my top five inks of 2018 - ink between the teeth

Jan 7, 2019

my top five inks of 2018

I had a lot of fun making my Top Five Inks of 2017 list last year, so I thought I'd do it again. I tried a ton of samples this year, and I actually ended up enjoying a lot of them. Let's take a look!

Like last year, this is going to be an unnumbered list. I'm putting these inks here in no particular order, 'cause I can't pick one over the rest. I also had to have used it for more than a month, just to make it a bit fairer and reduce the chances of new acquisition bias.

My Top Five

Lennon Tool Bar Congqiang (藍濃道具屋蒼穹)
I felt a little bad about putting this ink here, since most people will never be able to try it. But I can't help but love this ink. The color is so fascinating: a dreary gray-green that I've never seen before. Lennon Tool Bar is a Taiwanese company, and Congqiang reminds me of humid, rainy days in Taipei, where we'd run to the local Seven-Eleven for snacks and drinks and try not to bring back too much rain in our flip-flops.

KWZ Ink Honey
If you know me at all, you know that I absolutely adore golden-browns. I've always been drawn to Honey, but after picking up a bottle of KWZ Cappuccino I wasn't sure if I should spring for a full bottle of Honey. I ended up picking up a sample to write about, and... I may need to pick up a bottle. The one downside is that, like many (most?) KWZ inks it has a strong vanilla scent. It doesn't bother me, but it definitely won't be a match for some.

Organics Studio Ernest's Vintage Writing Fluid Barkley's Blue Teal
Barkley's Blue Teal is a pretty new-to-me ink, but I definitely enjoyed it immensely when I had a pen filled with it. With my writing schedule and the speed with which I empty pens, I don't get to linger on inks as long as I would like to. I only bought a sample, which is a bit of a bummer, especially because I've decided not to buy bottles for the foreseeable future. But I'll definitely enjoy every last drop of this ink.

Nagasawa Kobe Arima Amber (NAGASAWA PenStyle Kobe INK物語 #8 有馬アンバー)
I bought this ink in the dregs of last year's December, and it's been an ink that I reach for over and over again. It's such a special color. I've never been drawn to orange colors, but Arima Amber packs that oomph that I want in an orange ink. It's just red enough to hold my fancy, but also orange enough to be interesting.

Rohrer & Klingner Verdigris
When I first got my TWSBI Diamond 540 Amber with a Pendleton BLS nib, Verdigris was the second ink I filled it with after two fills of Diamine Sepia. And boy were they a match—even better, perhaps, than the Sepia. Verdigris is a wet ink, and with the added firehose flow of the BLS nib they paired perfectly into a gusher of a combo, practically useless on paper that wasn't Tomoe River, and even then it threatened to bleed through to the next page. And I loved it.

Goals for 2019

My goal last year was to not purchase another bottle of ink until I started moving through what I already owned. This year, I was really good about buying new inks. I only bought one new bottle, which was the 15ml bottle of (J.) Herbin Vert de Gris, and it barely counts as a bottle! Otherwise, I bought samples.

You may remember from last year's post that I had a very optimistic guideline of how I wanted my ink collection to look in 2018. Surprising literally no one, I made very little progress—but hey, it was definitely progress. However, I did give Diamine Tyrian Purple to a friend of mine after we graduated college in the summer. He's definitely going to enjoy it more than I ever would!

My goal for 2019 is much the same. I want to keep my purchases to a minimum with just samples; and anyway, if I didn't buy samples, you wouldn't have anything to see on this blog!

I want to set one more goal, which is to empty at least two pens every month. It seems like such a waste to have as many pens as I do and leave them collecting dust, or only writing a sentence here and there. I started writing more towards the end of the year as I got settled at my job. It would be great if I could carve out time during the day to spend time unwinding and writing.

Mostly, I want to keep filling my pens with inks that I used to love and haven't been able to use recently. It'll definitely make me feel better about my collection, and it'll also be helpful as I try to work through my back catalog of reviews and refresh them!

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