This is the first ink that came from a collaboration between reddit fountain pen users and Diamine, released in 2017. Other inks are aurora borealis from 2019 and this years ink - writers blood. Earl grey was my first grey ink and its a lovely silver grey with some shade.
This ink is named after the tea, Earl Grey though I don’t think grey when I think of Earl Grey tea. The naming of the tea is subject to some debate but what isn’t disputed is that it is a black tea flavoured with bergamot oil. It was initially designed to be drunk without milk but over time some companies have made the tea with stronger teas such as those from Ceylon rather than China and this has favoured the addition of milk.
Earl Grey tea is assumed to be named after the 2nd Earl Grey British Prime Minister from 1830-1834. As he was reputedly given a gift of a chinese black tea flavoured with the bergamot oil. The first published referenecs to Earl grey tea are from the 1880s.
According to the family the tea was specially belnded to suit the water at Howick hall the family seat – the water is quite hard and the bergamot oil offsets this. Lady Grey used the tea to entertain and this is how Twinnings came to market it. However, Jacksons of Picadilly claim they originated the tea having been given the recipe by Lord Grey.
In 2012 researchers found a reference to Earl Grey from 1824 – apparently bergamot was known as a flavouring to enhance poor quality teas.
Starting with chromatograhy the ink is a mix of dark grey, violet, turquoise and just a hint of green. The violet is quite obvious is the col-o-ring swatch making the ink look like a blend of light grey (silver) and violet. On Tomoe is is a silver grey with just a hint of the violet
As with previous post I used cheap paper, Rhodia and Tomoe river 52gm. The ink was disappointing on the cheap paper because the colour was a fairly plain silver grey and because it feathered, had a lot of show through and did bleed onto the next page – though this only a few dots of ink.
On Rhodia it was a darker ink, had some shading and a very acceptable dry time
On Tomoe it dried to a shade somewher between the other two, not as light as cheap paper and not as dark as Rhodia, again there is some shading but it very slow drying.
I didn’t think I would be a fan of grey inks, I have a few samples that I haven’t tried yet. This has grown on me. Diamine inks are reasonably priced and available everywhere. I do like the 30ml bottles it means you can try more thn once but haven’t made a commitment to a large bottle of ink that then just sits there doing nothing if you don’t like it.
The closest grey to this is Robert Oster arsenic grey but I have put this ink up against a few other greys I have. You can see that grey isn’t always grey and it gives you an appreciation of the range.
Saturation - good
Shading – some, not great
Sheen – no
Shimmer – no
Flow – good
Nib dry-out - none
Nib creep - none
Start-up – ok
Feathering – yes, on cheap paper
Drying – good except Tomoe
Cleaning – good, very good an extremely easy clean of a fountain pen
Water resistance – Not said to be waterproof and most definitely isn’t