Going into the store, red ink was about the farthest thing from my mind, having already considered that I have bottles enough of red lining my ink shelves. True I like a red ink, as long as it isn’t what I call the standard pedestrian wagon red. But I have a fair supply of non-standard, non-pedestrian red inks, and I wasn’t in the market for another. Rather, I had in mind something like J Herbin’s Vert Empire or Cacao du Brésil, one a dark blackish green, the other a black-tinted brown. I also was thinking I might buy a new Moleskine notebook, a classy background for the new inks.
Well, now and again we’re thrown a curve ball and have to adjust to a new direction. The first thing I noticed upon walking in the ink store yesterday was the absence of the familiar shelves on the far wall holding varieties of Moleskine notebooks. The Moleskines had been replaced with small leather notebook covers, and apart from a small $90 notebook of an unfamiliar brand name, I couldn’t find much in the way of notebooks or paper. Next I was surprised to find that they had not one bottle of J. Herbin ink. There were maybe seven or eight other kinds, but none of what I had come looking for.
I wasn’t too drastically disappointed, considering I still had at least a hundred different inks before me, plenty enough to feed an obsession with ink.
After about thirty minutes I found myself narrowing the choices down to… You probably guessed it—red.
I had never used or owned any Visconti ink, and I was right away taken by the special quality of this bordeaux wine red. I have another bordeaux ink made by Sailor, and it was clear right away that the Italian wine red was distinct from the Japanese ink. They are very different bordeaux reds. Perhaps it sounds trite or predictable, but I want to say that the Visconti Bordeaux seen in the photo here has an Italian flavor to it. I first tried the ink on a light gray paper from Muji, and it worked well on that. No feathering or bleed through at all, and while the saturation is inconsistent from word to word, it might have been the fountain pen I used, a Bexley with a broad nib. Personally, I like this kind of inconsistency in an ink when I am not writing a business or formal document. In a journal or notebook, the saturation is acceptable, even good.
The down side is the really bad plastic bottle in what can only be called an odd shape. I almost tipped the bottle over three times filling the Bexley. Have to say, I strongly dislike plastic bottles of ink. It looks and feels exactly like what it offers the maker—cheaper production costs. Great ink in a horrible bottle.
De Atramentis Barbaresco (Wine Series)
I have two in the wine series, Merlot and Dornfelder, and like them both, apart from the scent. I will say right off that I also like the Barbaresco but not the scent. This one has a lot of brown in it, and looks almost un-wine-like. Have to admit that I can’t recall seeing (or drinking) a Barbaresco wine in glass or bottle. It may be a red wine with a heavy brown tint. For that reason, I can’t say if the De Atramentis ink is a true color match with the wine. The Barbaresco doesn’t flow as well as the Visconti ink, but that may have something to do with the Sailor Naginata medium nibbed pen I used. The saturation is very consistent, and like the Visconti ink there is no feathering or bleed through. After writing a page with the Barbaresco I started to wonder if it is an ink I will continue to use, or one I will quickly tire of. It isn't exactly what I call a ‘pretty’ brownish red. Sailor’s Red Brown is much richer and more along the lines of being a pretty or handsome color.