A little bit of history Filling a fountain pen used to be difficult for folk Down Under. Sending a glass bottle full of rather heavy water half-way around the globe was an expensive business, and there were few local alternatives. Then Aussie dye-makers Toucan realised that one of their hues worked well enough in a fountain pen, and that was a start. Before too long the specialist ink-wrangler Robert Oster followed suit (almost certainly more about him to follow on this site soon), and then up popped a third Antipodean pen-filler: Blackstone. We found ourselves drawn to the blues.
How it looks The two blues offer a lighter and a darker option, and both are charmers. There’s decent shading on offer, and quite a bit of sheen if you lay it on thickly. In short, if you like blues you’ll like these.
Crucially, how it writes… Like standard fountain pen ink, really. Adequate flow, good saturation, reasonable drying times and no problems to report. All very encouraging.Ink! What is it good for? It’s multi-purpose ink, this; it would be perfectly nice for writing a diary with, but you could probably get away with taking it to the office too. The plastic bottle is also hardy enough for travelling with, if you want to avoid glassware on the move.
VFM Tolerable. £6.95 for 30ml is thrice the price of the same amount of Diamine, but this has come all way from the other side of the planet. It’s certainly not going to break the bank.
If this isn’t quite your cup of tea, but almost… Then Blackstone’s new set of scented inks might be worth a look instead. Or there’s Robert Oster’s range, of course.
Our overall recommendation Well worth a try if you’re after something a bit different without blowing the ink budget all in one go.
Where to get hold of one The best bet in this hemisphere is straight from Bureau Direct.
This meta-review references:
- Ant’s review of both blues
- Scribble Monboddo’s reviews of Sydney Harbour and Barrier Reef blues
- Daniel’s review of Sydney Harbour blue
- Nick’s bleachy doodles with both blues and some more Blackstones too
Thanks to Blackstone and Bureau Direct for some of the samples.