I have two more Montblanc inks for you this week, both of which I picked up at the Atlanta Pen Show back in April. While Montblanc's lineup of "standard" fountain pen inks is pretty limited, they release roughly four limited edition colors per year that typically correspond to special edition pens. For example, UNICEF Blue for the Montblanc for UNICEF pens and Miles Davis Jazz Blue for the Miles Davis pen. I recently reviewed the excellent UNICEF Blue, and now I can highly recommend two more great colors: Lucky Orange and William Shakespeare Velvet Red.
Highly Usable, Offbeat Colors
What I love about Montblanc inks is that they remain interesting while never straying too far from the standard color palette. For example, Lucky Orange appears to be a basic orange ink - it actually looks very plain "ink swatch" photographs you see online, but once you get this ink on paper it's much more vibrant than, say, Monteverde Mandarin Orange, and even the lighter and yellower Sailor Jentle Apricot. The William Shakespeare Ink isn't quite as unique, but I'm still a sucker for a dark red and it's somewhat close to Hitchcock, though a touch brighter and lacking the darker "blood red" undertones.
I've reviewed so many Montblanc inks now that I won't bore you all with an extended "review" of their properties, etc., but suffice to say performance-wise these are as good as any other Montblanc inks I've used. I've tested them out on-and-off at work for the past few months and have not had any problems with these inks bleeding through paper or feathering, extended dry times, or hard-starting in pens.
Are These Inks Worth the Money?
It's easy to get caught up in the hype over limited-edition-anything and the associated FOMO. Montblanc started this trend in the stationery world around 2011-2012 when it first began releasing special inks in limited quantities - Alfred Hitchcock is the first that I recall provoking ink hoarding, but I'm sure there were some others that I missed before that. Most of Montblanc's limited edition inks are priced at $19 for a 30ml bottle, but now it appears that they are moving to a $40/50ml price point. That's a pretty steep premium over the regular Montblanc ink, which sells for $22/60ml - roughly twice as expensive.
If you're someone who burns through a lot of ink or are otherwise on a budget, there are definitely more cost-effective alternatives with equivalent quality. If you're looking for a unique color, however, or simply like the idea of owning a bottle of ink that features your favorite author or public figure as the theme, then you may be willing to pay a premium. Others hoard (or "collect") in the hope that the inks appreciate, and can be sold at a markup later once they are no longer available at retail. Whatever the reason, Montblanc seemingly has no trouble selling out their stock with each new release.
I write a fair bit, but I change inks often, so if a limited edition piques my interest, I'll purchase a single bottle that will take me years to get through. Back in 2012, I bought four bottles of Alfred Hitchcock and ended up selling two of them because I'm only now getting near the bottom of my first. I advise people to buy the ink if they like it, but remember that with so many companies making high quality fountain pen inks these days, and the range of available colors increasing weekly, the odds that you won't be able to find something comparable somewhere else are low.
Where to Buy
Anderson Pens currently has both Lucky Orange and William Shakespeare Velvet Red in stock, but given that these are both limited runs, availability is subject to change. Both inks are priced at $19 - Lucky Orange comes in the 30ml square crystal bottle, and William Shakespeare comes in the slightly larger round 35ml Writer's Edition bottle. Anderson Pens also carries the full range of standard Montblanc Ink, and a wide selection of Montblanc Pens.
Disclaimer: Anderson Pens provided these two inks to me at a discount as part of their sponsorship of this blog. I was not otherwise compensated for this review. All thoughts expressed here are my own.