This week I take a look at yet another Australian ink brand and come away impressed. While Robert Oster has received a lot of attention for its seemingly endless array of colors, and Bookbinders for its quirky branding and packaging, Blackstone takes a more understated approach. Of the eight inks in the Blackstone line, I've had the opportunity to try six, and can say that they definitely merit further consideration as everyday writers.
While at first glance the colors may appear to be your standard black, blue, blue-black, green, red, brown, etc., there are aspects to these inks that make them interesting. For example, "Black Stump" is a black ink with deep undertones of brown and purple, (somewhat similar to Rohrer & Klingner's Leipziger Schwartz). "Uluru Red" can alternately appear to be a bright, fire-engine red color, but in the right light (and with a wet nib) can show off some depth of color. Blackstone even has two permanent inks: Barrister's Blue and Barrister's Black. The Barrister's Blue saw a lot of use at work in my Lamy 2000 over the past couple of weeks.
Note: Many people rave over Sydney Harbour Blue and Barrier Reef Blue, which I've not had an opportunity to try since they were sold out. As of the time of publication of this post, both colors were back in stock at Anderson Pens.
Blackstone sells their inks in convenient 30ml Nalgene bottles, which many people use to repackage ink into smaller containers for travel. While some people dislike storing ink in plastic bottles due to the threat of evaporation, I've never had problems with Nalgene, and its an interesting packaging choice by Blackstone. (I imagine it significantly cuts down on the cost of shipping overseas, as opposed to shipping heavy glass.)
Takeaways and Where to Buy
These Blackstone inks were very well-behaved and I didn't have any serious issues with any of them. Of these six, the ones that impressed me the most were Barrister's Blue, Uluru Red, and Black Stump. Daintree Green and Barrister's Black were nice colors but didn't really distinguish themselves for me one way or another, and I found Yellow Wattle to be too light to be useful for everyday writing (though it might make a very nice highlighting ink). I liked Barrister's Blue so much that I am considering purchasing an entire bottle once the sample runs out - it's a great permanent blue-black that I've had loaded into my Lamy 2000 for the past two weeks, but be aware that like many permanent inks, it tends to feather on very cheap paper.
Many thanks to the folks at Anderson Pens for sending me these ink samples for review. Blackstone Ink comes in 30 oz. bottles and is priced at $12 for the "Barrister's" inks and $8.50 for standard colors.
Disclaimer: I was provided samples of the inks reviewed here free of charge, for review purposes.