In writing to a friend recently I chose to use a custom mixed ink from Osamu Ishimaru at Sailor, an ink first called ‘Dried Persimmon’ but later changed (by me) to 'Blood Orange.’ (The second name seemed more fitting.) Some days later, in a reply to my letter, my friend commented that the Blood Orange ink looked very much like the new Rouge Hematite 1670 ink from J Herbin. I am usually sensitive to ink colors, and quick to note similarities in different inks. I have a bottle of the Herbin 1670, have used it frequently, but still had not noticed its closeness to the older Sailor ink I call Blood Orange. Suppose it was a case of not using the two inks back to back, or maybe I just wasn’t paying attention. But I did notice the likeness of the two colors immediately upon reading my friend’s comment.
I can’t remember exactly when it was that Mr Ishimaru mixed the Blood Orange for me, but I think it was sometime in 2008 at a pen fair in Tokyo’s Maruzen Department Store. I have old journals with a good many pages in the Blood Orange ink, but it hasn’t been in my ink rotation in recent months.
A comparison might be of interest to some, so that’s what you see here. Apart from Q-tips and brushes, the two fountain pens used in the photo sample are: Sailor Naginata with a medium nib for the Herbin 1670 (left), and Lamy 2000 medium nib for the Sailor ink (right). The paper used is Vélin Blanc Clairefontaine Triomphe, 90g. The Sailor is slightly darker than the Herbin, perhaps with a dollop more black. The Herbin has a pleasing brightness that the Sailor Blood Orange lacks, but at the same time, the shading is better in the Blood Orange. Saturation appears to be in favor of the Rouge Hematite. The two inks have a similar drying time; I tested each after a ten second wait. Neither of the inks is waterproof, but if I had to write in the rain I would opt for the Blood Orange. Under water, the Herbin loses all character, all that distinguishes it from ordinary red ink, while the Sailor turns purple, though manages to hold the letter shapes.
For those who might be interested in buying the Sailor ink, you will need to give Sailor and Mr Ishimaru the following blend number: 070112059. Most likely in Mr Ishimaru’s records, the color is identified as ‘hoshi-gaki’ (Dried Persimmon).