What I Bought in 2016: Inks

Caran d'Ache Chromatics inks

Here are the inks I purchased in 2016, by brand.

Bung Box: (2) Dandyism and Sweet Potato Purple. I succumbed to curiosity, and to the lure of a deal. I hadn’t sampled either, but I took the risk and bought these because I figured I could sell or trade them if necessary. Happily, I like them both. They are still scandalously expensive, though.

Caran d’Ache:  (2) Electric Orange and Idyllic Blue.  One was on sale, but these still are expensive. But before buying, I had sampled, so I already knew I really liked them.

Graf von Faber-Castell: (2) Garnet Red and Midnight Blue. Both were on sale, so that was good. I knew I liked the brand, and I knew I liked Garnet Red, which I had sampled last winter. So that was good. Midnight Blue I had never tried. And I’m not sure I would have have bought Midnight Blue if I had sampled it first. Now that I own Midnight Blue, and have figured out its tricks, I like it. But that might have had an unhappy ending.

Graf von Faber-Castell Garnet Red and Midnight Blue

KWZ: (½) Northern Twilight, for the Toronto Pen Show. As always, Blame Canada (unless you don’t like very bad language). Yay! Also, yay for friends!

Montblanc: (2) Montblanc for BMW and William Shakespeare Velvet Red. These are great, and I’m glad to have them. Mentioning them reminds me to use the Shakespeare again soon. It’s (a) gorgeous and (b) perfect for this time of year. Unfortunately, the problem with having too many inks is you just can’t use any one enough.

Parker: (½) A friend found me a half bottle of Parker Penman Sapphire at a reasonable price. I had already tried it, thanks to the generosity of another friend, and I knew I loved it. Having my own bottle has let me pay forward that favor and share samples with new people. Yay! Friends!

Parker Penman Sapphire

Pelikan: (1) Pelikan Edelstein Amber, which I bought after a friend sent me a sample. This is one of the past “inks of the year,” and I like it very much. It’s another good winter ink that I should put in a pen soon. Again with the friends!

Sailor: (10) Ten bottles. Too many to photograph. You’d think Sailor is my favorite brand, wouldn’t you? Especially if you add the Bung Box. But it just worked out that way. This year I got some of the Four Seasons inks, after sampling them, and then later blind-bought some more. The bottles I had sampled I knew I liked. The ones I blind-bought were more mixed. There are lessons here. Sample first! Also, friends! (Just for fun!)

Cartridges: I bought three boxes of ink cartridges: Lamy Dark Lilac, Lamy Charged Green and Montblanc Golden Yellow. These aren’t colors I’d use much, so cartridges were perfect. Yay! Cartridges!

Sailor and Bung Box ink bottles

Well I am just in a cheerleading mood here, it seems. Probably because I did so much better in ink purchases than in pen purchases this year.

Still, there were some lessons. One is that 20 bottles of ink is still too many. I sold a lot of ink this year, but I only finished four or five bottles, probably. I’d rather buy less than I’m using, not more.

It’s interesting that almost all these purchases were in the second half of the year. Clearly, I am better at keeping my “don’t buy more ink” resolution in the first half of the year.

On the other hand, most of my pen purchases were in the first half of the year. So maybe, I buy ink when I don’t buy pens?  So maybe ink buying is good, after all? How do I wrap my head around that?  I’m a cheerleader, not a philosopher.

It is clear that when ink is on sale, or available more cheaply somewhere, I’m more likely to give in to temptation. This is bad. Unless it’s an ink I already have tested. In which case, it’s good. Again with the conundrum.

And I should always sample an ink before buying a full bottle. Except for Montblanc limited edition inks, which I always like. So where is the clarity?

Montblanc BMW and William Shakespeare Velvet Red

Looking forward, I suspect I will buy fewer ink bottles next year no matter what. I need to tighten the pen and ink budget. Also, I have too much ink already, and this is the second year I’ve said that, so I’m probably serious now. Plus, I now have the key to success: I just need to avoid sales and to disconnect my internet on the first of June. I’ve got this.

So it sure looks like blue skies and clear sailing ahead. (Yes, I’ve joined the sailing team now.) Of course, the Titanic’s captain was pretty confident, too. We’ll just have to see after next year.

KWZ Northern Twilight

14 thoughts on “What I Bought in 2016: Inks

  1. Yay for ink! I too went on a splurge for Sailor inks in 2016 (6 bottles is splurging for me!). The KWZI Northern Twilight appeals though… let me guess, only limited to certain places in low numbers? Why, ink makers? Why do you treat your customers this way? (Sad face on).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, KWZ Northern Twilight has already sold out. But that was made for the Toronto Pen Show, so it was the organizers who chose the number of bottles.

      The great news is … who cares? KWZ makes a lot of amazing inks. We can buy different inks! IG Turquoise or IG Blue #6. I love IG Blue #5. And many KWZ reds and maroons are awesome. Two of their greens are favorites: Foggy Green and Rotten Green. Wait: Iron Gall Green Gold — I love that one. Or, if one likes odd browns, KWZ makes a lot of odd browns. 🙂 And Dark Brown, which is a light black, which I prefer to Sailor Doyou. (Waits for lightning to strike her dead, then continues, relieved.) No use lamenting what we can’t have. Instead, let’s enjoy what we can. Each day or ink is a gift.

      And in that spirit, I guess I shouldn’t flagellate myself for buying double the number of Sailor inks you did last year. We’re turning the page now. It’s 2017. 🙂


  2. Happy new year and thank you for another year of pens and inks and other uplifting things. I always compare the price of things to beer – in the U.K. a pint of bitter costs approx $4.50 in the pub and lasts my husband a maximum of 20 minutes. A bottle of beautiful ink may be three times the price but will definitely last longer than an hour. And look good on the desk in the meantime.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Fewer inks? *FEWER INKS??*

    Oh, girlfriend, you can’t be saying that. You haven’t even gotten into the Robert Oster inks, and you have to get into the Robert Oster inks. We’ll be seeing more of you in the months ahead. No doubt. None. Zip.

    “Fewer”. That was good for a laugh! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I love receiving your posts. You mention that you always love Montblanc limited edition inks. I challenge you to purchase Montblanc Miles Davis blue. I have never reacted so negatively to any other ink. The color is so faint that I can’t imagine writing with it or having to read a letter written with it. Keep up the wonderfully composed posts. You’re The Top!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you! That makes my morning. 🙂

      I am sure you are right about the Miles Davis. That one, the new MB Orange and Ultra Black didn’t make my to-buy list. Now, that said, I was surprised how much I liked Golden Yellow. Even though it’s very light in color, and I have to use a broad nib. Golden Yellow is not the most usable ink — but it’s so attractive. It’s like a butterfly.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. J. Herbin is one of my three favorite brands of ink, though. And Pilot Iroshizuku makes one of the most beautiful ink bottles there is. I just think you can’t go wrong with those. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

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