Ink Review: Montblanc (Honoré de Balzac) Dandy Turquoise
Montblanc has a reputation (whether deserved or not) of being the pinnacle of luxury when it comes to writing instruments. Their pens are among some of the most expensive “regular” pens available on the market today. Since I do not have thousands and thousands of dollars to throw at the German company, I own only one of their pens, and it is a early 1980s era Meisterstück 149. It is a lovely pen, and is right up there in the top five pens in my collection. But even I, someone who has spent far too much money on pens in his short time in this hobby, can’t justify buying any more of their pens.
Their inks, however, are a different story. Montblanc makes rather good inks. And unlike their pens, their inks are not ridiculously expensive. The latest MB ink added to my collection is the Limited Edition Honoré de Balzac Dandy Turquoise ink. The ink comes in a rather pedestrian 35mm bottle, wrapped in a small cardboard box with a rather unusual design. I’m not entirely sure what the design of the box has to do with Balzac, or with the ink bearing his name.
The ink, however, is an absolute delight. The color is, as I mention in my handwriting sample above, truly stunning. It is more akin to an azure or light cerulean blue than an actual turquoise, and exhibits a great deal of depth. There really is no green in the color at all, as once might expect. In many ways, it reminds me of one of my other favorite inks, Iroshizuku Kon-Peki. It is reminiscent of clean, blue ocean water on a white sand beach, hinting at the play of light below the surface. (How’s THAT for poetic?)
The ink behaves wonderfully. It feels nicely lubricated, dries relatively quickly, has a wonderful flow, and shades nicely. The sheen, which is a dark red/purple, is not as pronounced as some inks, but does help lend to the illusion of depth in the color. And it cleans quite easily. It is not particularly water-resistant.
I imagine that this ink would simply dazzle in a nice, juicy flex pen or even in a wide-nibbed calligraphy pen (rather like the 6mm Pilot Parallel I used to make the large #9 in the images below.) Even in a regular, everyday pen, I have had people comment on what a pretty ink color this is. Its jewel tones just tend to draw the eye, and it is a pleasing ink on white paper. I find it slightly less enjoyable on the off-white papers.
I really love this color. I love the ink’s performance. I love the mild sheen, and the shading. I love the depth in the ink. The only thing I don’t love? That this is a limited edition ink, and in a few months, it will be very difficult to come by. I have had this ink in at least one pen non-stop since purchasing the bottle, and I have already made plans to visit my local retailer to pick up several more bottles in the coming week before they run out.