Ink Review: Diamine Autumn Oak


Released in the autumn of 2014, this lovely ink from Diamine was an unfortunate casualty of timing. At first, the ink got a lot of attention from the ink cognoscenti. However, the initial rush of ink adulation was quickly quashed by the buzz surrounding the golden glitter of J. Herbin’s Stormy Grey.

Diamine Autumn Oak - Rhodia 80gsm

I, for one, think this is a shame. Orange inks, of which Diamine Autumn Oak is one, have never really spoken to me. I have found it hard to find orange inks that were dark enough to be readable while still vibrant enough to be orange. I’ve tried a whole variety or orange inks: Caran d’Ache Saffron, Noodler’s Apache Sunset, Pelikan Edelstein Mandarin & Amber, even Sailor Jentle Apricot. None of them have been quite what I was looking for. Diamine Autumn Oak finds that sweet spot and just hovers there.

(See the disclaimer at the bottom of the post about color correction. This image is a bit darker than the paper.)

CCF09112014

Autumn Oak greatest strength is that it’s saturated without being blinding. It’s orange, but not neon-ly so. Autumn Oak certainly has ochre, brown, and red undertones, but there is no doubt that this is an orange ink. And I find it lovely. It does remind me a great deal of the color of the autumnal leaves on the large oak tree back yard during the fall months.

Like most Diamine inks, Autumn Oak is a lovely writer: Nicely lubricated, easy to clean, behaves fairly well. It’s an incredible shader on premium paper, and the ink simply adores a wet pen. For such a highly-saturated ink, it’s even got pretty good dry times (and superb dry times on cheap copy paper.)

However, this is an ink that really does its best work on premium papers. On both Rhodia and Tomoe River paper, Autumn Oak performs wonderfully, exhibiting very little feathering and zero bleed. The shading really comes out on these premium papers as well. Even the dry times on Rhodia and Tomoe River were on the short side for coated papers.

On cheap copy paper, however, things start to fall apart for Autumn Oak.

P1000663

On Staples 75gsm copy paper, Autumn Oak loses a lot of the characteristics you can see on the premium papers. On the plus side, the ink dries very rapidly. (2 seconds, in most cases.)  However the color, the shading, the saturation all seem to diminish when used on absorptive paper. The ink exhibits a moderate amount of feathering and a fair bit of bleed even with on fine-nibbed pens. This is not an ink I would suggest using on cheap student notebooks.

I’m quite a fan of most Diamine inks, and this one is no exception. It’s a lovely orange with brown/ochre undertones. It behaves well on high-quality paper (which I am fortunate to be able to use in almost all of my daily writing scenarios), and is easy to clean out of my pens. And, being a Diamine ink, is really quite affordable.  All in all, if you like orange inks, this one does the best job of straddling the line between color and usability that I’ve ever seen.

Note: This was a particularly difficult ink to photograph and color correct. I took my best stab at trying to represent the color I saw on the paper, but some of the images below are not super-accurate representations of what the ink looks like. Apologies for the inconvenience.  The close-up photos of the Rhodia paper are the most accurate depictions of the true color of the ink.

Screen Shot 2015-02-08 at 9.49.49 PM

  • Boondoc

    That’s a really nice orange – truly I think of leaves in autumn! Thanks for the incredibly detailed review Matt!

  • Anna

    Thanks for your review! This is one of my favorite inks. I’m quite partial to orange inks, but this one is my favorite, with Iroshizuku Yu Yake close behind. What I love about this ink is watching it dry. It goes on the page looking yellowish and kind of mucky and then dries to a beautiful reddish orange that I love, and the shading is fantastic! For me, it blows Apache Sunset and Sailor Apricot (two other oranges in my collection) out of the water. I hope we see more reviews of it soon!

    • Elijah

      I too noticed the color change. I agree, this ink has toppled Apache Sunset from its top spot on my favorites list!

  • ACKKKKKKKKKKKKKK Ok. Okay. I need it. I don’t need more ink but this is a very specific color of ink that I don’t have many of, so I require it. Good enough justification, right? Yes.

    • But of course. It’s always justification. (Of course, as the incorrect saying goes, justification is like masturbation: you’re just screwing yourself… 🙂

  • Al

    This ink has established itself as my current favourite. The shading colour differences on quality paper are so impressive. I got this ink due to the unavailability of Apache Sunset in the UK, and in hindsight, I’m really glad I went for Autumn Oak instead. It’s a really warm colour looks stunning on good paper (agree with Matt’s findings on cheaper paper). Big thumbs up to Diamine, and also Matt for an excellent, thorough review 🙂

    • Thanks. It really is a great ink. I recorded this review several months ago, and realized that I hadn’t used the ink again since the review. That has since been remedied, and I still really like it.

  • Pingback: Link Love: Orange Inks & Traveler’s Notebooks | The Well-Appointed Desk()

  • Man does Diamine have a whole bunch of orange inks! I’m currently testing Diamine Pumpkin which is great, but it comes very close to this one so I’m wondering what the point is in creating so many tight variations on the same theme.

  • Andy Robinson

    Matt, It is a pleasure to have you back on the video side of the pen world. Welcome back. You are one of a few that I depend on to provide the REAL DOPE on pens and ink. I get your HONEST OPINION on the product in review. Thanks so much for what you do. REMEMBER. . . haters gonna hate but they don’t matter! What matters to me and many other Pen Habit viewers is that you continue providing us with the REAL DEAL when it comes to our addiction. THANKS MATT.

  • Cliff

    Hi Matt. I watched your review when it was first posted but now I’ve got myself a bottle I just want to say you’re right, it is a gorgeous ink – really like Autumn leaves – not too bright. Somehow it’s even better in the flesh than on video

    • I’m glad you like it. I’ve actually got my Lamy 2000 inked up with this ink right now, and I used the pen to take notes at work all day today. It really is quite a lovely ink.

  • Glenn Higley

    I’ve a bottle of this on the way. The color is right up my alley. I love Diamine inks and like their traditional retro bottles, though I wish the caps were still mottled green. I’ll take a really great ink in a less than spectacular bottle for half the price anyday. Thanks for the review!

  • Trevor Keay

    Am I alone when I say this is the best ink 2015? This is the only ink I use at school.

    • Only in that it came out in 2014, not 2015. 🙂 It’s one of my favorites too.

      • Trevor Keay

        Whoops my bad 🙂 Still my favorite ink though!

  • marguerite brainerd

    This just might be the one for me since Apache Sunset is just not working for me. Wonderful review. Thanks!

  • Pingback: Currently Inked #19 | 27 October 2016()