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Duke Blue and Duke Black


I don't usually combine ink reviews, but I've decided to go ahead and do that this time. As far as I know Duke only has this pair of inks, so I'll just mash the reviews together into one MEGA REVIEW.

I picked these up from Bert at one of the pen shows last summer. I'm pretty sure he was selling them as a set for $10 at the show, but I can't swear to it. Regular price is about $8 for an 80ml bottle, so it was a solid deal even before I'd seen the inks. Who can turn down that kind of deal? 

The bottles are identical, and they're not marked. The only outward difference between them is the color of the boxes. I would have liked to have a label (or even a sticker) to tell them apart, but I guess you can just open the cap, too.

So, how good was this deal? Keep reading.

Written Reviews:

The black isn't a very saturated black, but it's not really a grey either. It's just a light black. That's not really a problem for me. The flow is just fine, and there's just a little bit of shading from this ink. It's not a bad looking ink, but it's not going to blow your doors off.

The blue is definitely the better looking of the two. It's a nice, rich blue. It's got a good flow. The problems only show up when it hits average paper.

Close ups:

Ink Comparisons:

This blue is rich. If it were just better on copy papers I would be a big fan of this ink. It's not like any of the ones I had inked up. It has a sort of blue/black tinge to it, but the blue is clearly there and it doesn't have the green in t that some blue/blacks do.

This is sort of like Cosmic Black (at the very bottom of the sheet), but it might be a little darker in this picture.


Both of these are pretty solid colors. There's not really any variation in the colors represented in the chromatography. The blue is blue and the black is black. No shocks, here.

Copy Paper Tests:

Yeah, here's where the problems are. They're cheap inks, and they're not bad but they're not that great. They're just okay, and they have the problems that show below. Note that they behave better on this Staples paper than they have on some other papers that I've used them on. If you're using good papers, then these could be just fine. Of course, if you're using good paper then you can probably find more impressive inks, too.

Video Review and Water Drop Tests:

This ink does better on the water drop tests than I though it would. There's some mild water resistance to them, though they're not water-fast.

So, in the final analysis, these are competent inks. The blue is more interesting than the black, to me, but both of them flow just fine and both of them have some amount of water resistance. The bottles are large, and the price is low. Not a bad buy if you're looking for some cheap ink that will last you a while.

Check it out at Bertram's Ink Well.

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