reference inks

Over the past year, my ink collection has grown by leaps and bounds. I’ve written over thirty ink reviews, which averages out to slightly more than one every two weeks. At this point, I own a LOT of ink – enough to start singling out specific inks as those to which I compare all others. I have also noticed that one of the most time consuming aspects of doing ink reviews is washing out the three or four pens that I ink up just to write out the comparison colors.

Therefore, I’ve decided to compile a list of reference inks for each color. My goal is to whittle my list down to two inks from each color group, and then to fill an eyedropper-converted Preppy Platinum pen with each, so that I have easy access to them on an ongoing basis.

Here’s my initial list:


  • Platinum Carbon
  • Noodler’s Black


  • Waterman Florida Blue
  • Noodler’s Kung Te-Cheng


  • Pelikan Blue-Black
  • Sailor Jentle Blue-Black


  • J. Herbin Café des Isles
  • TBD


  • TBD
  • TBD


  • J. Herbin Orange Indien
  • Noodler’s Dragon’s Napalm (added 3/24)


  • Diamine Imperial Purple
  • J Herbin Poussiere de Lune


  • Diamine Monaco Red
  • J. Herbin 1670

So, fellow pen and ink folks, please help me fill in the blanks. What other, better, different suggestions do you have for compiling a list of reference-quality inks?