Ink Review: Rohrer & Klingner Alt-Goldgrün
Pretty much my favorite part of using fountain pens is the wide variety of ink that you get to use as a result. I am a serial ink switcher. I generally only fill up each converter about half-way, and even still I need to force myself to empty the pen rather than just cleaning it out and trying a new color. In less than a year, I’ve managed to gather nearly 90 bottles of ink (which I realize is still not close to as many as others might have, but still.)
So, I decided it was time to start focusing a little bit of effort on my ink reviews. Here’s my first attempt full attempt.
A word about my methodology: I realize that there are ink reviews out there that are exceptionally exhaustive. While I appreciate the work that goes into those reviews, I am just not that dedicated. After all, laziness breeds efficiency (as they say.) So, when I undertake an ink review, I’m trying to find out the basic information that I care about: How does the ink perform in different nib widths, how long does it take to dry, color, shading, lubrication, basic water resistence, etc. I couldn’t care less if the ink dissolved in acetone or bleach. I don’t feel the need to try the ink in 20 different pens, or on a whole variety of paper types.
A few notes about my process:
- I never review an ink unless I have used at least one full filling of it for daily writing to get a sense of how it actually performs. The filled-out form is usually done with my second or third fill of the ink.
- I do all my reviews on the same paper: Rhodia 80GSM Dot Pads. I do this for consistency’s sake.
- I use a Pilot Parallels 6.0mm pen for the color swatch, the shading passes, and the final score. Earlier reviews (which will be posted over time) used a Q-Tip for some of this.
- I have been futzing around with how to test drying times. My current method, which will likely become my permanent method, is to use the same Lamy Safari with a medium nib to draw three vertical lines with as little pressure applied as possible. I wipe each test at the appropriate time with my finger, and dry my finger off between each test.
- It may seem, on occassion, that the scores for the individual attributes do not compute into the final score. That’s okay. It’s all subjective, and sometimes the whole is more or less than the sum of its parts.
- Shading Scale: I shade on a scale from zero to Apache Sunset (10).
- Bleedthrough, Showthrough, Feathering: Because I use Rhodia paper, I don’t often see any of these issues, so these reviews aren’t necessarily the most effective for determining how the ink will perform in these criteria on cheap paper. 10 means that these issues are not present at all.
- The two ink blot tests are done using Costco-brand paper towels. One square is left dry, the other is dampened. Then, ink is dropped onto the sample squares and left to dry overnight. I’m not sure this is helpful at all, but it can be really pretty!
- I take photos of all the testing with a Canon 7D inside a pop-up light box for even lighting. The camera is white-balanced prior to shooting the photos, and I so basic exposure/white balance/and color correction to try to ensure the color of the photos is as close as possible to the color of the actual paper. (I have also color balanced my monitor.)
As always, if your experiences differ, or if you have additional information (e.g., how the ink behaves on different papers or in different pens), please feel free to leave comments below, as long as you’re not a jerk about. Life is to short to deal with jerks leaving mean comments. (i.e., I gots NO problem deleting douchey comments. I ain’t Congress. I can make laws abridging free speech.)
So, without further ado, here’s the first full ink review:
Rohrer & Klingner is a brand of ink that I’m not terribly familiar with. This is the only color of theirs I have ever used, and I got it because of the reviews and glowing testimonials I have seen for the ink online.
I can honestly and truly say that I have never come across another ink anything like this one. It’s such a unique color. The ink is an olive-family green, but with a very definite tan/khaki/gold undertone. I get a decent bit of sheen on this ink (although it’s hard to tell in my photographs.) This is an ink that needs a wet pen, though. The finer and/or drier pens cause the ink to be too light for me. It behaves well, and works wonderfully in my vintage flex pen. It also cleans up pretty easily. Great shader, and I’ve never had any major problems with feathering, bleed, or shadowing.
The inkblot test shows some of the component colors. It appears like an Army Khaki color with teal blue added in. The wet inkblot, in particular, shows some interesting color combinations.
All in all, I didn’t love this ink when I first started using it. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but this wasn’t it. I guess I wanted more “sparkle”. Over time, though I really started to like this ink, particularly on cream- or buff-colored paper. The Alt (Old) in Alt-Goldgrün is really true. When this ink dries, it looks like old ink, particularly with flex writing, which is where this ink really shines. It took about two weeks, but I went from not really liking the ink at all to loving it now.