I used Cassis Black in a vintage Pelikan with a gold OBB nib. Because vintage Pelikans are wet writers, they are a great match for iron gall inks, which tend to be on the dry side (unless they are KWZ iron gall inks). Matching a wet pen with a drier ink works to the advantage of both pen and ink.
Vintage Pelikans also have gold nibs, which are great if you’re going to keep an iron gall inked for a long time, because gold isn’t affected by the acidity of iron gall inks.
I previously used this Pelikan for another Platinum Classic iron gall ink, Citrus Black, reviewed here. The color I got from both Citrus Black and Cassis Black was great. It’s possible that if you use Cassis Black in a dry-writing pen, you may get a lighter color than I did. It’s a great ink for a wet pen.
Here is Cassis Black on Rhodia.
And here is Cassis Black on cream-colored Tomoe River paper.
Rhodia is a bright white with a slight blue tint, and Tomoe River is cream-colored, and each brings out a different hue in the ink. I found Cassis Black brighter and darker on Rhodia, and slightly browner, more antique-looking, on Tomoe River.
Here are the two together.
In terms of behavior, Platinum Classic Cassis Black has many of the excellent qualities you’d expect from iron gall inks. It has beautiful shading, as you can see. The color of an iron gall ink darkens as it dries and the iron gall oxidizes. With Cassis Black the color changes from a classic red, when wet, to burgundy when dry.
Iron gall inks are known for water resistance. Platinum Classic inks have good water resistance, though to a lesser degree than an archival (usually blue black) iron gall ink. With the Platinum Classic inks, some of the colored dye runs off in water, but the core iron gall remains legible. Here is how they all performed when I ran water over the first letters in their names.
Iron gall inks also are known for excellent performance on lower-quality paper, and Cassis Black shines in this category. I saw no feathering even on my worst copy paper, and this is with a very wet vintage OBB nib.
Here is a writing sample on my everyday basic paper, Staples Sustainable Earth, showing the complete lack of feathering.
Cassis Black didn’t bleed through the thin Staples paper, and there was almost no showthrough. The ink was an outstanding performer on poor paper.
I’d call Cassis Black a modern iron gall ink, like most KWZ iron gall inks, not just because of the fun color, but also because Cassis Black didn’t exhibit some of the more difficult behavior of traditional archival iron gall inks. Cassis Black was nicely lubricated and didn’t dry out in the pen; start-up was good. It also was incredibly easy to clean.
I first filled my pen with Cassis Black on April 3, and I didn’t empty and clean the pen until June 8. During those two months, there were stretches of four or five days when I never used the pen — for example, during the pen show. But the pen, nib and feed were completely clean after flushing the ink out with water for less than a minute. This is a Waterman Serenity Blue level of easy.
When dry, Cassis Black takes on an attractive, dark burgundy tint. It’s not a color that’s particularly unusual, but it is nice to see it in an iron gall ink. Below is Cassis Black amidst some comparable burgundy inks.
You can see from the swab of Cassis Black that it can look lighter if your pen doesn’t put down a lot of ink.
In terms of these comps, Diamine Burgundy Rose is a nicely priced, attractive ink that is a fair substitute for the now unavailable Montblanc Alfred Hitchcock, and a very nice ink. Faber-Castell Garnet Red, which I reviewed here, is an excellent big brand dye-based burgundy. My favorite dye-based burgundy is KWZ Maroon, which is saturated and lively, and is reviewed here.
All of these inks are fine choices, but so is Platinum Classic Cassis Black, and it alone gives you the benefits of an iron gall ink in what seems to be a low-maintenance package.
One unknown to me is how Cassis Black and the other Platinum Classic inks will do in a stainless steel nib pen over time. They were fine for a few weeks in the pens used in the Chicago Pen Show Ink Testing Station. But I’ve recently filled a Pilot Plumix with Cassis Black, to conduct a longer, more controlled experiment with steel nib pens. So we’ll see. It was fabulous in the gold nib pen.