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J. Herbin Vert Empire Fountain Pen Ink Review


A bottle of J. Herbin Vert Empire.

As I mentioned when I did the review on the J. Herbin Orange Indien Fountain Pen Ink Review, the Quo Vadis Blog offered up free samples of this ink to bloggers to review.  I am really glad that they made this offer because it has opened my eyes to colors outside of the “traditional” business standards in the blue and black families.  The J. Herbin inks are sold in 30 ml bottles and can usually be found for anywhere from $7.20 to $9.00 plus any applicable shipping and taxes depending on where you look.  


A peek inside the bottle of J. Herbin Vert Empire fountain pen ink.

Following the format of my Orange Indien review, I wanted to again share an inside the bottle and inside the cap look at the ink because I always find that helpful in getting a feel for the color and consistency of the ink.  The J. Herbin fountain pen ink bottles really are nice due to their compact nature.  You can also see that the front of the bottle has a small “D” shaped indentation on it that functions as a pen rest…now I’ve never used it for that, but it is nice to know its there, and adds a little character and additional functionality to what could otherwise just be a boring old glass bottle.  One other thing that strikes me about the J. Herbin ink bottle is the quality of paper that they use on the label.  If you look closely at it, it resembles and feels like a good quality, textured and heavy stock that you might use for a resume.  It gives you a certain reassurance before you even open the bottle, that they are proud of their product (since the label is kind of like a resume for the ink) and only use quality materials in its production.

I did the writing sample for this ink on two different papers, and will eventually do a 3rd when I sort out all of the issues in getting my ink comparison log set up.  Thanks again to all of my readers who provided feedback on that idea here.  I got lots of great feedback and am working on implementing it all so I can make sure the feature is as helpful as possible in comparing different inks.  In each of the writing samples I have tried to include a quick comparison for color to some other well known pens as a point of reference, so you will see that I used a green Sharpie and a green Pentel Slicci for this purpose.  It is near impossible to account for differences in what scanning and compressing of images does to the true color, not to mention the difference between how the color looks on my monitor vs. yours, but keeping that in mind, it might still be helpful to just compare and contrast the inks side by side.


J. Herbin Vert Empire writing sample in a Rhodia notebook.

The first writing sample above was done using the J. Herbin Vert Empire fountain pen ink in a Rhodia notebook with a cream color paper.  The ink preforms really nicely on this paper writing very smoothly with little to no feathering and keeping a clean line.  I should also note that the writing sample was done with my Pelikan M215 fountain pen with a fine nib.  I think that the contrast of the green against the cream color paper here looks great, and is pretty easy on the eyes, creating a somewhat subdued look.  The combination of this ink with a fine nib, and the Rhodia worked out well when it comes to the drying time.  Within 2-3 seconds, the ink appears to be dry to the touch.  The ink does show a very slight bit of bleed on the other side of the page, but I would say it is on par with other inks (outside of any black ink) that I have tested on the same paper.


J. Herbin writing sample on Clairefontaine notebook paper.

The next writing sample that you see above was done in a Clairefontaine notebook, which was also provided by the folks over at the  Quo Vadis Blog. I have not done a review on the notebook itself yet, but that will be coming soon.  The Vert Empire ink writes really nicely on this paper, offering as close to no feathering as possible which results in a very crisp clean line.  The ink has a slightly lighter look on this paper due to the bright white contrast, but it does let you get a good idea of the true color of the ink, as opposed to the cream colored Rhodia notebook which makes the ink look slightly darker.  Another nice thing about the ink on this paper is that it really does not show any bleed through on the other side of the page.  From the smear test in the picture, you can see that the only minor drawback (I guess it might be major if you are a lefty writer) is that it does have a slightly longer drying time as compared to the Rhodia paper, but I will go more into that when I do the notebook review.

Something that was particularly nice about this ink that goes beyond the writing sample was the near non-existence of any nib creep.  This is the first fountain pen and ink combination that I have tried that showed such good performance in this way.  I usually carry my fountain pen that I use for daily writing in my laptop bag which gets jostled around here and there getting in and out of my car every day…Im not sure of all the reasons for nib creep, but I’ve always felt that any bumping around like that would be at least a minimal cause for that.  It is nice to have a known combination that essentially eliminates ANY nib creep.

Overall I am really happy with this ink, both in its performance, and also in its appearance.  This is another one of those colors that I think has really changed my mind when it comes to what I consider “business appropriate.”  I wouldnt use it to sign official documents, but for daily note taking, or even the occasional signature on a thank you card or hand written note, I think it provides a unique contrast to the boring day to day blue or black.  Thanks again to the Quo Vadis Blog for providing this sample to review.

©2017, Brian Greene. All rights reserved.


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