I make no secret that I love Montblanc Inks. In fact, I think they’re some of the best all-around inks out there. Why? Because the company makes a well-behaved, “safe” fountain pen ink that comes in unique, interesting colors. Though the craze has cooled a bit lately, Montblanc attracts a lot of attention for their annual special edition inks, many of which correspond to a special or limited edition pen. While I don’t have the coin to collect all of the various pens, I do tend to pick up the special edition inks. The past few have been superb, and include some of my favorites since the release of the legendary Alfred Hitchcock limited edition ink in 2012.
Montblanc Antoine de Saint-Exupery Encre du Desert (Burgundy/Maroon)
Antoine de Saint-Exupery is my personal favorite of the three inks reviewed here. It’s a rich burgundy, with more depth of color than the standard Montblanc Burgundy or the now-discontinued Bordeaux. There’s even a rollerball version of the Saint-Exupery, though the color is much more gray/brown than the fountain pen ink, which has purple undertones.
Montblanc Great Characters the Beatles (Psychedelic Purple)
Another riff on one of Montblanc's standard ink colors, the Beatles "Great Characters" ink is a bright rich purple that has a some “psychedelic” pop. If the limited and special edition Beatles pens are too out there for you, consider the ink. It's tame enough to use at work, but just loud enough to be interesting.
Montblanc for UNICEF Blue (Turquoise)
I reviewed this ink last year alongside the Montblanc for UNICEF Solitaire Doue Classique fountain pen, and while turquoise will never rival burgundy as my favorite color, this vibrant blue remains one of my favorite Montblanc inks overall. UNICEF Blue is still available, but it's unclear how long Montblanc will continue with the UNICEF lineup.
Takeaways and Where to Buy
In my opinion, you can never go wrong with Montblanc ink. The colors are always interesting, and the ink behaves well on most paper types, without bleeding, feathering, or slow dry times. Moreover, Montblanc makes high-end pens, which generally means that their ink should be “safe” to use, without undue concern for staining or corrosion. (PLEASE take this with a grain of salt and use common sense. Ink is ink, and even “safe” inks can stain or cause problems if you don’t clean your pens regularly. Light colored pens, celluloids, and valuable/rare writing instruments need to be treated with caution, especially with bright colors like purples, reds, and oranges.)
Montblanc’s standard lineup of inks is priced at $23.50 USD for 60ml of ink, representing good value, especially in today’s market with rising ink prices. The special edition inks are pricier, at $43 USD for the larger 50ml bottle and $20.50 USD for 30ml. All three of the special edition inks featured here in this review come in the larger 50ml bottle, and are still available from most Montblanc retailers, including Anderson Pens, Appelboom, Pen Boutique, and Goldspot. Montblanc also releases rollerball versions of the special edition colors, but not all retailers stock them. Goldspot and Pen Boutique carry some, and if I come across these refills on Amazon I typically add them to my affiliate storefront (link at the top of the sidebar).
Disclaimer: With the exception of the UNICEF ink, which was supplied by site sponsor Appelboom, I purchased the inks featured in this review with my own funds, for my own collection. This post contains affiliate links.