I put my sample of Ultra Violet in a Pelikan M101N with medium nib. I have always found Caran d’Ache inks to have good behavior. Ultra Violet does, too. Flow is on the generous side, though it’s thankfully not a gusher; and lubrication is excellent.
The color of Ultra Violet is sophisticated — more appealing to adults, I’d guess, than to kids. The ink shades nicely, and it looks different on white paper than on cream-colored paper.
Here is a writing sample on Rhodia. Words and music by Buck, Berry, Mills and Stipe.
Ultra Violet is stronger on white paper like that Rhodia, and I love that color.
On cream-colored Tomoe River paper, Ultra Violet looks paler.
I didn’t see sheen from Ultra Violet, at least not with this medium nib pen. Here’s a closeup on Tomoe River.
I personally like Ultra Violet’s color better on white paper, but I always appreciate an ink that looks different on different papers.
Ultra Violet behaves extremely well on paper that isn’t fountain-pen friendly. I saw no bleedthrough, hardly any showthrough and almost no feathering, no matter the paper. Here is Ultra Violet on Staples Sustainable Earth legal pad paper, an everyday type of paper.
I like that Ultra Violet’s color remains strong, and the shading visible, even on the Staples Sustainable Earth paper.
I was happy with Ultra Violet. I am not a fan of purple inks, but this shade was attractive, and the ink’s behavior was perfect. So many positives here.
But there is one obvious issue with Ultra Violet, and that’s price. In the US, Caran d’Ache inks run between $33 and $37 for a 50 ml bottle. The Caran d’Ache bottle is well-designed and great to use. But still, when an ink costs more than $30 a bottle, that makes the decision harder.
Clearly, I think the cost can be worth it: I have bought five bottles of Caran d’Ache Chromatics inks. And I like Ultra Violet, very much. However, it’s fair to point out that there are other very nice purple inks available, too.
Here are some comparisons to Ultra Violet.
Looking at that, it’s no wonder I like Ultra Violet. I like those other three purple inks, too.
Ultra Violet is fairly close to Papier Plume Mardi Gras Indians, which I looked at here, and very much like. The Papier Plume ink costs only $8 for 30 ml. Kaweco Summer Purple is also similar to Ultra Violet, though redder, and the Kaweco is also a very nice ink. Then there is KWZ Iron Gall Gummiberry, an attractive and low-maintenance iron gall ink, which I looked at here.
One more comparison occurred to me when using Ultra Violet on the cream-colored Tomoe River paper.
Diamine Damson and J. Herbin Poussière de Lune are both old standards in the dusty purple category — and both are excellent inks. (J. Herbin has reformulated Poussière de Lune a few times as dyes changed; this is the most recent formulation I know of.)
Damson is clearly bluer, and Poussière de Lune clearly redder, while Caran d’Ache Ultra Violet occupies the appealing center. If you like how Ultra Violet looks on the Tomoe River paper, you may want to sample these alternates as well.
So we have six very nice purple inks here. “That’s right, it starts with an earthquake.”
Ultra Violet: a nicer-than-average purple ink at a higher-than-average price.