Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Louis Vuitton Rouge Libertin Ink

I remember the first time I heard Louis Vuitton had fountain pen ink, I chuckled to myself because I was 100% sure there was no way I would be willing and able to spend $52 on a bottle of fountain pen ink. A generous reader sent me a sample of Bleu Rêveur and I did a review of it - way back in 2015! Looking back at that review, I also cringe at my handwriting but I guess that's part of the journey.

These bottles are very much like the Caran d'Ache Colors of the Earth bottles with their square shape and heavy glass base. I really like how stable they are because there's no way I want to knock this bottle over while filling my pen because I'll be sucking it off my desk with a pipette to return to the bottle. Or my mouth in desperation if there is no pipette nearby. When it was released, it was basically $1/ml so it's probably the most expensive 50 ml of ink I have. I have several of these LV inks to check out and share now because I borrowed them from a friend so while they are not my inks, its still fun for me. Hopefully it'll be fun for you, too!

Louis Vuitton Rouge Libertin Ink 1

The box is very light and elegant and I really like the simple, clean branding and label. The bottles all match each other with all their labels being just as clean and tidy. I love how they match when they're all lined up. The bottles have wide mouths and are easy to fill from. I have not reached the halfway point in the bottle and I imagine when the ink level is lower, it'll be harder to fill big nibs from but for now there are no issues. Eventually I'll have to switch to just inking the cartridge or using a syringe to fill a converter/piston/eyedropper. This is not a deal breaker for me. A little dip in the base of the bottle would make it easy to get to every last drop.

Louis Vuitton Rouge Libertin Ink 2

Mmmm that red! It's a gorgeous deep red with medium saturation so it still can show some shading. There is no shiny sheen, rather the saturated spots dry down to a matte red. Rouge libertin, or libertine red, is a very interesting name. Obviously it's red. Wikipedia says a libertine is, "A libertine is one devoid of most moral principles, a sense of responsibility, or sexual restraints, which are seen as unnecessary or undesirable, especially one who ignores or even spurns accepted morals and forms of behaviour sanctified by the larger society. Libertinism is described as an extreme form of hedonism."

It gets better. Oxford's definitions are as follows: 

Noun: libertine
1. a person, especially a man, who behaves without moral principles or a sense of responsibility, especially in sexual matters.
Similar: philanderer, ladies' man, playboy, rake, roué

2. a person who rejects accepted opinions in matters of religion; a freethinker.

Adjective: libertine
1. characterized by a disregard of morality, especially in sexual matters. "his more libertine impulses"
Similar: licentious, lustful, libidinous, lecherous, lascivious, lubricious

2. freethinking in matters of religion.

Late Middle English (denoting a freed slave or the son of one): from Latin libertinus ‘freedman’, from liber ‘free’. In the mid 16th century, imitating French libertin, the term denoted a member of any of various antinomian sects in France; hence libertine (sense 2 of the noun).

Well, that certainly gives one something to think about. I remember seeing a bottle of shiraz from McLaren Vale called The Hedonist and the color certainly makes me think of this ink. I'm clearly overthinking this but it's part of the fun of inks with interesting names.

It's a little on the dry side but I have no issues with its flow when writing. It's well-behaved - easy to clean because it's not super saturated, performs well on various papers although I really only use fountain pen friendly paper like Rhodia, Clairefontaine, Tomoe River, Midori, and Maruman, and the I like the color a lot. My go-to red is Montblanc Corn Poppy Red but now that it's discontinued, I'm expanding my palette a little. I'm happy to say Rouge Libertin falls into the true red category for me - not orangey red, thank goodness! - because that's what I want in my reds.

I'm just having fun with my inks as of late and it's been a nice spark of excitement for me in the hobby.

Louis Vuitton Rouge Libertin Ink 3Louis Vuitton Rouge Libertin Ink 4

Pen: Esterbrook JR in Carmine Red + medium steel nib
Paper: Tomoe River

Louis Vuitton Rouge Libertin Ink 5

I hope this has been helpful. Thank you for reading. If you enjoy and/or appreciate this type of information and you want to lend your continued support, please do check me out on Patreon. You can pledge your support for as little as $1. You are in no way obligated to do so, of course. I appreciate your readership and your support so much, so thank you! 

Friday, September 11, 2020

Visconti Medici Rose Sovrano Oversize Fountain Pen

Thank you to Appelboom Pennen for loaning me this beautiful pen! Remember you can shop at Appelboom and use the discount code 'friend' for 10% off! No commission, just a sweet deal for you.

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Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Esterbrook JR Fountain Pen - A New Take on the Vintage Esterbrook J

Esterbrook brings us a new fountain pen, inspired by (inarguably?) one of the most popular vintage pens: the Esterbrook J! At the same time, we have the new Esterbrook Nook in navy blue with a soft red interior, a button closure, and an elastic to keep the pens in place. It's pretty great - it serves well as a case to carry pens but also as a display or holder while working at your desk. I love the soft interior and I really, really appreciate the elastic. Why? I have a similar Visconti zippered pen case and if you ever forget that it's open and you pick it up, all the pens fall out. This has happened many times, unfortunately. It's always followed by a panicked scramble to grab them as they fall and then curse myself for forgetting. Again. 

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Esterbrook introduces their modern take on the famous Esterbrook J series fountain pen: the new JR shares the shape and design of the clip save for the engraving, the look of the marbled material, the streamlined cap and barrel, the Estie cap band, and a steel nib. Unlike the vintage J which fills by a lever, the new JR fills by cartridge/converter - easy peasy to clean and maintain. My Carmine red wrote well out of box - nice, smooth, reliable. The section is really comfortable and the pen feels good and balanced in hand! It does share the smaller size, which is quite different than something like the Estie Oversize! I appreciate this option because as my nerves in my arm/shoulder get inflamed, having a light pen that is easy to write with for longer sessions is a relief. ⁣

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Like many vintage pens, the JR is a smaller pen. Compared to the Camden Composition, the Estie Oversize, Estie Regular, and Estie Slim, it is still smaller than all of them. It is also slimmer, so I do believe they have remained true to the vintage feel of the pen. 

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I think it's a great option for smaller hands and serial posters! I used to be comfortable writing with larger, heavier pens all of the time until I hurt my nerves/tendons in my right (writing) arm. Since then, I have been struggling with weakness and a shaky hand so the lighter, smaller pens have actually been moving into my rotation more often. As such, the JR is super comfortable for me and easy to control. In addition, the #5 nib is small and the section is shaped such that I can get my grip close to the nib. I have good control of the pen especially as it is balanced and light. I don't have to hold the pen tightly to control my penmanship with my shaky hand. It's been a journey to adapt to the weakness and shaking. It's frustrating. 

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A common question is, what nib size should I start with? If you can't try different sizes in person, you could always start with a broad and have it ground by a nibmeister - like at Toronto Pen Company - or you can just take the middle road with a medium nib. The medium on the Esterbrook JR is a nice, smooth steel nib. It serves well as a daily writer because it's not super wet and it's firm enough to withstand a heavy hand. It's a super comfortable pen. The section fits into my grip really well and I can get nice and close to the page for the best control for my shaky hand.

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How does the JR stand out from other fountain pens? I believe the size is interesting, aside from the smooth nib and cute colors (there is a black and blue as well). It's a full size, postable pen without being a pocket pen. There are so many huge, heavy pens on the market - not knocking them, I have some of them! - and there are certainly other smaller pens out there but the JR brings another option to the table. It is extra appealing if you enjoy remakes of classics!

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Thank you to Esterbrook for providing their brand new JR for me to check out and share with you. I received this pen free of charge so I could share my thoughts with you. I hope this has been helpful. Thank you for reading. If you enjoy and/or appreciate this type of information and you want to lend your support, please do check me out on Patreon! You can support yours truly for as little as $1. You are in no way obligated to do so, of course. I am most grateful for your readership as is.

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