It's been a while since I've done any ink reviews, and I just got sick of my own excuses for not doing them. So last weekend, the first weekend I was home from the hospital with our new daughter Ellie, I decided to review all 18 Rohrer and Klingner colors. Here they are, in alphabetical order.
All Rohrer & Klingner inks are made in Germany.
Rohrer & Klingner Alt-Bordeaux
This German ink is a pleasant wine color, with a noticeable amount of shading and a reasonably wet flow. It's moderately saturated, but with a longer-than-average dry time. The ink isn't water resistant very much at all, like pretty much all of the non-iron gall R&K inks. But, the positive side of that is that the ink is amazingly easy to clean out of your pen. Dreamy, really. Using it in a broader nib will make it shade more and appear a little darker, I found the medium nib to be kind of a sweet spot for it.
I have always enjoyed nice wine color inks like Diamine Syrah and Noodler's Black Swan in Australian Roses. It very much leans purple. These colors aren't my everyday inks, but I don't know why because this is a really pleasing color range. Alt-Bordeaux is one that I will keep in the back of my mind as a good wine ink to use when I want a good shading, low maintenance ink.
Rohrer & Klingner Alt-Goldgrün
Alt-Goldgrün comes from Germany and is one of those colors that I thought I wouldn't like – it looks a lot like pea soup. But something about it is kind of appealing, and for whatever reason it's been one of the most popular R&K inks since we started carrying the brand. I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that it's pretty unique in color from most other inks.
The dry time is a tad on the long side, expect that it'll be shorter on more absorbent paper. The level of saturation of the ink is pretty low, which gives it some pretty good shading, no doubt a great appeal for the ink. It essentially has no water resistance though, after putting the drips on the page for 30 seconds or so, the ink all but disappeared. The upside of that though is that it's one of the easiest inks to clean out of a pen that I've ever used.
Rohrer & Klingner Blau Permanent
Rohrer and Klingner Blau Permanent is a medium-light blue whose name is perhaps a little misleading 'permanent' or 'waterproof' blue, but this isn't really the case. The ink's permanence leaves a bit to be desired. It's better than most of the other R&K inks (with the exception of the iron galls), but aren't as good as some of the other permanent blues out there like Noodler's Midway Blue and Bad Belted Kingfisher.
What this ink does have going for it is a fast dry time, just over 10 seconds on Rhodia, which is pretty ink resistant paper. It would be even faster on most other papers. The colors is very pleasing, a pure blue that has a moderate amount of shading. The flow is not too wet, not too dry, right there in the middle somewhere. Like all of the other R&K inks, this one cleans very easily out of pens. I didn't see much of a difference writing with a medium vs. EF nib, but the broad did darken up the color a bit. Because the pen isn't heavily saturated, you're going to see some variation in the darkness of color based on the pen you use.
Rohrer & Klingner Blu Mare
Blu Mare is right there in the turquoise family. I really didn't know what to expect before inking it for the first time'mare' I think 'horse', and I don't know of any blue horses! It's a pretty bright ink, but still plenty saturated enough to be able to read it clearly. That's the thing with some turquoise inks, sometimes they're too light or bright that they make for decent watercolor but are unusable in pens. This one is plenty usable in a pen and has some great shading if that's your thing. I used a medium nib LAMY Al-Star (Ruby Red, if that matters) and found this ink to be a good matchup for it.
Rohrer & Klingner Cassia
What's to say about Rohrer and Klingner's Cassia? It is one of the brightest and most delightful purple inks I think I've ever used. I don't use bright, purple inks extensively, but when I ink up a purple, it's nice sometimes to get a feeling like the ink just jumps up and punches me in the eyes! That's what Cassia does.
The dry time is about medium length, around 20 seconds or so. On Rhodia, that's pretty reasonable, it would be faster on more absorbent paper. It's not very water resistant, but that's okay because it does clean out really easily out of a pen, that's not always the case with purple inks. The shading is present but not overwhelming, it has a medium level of saturation. It does flow really nicely, towards the wet side. I like that about it :) I'm a fan of wetter writing inks!
Rohrer & Klingner Fernambuk
Rohrer and Klingner Fernambuk is an interesting color, sort of in that range of color where you can't really tell if it's red or pink. This is, to be quite honest, probably the least appealing ink color group for me. But hey, you can't love them all, right? I'll try to be as objective as possible on this one, with the understanding that when I look at these pinkish-redish inks my first instinct is to dump it out of my pen after 4 words of writing!
The best feature of this ink is its fast dry time, under 10 seconds on Rhodia paper which is pretty darn good (among the fastest within Rohrer and Klingner). It's easy to clean from the pen, which is not an assumption with all red inks. It's not water resistant at all, which didn't really surprise me. At the time I reviewed this ink, I was learning that Rohrer and Klingner as a brand isn't very water resistant. It's flow was smooth and consistent, just not quite as wet as some of the other inks in the brand.
Rohrer & Klingner Helianthus
Rohrer and Klingner Helianthus is the only yellow in the brand. It's a sunny yellow, leaning just a tad towards gold.'successful' are the darker ones with more of a gold hue, and Helianthus is on the lighter end of the gold inks….or the golder end of the yellow inks….does that make sense?
Rohrer and Klingner Königsblau
his ink is the staple 'royal blue' in the line, and it's one of the more pleasing royal blues that I've used. Most of the time, the inks that are called 'royal blue' are too purple for my taste, but this one is a pretty true and solid blue without a lot of purple.
The dry time is average, at about 20 seconds on Rhodia paper which is rather ink resistant. A moderate level of saturation allows for some shading to come through. The flow is leaning a little wet but I rated it a 'medium'. This ink in general is a pretty solid, middle-of-the-road performer for all of the factors in my review. Even with water resistance, this ink isn't the best, but isn't the worst. It's more water resistant than most of the other Rohrer and Klingner inks, you would actually still be able to read what you wrote if you spilled some water on it. It cleans pretty easily, that is one way this ink excels. Some royal blues get a little stubborn, but not this one.
Rohrer and Klingner Leipziger-Schwarz
Leipziger-Schwarz threw me for a loop a little bit. It's the darkest ink in the brand, and I thought from the color of the label on the bottle (which is honestly always a bad gauge for any ink color!) that it was black. As soon as I inked it up and started using it, I was really struggling to see the 'black' in the ink'navy' or 'dark blue''grey' shaded blue-blacks. I like it, it's a change from most of the others.
The dry time is a little long for this ink, but that's because it's a relatively heavily saturated color for Rohrer and Klingner. It's not completely washed away by water, but it's definitely seriously shaken up by it. This does help when it comes to cleaning though. Despite that it's heavily saturated, in cleans very easily from the pen. You aren't going to get a lot of shading with this ink. It's relatively flat and consistent, even on ink resistant paper like Rhodia that normally brings the most shading out of an ink. The flow is wet and juicy, just how I like it. All in all, this ink was a delight to use, and I would absolutely recommend it as a work-appropriate ink as long as you will have some time to let it dry.
Rohrer and Klingner Magenta
Rohrer and Klingner Magenta is one of the more vibrant colors in the brand. I personally have kind of an affinity to bold magenta colors, and this one is quite striking. I don't use them a lot, and pinks in general aren't my go-to color, but if I'm going to use a pink it's going to be a punch-me-in-the-eyes pink.
The dry time is pretty fast, only 15 seconds on Rhodia paper. The water resistance is low, but the advantage of that is it cleans incredibly easily. There isn't a great deal of shading, but there is some. Most magenta inks aren't great shaders from what I find. The flow isn't as wet as some of the other Rohrer and Klingner inks, though it was consistent and steady.
Rohrer and Klingner Morinda
Morinda is their 'red' color, and it's a fairly pure red. It's not as bright as Sheaffer Red, but not as dark as others like J. Herbin 1670 or Diamine Red Dragon.
It has a pretty long dry time, over 30 seconds. You'll have to be a little patient with this color. It also doesn't have practically any water resistance, but the plus side of that is that in cleans easier from the pen than almost any other red ink I've ever used. It flows wet and has a high degree of shading, so it is an interesting ink to use is shading is your thing.
Rohrer and Klingner Salix
Salix is popular for two reasons, the first being that it's water resistant since it is iron gall. What is iron gall? This ink is not the same ‘pure' iron gall that is known to be corrosive to metals, rather it is a modern formulation that behaves much more like conventional fountain pen ink. In fact, in my usage of it I didn't find any significant difference in flow, ease of cleaning, or dry time than most of the other Rohrer and Klingner inks. It was quite the pleasure! Rohrer and Klingner does recommend that you clean the ink out of your pen every week, and be aware that iron gall inks aren't ideal for all pen types and models.
The dry time was medium-long, about 25 seconds on ink resistant Rhodia paper. It's on the long side for Rohrer and Klingner, but still pretty manageable. The saturation is medium, which allows for some shading but not an overwhelming amount. Even though the ink is very water resistant, it still cleaned very easily out of the pen. Gosh, you can't even really tell that I did any drips on the drip test grid, but I swear I did! Usually with inks you get easy to clean or water resistant, it's rare to have both like you do with Salix.
Rohrer and Klingner Scabiosa
Rohrer and Klingner Scabiosa is a German ink that comes in a 50ml bottle. It's popular for two reasons, the first being that it's water resistant since it is iron gall, just like Salix. This ink is not the same ‘pure' iron gall that is known to be corrosive to metals, rather it is a modern formulation that behaves much more like conventional fountain pen ink. Rohrer and Klingner does recommend that you clean the ink out of your pen every week, and be aware that iron gall inks aren't ideal for all pen types and models.
Scabiosa's water resistance and ease of cleaning are every bit as great as Salix. There is one aspect where Scabiosa has a leg up on Salix, and that's dry time. Salix had about a 25 second dry time, but Scabiosa dries quite a bit faster, only about 10 seconds on Rhodia paper, which is quite ink resistant. This is a huge plus given that it's a pretty wet writing ink. And the shading is great, too!
Scabiosa is a great color, a dusty purple much like many of my favorite colors. Here are some of the other colors that are like Scabiosa. The only other purple that really has any water resistance in this color range is Noodler's La Reine Mauve, and that ink looks a lot ‘dustier' and washed out on the page. Scabiosa has great vibrancy and shading like Purple Heart and Blackcurrant, but with the bonus of the water resistance. No wonder it's up there with Salix as the best selling Rohrer and Klingner color.
Rohrer and Klingner Sepia
Naming an ink "sepia" is one of the most descriptive ways to name an ink. I see a lot of different inks names a lot of different things, and most names only hint at what the color might be. But sepia is very descriptive. Long story short, it can be defined as a toning method used for warming up a black and white photograph and enhancing its archival capabilities. I alway think of 'old-timey' photographs, like what you see around the turn of the 20th century.
Keeping in line with the sepia name's assumptions, this Sepia is a brownish-grey with an incredible dry time, under 10 seconds on Rhodia paper, which is fairly ink resistant and tends to take longer than most papers for ink to dry on it.
Rohrer and Klingner Smaragdgrün
Smaragdgrün translates (roughly) to emerald green, and that's a pretty appropriate name for this ink. It's an attractive green, with just a little bit of blue to it.
The thing that surprised me is how fast it dries, it's quite fast! Under 10 second dry time on Rhodia paper is always impressive to me. The saturation, shading, and flow are all pretty average. The water resistance is pretty poor, but the flip side of that is that the ink cleans out of the pen quite easily.
Rohrer and Klingner Solferino
Rohrer and Klingner Solferino is one of the most vibrant in the brand, and it is quite striking. It's fairly similar to Rohrer and Klingner Magenta.
There are some definite pluses with this ink, the biggest one being the very fast dry time, under 10 seconds on Rhodia! It's a fairly saturated color with little shading, so the color is going to look pretty consistent and even. The flow is fairly wet, not as much as some others but pretty generous. The one downside is the lack of water resistance, but that also helps to make it very easy to clean out of the pen.
Rohrer and Klingner Verdigris
Rohrer and Klingner Verdigris is a lovely blue-black from Germany that comes in a 50ml bottle. Blue-blacks are incredibly popular ink colors because they are very work-appropriate but add a little splash of color to the daily grind. This is a very nice color.
The dry time is pretty fast, 15 seconds on ink-resistant Rhodia paper. You can get faster, but slower is much more common. This ink isn't heavily saturated, but rather even in color so you don't have a lot of shading (variation of color within your writing). The flow is wet, and water resistance very low. Like all'blue-black' (though a lot of them do!). Heck, even Pilot Iroshizuku is missing a black ink from its lineup, but has blue-black! Despite what you would think is a relatively narrow color range, these inks can actually vary quite a bit, usually swaying heavily green or heavily gray. Verdigris leans a little green, though not much.
Rohrer and Klingner Verdura
Verdura is a bright green ink, with a pretty average dry time of 20 seconds on Rhodia paper. The saturation is middle-of-the-road, but the shading is high, so you get some distinctive variation while you write (which I love). It writes wet, but won't hold up well to water. The plus side is that it cleans easily out of a pen.
Rohrer & Klingner fountain pen inks are available in 50ml bottles or our 2ml ink samples.