Saturday, December 4, 2010

Polar Blue

Blue ink. It’s traditional, standard, in most cases expected. Many describe it as ‘favorite,’ many won’t consider anything else. Earliest memories are of the old blue and yellow boxes of Sheaffer Skrip Blue from Griffith’s Drugstore, the place where I also bought Sheaffer fountain pens for around $2.00.

But as one of the cigarette commercials used to say, ‘You’ve come a long way baby.’ These days there are more brands and shades of blue ink than I can count. A quick look in my sample book shows thirteen shades of blue in seven brands. Some of my favorites have for several years been Waterman’s Florida Blue, De Atramentis Guiseppe Verdi Blue and Iroshizuku Ajisai (hydrangea). And while thirteen shades of blue ink will sound to some like way too many, there are a few of us for whom ‘too many’ is hard to get a handle on. Take for example the blue ink sample I got today from Brian Goulet.


Looking at the name on the bottle, the reaction was something like, “Oh, another blue.” I was also not too impressed by the fact that the blue had come from Noodler’s… Time now for me to wipe out that first impression and admit that this Polar Blue from Noodler’s is not only an exceptional shade of blue, but also a well-behaved ink.

A word about the name—Polar Blue may very well be the perfect name for this chilly shade of blue. It has a cold milkiness that hints at the white of snow, or the fur of polar bears. From the first moment the ink colored the page, I saw a blue resonant with the idea of ‘polar.’ Good name.

I’ve felt some ambivalence about Noodler’s ink in the past, and there aren’t many bottles of it in my collection. Most often in my experience an appealing color was not often matched with good performance in one or several fountain pens. Too often it had a dry, un-lubricated feel, a lack of the preferred wetness. Not sure what they’ve done, but the more recent samples of Noodler’s ink display an altogether different quality. Noodler’s Red and Noodler’s Walnut are good examples of what I sense as an improvement. Now the Polar Blue has come along to reinforce my evolving opinion of Noodler’s ink.

I tested the Polar Blue in a Pelikan Souverän 600 on two kinds of Clairefontaine paper—cream colored paper in the Rhodia Webbie and white Triomphe stationery. Results were better on the white Triomphe, which had less feathering. The cream paper showed only a very slight tendency to bleed, probably to a degree most people would overlook. On both papers the ink is wet and well-lubricated. The one thing missing is any noticeable shading; this is not an ink that offers much in that area. There was also a measure of bleed through on both papers. I suspect that writing front and back with Polar Blue might result in a less than ‘clean’ look.

One quality of the ink that will please many is the fast drying time. Believe it or not, Polar Blue dries before you can reach out and swipe a finger across the just written numeral. Obviously an ink that will make left handed writers happy.

Looking around at other blue inks, finding a match or similar shade of blue wasn’t easy. The Polar Blue has nothing like a twin, but the closest could be the Lavender Scented ink made by De Atramentis. The two are pretty close in my view.

Overall, the Polar Blue rates a high score. This frosty blue will make a great holiday gift or stocking stuffer. Thanks again to Brian at the Goulet Pen Company.

Wishing all a very merry Polar Blue.


  1. Thanks so much for the link! This blue is one that tends to get mixed reviews, people either love it or hate it. One key thing to mention is why it's called 'Polar''s an ink that is freeze-resistant down to very low temperatures, designed to be used in the coldest parts of the world. The ink is also 'bulletproof', so it is tamper-resistant.

  2. Nice review, thanks. Just wondering if you might know if this Polar Bear Blue is similar to Herbin's Bleu Myosotis? Thank you.


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Oak Hill, Florida, United States
A longtime expat relearning the footwork of life in America