Fountain Pen Favorites for July 2016

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This July was not my favorite month ever, in either fountain pens or real life. In fact, if this July were a movie, it would get one star from me. But even the worst movies have highlights (or else how could anyone make a trailer?). So let’s focus on the positives and put together a trailer for July 2016.

1. Montblanc Shakespeare Ink. The leading man. I love this ink. Of course I was primed to love it: a red ink, from Montblanc, named after Shakespeare. Hearing that this ink existed was, for me, like hearing Matt Damon was making a new Jason Bourne movie. I’m in. And Montblanc Shakespeare ink did not disappoint.

2. KWZ Thief’s Red Ink. I love this one, too. Partially because of its great red color, and partially because of its name. And sure: partially because it’s not blue. But because our movie has some thought-provoking moments, too, I’ll mention that KWZ Thief’s Red also reminded me not to overlook inks that don’t happen to have a great name.

3. Two Empty Ink Bottles. Emptied, really. There was so little ink left in Pelikan Edelstein Topaz or in J. Herbin Bleu Nuit that I’ve transferred what little remains to sample vials. I’ll miss having these two inks around. But a blue ink I like has the approximate life expectancy of anyone in the Jason Bourne movie series not named Jason Bourne.

Serendipity: Ink and Pen Department

J. Herbin ink bottle nearly empty

I adore J. Herbin inks (well, most of them), but I can admit that the bottles, while lovely, are not always easy to fill from, especially as the ink level declines.

However, there are some pens that are so perfect in every way that they adapt to difficult conditions like I would adapt to winning sixty million dollars.

The Parker 51, ladies and gentlemen.

J. Herbin ink bottle nearly empty


Fountain Pen Style: The Official Preppy Handbook

J. Herbin Vert Pré Callifolio Andrinople Pelikan M600 Pink Pelikan M400nn

If you are a certain (excellent) age, and also a woman, you’ll remember The Official Preppy Handbook, a well-thumbed tartan paperback owned by you and your friends. You’ll remember wearing Shetland sweaters, chinos and boat shoes. You’ll remember pink and green everything.

Why not rock that look with fountain pen ink?  Let’s go retro. Let’s go fun. Let’s go little-whales-on-shorts here.

For me, it’s J. Herbin Vert Pré and Callifolio Andrinople.

J. Herbin Vert Pré Callifolio Andrinople Pelikan M600 Pink Pelikan M400nn

Pen of the Day: Pelikan 400nn

Pelikan 400nn fountain pen J. Herbin Vert Pre

Pelikan 400nn with medium nib. I still have a few vintage Pelikans hanging around, and this is one I’ve always liked the look of. The original green stripe Pelikan celluloid binde is a beautiful thing. And the 400nn shape is sleek.

Pelikan 400nn fountain pen

I desperately needed to add a little color to my roster of inked pens, so I filled the 400nn with J. Herbin Vert Pré. It’s a little wild and a lot of fun. And it is yet another example of one of my favorite ink categories: the barely legible.

Vintage Pelikans like this often have lovely semi-flex nibs. I couldn’t resist.

Pelikan 400nn fountain pen with J. Herbin Vert Pre ink writing sample


Pen of the Day: Venvstas 77 “Chicago”

Venvstas 77 "Chicago" fountain pen and J. Herbin Lierre Sauvage

Venvstas 77 “Chicago” with medium nib. Sadly, this Venvstas isn’t mine. But happily, Venvstas has made this special edition 77 just for next week’s Chicago Pen Show. The Chicago 77 will be available as a demo at the show, and one lucky person will win it.

This 77 has a two-dimensional glossy carbon fiber body and polished stainless steel trim. I’ll put together a review soon, but spoiler alert, I like it. The medium nib is especially nice.

Venvstas 77 "Chicago" fountain pen and J. Herbin Lierre Sauvage

It’s spring here, but unseasonably cold and blustery. Nonetheless, it was the green grass of spring that inspired me to ink the Chicago 77 with J. Herbin Lierre Sauvage. And it’s perfect. It reminds me of Wrigley Field, the most Chicago place of all.

J. Herbin Lierre Sauvage writing sample

Pen of the Day: Venvstas Carbon T

Venvstas Carbon T fountain pen and J. Herbin Rouge Opera ink

Venvstas Carbon T with fine nib. Yes, I just got this, and yes, I already shared some photos, and yes, I am working on a longer review. But it can also be Pen of the Day. Because today is a day, and the Carbon T is the pen I’m using.

Venvstas Carbon T fountain pen and J. Herbin Rouge Opera ink

Also, this lets me show J. Herbin Rouge Opera ink.

There are three J. Herbin inks with the first name Rouge — the Rouges Bourgogne, Caroubier and Opera. Each offers something lovely. Bourgogne is the pinkest, Caroubier is the most unusual, and Opera is the reddest. But Rouge Opera is from J. Herbin, so it’s a stylish sort of red.

J. Herbin Rouge Opera ink writing sample

Department of Mixed Feelings: Emptying the Ink Bottle

empty bottle of J. Herbin Rouge Caroubier ink

I may have mentioned before that I have more than a few bottles of fountain pen ink.  The actual number is either “too many” or “nuts.” I’m a lot faster at accumulating new inks than finishing them.

But I do go through them eventually. In the last week I finished one bottle of Waterman Serenity Blue and one of J. Herbin Rouge Caroubier.

That’s partially a good feeling: I’m whittling down the numbers of bottles.  But there’s wistfulness, too.  Because I’m not going to replace the Rouge Caroubier right away.  Even though it is a beautiful, well-behaved ink, from one of my favorite brands. Even though I really like it.

Because the truth is, I still have … oh, what’s that unpleasant expression people use? Oh yes: “enough.” I still have enough ink.

But what a beautiful color.