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Noodler's Liberty's Elysium

This is the new blue that is exclusive to Goulet Pens. It generated a good deal of controversy in the FP community, but I'll get to that in a bit. I was psyched about this ink, and I bought a bottle as soon as it was released.

Liberty's Elysium is a fairly saturated true blue. It shades well even from a very fine point, and it doesn't seem to feather very much. You'll find a little feathering if you're writing with a very wet pen on cheaper paper. I currently have this in an Ahab (and a misbehaving one, at that) and it flows wetly, does not feather all that much, but it will bleed a bit (as I note in the written sample).

I've found that LE behaves very differently depending on the pen you put it in. I happened to have three empty pens when LE arrived, so I loaded it in all of them. The Ahab is a bit too wet, the Lamy was a little dry, and the Hero was just right. I'm not sure why the Lamy was so dry, but it was. It's the only ink that hasn't behaved well in that pen.

This ink wasn't exactly what I expected. I was hoping it would be a little more vibrant (saturated) and I was hoping that it would behave more like Hunter Green than it does. It's also not as lubricated as I like an ink to be. That said, none of these are really a big deal to me. It is a perfectly serviceable ink, and I like the ink even though it's not exactly what I was hoping for.

Now, the controversy. This ink, when it was released, was billed as "bulletproof." Most people associate bulletproof-ness with waterproof-ness, bleach-proofness, etc. It seems that most people expected this ink to be as rock-solid as Noodler's Black, and it just isn't. As Brian Goulet explained, this is just the nature of a blue ink. The blue dye that makes it look vibrant on the page is the first thing to wash off when it gets wet, and this will lead to some smearing. Some folks over at the Fountain Pen Network got worked up about the qualities of the ink, and started demanding that they change the designation from Bulletproof to semi-bulletproof. It got a little more heated than I think it should have, but eventually cooled down. I got curious, and I did some testing of my own. Here are the pictures from those tests.

Ink samples that have had plenty of time to dry into the paper.
The page after it is dried.
The page under water after a few hours.

I'm pretty satisfied with it's waterproofness, even though it didn't fare as well as Hunter Green and Zhivago. This test was pretty extreme. I mean, who soaks pages of writing for several hours? Here's a smear-test that I did on the Rhodia paper I wrote the review on. I just dropped some water on the page and wiped it off. I can still see the lines of the grid, and the smear didn't really obscure any of it. If this had been text, you would still be able to read it perfectly well. It is probably appropriate to call it semi-bulletproof, and that's what Goulet's has done on their site.

In other news, Brian Goulet and Nathan (the Noodler) are considering a reformulation of the ink so that it will more closely match people's expectations. It seems that even adding much more expensive ingredients does not make much of a change in the ink's properties. It adheres a little better, but it doesn't look as vibrant, and it isn't as well lubricated. This is a really good example of the sort of customer-service that makes so many of us Goulet customers, but I don't see any point in changing the ink.
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