review: j. herbin rouille d'ancre - ink between the teeth

Sep 3, 2018

review: j. herbin rouille d'ancre

I've had J. Herbin Rouille D'ancre for a while now. Time to give it a gander.

I've talked about J. Herbin inks on this blog before, so I won't delve too deeply on the brand. It's been around for a really long time—and I think they may have changed their name to simply "Herbin"? Regardless, their inks come in two (technically three) sizes: a 15ml mini-bottle, the normal 30ml one, and a 100ml plastic jug that's only available for a few colors.

I think the 30ml bottles are cute, but they're not particularly practical. They have a little slot on the top for you to put a pen, but it's made for pointed pens and glass pens, not necessarily for fountain pens. Ones on the slimmer side will fit okay. The bottle is very shallow, so it gets difficult to fill a pen after a while.

Rouille D'ancre is best described as a dusty pink. It's not deeply saturated.
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The test here is pretty close to what it looks like in reality. In my experience, Rouille D'ancre has some very slight shading, but it's an ink that looks very matte. There is no sheen at all.
It dries fairly quickly: on Tomoe River and Midori paper, it was dry to the touch at about the 30 or 40 second mark. However, it is not waterproof at all. You can't even tell there were lines where the water drops used to be.
I don't really own any colors like it. I compare it to TAG Kyo no Oto Adzukiiro, and Sailor Shikiori Yozakura, which are both very obviously different. But, uh, there you go!

Rouille D'ancre is a relatively dry ink. In my TWSBI Eco, I do get a bit of ink starvation. Priming the feed or giving the pen a quick shake is usually enough to get ink flowing nicely. My Eco is what I would say average in terms of flow, and tends to be a better writer with inks that are a little wetter. In my relatively wet TWSBI Diamond 540, Rouille D'ancre works perfectly. I definitely would not put this ink in a pen that tends to write dry; it wouldn't be a good experience at all!

This ink is a bit fussy, but the color is really appealing to me. I don't think there's anything else quite like it, so despite its dryness I've gone ahead and purchased a full bottle.

Where to buy


  1. Nice ink review. Just FYI: Octavia Butler, not Olivia. And Rites, not Rights.

    1. Thanks EB! I made this mistake in an earlier review too. What is it about me that I can't remember Octavia Butler's name? I've read like 50% of her books! I obviously wrote this review out very late at night... thanks for your corrections!

  2. This is one of the few inks that I always have in a pen. It's fussy, quirky and unique, a real character worth getting to know. I have heard it called a "gentleman's pink", which I think is a great description!
    I was initially worried about legibility, but it's a lovely gentle read that makes strong blues and blacks seem harsh by comparison (like turning the contrast up too high and loosing all the subtlety!).
    I tend to favor muted green and brown inks at the moment, and Rouille d'Ancre (along with Scabiosa, another ink I am never without) provides a lovely, gentle contrast.
    People who are quick to judge may be put off at an initial, superficial encounter by the non-generic nature of this ink (and then I don't read their reviews anymore!), so nice to see this eccentric ink getting some recognition here!
    Thanks for your work!

    1. I'm a big fan of Rouille D'ancre too! I thought I wouldn't like it at first, especially because it seems so light and pastel at first glance. The more I use it the more I realize it definitely has to stay a part of my ink collection. It's beautiful fresh out the bottle, but I also like it when it's been sitting in a feed for a little while—it darkens and is even more legible while still keeping plenty of its character.
      Fun inks should always be in the rotation, I think. Life is too short for boring fountain pen inks!
      Thanks so much for reading! Glad you enjoy the review.