Chalk one up for the Twitterverse, for through that I found out about Exaclair offering an ink-and-paper-sample giveaway over St. Patrick's day. Specifically, a sample of either green or orange ink from J. Herbin plus a bit of Clairfontaine paper to try it on. I've yet to get orange ink all over myself, so that's the one I requested, and joy! it arrived today...
First, let me say that I was expecting maybe a little plastic vial of ink and a couple of sheets of paper, stuck into an envelope. What I was not expecting was the arrival of a well-packed box containing what you see above: a 30 mL bottle of ink and a 48-page 3 1/2" x 5 1/2" soft-cover cahier. So just after the unboxing I'm already experiencing epic win.
Luckily for me, the win didn't stop there. This is a very well-behaved ink: I've swabbed it on a small Canson lined notebook, on a Black 'n Red spiral notebook that I use for work, on my small Rhodia #11 pad, and on a composition notebook from Staples made of bagasse paper (sugar cane remnants.) All four are known to be fountain-pen-friendly, and they did not disppoint: only on the Canson did I detect slight feathering from the swabbing, and none of papers even hinted at bleeding through. I torture-tested the Rhodia pad by swabbing back and forth over the same area for a while, and except for some wetness-induced curl, it behaved perfectly. Finding the good combination of ink and paper can be tricky, but no tricks are needed here.
The color in the bottle is almost iodine-like -- the resemblance was particularly strong on the swabs and (sigh) on my skin -- but on the page it is far lighter. This ink is aptly named -- Orange Indien -- for it puts one in mind of saffron or curry: it is certainly orange, but not neon colored. It's quite readable on a page by itself, which was one of my concerns after I selected it: fountain pens make poor highlighters, as the ink is water-based and will gladly smear any water-based ink they cover. My super-swabbing test on the Rhodia pad was over a section I'd written in ballpoint, which is oil-based ink, and there was no smearing or blurring as expected. But I would not devote this ink to life as an accent color. It dries a bit more slowly than the my everyday inks -- Quink Black and Waterman Florida Blue -- but perhaps because of this and the color, the dried ink exhibits the nice shading characteristics you expect when you think "fountain pen." And unlike other brightly-colored inks I've used, there doesn't appear to be any little "clumps" of dye. I'm going to leave it in the Parker that I loaded up to see how it behaves longer-term.
Overall, I'm very pleased with this, and send special thanks to Karen Doherty at Exaclaire, Inc. for sending these along. It was a pleasant surprise, made all the more pleasant by the high-quality ink and paper inside.