J. Herbin Rouge Opera should come with a warning. If you fill your fountain pen with it, you will, in short order, develop a compulsion to listen to Puccini, Verdi, and, perhaps, Bizet. The ink is the color of a heavy, velvet stage curtain and of walls lined with brocade. It’s the color of soprano Anna Netrebko’s dress in the 2005 staging of La Traviata. It’s each of those shades from moment to moment, and it’s all of them at once.
J. Herbin makes watercolor-lovely ink. Some colors, like Bleu Myosotis, give the impression that the viewer is looking at a field of wildflowers through a set of gauzy curtains in the pale light of a spring morning. Bleu Pervenche, on the other hand, places the viewer on a rocky outcropping, gazing out at the blue-green waters of the Mediterranean, one hand against the brow to shield his eyes, squinting in the summer sun.
Rating: 4.0 January 3, 2011 If J Herbin Café des Isles is the color of coffee with cream, then Terre de Feu is the color of powdered cocoa. It is a lovely milk-chocolate ink with a slight reddish undertone – almost reminiscent of red clay. It possesses a low degree of saturation and a high degree of shading in even a fine nib pen. As with most J Herbin inks, Terre de Feu is slightly watery – as a result, it flows easily, but does not provide significant level of lubrication between pen and paper.
I’m continuing to experiment with my Noodler’s Flex Nib Piston Fill fountain pen. Above is a writing sample with J. Herbin 1670 - their 2010 limited edition anniversary ink. 1670 does some very interesting things when used in a flex nib. A golden/copper tone appears in the heavily shaded areas. In fact, in the right light, it actually shimmers a bit. The script I’m using is an adaptation of the “brush script, broad-edged minuscule 2” from The Calligrapher’s Bible: 100 Complete Alphabets and How to Draw Them.
Rating: 4.0 November 15, 2010 J. Herbin Bleu Myosotis is a lovely, pale blue ink that evokes a field of wildflowers – like its namesake “myositis,” which is more commonly known as “forget-me-not.” The low level of saturation allows for an extremely high degree of shading in both fine and wide nibs. In fact, in a wide enough nib, it almost looks like one is painting with watercolors. Like Vert Empire, Myosotis is one of the wetter J.
Rating: 4.0 August 18, 2010 J. Herbin Rouge Caroubier (red carob) is a bright red the color of cherry gumdrops. Using it makes me want to run out and buy a big bag of Swedish Fish, as it has low saturation, giving the ink a somewhat translucent feel – just like gummy candy. It exhibits a moderate level of shading in both calligraphy and fine nibs. Like other J. Herbin inks, Rouge Caroubier flows well.
Rating: 2.5 June 08, 2010 J. Herbin Vert Olive should be an ink that’s the color of olives, but it is not. Instead, it is the color of extra virgin olive oil – an ephemeral, translucent yellow-green – as backlit by a fluorescent light. One could also describe it as the color of Mountain Dew. Either way, it’s a color found somewhere in one’s kitchen. Its level of saturation is very low, but it does exhibit a very high degree of shading in both fine and wide nibs.
Rating: 4.5 May 29, 2010 J. Herbin Orange Indien reminds me of the wildflowers that grew in the front lawn of my childhood home and of the tiger lilies that lined the streets of my neighborhood. It is a sumptuous, moderately saturated ink that exhibits a high degree of shading in both fine and wide nibs. Like other J. Herbin inks, Orange Indien flows well. It is not as wet as Vert Empire or Blue Myostosis – behaving more like Café des Isles or Poussiere de Lune.
Rating: 5.0 May 16, 2010 I bet that if the devil ever asked you to sign a contract in blood, you could fool him by pulling out a fountain pen filled with J. Herbin 1670 anniversary ink. The color is called Rouge Hematite, after the mineral hematite, which derives its own name from the Greek word for blood. Justly so – there’s really no mistaking it – this is the color of ink you’d expect to be filling Dracula’s ink well.
Rating: 4.0 March 22, 2010 J. Herbin Café des Îsles is an aptly named brown ink, as, more than anything, it resembles the color of coffee. Other reviewers have mentioned its similarity to café au lait or to espresso, depending on the wetness of the line, and I find the comparison apt. Imagine dipping one’s pen in a cup of coffee and then writing – that’s the color of this ink – and the varying strengths of one’s beverage are well represented by the low saturation and significant shading that it exhibits.