I wrote a little about J Herbin inks when I reviewed vert olive in November 2018. The ink today Poussière de Lune was bought simply because its purple and I liked it when I came across it on the Fountainfeder website. I had not seen it before and yet now when I look I discover it one of the most popular inks around and has been so for about 10 years. It is also a good alternative for those that like Scabiosa from Rohrer and Klingner and are worried about IG inks in their pens
The name means moon dust in English and it makes the ink sound so romantic for a lovely purple colour unfortunately moon dust isn’t that nice.
Lunar soil is the very fine fraction of the regolith found on the moons surface. According to Wikipedia regolith is ‘a layer of loose, heterogenous superficial deposits covering solid rock. It includes dust, soil, broken rock and other related materials’. The physical properties of lunar soil are due to the continual impact of meteorites and bombardment by solar particles. Lunar soil typically refers to the finer fraction of the regolith, grains ≦1cm. Lunar dust usually means even finer particles, yet there is no standard definition as to what constitutes dust.
I said moon dust wasn’t very nice and it isn’t. Moon dust is sharp because there is no wind on the moon it never erodes and remains very sharp and can cut an astronauts lungs if breathed in. It also floats above the moon surface so can cling to space suits and be carried back into craft clogging equipment and ruining clothes. Harrison Schmitt apparently discovered this during the Apollo 17 mission he thought he had ‘lunar hay fever’ but it is now known the smallest pieces of moon dust pose health risks to astronauts.
The ink however lives up to the hype. I do like the fact Herbin sell inks in 10ml bottles – it allows a lot of sampling without wastage and the need to find room to store yet more bottles of ink.
The ink comes in cartridges and the standard Herbin 30ml bottle, difficult to get ink out when it drops below a certain level. This retails in NZ for $24 a bottle, I'm not sure of prices overseas and have not looked as Herbin inks are as ubiquitous as Diamine.
Chromatography revealed a deep aubergine colour with not much variation in the shades that compose the ink
On col-o-ring it is a touch more red and is brighter than it appears in person.
Tomoe is the most accurate a deep purple shade with a subtle hint of redness.
I had a TWSBI eco with a medium nib inked before I started this so decided to use it for the writing tests. I have been using the ink at work, it reminds me another favourite work purple – De Artramentis aubergine, the only bottle of ink I have ever emptied.
Other reviewers of Poussière de Lune have said it is either wet or dry – there appears to be no consistent opinion. I found the ink to be both depending on the paper – quite wet on Tomoe River and drier on Rhodia, probably explains the different experiences people have had i.e. it depends on the paper.
I started with Tomoe, I was struggling a bit with even a simple sentence. It was written on March 27th our second day of lockdown and I was distracted by work things when I was trying to do this to take my mind of the constant Covid-19 bombardment. On Tomoe it was a slow drier and there is not much in the way of shading.
On cheap paper it looks a lot more purple but feathering made it a no no for this paper.
Rhodia was last. It dried a lot quicker here but again lacks any shading just writing as a deep purple / aubergine coloured ink.
I went through all my inks and had thought I would find a few that were credible dupes. I was surprised by how few I could. Krishna Sea and Storm came close but the best was Birmingham Pen Co Eggplant parmesan. If you have read any of my other reviews you would know I really like the inks from the Birmingham pen co.
I won’t buy this ink again and not because it was bad or I didn’t like it. It is just I have my eggplant aubergine and I don’t need another similar ink. Like most J Herbin inks it was well behaved but varied in dryness according to the paper. It writes consistently as a deep purple ink with minimal to no shading.
In summary –
Saturation – high
Shading – no
Sheen – no
Flow - good
Nib dry-out – none
Nib creep – none
Start-up – good
Feathering – very bad on cheap paper
Drying – slow, does depend on the paper but even at its fastest it is slow compared to other inks
Cleaning – good
Water resistance – not sold as waterproof but is pretty good at maintaining colour even with some run off after being held under a running tap.