Ink Snippet: Papier Plume Bayou Nightfall

Papier Plume Bayou Nightfall swabs

Papier Plume sent me Bayou Nightfall about 10 days ago, and I’ve been using it in a Pelikan M200 with medium stub nib, and a Lamy Al-Star with broad and extra-fine nibs.

I love this ink. It’s a wet-writing ink that flows well even in the dry-writing Lamy Al-Star. It’s a lighter color, so it may not be everyone’s cup of tea in every pen, but it’s also a sophisticated and subtle color that I find very beautiful, and very unusual, even special.

The look varies a bit from pen to pen. Here is a writing sample on Rhodia showing Bayou Nightfall first in the Al-Star with broad nib, then in the Pelikan with medium nib, and finally in the Al-Star but with an extra-fine nib.

Papier Plume Bayou Nightfall writing sample

The shading of Bayou Nightfall is just beautiful, but not showy, just like the ink. The ink’s color is quieter, which is why I like it best in the wet-writing Pelikan, where it looks darker.  Here is a closeup on Tomoe River with the Pelikan.

Papier Plume Bayou Nightfall writing sample

Bayou Nightfall’s color is lighter, grayer perhaps, from the Lamy Al-Star’s broad nib, but still beautiful. Again on Tomoe River paper, below.

Papier Plume Bayou Nightfall writing sample

I didn’t see any sheen myself, but, as always, it’s possible that sheen fans could bring that out by using a double broad nib, or pooling ink in puddles on sheeny paper.

For myself, I’ve just been using it to write normally. It’s the beautiful hue that gets me, a color that is lovely but unusual for an ink. It seems more like a paint color. In fact, it reminds me of Whistler’s palette. Here for example is a Whistler at the Art Institute of Chicago, called Nocturne, that also captures nightfall, although over Southampton in 1872.

The ink Bayou Nightfall has a similar feel, though clearer and brighter in color. No wonder I like it: that’s a favorite painting of mine. But no wonder Bayou Nightfall seems out-of-the-ordinary for fountain pen ink.

Here it is again on Rhodia, with the Al-Star and the Pelikan.

Papier Plume Bayou Nightfall writing sample

I like to see how an ink performs on poor paper, and Bayou Nightfall is better than average. Showthrough was not an issue, nor was bleedthrough, even on poor paper. It feathers, a bit, on poor paper, but even on awful copy paper I found it perfectly usable.

Here is a closeup with the Pelikan on my everyday Staples Sustainable Earth legal pad paper, which is about the worst feathering I get.

Papier Plume Bayou Nightfall writing sample

On my Field Notes Dime Novel, there was no feathering at all.

Bayou Nightfall has a surprising amount of water resistance on both regular paper and Rhodia.

Papier Plume Bayou Nightfall water resistance

Again, though, I am hooked on the color. Which happens to be a color I couldn’t exactly describe. Slate gray, in the main, but there seemed to be another tint in addition to blue and gray, that I thought looked green.

Except, here is Bayou Nightfall between the lovely Caran d’Ache Infinite Grey, and the green-tinted gray De Atramentis Charles Dickens.

Papier Plume Bayou Nightfall swab comparison

In that company, Bayou Nightfall looks bluer.

Here’s a comparison between two similar Papier Plume inks, Oyster Grey and Streetcar Green.

Papier Plume Bayou Nightfall swab comparison

Looking at this array, too, I had to conclude that if there’s green in Bayou Nightfall, it’s not obvious. But there is something that sets Bayou Nightfall apart. You can see in both the writing samples and swabs: Bayou Nightfall is not a simple gray, and it’s not even a blue-gray like, for example, Pilot Iroshizuku Fuyu-syogun.

I couldn’t figure out what made Bayou Nightfall so special, so I tried paper towel chromatography.

Papier Plume Bayou Nightfall paper towel chromatography

And, okay, there we go. Bayou Nightfall is indeed much more complex than a simple blue-gray. It has a deeper base, which is gray and olive, and there’s even a bit of violet in the gray. Then it gets a real lift from the cyan. What an interesting combination.

And what a special ink.

Bayou Nightfall will join the New Orleans Collection on October 13, online at Papier Plume. These New Orleans Collection inks are $8 per 30 ml bottle, and I like every single one. Even more, I think they are a bargain. Papier Plume creates its inks in the New Orleans store, and makes each in small batches. The New Orleans Collection bottles are sealed with red wax, and would make a really nice holiday gift, for those who are more organized than I. (Which is, I believe, everyone?)

There’s one final thing that I find special about Papier Plume inks. They have a distinctive palette, tied to New Orleans, and a consistent sensibility. It’s not just a line of interesting but random colors: instead, the whole coheres, and each individual ink melds with the others.

For example, here are swabs of the New Orleans Collection inks, with my other three favorite Papier Plume inks. A veritable bouquet.

Papier Plume ink swabs

16 thoughts on “Ink Snippet: Papier Plume Bayou Nightfall

    1. Thank you!

      I think this ink is a more complex and unusual color than Diamine Grey, which looks more like a standard or straight gray. Bayou Nightfall has the green-blue tint. It is also a light-colored ink, so I’m not sure a Pelikan fine is the best nib to bring out its best. I personally prefer it in the medium and wider nibs, even with Pelikans. For fine nibs, Papier Plume Oyster Grey is the one I use, because it’s darker. But I love Bayou Nightfall, so I’m not trying to discourage it.

      I love your pen — I someday want to add the M405 version myself. I am not a strict ink-pen matcher. I’d have no trouble using this ink in a gray pen or black pen: in fact, I have the black lizard Pelikan M101N with a medium nib, and I’d definitely ink that with Bayou Nightfall. But if you want the closest match, I’m again thinking Oyster Grey…. 🙂


  1. The hallmark of a very good review: even though this is not an ink I would purchase or use, I enjoyed reading about it through your words. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! Actually, Papier Plume came up with the color itself, inspired by nightfall over bayous in the New Orleans area.

      The Whistler thing is a coincidence: it just came to me while I was writing, that this color I like so much, but can’t really describe, happened to resemble a painting I’ve looked at for years, here in Chicago. Maybe I need to clarify that. 🙂 They both capture the color of the early night sky over water, though, which is really cool.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I’ve been looking for a nice daily writing grey. Black is too boring! And I do love my Papier Plume inks so this is definitely on my wishlist.

    Liked by 2 people

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