Sunday, February 12, 2012

Review: De Atramentis Wine Series Scented Merlot Ink

This is a review of the De Atramentis Merlot ink for fountain pens. 
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“Exclusive handmade ink made of wine”? I was idling in Paradise Pen (even though I prefer not to shop there), scanning their selection of De Atramentis inks. There was chocolate, blackberry, and vanilla but I couldn’t really get an idea of the colors through the bottles. Plus, I have a pretty decent selection of colors at home so I didn’t want to overlap too much. Then suddenly! Waaaay in the back, I spotted “merlot” and I thought, hm, interesting!
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Seriously. Look at it. Don't you want to drink it? Or lick it at least? 
De Atramentis inks are hand made in Germany to order, offering you a nice, fresh ink. And, this particular ink really is made of wine - achieved by mixing appropriate grapes, resulting in the right scent and color. It is made to European regulations and is safe for fountain pen use. And yes, it really is scented; It smells like a sweet merlot.

The ultimate writing experience - a gorgeous, rich color with a sweet, delicious scent! The scent is more obvious with wetter nibs (not surprising), but once it’s dried, it doesn’t smell anymore. And it’s not a horribly overpowering scent so it won’t radiate off your page while you write (and then your boss won’t think you’re drunk at work). 

Overall, I am very pleased with this ink. I usually pick ink based on color, and each time I add one to my collection, I try to pick something very different to what I already have. At some point, I’ll have to start overlapping colors! This ink totally makes me think of merlot. It behaved well on this 24 lb paper - no bleedthrough, good flow, moderate shading, but not waterproof. It also took quite awhile to dry - around 60 seconds. This isn’t much of a deterrent for me, it just means I won’t use it on slick papers or when I’m in a rush. In my current experience with De Atramentis inks, they are watery so the long drying time does not come as a surprise. While I did not notice any ink feathering on heavy weight paper, there was slight feathering on paper that is not made for fountain pens (i.e Moleskine/Piccadilly paper - not shown here in pictures - but you know what did handle it like a pro? My Miquel Rius red soft bound journal!!).
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Normal scan. It looks very cold. 
Merlot warmed Resized
I am not as talented as Brian Goulet is at color-correcting his swabs (in fact, I have no idea how to do it) so in effort to give you the best possible chance of seeing what the color looks like (to me anyway), I've presented several viewing options. This here is the sample with a warming filter, which, in my opinion, takes away the stark contrast of the white paper to the ink, making it seem less "harsh". 
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Obviously, a picture. Although the ink looks darker, I still think this is the best representation of the ink on paper.
Writing Sample
Writing sample close up (with warming).
Given the cost of $15.50, the ink is ~$0.44/ml. I really have never calculated the cost per ml of my inks before so I have no idea how this compares. But if you know what your inks cost per ml, I calculated this one for you (math is hard). 

I was kind of surprised it didn’t come in a box but when I think about it, it doesn’t really need one. (If you order from Goulet Pens, you’ll never need a box anyway since they are the royalty of packers.) It's less packaging and thus, less waste.

See more

Paradise Pen - $15.50
Art Brown - $17.50
Goulet Pens - $15.00 coming soon!

A great gift idea for wine lovers, ink lovers, or those who may be both! Just a warning: you should not drink it. It’s not the cheapest ink you can find out there but it’s really nice color - professional enough to be used at work! And yet, still very nice to look at. I’m a big fan of unusual inks and I think De Atramentis certainly brings that to the table, so add this one to your list! Others in the series include exclusive handmade inks made of Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Bordeaux, whisky, beer, and more!


Tennille Amber said...

Ohhh....I love it. Absolutely delicious. I now want some but would have no idea where to find this delectable item in my sunny but frigid city....the ink would probably freeze before I could dip my frozen nub into the pot. giggle

Colin Purrington said...

So you really didn't taste it?  Such restraint!

GourmetPens said...

HAHAHA frozen nub. I love it. I suspect it wouldn't be available readily in the Peg. Do youuu like fountain pens and ink toooo? :D The ink is not for drinking. ... Or is it...

Peninkcillin said...

Dang I had no idea these inks were made out of real wine. Gotta taste me some!

GourmetPens said...

Well, I really think in the interest of being a thorough blogger, I will have to taste it. 

GourmetPens said...

I couldn't figure it out at first but it's a neat ink! And as I said to Colin, I think in the interest of being a thorough review, I should taste it. 

Shangching CH said...

I was perusing Goulet's latest offering, and I am surprised that De A did not make one with rum!  It would be so delicious and aromatic, wouldn't it?
The color reminded me of the 1670 ink by J. Herbin, perhaps with a bit more purple.  Nice review as usual!

GourmetPens said...

You're right.. it does look a lot like the 1670. I love that ink too! Hmm I went perusing but you're right, they don't seem to make a rum ink. Surprising!

Shangching CH said...

Now I think of it, why is there not a Riesling?  I thought German Riesling is well-known??  Now I sound like an alcoholic.

GourmetPens said...

Hahahaah well, I'm not one to judge. They have such a huge range of inks already, I suppose they have to stop somewhere!

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