review: noodler's v-mail burma road brown - ink between the teeth

Nov 4, 2019

review: noodler's v-mail burma road brown

We're back! Thankfully the power outages have stopped, hopefully for the rest of the year. Let's take a look at a brand that I haven't used very much in the past couple of months.

Noodler's has a line of inks that recreate the look of actual inks used during World War II. It's named after V-mail, or "victory mail," a method of reducing the weight of and censoring the content of letters by copying them to film then printing them on location.

Noodler's Burma Road Brown is a green-brown that leans heavily green.
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The first thing I noticed after uncapping the sample vial was that this ink has a very distinct smell to it. I could also smell it when I uncapped a pen filled with Burma Road Brown. It's not an unpleasant smell, but it is a smell.

Noodler's Burma Road Brown has a good amount of water resistance. Not very much of the dyes lifted from the page when exposed to water.

It also doesn't take too long to dry, becoming smudge-free by the thirty second mark.

In fine nibs, there is a little bit of shading but it's hard to tell. In broader nibs, the shading is much more apparent.
On Tomoe River paper, the ink still shades a little. It looks quite nice here.
I compare it to a bunch of other green-brown inks I own, and the closest would probably be Diamine 150th Anniversary Safari. Colorverse Brane is somewhat close, though it looks more like a spring green. Colorverse Valles Marineris, Sailor Jentle Rikyu-cha and Robert Oster Signature Bronze are darker and more brown. Robert Oster Signature Khaki is more yellow. Colorverse JFK's Dog Pushinka is more brown and gray.

I had this ink in my Pilot 78G. It tended to want to flow quite wetly, especially if I picked it up for the first time after a while. It would try pretty hard to put blobs down on the page. Wicking some ink off of the feed helped a great deal and it didn't pose any problems after that. However, I really didn't enjoy the smell of the ink and found it pretty unpleasant. Like I mentioned earlier, it's not necessarily a bad smell, but I have a habit of bending over to get closer to the page and I would get a pretty big whiff of the scent.

I can't say that I have been able to recommend Noodler's inks for a while. It's a fantastic budget option (you get a lot of ink for the price, and you can almost always dilute it), but I've been wary of how it performs in recent years. To be honest, I'd rather buy an ink like Diamine. It's a little more expensive, but I haven't had any issues with it.

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