Ink Review: Noodler’s Zhivago

Ink Review: Noodler’s Zhivago
Noodler's Zhivago Swatch


Noodler’s Zhivago is one of those inks that gets talked about a fair bit, but one that I just don’t use that often.  Perhaps it is because of preference toward more interesting colors, but Zhivago (which at my first glance was mostly black), is only moderately interesting to me.  Zhivago is a green-black ink, far heavier on the black than on the green.  These photos are giving it a touch more green than I get from the ink in regular light.  It has a dark military vibe to it…with a bit of khaki or tan undertones well underneath the black.

I usually don’t spent a lot of time with Noodler’s Inks, because they tend to have an odor that I find particularly unpleasant.  Zhivago, however, didn’t seem to bother me much with its odor.  It was relatively well-behaved, but completely lacked any sort of sheen that I could determine.  Like many waterproof (or water resistant) inks, Zhivago just feels a little flat to me–one dimensional.

But the water resistance.  That surprised me a little bit.  Since nearly all of my writing is personal, and I rarely need to sign checks or contracts, water resistance is pretty low on my list of criteria for inks.  In fact, most of the time, I don’t consider it at all.  But it is good to know that Zhivago is one of those inks that can really stand up to water, in the event that this is ever needed.  Usually, if I’m signing documents, I prefer to sign in blue, but even still, I would often keep one pen with Zhivago inked up solely to use for addressing envelopes. (I have recently discovered the trick of rubbing a white candle over the address on an envelope, and the wax left behind offers a fair bit of water protection, even on regular inks.  This may curtail my Zhivago usage somewhat.)

So, in summary, it’s a nice enough ink.  I have not experienced any performance issues at all, other than slightly longer-than-average dry times. But the color just doesn’t speak to me too deeply.  However, this ink is a great choice for those instances where you want just a hint of color, but prefer your ink to be a bit subdued.


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