Ink Review: Platinum Blue-Black

Platinum Blue-Black writing sample

I’ve been using Platinum Blue-Black since I bought it, in early June. I’ve had it in several pens, including my Charleston by Jonathon Brooks with fine nib, and a Kaweco Sport with fine nib. Ink flow is on the wetter and more lubricated side, but the ink still writes a normal line, without spreading. Dry time can be slightly longer on fountain-pen friendly paper, especially with a broad nib.

Startup was excellent in normal circumstances. However, I kept the Kaweco Sport inked while I was on vacation for a week, and after a week of non-use it didn’t restart without a little help. That’s pretty much what I expect from a pigment ink. I’m only mentioning it here because otherwise I don’t have anything to write about Platinum Blue-Black that isn’t, “It’s perfect.”

I like the color. It’s a regular blue, with a little extra. If you hate blue, or you think blue ink is boring, this won’t convert you. But if you like blue, then compared to my other standard blue inks, Platinum Blue-Black is darker, a little peppier. Plus, it has all the pigment-ink qualities.

Here is a writing sample of Platinum Blue-Black on Rhodia.

Platinum Blue-Black writing sample

This writing sample only features the Kaweco Sport, because the ink looked identical in both pens with fine nibs. I’ve also been using Platinum Blue-Black in pens with wider nibs, like a Pelikan with a broad nib, which accentuates the shading, compared to a fine nib, and perhaps makes the ink look a touch lighter. Fine nibs seem to concentrate an ink’s color. But it’s a consistent ink in color, not a shape shifter.

What stands out for me about Platinum Blue-Black, whichever pen or paper, is how nice it looks.

Here is Platinum Blue-Black on cream-colored Tomoe River.

Platinum Blue-Black writing sample

Platinum Blue-Black has nice shading. I see what I think is a tiny bit of sheen potential, but this is a pen with a fine nib, and I’m not much for sheen anyway.

The main thing I see, especially on Tomoe River and Rhodia, is an almost three-dimensional presence on the page. That’s often a feature with pigment inks, and the crisp blue color of Platinum Blue-Black makes the most of it.

Here is a writing sample of Platinum Blue-Black on my typical “normal paper,” Staples Sustainable Earth legal pad paper.

Platinum Blue-Black writing sample

On normal paper, behavior is excellent. Platinum Blue-Black resists feathering on all the regular paper I’ve been using, with all the pens I’ve been using. It also resists bleedthrough and showthrough. Best of all, Platinum Blue-Black is that rare ink that manages to still look fresh and vivacious on regular paper.

Platinum Blue-Black is water-resistant, rather than perfectly waterproof. Some of the blue dye runs off after contact with water, though a waterproof core remains.

Platinum Blue-Black water resistance

But happily, Platinum Blue-Black is very low-maintenance. I cleaned out the Brooks Charleston after a month, very easily, and the Kaweco Sport after two months, also very easily. I have no fear using it in expensive pens, even for an extended time period.

In terms of color, I think of Platinum Blue-Black as a dark blue. Here are some swab comparisons.

Platinum Blue-Black ink comparisons

Platinum Blue-Black is more saturated and darker than any of those inks.

There is some mystery, even disagreement, about what Platinum Blue-Black is made of. The box says “pigment” and also “dye-based,” and as one commentator says below, there is always some difficulty in translation. I know some people think it’s iron gall, and I had heard that it was; but after using it, I don’t see the evidence. I’ve used iron gall inks extensively, for years; and I think Platinum Blue-Black lacks the characteristics of an iron gall ink. So I’m going to rely on the Platinum box and assume it’s either pigment or dye-based. It has some of the characteristics of either.

The problem here is that manufacturers often refuse to say what’s in an ink. They probably think no one cares. And you can’t tell just by looking at things like water-resistance, or good behavior on poor paper, because those characteristics can be found in inks that are made with iron gall, pigments or dyes. In many ways, what an ink is made of isn’t always as important as how an ink behaves. So maybe the manufacturers have a point.

Whatever it’s made of, Platinum Blue-Black behaves like a very low-maintenance ink, with great color and behavior. But given that it has something of a pigment ink look, to me, and that it’s at least called a pigment ink, I’m going to compare it to what is definitely a blue-black pigment ink, the new Sailor Souboku, because I’ve been using these two contemporaneously.

Color is the first and most obvious difference between Sailor Souboku and Platinum Blue-Black. Luckily, they are so different a person can decide that she needs both.

Sailor Souboku and Platinum Blue-Black writing sample

Both are nicely wet and flowed well in my pens. Souboku is probably wetter, and seems to write a wider line in a fine nib.

If you don’t know what paper you may encounter, Platinum Blue-Black is the better choice. I had both in a Kaweco Sport with fine nib: Platinum Blue-Black didn’t feather, but Souboku did. On fountain-pen friendly paper, both inks look great, with that nice three-dimensional quality. But Platinum Blue-Black looks better on regular paper.

Sailor Souboku and Platinum Blue-Black writing sample

If you need an absolutely waterproof ink, Souboku is the one. The Sailor is perfectly waterproof, while Platinum Blue-Black is merely (very) water-resistant.

Both are low-maintenance and easy to clean from a pen, which is wonderful in a pigment ink, and very nice even if it’s a dye-based ink.

Platinum Blue-Black costs less. It’s $20 for a 60 ml bottle of Platinum Blue-Black (or Platinum Carbon Black) versus $24 for a 50 ml bottle of Sailor Souboku (or Seiboku or Kiwa-guro).

Platinum Blue-Black

Just a quick note on the Platinum bottle, since I have many friends who are bottle fanciers. I like it. It looks unpretentious and small, even cute, but it’s larger than it looks. The shape is similar to the Diamine glass bottle, but with a wider mouth, and it easily accommodates pens with larger nibs. It’s not designed to look fancy, but to be useful. That’s my favorite kind of ink bottle.

I want to give Platinum some general props. The Platinum pigment ink lineup is tiny: I’ve only used Carbon Black and Blue-Black, but more knowledgeable blogger Paul Godden says there is also a blue and sepia. Carbon Black and Blue-Black are superior inks. I’d recommend them to anyone.

Normally I don’t even like using water-resistant inks for regular writing. But these two Platinum inks have made my list of regular users.

In the end, I just really like Platinum Blue-Black. It’s my ink crush of the summer. Maybe there’s no rhyme or reason for this, just personal taste. I like standard blue inks, and this is a very good one. I think if you like standard blue inks, you probably would like Platinum Blue-Black, too.

So, again, why isn’t everyone using it? Why did it take me so long to find it? I bought it on a whim, just to try it. Shaking my head. This should be one of the top recommendations for a blue ink, especially for those who want a water resistant blue.

Platinum Blue-Black writing sample

30 thoughts on “Ink Review: Platinum Blue-Black

  1. I should try this! It looks like a good candidate to maybe even replace my staple, Herbin Bleu Nuit. Is it so low-maintenance that I could just set it and forget it?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Let me be an enabler… 🙂

      Cult Pens have had it in cartridge form for quite a while. I know this because I have Too Many Preppies. I can’t remember when I first took a look at the bottles, but they’ve had those for a while. The 0.2 and 0.5 Preppies have been fine with it but I haven’t used it in anything else so far. I’ve been using it for the last year because I wanted a permanent ink for keeping a migraine diary, and while it’s not completely waterproof in that it will run, there’s a core that remains legible. Looks nice on the Optik paper in a Black n’ Red notebook.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Oh no. I do NOT need any more inks, but I especially don’t need any more blue-black or blue inks. But now I want both the Platinum Blue-Black and the Sailor Souboku. Hmmm. *ponders* Yep, pretty sure I can justify getting both because I don’t have any water-resistant or waterproof blue inks. Yay! Thanks for this!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Twinsies!!

        I’m pretending I didn’t see your question, you temptress of blue-black inks! 😂 But no, I’ve only tried one iron gall ink – an Akkerman that I can’t remember the name of and it was really hard to clean out of my pen although reviews I’d read said it was easy. Almost thought I’d ruined my Platinum Lake Kawaguchi (Yikes!), but I eventually got all the ink out. I’ll put it on my inks-to-try list.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. If it was a version of Diamine Registrar’s Ink, then yeah. That’s so high maintenance I won’t use it either. 😊 Most KWZ iron galls (notable exception is the archival KWZ IG Blue Black) are pretty low maintenance. I’m really focused on that myself so my reviews always look at that. Platinum Classic line is also on the low maintenance side. 😊

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          1. It was Akkerman 10 Akkerman Ijzer-galnoten Blauw-Zwart. I remember loving the color and of course Akkerman comes in those really cool bottles so I obviously got a whole bottle instead of a sample. I’m not sorry because I do love the bottle. I should try it again in one of my less-expensive pens like one of my Jinhao Shark pens.

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    1. Thank you! My friend was just asking if that’s the cartridge that came with new Nakayas.

      I love it, too — there’s something about it. 🙂

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  3. I’ve never tried the blue-black before, and I love Platinum’s carbon/pigment inks. It looks very close to Sailor’s Jentle Blue (another favorite), is that right?

    But… “The Platinum pigment ink lineup is tiny, containing only Carbon Black and Blue-Black.” I beg to differ, my favourite waterproof blue is Platinum’s nice mid blue…

    https://www.wonderpens.ca/Platinum_Blue_Pigment_Ink_60mL_p/inkc-1500blue.htm

    And they have a sepia, which looks great on cream Tomoe River…

    https://www.wonderpens.ca/Platinum_Sepia_Pigmented_Ink_p/inkc-1500sepia.htm

    I’ll have to give the blue-black a try because of this review though, thank you!!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I have never tried Platinum ink before. The review was informative, and pleasing to the eye. I already have Aurora-Blue Black, and Waterman Blue-Black. Maybe when either of them are used up, I can try the Platinum. I do have Sailor-Kiwa guro and love it. I also have tried Sailor-Sei boku. It was just okay to me in a couple of pens. Then I put it in my Pilot-Prera CM, and loved it. Thanks for another brilliant review!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Dietmar. Thanks for bringing this up, because I used to think Platinum Blue-Black was iron gall, myself. No idea why. Maybe they changed the formula? 🤷🏻‍♀️ But now, at any rate, Platinum Blue-Black is definitely a pigment ink. It says so right on the box: “water-based pigmented ink for fountain pens.”

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      1. Hi Laura, it says so on the box, but it‘s still an iron gall ink. Typical smell. Check it on gouletpens or do an internet search. I have a number of IG inks like KWZ oder Diamine Registrar‘s. I love how they perform, crisp lines, sometimes a bit dry.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Hi Dietmar. Well anything’s possible. Maybe mine’s different than yours. 🙂 Hey, though, it’s very nice to meet a fellow fan of iron gall inks! Sometimes I feel like the only one. 🙂 Quickly, I’m not a fan of the registrar’s inks end of the spectrum as much as the more modern or lighter iron galls, like iron gall inks from KWZ and Platinum Classic. I also still use the old Lamy and Montblanc iron gall blue blacks I’ve used for years. And Pelikan’s. In terms of blue iron gall inks, my favorite is probably KWZ Iron Gall Blue #5. It’s a very gentle iron gall ink and a wonderful color. I think the blog has a hashtag for iron gall ink, if you want to look around.

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          1. My favorite is KWZ IG Gold. It‘s nice to see how the yellow transforms into a deep sepia within seconds. I‘m actually more on the darker side. Don‘t like Platinum Classic Citrus, IG concentraction is too low…BTW Liked your review of the new Sailor Souboku. My bottle will arrive next week. Hard to get them in Germany…

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          2. Laura, Dietmar is right, your Platinum Blue-Black is an iron gall, not a pigmented ink. Please compare the label of your bottle to this one.
            Gouletpens states: “Note: The outer box may incorrectly read “pigmented” but the ink is not pigmented. It is dye-based, and is correctly printed on the bottle label itself.”
            Maybe something got lost in translation from japanese… Anyway, you should change your review accordingly.

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    1. Excellent question, Jen. I was hoping someone would ask, after yesterday. It can’t hold a candle to Pilot Blue Black. Pilot Blue Black is a far superior ink. Pilot Blue Black is the ink for all who wonder, Why isn’t everything the color of institutional blue-gray carpet tile squares? Why can’t everything I write evoke the atmosphere of a Social Security office in a strip mall in suburban Chicago? Why can’t I just let everyone know I’m working for the clampdown.

      No, seriously, Platinum Blue-Black is bluer. I like it better.

      Liked by 2 people

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