Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Ink Review: J. Herbin Terre de Feu

Here is Terre de Feu, another excellent ink from J. Herbin, the oldest name in pen inks in the world. This ink, together with a bottle of J. Herbin Diabolo Menthé (to be reviewed later) was sent to me early this year by Marian Ong, owner of Manila-based Scribe Writing Essentials, the only store that offers J. Herbin inks here in the Philippines.

Terre de Feu reminds me so much of the warm, sweet, thick chocolate drink that we used to have as kids on Christmas mornings. Tatay will prepare the morning treat for us from the tabléas (chocolate tablets) that he himself made, using the antique tsokolatera and batirol to create a frothy, thick and seemingly magical concoction of a drink my brothers and I love to call tsokolate. Seeing how chocolatey brown Terre de Feu is, I'm all at once reminded of that warm Christmas morning feeling, and all this ink review lacks now is a plate of suman and latik. [Drools...]

As a person whose eyes are easily caught by colors and lovely intricate designs, I always look closely at packaging details (I do graphic design), and again, I'm impressed that the makers of J. Herbin inks pay careful attention to details in their product packaging and presentation. J. Herbin ink boxes are elegantly designed, with a separate icon or artwork for each ink color. I love the watercolor-like artwork in the Terre de Feu's box, depicting the island this ink was named after. Here are the boxes of Rouge Opera, Bleu Pervenche, Larmes de Cassis and Orange Indien.

Also unique about J. Herbin's product packaging is the integrated pen rest on their ink bottles, though it is never enough to hold bigger pens. Luckily enough, I have this slim white UNIC fountain pen that fits into the pen rest perfectly. :)

Terre de Feu is another excellent ink from J. Herbin. It has good flow, beautiful shading, and a charming color. It is brown, yes, but its shading reveals hints of terra cota and red. I love its earthy brown color and the shading it offers when it dries on ivory paper. It's a light, pale brown when wet, but becomes dusky, earthy, warm brown once it dries.

The brown of this ink is lovely in the ivory paper of my Scribe 'ink diary' notebook as the ink + paper color combination complemented each other. The text written using the calligraphy pen shows shading and beautiful line variations. The round medium nib of my Schneider Base also showed visible shading, and that is just awesome! The fine (or extra-fine) nib of the Hero 616 wrote a bit on the dry side, but the size of the nib could have affected the flow. I'm suprised, though, that Terre de Feu appeared pale and lighter on the white Rhodia paper. My pen/nib-ink-paper combination may be the reason behind this, but again, I am not completely sure.

Terre de Feu on Scribe notebook...

...and on Rhodia pad.

Below are the back sides of the notebook/pad pages where I have written using Terre de Feu. The ink dries fast, but I do not see any feathering or even minor bleeding, which I saw in the earlier inks I tested. Then again, it could be the pen, the paper, the ink, or a combination of all.

Back page of the Scribe notebook...

... and the Rhodia pad.

I got three other brown inks in my stash, so I wrote lines using all of them. Havana Brown and Copper Burst do not look as dark as they look here, though.


Lastly, the drying time of Terre de Feu is amazing! It dries quickly and nicely. Above is a comparison of the drying time of the four brown inks [(1) Terre de Feu, (2) Havana Brown, (3) Burnt Sienna, and (4) Copper Burst] and two other J. Herbink inks [(5) Rouge Opera (6) Orange Indien]. Terre de Feu dried the fastest of all the four brown inks. Hurray for Terre de Feu!

J. Herbin named Terre de Feu after Tierra del Fuego, an archipelago in South America whose main island, Isla Grande de Tierra del Fuego, is split between Argentina and Chile. According to Wikipedia, "the climate is cold, windy and rainy in this place called Land of Fire." Whoa.

J. Herbin inks are available in 30 beautiful colors. These water-based inks are non-toxic, have neutral pH and manufactured using natural dyes. Dowload a printable PDF of the J. Herbin fountain pen ink swatches here.

A 30ml bottle of J. Herbin ink sells for P475 at Scribe Writing Essentials, and US$10 at The Goulet Pen Company. (I have no affiliation with both companies, though.)

1 comment:

  1. I was thinking about getting a bottle of J Herbin ink. Brown is a lovely color. Your review is making me biased towards this particular ink!