Well, if I’m going to try an ink review I might as well aim high, with one of the most notorious inks available today – Noodler’s Baystate Blue. Am I insane? I actually bought a whole bottle, which some would say is like bringing a Ouija Board into the house. Fear not dear readers, I had already dipped my toe in with a sampler a few weeks ago, and on that occasion my whole home didn’t turn a brilliant shade of blue and all my pen warranties didn’t spontaneously combust. I did take the precaution of buying a Big Bottle of Bleach to complement the Baystate Blue though.
Noodler’s inks are not easily available from retailers in the UK. There is only one supplier I know of over here (Pure Pens) but the stock is very limited and doesn’t currently include Baystate Blue. This particular 3oz bottle was bought from Ebay. The shipping costs make price comparisons difficult so I won’t attempt to do so on this occasion.
The box is white with standard line drawing. The bottle is simple and functional, filled almost to the brim. The label is attractive, although I can’t claim to be aware of the historical background. The ink itself has a strong smell. I don’t find it unpleasant, but I could understand why some would. So many US inks seem to have strong smells, compared to Europeans and Japanese inks. It’s usually difficult to pin down exactly what the smell is. Often the most I can say is (as in this case) that it reminds me of something I would ave come across in a chemistry lesson may years ago, but I can’t way exactly what. The one word I can think of is “Phenol” – but that’s probably my memory playing tricks. For the purposes of this test I inked up a Pilot MR (similar to a Pilot Metropolitan) with a medium nib.
Rhodia Dot Pad No 16
The flow was very good on this paper, although there were some hard starts. Not a great surprise for a saturated ink with a smooth nib on this paper though. I noted some feathering and bleed through. The colour trumps everything though – it pops off the page and is pretty much everything I could want from a blue ink – striking with a faint hint of violet.
Note to self: take more care with the layout in future.
Ryman Memo Block 9cm x 9cm
Field Notes – Pitch Black
Mnemosyne Word Card
Overall I think the scans give a fairly accurate impression of the colour, which is what makes this one a keeper. It will stay for the time being in my “Lounge Note-Taker”. I wouldn’t use it an expensive pen or even a modestly priced demonstrator, but I’m happy to put it in a Pilot MR which is easy to clean. Fountain pens are all about choice, and that’s mine. I will leave it to others to make their own minds up. I won’t make a habit of linking to loads of other reviews, but I’ll end this one with Nathan Tardiff’s own videos.