Monday, May 30, 2011

Ink Review: J. Herbin Diabolo Menthe

In my part of the globe, summer is nearing its end as rains begin to pelt us from tropical storm Bebeng (Aere) and typhoon Chedeng (Songda). But before summer finally bids us farewell and this post becomes a weather alert, let me write my long-postponed review of the one ink that truly reminds me of summer, J. Herbin Diabolo Menthe.

I received this bottle from Marian Ong of Scribe Writing Essentials some time ago and though it wasn't love at first write, I developed a need for it. When I'd write headings and subheadings in my notes, I'd use Diabolo Menthe or Orange Indien. If I need to highlight or underscore my lessons and handouts, I'd use Diabolo Menthe. When I want to impress my nieces with calligraphy, I use Diabolo Menthe.

I understand that not much has been written about this ink, probably because not many fountain pen users find light ink colors suitable for daily, regular writing. Despite this, I find Diabolo Menthe a cool ink color from J. Herbin. It has excellent flow and visible shading especially when used with a wider nib. And though Diabolo Menthe is very light while still wet, it dries a beautiful cyan with highly visible green tones. Diabolo Menthe's tint belongs to the goup of cyan colors including aquamarine, teal, turquoise, and verdigris.

This ink color reminds me of the color the summer seas in Boracay, Anilao, and Puerto Galera.

Here is a macro shot of my poorly drawn Diabolo Menthe icon. I drew the outline with a Platinum brush pen and applied the ink used a q-tip.

The photo below shows excellent shading, which only enhances Diabolo Menthe's tint.

Because of its light color, Diabolo Menthe is perfect for highlighting. I filled my Rotring Artpen with a 2.3 italic nib with it and use it as one of my highlighters. On my white Lamy Safari with a regular medium nib, it's super perfect for underscoring.

Diabolo Menthe is simply incomparable to other turquoise (or light blue) ink colors. The photo below shows that it's not like J. Herbin Bleu Pervenche, Diamine Turquoise, and definitely not like an old favorite, Waterman South Sea Blue. I will not pick a favorite because I love them all, and definitely because Diabolo Menthe is so far away from the rest of the cyan colors.

Lastly, the drying time of Diabolo Menthe is amazing! It dries quickly and nicely. It took less than 15 seconds to dry which works very well when I use it for highlighting.

J. Herbin named Diabolo Menthe after the popular French drink of the same name, which is "simply mint syrup and white lemonade mixed with ice cubes."

(Diabolo Menthe/Green Mint Syrup in Lemonade.

J. Herbin inks are available in 30 beautiful colors. These water-based inks are non-toxic, have neutral pH and manufactured using natural dyes. Download 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$9.50 at The Goulet Pen Company. (I have no affiliation with both companies, though.)


  1. Glad you pointed out some not-so-obvious other uses for this ink. It's very light and that's why I don't often write with it but it certainly is a beautiful color. Enjoyed this review.

  2. Excellent review. I just happen to have a sample of this ink and can't wait to give it a try. For some reason I find the name very appealing and, why not, refreshing.

  3. A wonderfully composed and rendered review.

  4. clem, the ink does actually looks like creme de menthe :) yum!

  5. I love your ink reviews - they're always fun to read, full of gorgeous pictures, and so often full of references to food that sounds SO good!

  6. Anonymous12:06 AM

    I see this is 2011, and now it is 2022, so I hope you read this. Every morning I test a new ink and look for reviewers. My goodness, this is the most complete, most interesting review I have ever read. I want to subscribe to you.