Blue Black will be only the third ink in Aurora’s ink lineup, after Aurora’s excellent Blue and Black inks. It’s not out in the US yet, at least not online, but some folks got to try Aurora Blue Black in the last few weeks in New York and at the Los Angeles Pen Show. At the show, Aurora gave away a few bottles, and Dan Smith, the Nibsmith, who’s an Aurora dealer, surprised me by snagging a bottle for me. Thanks, Dan!
But there’s good news: he said he’s getting a batch for sale on Thursday, which means if you’re interested check Dan and other Aurora dealers this week.
As soon as I got Blue Black, I put it in my Aurora Optima demonstrator with fine nib. I only use Aurora inks in my Aurora demonstrators because I’m cautious. Of course I would trust some other inks, like Waterman Serenity Blue or Mysterious Blue. But Aurora Blue and Black are terrific colors, so why not use them. Still, I am super happy to have a third Aurora ink.
So what’s Aurora Blue like? It’s a very dark blue black, definitely hitting the blacker end of the blue black spectrum. It has a serious, business-like feel, and good legibility. Yet it has nice shading. Behavior seems very good, as I expect from Aurora inks. Flow is lubricated and seems medium or slightly wetter, but dry time is quick.
Here is a writing sample on Rhodia.
That color is accurate. To me, Aurora Blue Black almost reads black at times. You can see a comparison of Aurora Blue, Aurora Blue Black and Aurora Black. Note that the Blue Black is in an Aurora Optima with fine nib, while the Blue and Black are in Aurora Optimas with medium nibs.
Here’s a closeup.
I’ve mentioned that I use fountain pens every day in my work, so Aurora Blue Black is going to be very useful. I could do 85% of my writing with just these three inks.
Here is a writing sample on Staples Sustainable Earth, my everyday paper, which is not as fountain-pen friendly as Rhodia or Tomoe River. Aurora Blue Black is great on this paper. It keeps a tight line, and I even see shading.
Aurora Blue Black put me in mind of a Neil Young song, so you’ll see his words in some of these writing samples.
Here is a closeup of the Staples writing sample –no feathering.
Aurora Blue Black resisted feathering well on Field Notes, too. Only on my lowest-quality copy paper did get a bit of feathering. That’s sort of my paper torture test, so this much feathering is acceptable for me on that paper. But here’s an extreme closeup anyway.
On Tomoe River paper, as one would expect, Aurora Blue Black was perfect.
Although I haven’t had time to try Blue Black in a bunch of pens, I did want to get a better idea of how wet and lubricated it is, so I put it in my most dry, most stingy, writer — the Lamy 2000 with extra-fine nib.
This pen has an excellent extra-fine nib, but it’s a dry enough feed that it can be a torture test for inks. And Aurora Blue Black has done really well, so far. It starts up and flows perfectly. On the page, it looks clear and legible. Here is a writing sample on Rhodia.
In terms of comparison inks, the closest that I have are below.
There isn’t an exact match with any of these, though we’re definitely in the same ballpark. Diamine Demin is a different hue, and I don’t know it well. But the others I do.
Aurora Blue Black seems similar to Graf von Faber-Castell Midnight Blue, at the swab level, with just a slight difference in hue. But Midnight Blue is lighter and grayer, which you can just see in the swabs but really notice in a pen. Graf von Faber-Castell Midnight Blue would not like the Lamy 2000 extra-fine that Aurora Blue Black handles with aplomb. Pelikan Edelstein Tanzanite is also lighter and grayer.
Aurora Blue Black is darkest. It’s a sharper, stronger blue black.
I have not yet cleaned Aurora Blue Black out of any pens, so I can’t report on that today. I’m expecting it to be as low-maintenance as the other two Aurora inks, but I’ll update if there are any issues.
Aurora Blue Black does have a core of water resistance, like Aurora Black. After soaking in running water, Aurora Blue Black remains legible both on regular paper, which is usual, and also on Rhodia, which is more likely to run clean.
Paper towel chromatography shows a simple, conventional blue black mixture.
For me, Aurora Blue Black is a perfect blue black. It’s a great color for work: it’s easy to read and it looks authoritative. It flows well even in a pen with a dry extra-fine nib. It seems like it will be a great ink for blue black users.