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.
Here’s a closeup, to better show the differences. Again, Montblanc Shakespeare is the first line, and Diamine Carnival the second.
Here are the two inks on cream-colored Tomoe River paper, which shows the differences better than Rhodia, I think.
And a closeup, again with Montblanc Shakespeare the first of each pair.
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.
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.