Ink Snippet: Montblanc Racing Green

Montblanc Racing Green writing sample

That’s how Montblanc Racing Green looks in a Pelikan M620 with a broad nib. I’ve also been using it with an extra-fine nib in the Pelikan. I like it better in a finer nib, because that seems to concentrate and darken the color.

You won’t see it with these Pelikans, but if you use a pen with an extremely wet-writing nib, especially a flexy nib, Montblanc Racing Green can look so dark as to be almost black. I’ve seen that in letters. And that’s a nice look, too. It’s because, at its core, Racing Green has some dark olive and gray dyes.

The ink has a nice wetness and lubrication. I like how it writes.

Here is how it looks on Rhodia paper in the Pelikan, first with the broad nib, then the extra-fine. Words and music by Bob Dylan.

Montblanc Racing Green writing sample

Here’s Montblanc Racing Green on cream-colored Tomoe River paper.

Montblanc Racing Green writing sample

Racing Green does very well for me on normal-quality paper. I see no bleedthrough and only very mild showthrough or feathering.

This is a writing sample on Staples Sustainable Earth.

Montblanc Racing Green writing sample

It’s an ink with good water resistance, both on absorbent regular paper and on fountain-pen friendly paper.

Montblanc Racing Green water resistance

Here’s the paper towel chromatography.

Montblanc Racing Green paper towel chromatography

It’s a complex mixture, and I suspect some of those dyes aren’t available at the right cost any more. But I also suspect most ink makers are trying to create something new, rather than clone something old.

In terms of comparisons, I have used a lot of green inks. Yet I don’t have a great match for Racing Green. Below I’ll show you some inks that might have been close. Except they are all wrong, every single one.

Montblanc Racing Green swab comparisons

The very closest match for Montblanc Racing Green is an ink from Diamine that was commissioned, and is sold, by the online retailer “The Missing Pen.” Here is a comparison of those two inks.

Montblanc Racing Green swab comparisons

The Diamine version really is the closest ink that I know of. There are, however, two issues. The Diamine replica is, objectively, too yellow. Worse, it is not particularly special, subjectively. I have used the Diamine. It was fine. But I’m not sure it has that elusive quality needed to become a favorite ink — or not mine, at any rate.

So, if you like the looks of Montblanc Racing Green, but lack the means, the time or the inclination to chase that rarity, what do you do? Do you buy a bottle of the ink that’s closest to, but still obviously different than, Montblanc Racing Green?

You can. And I suggest also trying a different path. Montblanc Racing Green is what I like to call “an odd green.” It’s not a green you can describe in one word. It’s a gray-olive green, with a lovely balance between blue and yellow, and indeed a mixture of heavy and light.

The world of fountain pens, happily, is blessed with a great many “odd greens,” many of which are kind of wonderful. So I suggest trying some odd green inks that are true to the spirit of Montblanc Racing Green, although not duplicative of the color. Here are just a few possibilities.

Montblanc Racing Green swab comparisons

Depending on what you like in Montblanc Racing Green, some of these might satisfy. Bung Box Dandyism is a dark, cool green, sharing the almost-black effect that Montblanc Racing Green can have in a wetter pen. J. Herbin Vert Empire is much lighter, but it’s an ink I have never grown tired of. Sailor Rikyu-cha is a very brown green, or a green brown. But Rikyu-cha is a fascinating and ever-changing ink, if one likes that color range. So also are Stipula Verde Muschiato and KWZ Confederation Brown.

Or try another odd green. A different one from Sailor, or KWZ or Papier Plume or Robert Oster or Montblanc or Monteverde or any brand you like. Try them all.

The point isn’t to get an identical color. The point is to find your own Montblanc Racing Green, that odd green that is special to you. There are always more inks to try, with new ones released every day. It’s more fun to strike out and find the ones that are meant for you. That’s the whole adventure. Know your own song.

12 thoughts on “Ink Snippet: Montblanc Racing Green

  1. I like the color, but I’ve never tried it. I love green ink, and I have more green than anything. I like what you said in the post, and I agree with you. (find the green that is special to you) I have several inks that are special to me, many of them are sort sort of green. I am not on a mission to find a MB Racing Green ink. There are plenty of wonderful inks that are currently being sold right now.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Very good article. I’m one of those for whom this green does nothing. MB Irish Green I enjoy using. Among odd greens, there’s also Sheaffer’s. It looks teal or even turquoise in some pens. I like it but it is truly odd! My favourite ink is Sheaffer’s Turquoise, a great colour. Keep up the great work Laura, you’re always a pleasure to read!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. My song has an entirely different beat. I got a bottle in trade years ago. I never liked the stuff, gave some away, and traded the rest for I don’t remember what. Probably a greater amount of MB Irish Green.

    I enjoyed your “review”. I still don’t like the ink..

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I like that you are direct enough to say “I don’t like” the ink. The hype around this ink is distorting. When I first inked it up, my verdict was basically “meh.” Or closer to yours. 🙂 But after using it for a week, it grew on me, and now I think it’s nice enough. But the legend that’s grown around it? I don’t get that, at all.

      If this ink had never been discontinued, and were still available, I bet it would be a slow seller.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. That doesn’t sound so bad! Only four.

      I should admit that I’m ruthless with inks: if I don’t like or use an ink, I sell it, trade it, or give it away. So right now, I believe I only own two bottles of purple, both of which I like and use: Papier Plume Mardi Gras Indians (for writing) and Waterman Purple (for mixing). I might also have a bottle of Pelikan Edelstein Amethyst hanging around, which I like but think I’ll sell or trade.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Yay! You’re so right about the Racing Green, I’ve never really understood its popularity either; it’s nice, but, well, there are better.

    That’s a sad old Dylan song too, and one of my favorites. I’ve always loved his lyrics.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Me, too. I’m pretty sure all three songs are from “The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan.” If you can get past the bad-boyfriend parts (which he was ashamed of, in retrospect), it’s a great album from a great artist. And one of my favorite Nobel Prize winners. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  5. This was all news to me. Buying a bottle sounds like finding a rare wine, with the waiter bringing up a dusty bottle from the cellars. Personally I haven’t yet got the habit of using green inks. When I do ink up a pen, I seem to tire of it very quickly. But I do have four different bottles of green ink so ought to try to use and enjoy them more.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I agree. 🙂 The point isn’t to get an identical shade. Maybe you could add a drop or two of black to Mb Defoe or Swift and come away with something similar. However, I like Stipula Verde Muschiato. At least when I ink up a pen with that it doesn’t write as “almost” black within 2 weeks.

    Liked by 2 people

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