Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Wordless Wednesday

August 16. 2017 - Wordless Wednesday 1
August 16. 2017 - Wordless Wednesday 2
August 16. 2017 - Wordless Wednesday 3
August 16. 2017 - Wordless Wednesday 4
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Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Ink Shot Review: Diamine Music Bach @AppelboomLaren

Thanks to Appelboom for sending this ink for review!
Ink Shot Review Diamine Music Bach @AppelboomLaren 8
Ink Shot Review Diamine Music Bach @AppelboomLaren 6

ABOUT

Ink Shot Review Diamine Music Bach @AppelboomLaren 3
Color: Brown
Bottle: 30 ml
Price: $54.01 USD (without tax) for the full set!
Where to buy: Appelboom
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Ink Shot Review Diamine Music Bach @AppelboomLaren 1
Ink Shot Review Diamine Music Bach @AppelboomLaren 2
Ink Shot Review Diamine Music Bach @AppelboomLaren 4
Ink Shot Review Diamine Music Bach @AppelboomLaren 5

PROS 

  • What a delectable, deep brown!
  • Adorable little bottle.
  • Bottle is easy to fill from when it's full.
  • Comes in a cute set with a storage box.
  • Shades beautifully.
  • Easy to clean.
Ink Shot Review Diamine Music Bach @AppelboomLaren 7

CONS

  • When your bottle gets low on ink, it's hard to fill from. 
  • Some bleed through with wet use.

OVERALL

I don't have a whole lot of brown inks, but this one is beautiful. It's such a rich, saturated, deep brown. It makes me think of delectable chocolate rather than Bach... which isn't a bad thing. 


I received this item/these items free of charge for the purposes of this review. I was not compensated monetarily for my review. Everything you've read here is my own opinion.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Review: Benu Pen Supreme Collection Nebula Fountain Pen

Thanks to Benu Pen for sending this absolutely gorgeous pen for review! The Supreme Collection Nebula is currently a campaign on IndieGoGo so please do check it out!
Review Benu Pen Supreme Collection Nebula Fountain Pen 18
Review Benu Pen Supreme Collection Nebula Fountain Pen 19
Review Benu Pen Supreme Collection Nebula Fountain Pen 6
Review Benu Pen Supreme Collection Nebula Fountain Pen 12

ABOUT

Body material: Resin
Trim: Chrome
Cap: Screw on
Posts: Yes, friction
Clip: Yes
Filling System: Standard international cartridge, converter, or eyedropper
Nib material: #6 Schmidt steel
Length (capped): 132.06 mm/5.19"
Length (uncapped): 126.69 mm/4.98"
Length (posted): 172.21 mm/6.77"
Length (section): 23.24 mm/0.91"
Diameter (barrel): 11.62 - 14.80 mm/0.45" - 0.58"
Diameter (section): 10.57 - 11.0 mm/0.41" - 0.43"
Weight (all): 25 g
Weight (cap): 11 g
Weight (body): 14 g
Price: Pledges start at $98 but this particular finish is $180
Where to buy: IndieGoGo campaign

PACKAGING

The Benu Pen Supreme Collection Nebula was presented in a cute, whimsical little cardboard box. The box was deep grey with silver glitter, and had 'Benu' printed across the top. The lid can be removed and there is a bed of shredded brown paper inside. On top of the paper, the pen is rolled up in Benu kraft paper with a piece of twine securing it.
Review Benu Pen Supreme Collection Nebula Fountain Pen 1
I love it. It's simple, minimal packaging that is recyclable - no plastic! It's nice and it works.

APPEARANCE

The Nebula is a beautiful pen. It's a round pen, widest at the top of the cap and tapering towards the end of the barrel. Both ends of the pen are smoothly rounded, slightly flat ends. The clip is attached to the cap with a wide metal band that is secure and does not slip around. The clip itself sits fairly close to the cap and is plain. There is no center band or other trim on this pen. Near the end of the cap, there is a subtle engraving of "Benu' in the material.
Review Benu Pen Supreme Collection Nebula Fountain Pen 2
The section is smooth and round, tapering slightly towards the nib before ending in a flared ridge. There are cap threads at the back of the section. It looks and feels like a full size section. It doesn't look small to me, and it seems proportional to the rest of the pen.
Review Benu Pen Supreme Collection Nebula Fountain Pen 13
Enough of that description. The highlight of this pen is, without a doubt, its stunning finish. The base is a deep black with subtle glittery sparkles throughout the material. It's not a very obvious glitter so it does not take away from the beauty of the barrel. The barrel is sprinkled with blue, green, yellow, pink, and silver glitter. I love the effect and how unique it looks. It is like holding a little nebula in your hand! LOOK AT IT!
Review Benu Pen Supreme Collection Nebula Fountain Pen 14
Review Benu Pen Supreme Collection Nebula Fountain Pen 15
Two more things I love about the finish - the ends of the barrel actually have a thin clear layer, so it looks like the glittery material is floating. It's hard to describe but it's beautiful in person. This is a pen that really appeals to me, even though cigar shaped pens are my favorite, this finish is irresistible!

NIB & PERFORMANCE

The nib on the Supreme collection is a #6 Schmidt steel nib. The nib has a single slit, a round breather hole, and it is engraved with some flourishes, the nib size (B), and Schmidt Iridium Point. I have used about fifteen Benu Pens and they have all performed really well. No nib issues. This one is no different! It is a fairly smooth writer with a touch of feedback; it's well tuned, well adjusted, medium wet, dries pretty quickly, and offers just a little line variation. It's a solid, reliable, consistent writer that really is just right. It's not an outstanding or unusual writer in any way, but it works really well.
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Review Benu Pen Supreme Collection Nebula Fountain Pen 8
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This is the only thing that I really take issue with on this pen, because the pen is otherwise so special and unique that the Schmidt-branded nib takes away from it a little. There's nothing wrong with a Schmidt-branded nib, but it feels like an incomplete package.

IN HAND

The clip is spring loaded and it's really easy to operate one handed. It's safe to attach to papers, pouches, and pockets because it doesn't tear as you remove it. 

The section is long and comfortable, with smooth threads and no sharp ridges. I really like the shape and design of it, it's not slippery, and it works well for longer writing sessions.
Review Benu Pen Supreme Collection Nebula Fountain Pen 3
Review Benu Pen Supreme Collection Nebula Fountain Pen 4
Review Benu Pen Supreme Collection Nebula Fountain Pen 5
Unposted, the pen is perfectly comfortable, well balanced, and it feels great. It works well for me for long and fast writing sessions and I never felt the need to post the pen. The cap is designed to be posted and it does so pretty securely, but it makes the pen feel too long and unbalanced in my hand. I would have to grip too high up on the section - almost on the barrel - to make it feel balanced. I like the idea but I don't think it was necessary because the unposted size is comfortable enough. For me, anyway. It also looks a little silly when it is posted.
Review Benu Pen Supreme Collection Nebula Fountain Pen 10
Review Benu Pen Supreme Collection Nebula Fountain Pen 9
The filling system is a simple standard international cartridge/converter and the pen can also be used as an eyedropper. That's fun if you want more ink in the tank, but the downside is you can't see what your ink levels are as you use it. 
Review Benu Pen Supreme Collection Nebula Fountain Pen 11

PROS & CONS

Review Benu Pen Supreme Collection Nebula Fountain Pen 17

OVERALL

The Supreme Collection Nebula is a gorgeous pen. It is well made, performs really well, is practical - cap can post snugly (although I do not like it posted), the clip is effective, the nib is solid - but most of all, it's all these things and it's gorgeous. What a stunning, unique finish! I find that hard to pass up. The price of the pen nears (some) custom pen prices, and you can also get pens around this price with a gold nib elsewhere. The downsides for me are the price and the unbranded nib. Again, there's nothing wrong with a Schmidt nib, but it's such a unique pen otherwise that the generic Schmidt logo is a bit dull.

Who is this pen for? Anyone attracted to the finish, anyone who likes the shape, comfort, and practicality, anyone who just wants to try a new pen or add a different pen to their collection... the pen is for everyone, if it suits you!





I received this item free of charge for the purposes of this review. This post was sponsored and all that means is I was monetarily compensated to shift this review to the top of the queue. I have done my very best to be objective and honest. Everything you've read here is my own opinion. Some of these links are affiliate links, which provides me with a small commission but does not add any extra cost to your purchase. Some links are just referral links, but there is no obligation to purchase through any of these links. Your purchases through my links help support this blog and allows me to fulfill review requests. Either way, I appreciate your readership and your support so much, so thank you!

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Sunday Reads: August 13. 2017

Sunday Reads


Stuff I Looked At Elsewhere
Stuff I Apparently Did This Week

If you're doing any browsing and shopping, please do check out my sponsors in the side bar, because they help make all this possible. Some of these links are affiliate links, which provides me with a small commission but does not add any extra cost to your purchase. Some links are just referral links, but there is no obligation to purchase through any of these links. Your purchases through my links help support this blog and allows me to fulfill review requests. Either way, I appreciate your readership and your support so much, so thank you!
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Saturday, August 12, 2017

Ink Shot Preview: Diamine Music Inks @AppelboomLaren

Appelboom sent me a set of the Diamine Music Inks - the adorable little boxed set - to review! This set of inks is more muted and subtle than the Diamine Flowers Inks I recently reviewed. They're so tiny and cute, and at 30 mls each, it's easy to justify having a set.
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Here's a quick glance at the set in their little box home! The price listed in individual reviews is for the full set!
Ink Shot Preview Diamine Music Inks @AppelboomLaren  1
Ink Shot Preview Diamine Music Inks @AppelboomLaren  2
Ink Shot Preview Diamine Music Inks @AppelboomLaren  3
Ink Shot Preview Diamine Music Inks @AppelboomLaren  4

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Review: Aurora 88 Anniversario - Fine Flex Nib @CouronneduComte

I ordered this pen from La Couronne du Comte after missing out on the red one. Although I was unsure how well the flex nib would work, I didn't want to pass it up!
Review Aurora 88 Anniversario - Fine Flex Nib @CouronneduComte 13
Aurora celebrates its 70 year anniversary with the 88 Anniversario. There will be a total of eight colors released throughout 2017, with each piece limited to 188. This yellow comes after the blue and red, was released with the orange, and will be followed by brown, green, gold, and chrome.

ABOUT

Body Material: Resin
Trim: Gold
Cap: Screw on
Posts: Yes, friction
Ink window: Yes
Filling system: Piston-filler plus hidden reservoir
Nib material: 14kt yellow gold
Length (capped): 135.8 mm/5.35"
Length (uncapped): 130.4 mm/5.13"
Length (posted): 155.0 mm/6.10"
Length (section): 27.1 mm/1.07"
Diameter (barrel): 11.7 - 14.0 mm/0.46" - 0.55"
Diameter (section): 10.5 - 12.8 mm/0.41" - 0.37"
Weight (all): 23 g
Weight (cap): 8 g
Weight (body): 15 g
Price: € 620,00 with VAT - knock off VAT + 10% with my discount code and it becomes more tasty!
Where to buy: La Couronne du Comte
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10% off (excludes Montblanc)

PACKAGING

Although this pen is an anniversary special, Aurora has kept the packaging mostly consistent. I like this because it looks uniform and tidy if you choose to keep your boxes. The 88 Anniversario is presented in a large, dark clamshell box with an Aurora anniversary-branded sleeve. The side of the outer box has the nib and pen details. The clamshell box has a leathery feeling to it and has the Aurora logo on top. The inside is a dark leather-like material. The removable bed holds the pen in place and there is also a bottle of ink along with it.
Review Aurora 88 Anniversario - Fine Flex Nib @CouronneduComte 1
Review Aurora 88 Anniversario - Fine Flex Nib @CouronneduComte 2
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There is an Aurora booklet under the bed with company details/history, pen information, instructions for best use, filling ink, etc. If you are new to fountain pens, this is worth reading through.

The presentation is elegant and classy, but for someone who doesn't keep boxes, I always prefer the most minimal approach. It looks great as a gift though!

APPEARANCE

The pen is the modern 88 model. It is a rounded cigar-shaped pen. The finial is a polished yellow dome and is unmarked. The clip is attached by a metal ring around the top of the cap. I really like the shape of Aurora's clips. It is a smooth, curvy clip that ends in a teardrop. On a simple pen, it looks great. The pen is numbered in a black script: 175/188. The black stands out against the yellow, which you may or may not like. I don't mind it.
Review Aurora 88 Anniversario - Fine Flex Nib @CouronneduComte 4
Review Aurora 88 Anniversario - Fine Flex Nib @CouronneduComte 9
There is a center band located at the end of the cap. It is engraved with 'Aurora' and has two thin black rings in it. It's a simple but attractive center band. There is also a thin metal band at the end of the piston-turning knob. The section is fairly long, tapering slightly towards the nib and ending in a flared ridge. There are resin threads at the back of the section, and a clear, double walled ink window. The ink window is not visible when the pen is capped, and the cap band connects smoothly with the barrel.
Review Aurora 88 Anniversario - Fine Flex Nib @CouronneduComte 16
The cap, section, and barrel are a solid yellow resin. It is well polished and does not look cheap or flimsy. Of course, they could have made this spectacular using their Auroloide, but the yellow resin is still a cheery, pleasant color. The clip, center band, and all other trim is yellow gold. Of all the colors being released for this series, the yellow is my favorite, followed by the red and orange.

The pen appears well finished and well made. I observed an evenly-spaced, very small gap between the finial and cap ring but that's about it. Minor detail because it looks like it was intentional.

I have mixed feelings about the choice to use plain, solid colors for this special pen. While the yellow is pretty, I cannot help but think a special Auroloide would have been far more special and outstanding, especially for the asking price.

NIB & PERFORMANCE

The nib is supposed to be the highlight of this pen, of course. Aurora developed this flex nib in an attempt to reproduce vintage flex, from what I understand. Before I go on, let me just say this: I think it's great that a company is still making their own nibs and exploring different kinds of nibs. But, quite simply, it is not vintage flex, but I am grateful that someone is trying.
Review Aurora 88 Anniversario - Fine Flex Nib @CouronneduComte 14
Review Aurora 88 Anniversario - Fine Flex Nib @CouronneduComte 15
The nib is a cute one. It is a solid 14kt yellow gold nib with wide shoulders and long, rather seductive tines. It is an interesting shape with the wide shoulders and thinned out tines. I find this design interesting because most of my vintage flex nibs have narrow shoulders and modern flex nibs usually have either the same narrower shoulders (i.e. Omas extra-flessible, Pilot Falcon) or cut outs in the shoulder to make the nib softer (i.e Marlon Aleph, Pilot FA, Franklin-Christoph flex nibs, etc).

Unlike what the fountain pen community was expecting, the nib does not have the Aurora scrollwork design. In fact, it's rather plain. It has a single slit, a round breather hole, and it is engraved with the Aurora Italy logo, 14K 585, and a hallmark. There is no nib size but all the flexible nibs in this series are fine points.
Review Aurora 88 Anniversario - Fine Flex Nib @CouronneduComte 19
I was expecting a nib something like the Omas extra-flessible nibs - soft, wet, super smooth - maybe even too soft. This one is definitely a fine writer, and it gives a nice, clean fine line with normal writing. It feels firm to me and there is a lot of feedback that borders on scratchiness. I have never used a nib with so much feedback before, and although Aurora nibs typically have some feedback, this is a bit too much for truly pleasant writing. It's noisy, regardless of paper type. I did not experience many hard starts but occasionally it did skip during normal writing sessions (without pressure). I don't think this was because the feed was dry, but because the tines were slightly misaligned from (trying to) flex it and the wrong angle gave way to a skip.

As for being a flex nib... the nib is pretty firm. If you compare it to Aurora's regular nibs, then yes, perhaps it is 'soft', but compared to another soft/semi-flex nib, it's firm. It is not soft when writing and it takes a fair amount of pressure to achieve noticeable line variation. It's not vintage flex, and it's not even a soft nib, but it can offer some line variation so it does qualify as semi-flex. All this flexible terminology can be confusing. What I mean is: it does not feel soft, but since it CAN offer line variation with sufficient pressure applied, it is semi-flexible, but not a soft semi-flexible. If you apply too much pressure, the tines will not snap back in place and ink flow will be hampered. If this happens, you must close the tines and apply less pressure. The amount of variation you can safely achieve is not a whole lot - perhaps a fine to a fat medium, maybe a broad if you really push it.
Review Aurora 88 Anniversario - Fine Flex Nib @CouronneduComte 22
 I did not find it soft or easy to flex so it's easy to use as a daily writer. It's a fun nib because some line variation is possible, but it's not super flexible. The snap back is not fast enough to feel like a responsive flex nib. It offers line variation similar to what I can squeeze out of a springy Visconti Palladium nib or a Pilot Falcon, only with more effort. If you use moderate pressure, you'll get slight line variation but the feed will keep up pretty well. To really push it, I did extensive writing mixing pressure in - it kept up well with moderate pressure and started to railroad with a lot of pressure. The performance in this regard is not bad - the nib hardness limits the line variation so ink flow keeps up. With some other modern flex nibs, the nibs are so soft, the feed can run dry so you can actually flex more than ink flow keeps up.

The good thing about this nib being firm but still being capable of line variation is a new user unfamiliar with flex nib is less likely to spring it than they might a really soft vintage nib.

IN HAND

Have I mentioned I love this clip? It's a snug clip that can be lifted. The tear drop ball at the end is angled underneath so it can be slid on and off papers, pockets, and pouches. It's tight enough to hold the pen in place as well.

The piston-filling mechanism has an interesting design - a hollow piston that houses some extra ink. It's great if you run out of ink but requires some attention when you're cleaning.

The shape of the section is comfortable and long enough to accommodate most grips. The threads are super smooth so will not bite your fingers. The flared ridge at the nib is somehow unnaturally hard and hurts my fingertips if I end up gripping it. The section is not slippery, even with longer writing sessions.
Review Aurora 88 Anniversario - Fine Flex Nib @CouronneduComte 5
Review Aurora 88 Anniversario - Fine Flex Nib @CouronneduComte 6
Review Aurora 88 Anniversario - Fine Flex Nib @CouronneduComte 7
Unposted, the pen has a comfortable length and is on the light side. It feels well balanced. I think if you have larger hands, you'll have to post it to give it more length. The cap can be posted snugly by friction and it gives the pen a bit more weight and length, which feels right and more comfortable for me. I love that it isn't a super heavy metal body. It's lighter and doesn't tire out my hand.
Review Aurora 88 Anniversario - Fine Flex Nib @CouronneduComte 12
Review Aurora 88 Anniversario - Fine Flex Nib @CouronneduComte 11

PROS & CONS

Review Aurora 88 Anniversario - Fine Flex Nib @CouronneduComte 20

OVERALL

I like the Aurora 88 model. I have previously reviewed the Black Satin version with rose gold trim and I am definitely a fan of the features and the design. The yellow is a pleasant addition to my colorful pen case and I enjoy using a variety of nibs, not just for work-type reasons but also for creative fun. In that regard, this nib is enjoyable. The major downside, in my opinion, is the price of this pen. You can get a softer, more flexible nib (Pilot Falcon, for example) for far less.

As I said: quite simply, it is not vintage flex but I am grateful that someone is trying. The downside is the pen is quite expensive for a semi-flex, and although I justified it to myself (piston filler, gold nib, 'flex' nib, limited edition), it's just flat out expensive. I think it's an expensive way to release a new nib and is not easily accessible as such. Especially because it's limited to 188 pieces!

Am I happy with it? Yeah, for the most part. Sometimes the price tag of a pen doesn't match the value and enjoyment you get out of it, and in this case, my enjoyment is a bit lower than I was hoping for relative to the price, but I like to experience different nibs and I am satisfied I was able to try it out. I have fun with it.
Review Aurora 88 Anniversario - Fine Flex Nib @CouronneduComte 10



I received a discount on this pen so I could review it here! I have not been compensated monetarily for writing this review. Everything you have read here is my own opinion.

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GourmetPens by Azizah Asgarali is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
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