If you have Instagram, I am sure you, like me, love the gorgeous images of the Robert Oster Signature Fountain Pen Inks. These amazing pictures show beautiful splashes of brilliantly coloured ink with the stunning sheen. I drool over each new release from this new to North America ink supplier.
While these big swatches look fantastic, how do these inks perform in daily writing and use? That question is the focus of this review.
Blue Water Ice
I have just purchased a freshly imported bottle of Robert Oster’s Blue Water Ice fountain pen ink from my local supplier, Nikaido Gifts in Richmond, BC. Nikaido began carrying the Australian Robert Oster Signature Inks a few months ago to add to their growing fountain pen lines, and Sarah ordered a bottle of this highly anticipated ink for me.
I do have several colours of Robert Oster Ink, though I was very excited to get this colour after finding that the beautiful Fire and Ice was a little too green for my preferred daily use. I prefer blue inks for my EDC pen use at work, and from the images I have seen on the Internet felt the Blue Water Ice would fit this preference better.
I begin with testing all my inks with a J. Herbin glass dip pen for consistency. I then make ink samples with a paintbrush and fill a fountain pen to test out the ink with longer form use tests. I use a few different papers to test out inks on, including Rhodia, Leuchtturn1917, Field Notes and the Col-o-ring ink sample book.
The beautiful rich and complex colours of Robert Oster Ink’s continue with Blue Water Ice. I find the final colour depends largely on how much ink is laid down, along with the type of paper used. With wet lines, the colour is a rich blue, with a slight cyan undertone and a gorgeous pinkish sheen. The sheen is particularly noticeable o on really wet ink swatches and adds real depth to the colour.
With regular writing using a finer nib, the colour showed more along the cyan/aqua tones. The ink does tend to dry darker than the original line. There is less noticeable sheen on handwritten samples.
Unfortunately, I was not able to reproduce the magnificent sheen on the Blue Water Ice internet images without laying down a very wet ink sample using a paintbrush. The sheen is present though and is seen on some of my samples, though it is not easily visible to my eye during normal writing.
Unfortunately, I do not have any Tomoe River paper, which is known for its terrific ability to display sheen, as it is not readily available in Canada, but the quality Rhodia and Leuchtturm1917 paper did not appear to show the sheen with my usual writing style.
Blue Water Ice is a complex ink and shades well. Colour variance between wet and dry lines is significant and provides a gifted artist with lots of opportunities for creativity.
Even in daily writing, the shading is noticeable as a subtle variance of colour within letters written at different speeds and changes in direction.
Flow & Feathering
Robert Oster inks continue to impress me with their consistency and ability to write well. I filled a fine steel nibbed Conklin Duragraph with Blue Water Ice, and it wrote well and problem free. The ink flow was good; I would classify it as a medium-wet flow. Not as wet as other inks (Pilot Iroshizuku, Montblanc, and Sailor, for example) but wetter than others (Lamy and J. Herbin inks).
The Robert Oster inks that I have tried have little feathering. Blue Water Ice was no exception. Even when I tested the ink on Field Notes paper (Campfire Edition) there was no discernible feathering, though this was with the Conklin Fine Nib - a thick broad nib may result in different results.
Robert Oster inks are not sold as waterproof inks and do not do well when exposed to water. The ink dissipated under several drops of water.
Dry time is good, though, with high-sheering inks like Blue Water Ice, I do tend to lay the ink on thicker than usual. Thick, wet lines of this ink do dry slowly but create a beautiful sheen. I did manage to slightly smudge a couple of my samples, which was a little surprising my normal handling. Writing normally with a fine nib, I find dry time is more than adequate, and I ran into no smudging problems in daily use, though I am right-handed.
Blue Water Ice comes in a regular, plastic Robert Oster Signature bottle. These clear bottles are tall and thin - 33.5mm across while 88.5mm tall. I have not had any problems (yet, touch wood), but can easily envision a situation where an accident nudge sends a bottle flowing over my desk! The bottle has a nicely decorated generic gold foil label with the colour marked on a white sticker on the cap. Be careful not to mix up the caps if sampling several Robert Oster Inks at one time! A nice addition is a small swatch of the ink on the cap, which allows quick reference.
Robert Oster inks come in a 50ml (1.6 oz) bottle which cost me $24.95 CDN. The price is a middle of the road price point for ink and very fair for the quality of ink. It is similar in price (per ml) to Sailor and Platinum inks, less than Iroshizuku and Edelstein, while more expensive than Montblanc regular lines and Noodlers. In my opinion, this ink is excellent value for money.
How does Blue Water Ice work for daily use? The short answer is great - unless you require a waterproof ink!
With all-around good ink behaviour and deep and complex colours, Blue Water Ice is perfect for journaling, school or personal notes. With little feathering, Blue Water Ice will be great on regular office issued copy paper, especially when paired with a fine nib.
Personally, I still find the aqua-blue colour of fine writing to be a little too much on the cyan colour spectrum for my professional use in signatures and contracts, but ideal for working papers and personal use. Likely, this choice will depend on your profession and needs.
Blue Water Ice is an attractive, well-behaved ink. I do recommend you try it out!