Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Fountain Pen Ink Review: J. Herbin 1670 Anniversary Ink Caroube de Chypre

When I chose to use fountain pens full time, I became enamored with fountain pen inks while most of them were unavailable in the Philippines, including the French brand J. Herbin. I like J. Herbin inks because of the variety of colors they offer. My favorites are Rouge Opera, Orange Indien, and Poussière de Lune. In 2010, J. Herbin introduced the limited edition 1670 Anniversary Rouge Hematite ink to commemorate their 340th founding anniversary. Rouge Hematite became so popular, that J. Herbin added four more inks into the selection.

My favorite J. Herbin 1670 Anniversary ink has always been Rouge Hematite. Even after three more inks were added to the collection, and though I thought that the non-sparkling Bleu Ocean is a beautiful blue, I always go back to Rouge Hematite. Stormy Grey and Emerald of Chivor are equally beautiful inks, only not as charming as Rouge Hematite to my eyes.

Caroube de Chypre, the fifth addition to the Anniversary Ink collection, was introduced this year. I did not get a bottle until last month, and I have to say that I was smitten. The rich, deep, brown color of this ink, with vivid red sheen and green halo, and the shimmering gold effect has bewitched me beyond Rouge Hematite.

Caroube de Chypre, or Cyprus Carob, got its name from the dried carob pods in Cyprus that were said to be a favorite snack food of the sailor J. Herbin during his voyages. In ancient Europe, carob pods were known as the "black gold of Cyprus."

The new Anniversary ink is presented like the four previous 1670 inks. The collector's edition box design represents the life of J. Herbin as a French sailor. The 1670 50ml bottle, despite the narrow opening that makes ink refilling difficult, is lovely. The gold cord, wax seal, and waxed cap are beautiful and make the 1670 bottle a true collector's item.

Caroube de Chypre's deep color takes me back as a young child in my grandmother's backyard, when on hot summer afternoons, my cousins and I would play hide and seek, careful not to rustle the dry leaves and reveal ourselves.

Caroube de Chypre brings me to Christmas breakfasts from the past, where my grandfather serves the family’s specialties: suman (glutinous rice cake) and thick, sweet, frothy dark tsokolate (chocolate) whisked expertly with the family's batidor (molinillo).

Caroube de Chypre reminds me of the big, colorful, shiny beetles that my young brothers and their friends collected in the mango and tamarind trees in our backyard.

Ah, Caroube de Chypre is full of nostalgia and reminiscences. A glimpse of its swatch on paper brings a rush of fleeting and hurried memories: a cup of steaming, hot, strong coffee shared with a friend; freshly baked chocolate chip cookies; aged wood; worn leather. Deep, rich, vibrant, and intense — memories or ink, these I will surely hold on to.

The gold flecks of Caroube de Chypre settles faster than the gold flecks of earlier Anniversary inks.

Caroube de Chypre writing sample on Tomoe River paper.

There are just two things that I do not like about Caroube de Chypre: it takes longer to dry (~8-10 seconds more than the regular Herbin inks, depending on the nib and paper), and it's not water resistant, but, hey, who would want to mess up this beautiful ink on paper? Caroube de Chypre is not as saturated as the original formulation of Rouge Hematite or Bleu Ocean, and the Edison Colier that I filled with it wrote smoothly. (And by the way, I don't care if I need to wait longer for it to dry up.) Despite being a saturated ink, Caroube de Chypre has good flow and does not have clogging issues. Contrary to other reviews, cleaning fountain pens that were inked with Caroube de Chypre was not difficult at all.

Double passes of Caroube de Chypre show this ink's depth, exceptional shimmer, and halo.

I tried some ink swabs to see the beautiful mix of dark red/brown, gold, and green. A single pass (top) shows lovely dark reddish-brown, and a moderate amount of gold flecks. Double and triple passes (middle and bottom) reveal a darker brown color with lots of gold flecks, and that incredible green halo around the swab.

I used three types of paper for this ink: Tomoe river Paper (ivory), Canson sketchpad (white), and a Korean brand sketchpad I received from a friend recently. Shading, shimmer, and halo are all present in both Tomoe River paper and Canson sketchpad. The sketchpad from Korea, however, absorbed all of the ink, and I did not see any shading and halo, but only a bit of the gold flecks and a lot of feathering.

There are a lot of gold flecks in this writing sample of Caroube de Chypre in Tomoe River paper. 
Despite the thick lines, it did not feather or smear at all.

Caroube de Chypre has a green halo!

More of this ink's beautiful shading, green halo, and gold shimmer.

This writing sample is written on white Canson sketchpad. Caroube de Chypre is such
a versatile ink that it goes from reddish brown to dark cocoa brown, to golden brown,
and greenish brown depending on the nib, paper, or light exposure.

The single pass ink swab is beautiful, but the double pass swab is incredible!

Caroube de Chypre feathered in this Korean brand sketchpad. I could still see some gold flecks, though.

The Q-tips I used for the ink swabs show the range of colors of Caroube de Chypre:
deep red, dark brown, gold, and green.

All five J. Herbin 1670 Anniversary inks (from top): Rouge Hematite, Bleu Ocean, Stormy Grey,
Emeraude de Chivor, and Caroube de Chypre
Perfect pairing: Caroube de Chypre and Edison Colier with stub nib.

If you use fountain pens on a daily basis, I recommend getting a bottle of Caroube de Chypre. It's a versatile ink with beautiful shading, shimmer, and halo. Get one in your collection now!

The bottle of 1670 J. Herbin Anniversary ink and Tomoe River paper in this review are from Scribe Writing Essentials, the leading distributor of fine writing instruments and accessories in the Philippines. A bottle of Caroube de Chypre retails for PhP1,195 at Scribe.

To get J. Herbin products, visit any of Scribe's stores in Eastwood Mall, Shangrila Plaza Mall, Glorietta 5, SM Aura, and SM Megamall. Scribe also has stores SM City and Ayala Center in Cebu. For their complete location/address, contact numbers, and store hours, click here.


  1. I have the Rouge Hematite. Regardless of which pen I used, I had the worst type of ink crud accumulating on the nib. It was as though all of the gold flecks were belching up through the ink channel and collecting on the nib. I had to thoroughly clean the pens; even more than if I had used regular ink. Perhaps it would be better with a dip pen. Thanks for your review.

    1. I also go through that ugly nib creep every time I sue Rouge Hematite. :( I do not see it yet in my pens filled with Caroube de Chypre.