Friday, April 9, 2010

Ink Review: J. Herbin Poussière de Lune

The moon shines down on a sleeping lizard
Little fish rain down from the sky.

Outside the window there are soldiers
Steeling themselves to die.

- Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore

I'm back to blogging, reviewing, and writing after a long absence. And to celebrate the turn of recent events, here is Poussière de Lune, an amazing, amazing ink from J. Herbin. I am reviewing this ink for two important persons in my life: for him, who will be the only man there is for me, and for her, from whom I gather inspiration and strength - this is to celebrate your new endeavor.

There are no dead soldiers here, though. Nobody died.

I got this J. Herbin ink from Exaclair early this year, and as with all the inks I received from the generous Karen Doherty, I used Poussière de Lune before writing the review to have full observation of how the ink will behave on different pen and paper combinations.

Poussière de Lune is a lovely dark purple ink with strong hints of gray. Unlike my other purple J. Herbin ink Larmes de Cassis, which has a brighter hue, Poussière de Lune has a subdued hue brought by the gray undertones. It looks darker while wet, but dries a charming purple-gray.

Poussière de Lune brought back memories of long gone time at my parents' house, when on balmy summer nights, I would leave the big windows in my bedroom wide open to let the moonlight in. There's a different but poignant feeling brought by the sight of the silvery moonlight bathing almost everything inside my bedroom. Back then, on full moon nights, I'd stay awake late into midnight, just lying in bed, listening to the stillness and enjoying the exquisite serenity of the moment. Sometimes I would listen to jazz on late night radio, or read a book, but mostly, I'm content with just moon watching.

The other thing I love about J. Herbin inks is their boxes. They are durable and compact - very easy to store, but their tasteful design makes the Herbin inks inside them more unique and special. I think the small icons are cute and charming, and they break the uniformity of the black laminated boxes.

All J. Herbin boxes has an ink list on the back side. Cool. I crossed out all the inks I got now on the box of my first Herbin ink, Rouge Opera.

The color guide on the box's top cover is excellent! In my box of inks, I sometimes find it hard to see the one I'm looking for, so these color guides are very helpful.

Poussière de Lune is a saturated ink with consistent and excellent flow; and writing is smooth for either nibs I used for this review: a round medium in an Inoxcrom P200, and a 1.5mm cursive italic in a Schneider Creativ calligraphy pen. I have no feathering and bleed problems with Poussière de Lune either on the Rhodia pad (left) or the Scribe notebook (right).

I love the shading of Poussière de Lune, better seen in the text written with Schneider calligraphy pen on Rhodia pad. The Scribe notebook's paper shows very minor shading as it is highly absorbent. When used on round nibs, the ink appears to be dark and concentrated, but a closer look reveals that the beginning of a stroke is thinner and paler than the end stroke.

Poussière de Lune on Scribe notebook.

And on Rhodia pad.

Here is another pen and paper combination, initially what I wanted to use for this ink review. I've had a Brause calligraphy set (also from Karen) for some time now, and I thought the review is a great chance to start using them. However, the 1mm Bandzug nib seemed to scratch both the Rhodia and Scribe paper. I tried other notebooks, but the Merit Coilless notebook surprised me when it stood up to the sharp Bandzug nib. I went back to my usual ink review gear after my patience wore off with continuously dipping the Bandzug nib on the bottle after only a couple of letter strokes.

Poussière de Lune takes a longer time to dry, almost the same as Orange Indien. Perhaps its saturation prevents it from drying faster, or it's the nib I used that prolonged the drying time, or the paper (this is a different Rhodia pad from the one above), but it doesn't bother me at all. 

Poussière de Lune and Inoxcrom P200 on the purple notebook specially handbound by my great friend and fellow fountain pen collector Mona Caccam for me.

Poussière de Lune, translates into 'moon dust', and so far, is the only ink that has prompted me to read a lot in order to understand the ink name and color combination. I enjoyed reading about lunar dust: its corrosive properties, that it smells differently here on earth (odorless) and on the moon (like gunpowder) and that it can cause 'extraterrestrial hay fever.' Interesting reads and I got so much information that I did not even learn in Earth Science way back in college. LOL!

It also got me thinking for days about the song which has the words 'moondust in your hair'. I scrounged every nook and cranny of my brain to recall that song until I realized I could just Google it, anyway. And it's Close to You, by the great Karen Carpenter. :) Used that part for my three quotations in this review, all special to me.

J. Herbin inks are available in 30 beautiful colors (see the list on the box above). 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. Similarly, the J. Herbin 340th anniversary ink Rouge Hematite is now available at selected retailers and a sample review has been posted by Stephanie at Rhodia Drive.

A 30ml bottle of J. Herbin ink retails for P475 at Scribe Writing Essentials in Manila, and for US$10 at The Goulet Pen Company.

Brause pen, Bandzug nib and ink reviewed here, all courtesy of Exaclair, Inc. through Karen Doherty, while the Scribe notebook from Scribe Writing Essentials through Marian Ong.


  1. What a great and thorough review!! I'm glad you're back to it, and if they're like this, keep em coming! I LOVE Poussière de Lune, I think it's my favorite Herbin ink (though it's hard to choose, they're all like my children!). I hear what you're saying about the Brause nib, but if I'm not mistaken they're meant to be used with thicker calligraphy ink. Using thinner watery fountain pen ink with it is like putting diesel in your gasoline car!!

  2. Brian, thank you for the kind words. I love writing reviews and to seriously write them. If I feel a review is lacking in details, I'll hold off until I've come up with a satisfactory one.

    PDL is a charming ink. I love using it and have inked 3 pens with it already. LOL! The Brause nibs are tricky to use. Some are stiff, like the Bandzugs, but the others are flexible and I do not know how to handle flexies yet. But I'm sure I'll come along to that. :)


  3. Anonymous4:29 PM

    Thank you for this excellent review - love the thoroughness, photos and personal tone. I'm waiting for a bottle of Poussière de Lune and this made me even more impatient.

  4. GREAT review, nice work!!! ;-)

  5. Great review! I love this ink as well. It's such a beautiful colour.

    Sometimes with the bandzug nib it helps to reposition the reservoir. It might be too close to the tip. I had that happen with my 1mm nib which made it seem scratchy.

  6. Wonderful! This is one of my all-time favorite inks. Glad to meet your blog.

  7. I agree. Great review! Glad to see you back to blogging and reviewing.


  8. Best. Ink. Review. Ever. PLEASE do more! I just found your blog, and your ink reviews are amazing! Thank you :D

  9. Rori: Thank you! I'm working out on my reviews now. Been a long time since the last 'serious' review. :)

  10. Anonymous3:51 AM

    Hey nice review!

    I must say I am more intrigued by the Inoxcrom pen, I got two of those back in 1998 in Mexico, one in green and one in navy blue. I still have the original packaging (a nice cardboard tube). I used them for my middle school classes. I got a couple of ballpoints relatively recently, in 2014. One in gamboge and the other in rust orange. I like the atypical design and love the craftmanship on these pens.

    However the name of the pen is never mentioned anywhere (which is not unusual with Inoxcrom), your blog seems to be the authoritative source about the name of the pen. So my question is where did you get the name from? and what's the story of your Inoxcrom P200?

    By the way I have a half forgotten pen blog I started with a friend , where you will soon find a review of this fantastic pen, which is why I am interested in verifying the name.

    Thank you so much!

  11. Anonymous2:32 AM

    I am not sure if you've received my previous comment about where the name P200 for that Inoxcrom pen comes from. I did some research and the model is actually called "ID". It was introduced in 1993 as a kind of renaissance of design inside Inoxcrom. It was selected for display at a museum in Barcelona, which identifies it as "Inoxcrom ID". A new curvaceous nib and clip were introduced with it, the nib been used also in the Inoxcrom Nautilis (which had a gold plated variant) and the clip was used in the Inoxcrom Zepelin, which is still in production today, albeit slightly redesigned.

    A well documente page with the name is here and you can find lots of information in spanish if you search for "Inoxcrom ID".