impeccable behavior. It cleans up easily from any pen, so I don’t hesitate to use it in any pen. I’ve found it to have medium wetness, perhaps ever so slightly on the wet side, and to have good lubrication. On the page, no matter the width of the nib, Carli shades beautifully. I can use it to write pages of text, but it also stands out enough on its own to be effective for editing. I can use it for work or for personal writing, short notes or letters. It is lovely, low-maintenance and has been very safe in all my pens, and I consider it a great all-around ink.
Lloyd is darker than Carli, a medium blue with something that lifts it above a standard blue color like my oft-used Waterman Serenity Blue. With Lloyd, I see a bit of shading, once the ink dries, but less than Carli. Instead Lloyd has a bold and dramatic presence that is accentuated as the nib width increases. It’s a wetter ink, but it never gushes, and it feels nicely lubricated. To me, Lloyd is also a fairly pure blue. Just as Carli does not lean green or stray into turquoise territory, so Lloyd doesn’t lean purple and approach royal blue. That purity of blueness is a nice quality of both inks. They each look more blue than many similar inks. Lloyd, however, is a more saturated ink than Carli, and accordingly takes longer to clean from a pen.
Before MI-10, I had never found my perfect pen for Lloyd. It wrote a bit wide and strong for me in the pens I had tried. Many people love a strong bold look for an ink, but a full page of Lloyd seemed a little much for my tastes, so I didn’t really use it as a standard daily ink. Instead, its presence made Lloyd great for edits, quick jottings and brief notes. But then MI-10 user Tiffany tested it with an extra-fine nib and put her results in the FPG thread, and those looked great to me. I immediately loaded Lloyd into my Edison Mina with custom ground extra-fine nib, and I had found the perfect pen (for me) for Lloyd. In the extra-fine Edison, the ink writes a narrow line that stands out but without overwhelming the reader. Thanks to Tiffany, I discovered that Lloyd is one of those inks that may be perfectly suited to an extra-fine nib.
As to whether Lloyd is different than most standard blue inks, well, I think so, though I may be counting angels on the head of a pin with that distinction. A standard blue ink, often used in school or work settings, is that familiar medium blue whose virtue lies precisely in its unexceptional and unremarkable nature. It is an ink that does not call attention to itself, but acts almost as a neutral ground, offending no one but also grabbing no one. In contrast, Lloyd grabs me. Here you can see Lloyd alternating in different pens with Aurora Blue, a standard blue ink that I use frequently. Lloyd to me is a purer, brighter blue with some sheen possibilities, that stands out on the page in a way that standard blue inks don’t.
Despite believing that Lloyd had more pop than most blues, I was still surprised to see its chromatography. I’m no master ink mixer, but even I can see that there is a lot going on in this ink: the lighter bright blue dye plus a darker bright blue dye may give the ink its drama, while the tiniest touch of bright pink is unexpected.
Compare Lloyd to Aurora Blue, which is simpler, more gray and has dyes that are closer to each other.
Finally, there is Carli, which is bright, and has distinctly light and dark blue dyes to provide shading, but lets the middle tones predominate.
Here are all three together, Carli, Lloyd and then Aurora Blue left to right.
So, I spent most of my time in this report on Lloyd, because to me that was a more challenging ink. Carli, which I have comparatively slighted, has the compensation of being one of my all-time favorites — a super ink that seems to work in any situation and in any pen.