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Montegrappa Ducale Grande Emperador Brown Limited Edition


Kenro sent this huge limited edition our for review, and it's totally worth a look. There are only 200 of these, so make sure you jump on it if you're interested.

You should be able to find it at most Montegrappa dealers including:

Pen Chalet

Fountain Pen Hospital

and Anderson Pens (who may not have it on their site, but can almost certainly get it for you).

Kyo-Iro Moonlight of Higashyama


These Kyo-Iro inks are really interesting. This is the third one that I've reviewed on this blog, and I think I like it the most, so far. It's definitely more interesting than Flaming Red, and on par with the really cool Soft Snow of Ohara. Like Ohara, this ink is difficult to categorize. It's sort of a red, but it's also sort of an orange. It's a little pale in the smear on Rhodia, but it's plenty saturated from the nib. It's a bit weird, but I really like it. In fact, as you can see above, I've used up almost the entire sample that Anderson Pens sent me for review. They've got it in stock in bottles and samples, and you should check this one out. It's neat.

Check it out below and let me know where you stand on this interpretation of Moonlight. Also, there are a whole slew of color comparisons down there for you to see. A SLEW.

Also, after I'd done the video and taken all of the pictures, I noticed that I misspelled the name of the ink. I forgot the little hump on an "h" and I feel a little dumb about that. Oh well. It happens.

Written Review



This one looks way different in the two pens I used it in. The flex nib is darker and finer, and it seems to put a lot more of the ink the same place. I really like it both ways, though.

Copy Paper Test

This is really good. You see a touch of bleed from the flex nib, but only a couple of dots here and there from the broad SIG, and no feathering.

Inky Fingers Currently Inked Notebook

Find these really helpful little books here.

Ink Journal Tomoe River

Find THESE helpful little notebooks here.

Life Notecards

I picked these up on a whim from JetPens a while ago because I'd recently been introduced to Life paper, and they're really nice. Also, they come with a hole punched in them so that you can easily put them on a ring.


Water Test and Video Review

This one has a little more resistance than I thought it would, but I wouldn't call it water-resistant.

Color Comparisons

Okay, so I've tried to find some things that are close to Moonlight, but none of them really are. These swatches run the gamut from reds, to oranges, to browns.

Some things I've posted recently on YouTube:

Hi folks,

It's been a super busy semester for me so far. In a lot of ways, I feel that I've just been running from one thing to another thing to the next thing. That always makes the blogging slow down, and I always feel a little guilty about not providing as much content as I'd like to put out. If you're just a blog-reader, and you don't subscribe to my YouTube channel, then it's been really quiet.

It hasn't been all that quiet over on YouTube. I do a weekly hang-out live with anyone who wants to show up and chat. Those are almost always at 4pm Eastern Time. Come on over!

I've also done a couple of pen reviews recently, and those just work better in moving pictures than they do in static-pictures. So, I'll post those at the bottom of this post. I've got one more pen review coming out very soon, and another on some nibs I've been using for a while. Inks will be back very soon, too, as I have some that I've been loving and some others that I've been really frustrated with.

Thanks for being a part of this blog adventure! It's been just over 6 years so far, and that's pretty awesome.

Robert Oster Caffe Crema


Anderson Pens sent me the sample that I started using for this review, but I liked it so much that I had to get a bottle. This is one that I've got no reservations about recommending. It's a sort of creamy brown that looks like coffee with cream. (Thus the name.)

The first pen that I put this in was a Kanilea Mauna Kea, and it matches the pen really well. It's sort of like the colors on the pen are coming together to make the ink. Corny? Yeah. It's true, though.

Check out the images below to see this ink in action, and let me know what you think of it. I'm a big fan of brown inks, and this one is near the top of the list for me.  At the end of the post you'll see a bunch of color comparisons for this ink.

Written Review


I've got it listed as "medium" flow here, but it's a little on the dry-medium side. I haven't had any issues with flow or hard starts, but it doesn't exactly flood the page. 

Copy Paper Test

 This is a really good ink for copy paper. There's only a bit of show-thru on this paper, even with a broad nib.

InkJournal Tomoe River

Inky Fingers Currently Inked


Water Test and Video Review

Color Comparisons!

Rickshaw Bagworks Pen Paraphernalia!


Rickshaw Bagworks

Whew! I'm a little bit behind in posting this blog because Blogger had some issue for a while that wouldn't let people upload images to their blog posts. That's sort of a problem for us, right? Yeah.

You know what's not a problem? Reviewing cool products! These are some cool products, I think.

Mark at Rickshaw sent these to me over the course of a few months*, and I've been using them quite a lot. They're all made in their shop in San Francisco, CA by a small staff.

As you see in the group shot above, there are several different types of case to look at, so let's look at them in groups.

Pen Sleeves!

Rickshaw Bagworks
I love the herringbone!

These are the cases that you'll put a pen in and then throw it into your pocket or purse and leave the house. They come in lots of sizes from extra short to extra long, and they can be made skinnier to fit your very thin pens. There is a huge variety of colors available, and they can be made in your custom configurations, as well. What you can't see in the photos (though I try to show it in the video), is that the insides of these pen sleeves are made of a plush material. Think of a baby's toy or one of those blankets that you keep on the couch for when you're a little chilly. That stuff. It's a really great feature, and I'm glad that someone thought of it. That plush interior comes in a wide array of colors, too, and you can customize that as well. Very nice touches, I think.

The Duo case is probably my favorite one. It's wide enough that it stays upright in your pocket, and I generally use it to carry a fountain pen and a "regular" pen with me. I'd usually carry a couple of pens anyway, and this keeps them from flipping all around in your pockets and getting lost or poking you in odd places or whatever. 

Below, I've stacked the 4-pen Clover, the Duo, and the Solo sleeves. There's also a trio, but I don't have that one.

Rickshaw Bagworks

These are all the medium size sleeves, I think, and they can hold some pens of very different sizes just fine, I think. As you'll see there, I've got Franklin-Christophs, Bexleys, Platinums, a Retro 51, a Pelikan, and a Kanilea in those sleeves, and they all fit just fine. I'd like a slightly longer one for the huge Kanilea, but it's the biggest pen in my collection.

Below, you'll see the Clover case. This is one that I'm glad he sent out because I kept getting questions about it from pen-folks. I had the fear that it'd be too bulky once you filled it with pens, but that wasn't the case. It's about like holding a hotdog bun in your hand. I don't put this in my pants' pocket, but it goes fine in a bag or backpack.

Rickshaw Bagworks

The Waldo!

This one comes in a variety of different configurations, and stays closed with some pretty aggressive Velcro.

Rickshaw Bagworks

Like the pen sleeves, this case is customize-able, and the pen slots are lined with the plush material. There's also a slot in the back of the case for keeping whatever you like. I tend to carry a small notebook back there, but it comes with a plastic taco for carrying all sorts of things from change to tickets or credit cards. Really useful. The only drawback might be that velcro, because it's going to be pretty loud if you're trying to stealthily switch pens in a meeting.

Rickshaw Bagworks

The Hemingway Deluxe Pen Roll!

Rickshaw Bagworks

The Hemingway is a really nice version of the pen roll that is becoming ubiquitous right now. It carries 6 pens, and there's plenty of plush to keep your pens comfy and protected. The outside is 420D Nylon, and it feels light but tough. Check out this video that Mark made for some tips on the pen roll. Turns out that I've been using it "wrong".

This is the one that I've used the least. That's not because it's not good, but because I only really use pen rolls for traveling. They're a great way to bring a bunch of pens with you to the office or on a long trip, but I don't generally take that many with me unless I'm going to a pen show.

Video Review!

Want to see these in action? Check out this video where I run through the line-up.

*These were free samples sent out for review and enjoyment. Their free-ness doesn't affect my reviews in any way that I can detect, and (as always) no promises were made.

Franklin-Christoph Honeycomb

I hope the list puts you at the top quickly.

Ink was provided for review by Franklin-Christoph.

It's time for another Franklin-Christoph ink! This one was introduced at the Ohio Pen Show back in November, and I found out about it a little bit after that. In the interest of full disclosure, my wife Audrey works at F-C. I try not to let that affect my reviews, so what you see is what you get.

So, how's this ink? It's pretty darn cool. I like brown inks a lot, and that's especially true if the brown is a little odd. As you'll see below, I used this in two very different nibs, and I got some very different results. The Franklin-Christoph Flex nib (this one is a "fine") is a wet nib, and so you get a darker caramel color on the page. The Aurora Ipsilon (here and here) has a comparatively dry nib, and so you get more of the light honey color on the page. You've got options with this one.

If you're looking for comparisons to this ink, then you'll have to scroll down to the end. That's where I'm keeping them these days. Also, there are a lot of them. Like I said, I like brown inks.

Written Review


Copy Paper

You get some bleeding from the flex nib on this paper, but tht's to be expected when you use a wet nib on a thoroughly average paper. 

Pen Habit's Inky Fingers Notebook

Tomoe River InkJournal


Water Test and Video Review

Yeah, not a lot of water resistance, but you can still make out the words and lines. So...could be worse!

Color Comparisons

Oddball Pictures...
Sometimes I just take off-kilter pictures. Here are a few of those.