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Monteverde Scotch Brown


This is one of those inks that I have used regularly for years without reviewing. I think every reviewer has a few of these things. Pens, inks, papers that we use regularly for ages just slip under our radar. They're part of the background for us while we're talking about other pens and inks and papers. 

This one is a nice, medium brown that has a bit of shading to it. It's lived in a  Franklin-Christoph Pocket 66 for at least a couple of years. The pen and ink combo have been sort of perfect, so I just haven't switched it out. It looks like cola sloshing back and forth in the antique glass finish of the pen. You won't see a writing sample from the FC pen's broad nib, though. That pen in in a Penwell on my desk at work, and I haven't been able to get back into the building for several months, at this point. I miss that desk, penwell, and pen.

 I've also had it in a couple of other pens, and it's been great in all of them. Between the three pens, it's been used in a fine, medium, and broad nib with great success. Of course, you get more shading out of a broad nib, but the flow in all three was really good. 

So: Great color, great performance in a variety of pens, and a solid price at $8-9. If you're looking for a brown ink, this is one of my favorites.

Written Review

Close Ups

Copy Paper Test

Good stuff. No problems on the cheap copy paper.

Tomoe River

Wheat Straw

Water Drop Test

It's not water resistant. Finally, a weakness.


Color Comparisons

Video Review

**I bought this ink, and what you see is what you get.**

We need to be better.


I don’t usually talk about world events in this space.

Of course, the nation isn’t usually on fire, either.

So, look:

Black lives matter.

I know some people won’t be happy with this post, and that’s…well, that’s too bad.

Let me start off by saying that I know I’ve got life on easy mode. I’m a white, heterosexual, cis male in America. When I get stopped by the police (it’s happened a few times), my heart pounds because I might get a ticket and not because I might be killed. People in my neighborhood don’t get upset when I take a walk. No one calls the cops because I “look suspicious.” That’s privilege, and I get it.

Instead of trying to tell you what racism is like, let me tell you about something I regret. I don’t have many regrets. This one, though, it really eats at me sometimes.

I was in a store with my father a few years ago. These two biker dudes (stereotypically bearded wearing black tees and leather vests and patches and all) in line ahead of us at the checkout were talking to us about traveling and my dad was talking to them about traveling because he loves a road trip. Then they said something about how they always detour around DC. They looked like we should know why. We didn’t, so my dad says “Yeah, I don’t like the traffic there, either.” They’re on motorcycles and I wouldn’t want to be caught in traffic on a hot highway on a motorcycle. It sucks enough when you’re in a car.


“It smells like fried chicken and watermelon,” they say.  <wink>

I didn’t get it for a few seconds. I remember not getting it that these dudes who were talking to us about road trips decided that we were people who would understand and appreciate some casual racism. Obama was President at the time. They were just being super racist, and they thought that we’d appreciate it and that a wink was good and we were all in the same club because we’re white guys.

So here’s what I regret: I didn’t do much of anything. I didn’t tell anyone off. I didn’t take any action. I stood there awkwardly, said “oof” and ended the conversation.

Sure, it’s good that I didn’t go full tilt on strangers in a store. They were bigger than me. Almost certainly armed. I’d probably have gotten myself killed. Still, though, I didn’t do enough. I didn’t tell them that I wasn’t a racist and they should be ashamed. I didn’t ask them to explain their joke. I didn’t say much of anything to them about this abhorrent behavior.

So, that’s what I regret: I didn’t speak up.

I don’t know how to end racism. I don’t know how to get people to understand that their fellow people have equal value and rights. I know we can’t stay silent in the face of bigotry.

Call out racism or any other bigotry in your friends, family, or social groups. Do it on the job. Do it on the phone. Do it if we ever have parties again. Speak up when you hear it or see it. Don’t let it pass by without comment. I know that this happens in checkout lines and parks and schools and churches and everywhere else. Don’t let it be “normal.”

Racism isn’t always as blatant as the KKK. It’s often subtle exclusion and suspicion. Maybe the people doing it haven’t realized that racism is tainting their perception of other people. Maybe they’ll stop and think about what they’re saying or doing if you say something as simple as “Would you think that about a white person?” or “Would you ask that about a man?”

Maybe even just a "That's not cool, dude."

Some people are fine being racists, but I’d bet lots of them don’t want to be racists. They can be reached. I don’t know the magic words, but we need to do better.

We can be better. We can treat people as people who are equally deserving of our respect. We can help our neighbors stand up to bullies and racists. I must believe that we can be better.

Kala Nostalgia Mongolian Sandstorm


Another Kala ink! The last one looked like several of the other inks in the Kala Nostalgia range, and this one doesn't. It's a dusty sort of purple. Most of the time.

On one particular paper, it's really different. I have no idea why. Check out the way it pops when you put on Tomoe River. Weird, right?

Anyway, if you're looking for a dusty violet-grey ink with good flow and exceptional water resistance, then you should check out this weirdly named sandstorm.

I bought this ink at JetPens, and it's recently come into stock at Shigure Inks, as well. If you order something because you saw it on a blog, let the vendor know who helped you out!

Written Review


Bottle and Col-o-Dex

Copy Paper (the bad stuff)

You get a bit of bleed here and there, but it's nothing major and this is some really bad paper.

Tomoe River Inkjournal

This the one that's kinda wild. The color is totally different

Inky Fingers Currently Inked


Water Drop Test

Is this the before or the after? It's the after. This ink doesn't care about water.

Video Review

Color Comparisons

**I bought this ink. Thanks Patrons!**

Kala Nostalgia Blue Lagoon Vapor


Okay, so, this is a new ink brand for me. I've been using Kala pigmented inks over the last couple of months, and I'm a big fan. They flow well in all sorts of nibs, the colors aren't like anything else, and they are extremely water-fast. The performance is really darn good even on bad papers, too. After I tried the first one, I bought another. After I used that second one, I bought the other 4. So....I've got all of them. Well, all of the ones I can buy here in the USA.

The only thing here is that several of the colors in this Kala Nostalgia line are pretty similar. You don't need all of them. I'll be reviewing these over the next few weeks, and you should pick the ones you like best. But, really, don't sleep on these.

They're pigmented, so they are a bit on the matte side, and they change color as they dry. Don't worry about them stopping up your pen, though. None of mine have over the last few months, and I haven't had any dodgy starts or anything. And the price is right.

I bought mine at JetPens. That's the only place I know to find them, stateside.

Written Review


Bottle and Col-o-Dex

Copy Paper Test

I can see a few feathers and a few spots of bleed-through in these close-up shots. Keep in mind, though, that this paper is really weak sauce. It's fine for your office copier, but it's crap for writing on with anything more than a ballpoint.

InkJournal Tomoe River

Inky Fingers Wheat Straw Paper


Water Test

Is this the before or the after picture? Don't worry about it. This ink doesn't shift under water.Well, okay, there's a slight smudge. That's it.

Video Review

Color Comparisons

**I bought this from JetPens. Thanks goes to my Patrons!**