Another Monteverde ink this time from the 10 ink Noir collection released at the end of 2017. In 2016 Monteverde started to re-imagine / configure their inks and as a part of that the Noir collection was released. All the inks are lubricated which means they stay wetter longer in your pens, I have not left an ink in a pen long enough to determine if this is a benefit or not.
The ink can be bought separately or as part of the 10 ink set. Pen and Ink have the sets for AUD$99 plus postage. I contacted Monteverde about some of their other inks and after being directed to the Australasian distributor this is where they then directed me. It would appear Pen and Ink are the only retailers in this part of the world, (and have been fantastic). In the US many retailers stock Monteverde inks.
I suspect that in using the name Noir for the collection Monteverde were trying to evoke darkness and I have read on the Goulet Pens bog that the inks were themed around the blue black colour. Noir is a type of film, usually crime fiction featuring hard-boiled cynical characters and bleak sleazy settings. As an adjective noir means having a bleak and darkly cynical quality of the kind associated with hard-boiled crime fiction and film-noir (Merriam-Webster Dictionary). I’ll just accept it means dark for the inks.
This ink is smoke noir. Smoke is the visible suspension of carbon or other particles in air, it can be many colours but when it is carbon it is dark / black. So smoke noir would suggest a dark or black ink but surprisingly this is a medium grey. The ink comes in the standard Monteverde 30ml bottles but the labelling is different to their other inks. The label is quite plain and just states the name of the ink.
On col-o-ring you can see it is going to be grey. On Tomoe river it is not any more exciting, there is no suggestion of shading.
I do realise that that my disdain for grey inks may come across in some of what I say but I would hope that I am at least fair in describing the ink properties. I am not a great fan of grey inks and do not possess that many. It did make me ask when is grey, grey? They certainly come with a range of undertones.
My pen was a Pineider with a medium nib and the first writing test was on cheap paper in a notebook. The first thing I noted and was impressed with is that the pen wrote immediately I used it there was no hard start unlike the other Monteverde inks I have reviewed. I was very impressed.
It was interesting to write as the ink looked very wet on the paper and then suddenly dried, you could see it being soaked up into the paper. This meant there was feathering but not as much as you would expect considering the paper was soaking up the ink. The ink dried to a medium grey shade, neither too light nor too dark.
After the cheap paper I played a round on Rhodia. The ink did not soak into the paper like it did with the cheap paper and as you can see dry times were on the longer side. It may be a plain medium grey but I was beginning to like it.
Lastly Midori paper and by this time I almost fallen in love with a grey ink.
I found the initial swatches un-interesting but I like the way the ink behaved and I like the grey it dries to with writing. If you want a shading grey or a dark grey this is not the ink for you but a middle of the road well behaved ink then this is a good choice. I really wanted to by the set of 10 inks this came from when they first came out, I couldn't get them and was very disappointed and the behaviour of this ink rubs that in.
In summary – a reasonably priced medium grey ink
Saturation – high
Shading – no
Sheen – no
Flow - good
Nib dry-out - none
Nib creep – none
Start-up – immediate
Feathering – on cheap paper, anything that allows it to soak in
Drying – slow, up to 30 secs on quality paper
Cleaning – easy, I have found this with all the Monteverde inks so far
Water resistance – extremely and I hold the swatches under a running tap