A Rose by Any Other Name: Comparing Montblanc Shakespeare Ink to Diamine Carnival

Diamine Carnival and Montblanc Shakespeare ink swabs comparison

Montblanc Shakespeare and Diamine Carnival are not, of course, identical. That’s clear from the swabs. But they are fairly close in color.

Since I have Montblanc Shakespeare ink in a Montblanc 146 with broad nib, and since I have another 146 with broad nib, I filled the second 146 with Diamine Carnival.

So far, using the two inks in the same pen model, I’ve found two main differences. First, Carnival is wetter, so it takes longer to dry, shades less and looks more saturated than Montblanc Shakespeare. Second, Carnival is redder.

But, still, the colors are fairly close. Here’s a comparison on Rhodia paper. Montblanc Shakespeare is always used for the first line, and Diamine Carnival the second.

Diamine Carnival and Montblanc Shakespeare ink writing sample comparison

Here’s a closeup, to better show the differences. Again, Montblanc Shakespeare is the first line, and Diamine Carnival the second.

Diamine Carnival and Montblanc Shakespeare ink writing sample comparison

Here are the two inks on cream-colored Tomoe River paper, which shows the differences better than Rhodia, I think.

Diamine Carnival and Montblanc Shakespeare ink writing sample comparison

And a closeup, again with Montblanc Shakespeare the first of each pair.

Diamine Carnival and Montblanc Shakespeare ink writing sample comparison

You can see that Montblanc Shakespeare is a little more complex and looks a little more brown, or muted, while Diamine Carnival looks darker and redder, at least in this pair of pens.

Here is paper towel chromatography, with Diamine Carnival on the left and Montblanc Shakespeare on the right.

Diamine Carnival and Montblanc Shakespeare ink chromatography

So, again, no question: different inks.

I’ve checked before to see if Montblanc Shakespeare is similar to other Montblanc reds, but it’s not really. I think Shakespeare is closer to Diamine Carnival.

Diamine Carnival is regularly available at $15 for 40 ml here in the US. Montblanc Shakespeare is a limited edition, priced at $19 for 35 ml in the US, while we can get it. Eventually Shakespeare ink will be sold out and gone. So, Diamine Carnival is something to keep in mind.

5 thoughts on “A Rose by Any Other Name: Comparing Montblanc Shakespeare Ink to Diamine Carnival

  1. I just happened to get a sample of Diamine Carnival in last week from Goulet Pens surprise me sample pack. This review makes me want to ink it up and take it for a spin. Thanks for a great review.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You know it’s really nice, and using it in conjunction with Montblanc Shakespeare has given me a new appreciation for it; it’s redder than Shakespeare, as well as wetter. They are both nice. 🙂

      Like

  2. I’d probably go with the Diamine Carnival, but only because I really like the wetter inks. It’s a personal preference. But the comparison is great, and it shows just how small the nuances are sometimes – and yet how much they can show in a close up. I really like your angled close-up shots. They show so much detail that just doesn’t show up in the top-down view.
    Great review as always, thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. That’s a neat comparison. Thank you. I really like Diamine Carnival, so it won’t be too painful to swap to that after Shakespeare has run out.

    Liked by 1 person

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