Monday, February 15, 2010

Ink Review: Scarlet Red by Camel

This should have been a Valentine post, but I am uncomfortable with that idea, so I postponed it for the day after V Day. And so here is my red ink for this season: a very red Scarlet Red by Camel of India.*

Camel Scarlet Red fountain pen ink has been on my collection for almost a year now. A friend of a friend from India came to visit the country for business, and kindly brought us this bottle of ink, along with a Hero 329, Hero 360 and boxes of tea. :)

Scarlet Red and other Camel fountain pen inks are made by the same manufacturers of Camlin fountain pens in India. Production of the Camel fountain pen ink began as early as 1931 in Bombay, as an alternative to the Western ink brands available in India at that time. Camel fountain pen inks are dye-based inks and contains Camli-Sol 100, which Camel claims to clean the pen as the ink flows through it. Available in black, royal blue, green, violet and red, Camel fountain pen inks also claim to write consistently and to have good storage life, which is true because for a couple of months, my bottle of Scarlet Red was on my study table which was near a big window, but the heat and light coming through it did not alter the ink's consistency, color and brightness. The only downside to this product is the ink bottle's cap. It would have been better if the cap was made of plastic rather than metal, which is what's on it now.

Camel Scarlet Red reminds me so much of the cherry and strawberry-flavored red snow cones that we used to have in my grandmother's house during summer vacations. Back then, we called them 'snow-balls', and they were served on Lola's peanut butter and jelly glasses. :) My cousins and I would run to the big mirror in the grand room and look at each other's pouting red lips. :)

Camel Scarlet Red's color is also similar to Kool-Aid's cherry and strawberry flavors, and to the unforgettable red Kool-Aid man. Who could forget him and his red, happy face? On the non-food scale, Camel's Scarlet Red is very, very similar to Pilot G2's red gel ink (see my comparison of the two ink colors in the photos below).

This side of the box has the Hindi translation of the English text written on the other side.

In the previous photos, the color of the ink inside the bottle is hard to tell - it looks black! So I placed the bottle directly in front of a lamp and here it is looking every bit red. :) The bright light also revealed the words etched on the bottom of the bottle, which says, "60ml Camel".

Here is another exposure with the bottle tilted down to reveal the redness of the ink inside.

Oh, I feel so red. :) Here is the bottle of Camel Scarlet Red ink on top of my red Scribe notebook together with my fine-nibbed Pelikano Junior. I'm so red. :)

Camel Scarlet Red is an excellent ink from Camlin. It has great flow, and made the previously dry writing Pelikano Junior a wet writer. The color is also great, perhaps not the perfect red, but an excellent red that is perfect to use for highlighting and writing short notes. Shading is not very clear in these photos, but Camel Scarlet Red has minor shading especially when used on wide italic nibs.

Camel Scarlet Red stands out as a bright red on the white Rhodia paper. There is no feathering and bleed on this paper. (My apologies for the wrong spelling of the word 'quotation' in this photo and on the next one.)

On Scribe's ivory-colored paper, the red looked a little subdued and not as bright as how it appeared on white paper. There is also feathering and bleed on this notebook.

Here is the back page of Scribe paper showing minor bleed when I used the fine-nibbed Pelikano Junior.

Camel Scarlet Red is the first ink that got me thinking, if not worried, about its drying time. I wouldn't want to smear whatever I've written using red ink, and thankfully, it dries faster than most of my wet inks at less than 15 seconds.

Camel Scarlet Red ink is not yet available in the US, from what I have heard and read, but it's not available here in the Philippines, either. The Camlin website says the inks are available in 500ml and 60ml bottles, for 56INR and 12INR, respectively.

Now for the *: I looked hard enough for appropriate quotes to go with this ink review, but my efforts failed. *Sigh*. No red, Valentine, or even love quote seemed appropriate, so I am publishing this review without a quote.


  1. Excellent review. I hope they start selling it in the U.S. so I can try it.

  2. A great review and what a wonderful ink. Your handwriting is AMAZING!

  3. A few possible quotes?

    History could pass for a scarlet text, its jot and title graven red in human blood.
    Eldridge Cleaver

    When I am dead, I hope it may be said: His sins were scarlet, but his books were read.
    Hilaire Belloc

  4. Rs. 12.00 is 26 US cents... stuff is cheap in India!

  5. Great review! Nice vibrant red; I think Nestor, Reggie and our other friends who teach would find this good for correcting exams...