2016 Favourites – Part 2

Now it’s time to talk about my favourite fountain pen inks. Here are my top 5 inks of 2016:

  1. Montblanc Lavender Purple
  2. Diamine Asa Blue
  3. Pelikan Edelstein Mandarin
  4. Montblanc Toffee Brown
  5. Montblanc Irish Green

All of these inks can be often seen in my pens. They have good balances between saturation and shading. They all perform well in any of my pens and do not cause any ink flow or cleaning issue.

My most favourite ink releases in 2016:

  • Lamy Dark Lilac
  • Montblanc Lucky Orange
  • Montblanc William Shakespeare Velvet Red

My least favourite ink releases in 2016:

  • Montblanc Miles Davis Jazz Blue
  • J. Herbin 1670 Anniversary Caroube de Chypre
  • Pelikan Edelstein Aquamarine

Just like the Lamy Safari Dark Lilac fountain pen, the colour matching ink is also quite popular. Personally I really enjoy using this ink, because the ink flow and colour saturation is nearly perfect. This would have made it to my top 5 inks. However my policy is that only regular edition inks can be included in that list.

Montblanc makes a lot of special edition inks, and 2016 was no exception. The Lucky Orange and the William Shakespeare Velvet Red are both beautiful colours. Also they are very different from Montblanc’s regular edition line of colours.

Unfortunately, not all Montblanc inks are as interesting as those two. Among the new releases, I think Montblanc Miles Davis Jazz Blue is the most disappointing one. It is an uninspiring light blue that does not help enhance the writing experience. The J. Herbin 1670 Anniversary Caroube de Chypre is on this list for the same reason as well. Compared to the Emerald of Chivor from 2015, this new one is not exciting at all, other than being a new colour in the lineup. The Pelikan Edelstein Aquamarine is actually quite a popular ink from the last year and it performs well. But unfortunately it’s a colour that I find no use for.

My wishes for 2017:

At this moment, I’m pretty content with my collection of pens and inks. What I own already can cover all that I need. However, that doesn’t mean I won’t add any new items to the collection.

First of all, special editions are always hard to pass. As usual, I plan to add the upcoming Lamy Safari special edition fountain pen to my collection, and I have already acquired the new special edition Lamy Al-star Pacific. I will most likely add the matching colour inks as well. Another set of items that I always collect is the Pelikan Edelstein ink of the year, and the colour matching fountain pen. If Pelikan has the same plan for 2017, I don’t see why I would pass the opportunity.

Other than those more or less routine special editions, there are the occasional “surprise” special or limited edition releases. One good example is the Pelikan Souverän series fountain pens. If a brand new special edition M800/M805 gets introduced, I usually won’t miss it, as long as the price tag is reasonable. I may have to think more carefully if the new release is on a smaller sized pen model, but I tend to collect those pens regardless, considering that there are usually not too many of them every year.

Last but not least, I think there will always be areas of improvement for my collection. In 2016, I finally got a chance to look at the Aurora Optima more carefully and it quickly became one of my favourite pen models. Maybe this year I will find another pen model that is new to me, and can knock some pens out of the top 10 list! There are even models that I have heard of for a long long time, but still haven’t had a chance to actually try out. Maybe 2017 will be a year for these adventures.

So here they are, my favourite pens and inks of 2016, and my personal opinions about some of the new releases from last year. What are your favourites?

2015 Favourites – Part 1

This is my second year coming back to use fountain pens and starting my small collection of pens and inks. It’s a year that I was able to better understand what I truly love for this hobby.

I had very limited knowledge about fountain pens before I decided to come back to the hobby. I had no idea about the huge varieties of filling systems, pen materials, nib materials, and so on. And I guess these are just the basics of any fountain pen design. At the very beginning, almost any kind of design combinations look attractive to me. As the result, I was adding pens that differ vastly into my collection. As I become more knowledgeable about fountain pens, I was able to slowly figure out what particular design directions work the best for me. Therefore I am now having a better focus on what to collect. Also as different pen companies have different designs and how their pens also do not perform in the same way, this makes my collection of pens and inks lean towards certain brands. But before talking about all those details, I think now would be a good time to start listing what my favourites are. Here are my top 10 fountain pens:

  1. Pelikan Souverän M400 Tortoiseshell-White (14K Gold, F)
  2. Pelikan Souverän M805 Stressmann (18K Gold, EF)
  3. Graf von Faber-Castell Classic Grenadilla (18K Gold, M)
  4. Pelikan Souverän M600 Pink (14K Gold, F)
  5. Delta Dolcevita Oversize (14K Gold, F)
  6. Pelikan Souverän M620 Chicago (18K Gold, F)
  7. Lamy 2000 (14K Gold, F)
  8. Waterman Carène Ombres et Lumières (18K Gold, F)
  9. Pilot Vanishing Point Twilight (18K Gold, M)
  10. Montblanc Meisterstück Classique Platinum Line (14K Gold, F)

By now you can probably see that I really love Pelikan and this brand is certainly the most favourite. My preference for the filling system is the piston filling mechanism, and I think Pelikan does the best job in this area. The pistons are always smooth and the barrels hold a lot of ink. While many other pen companies also offer piston filling pen options, Pelikan makes the basic pen maintenance super convenient by designing the nib units to be easily removable and swappable.

Each other pen has its own advantage. The Graf von Faber-Castell Classic Grenadilla has a very smooth and springy 18K gold nib. Its trip to the nib meister turned it from an average medium nib to a wet nib that writes a bit similar to an architect’s point. The pen looks classic and sits balanced in the hand. It is just so fun to use. All the other pens in the list are also good writers and the ones from Delta, Waterman and Pilot are particularly beautiful pens. Being a smooth and reliable writer, my Lamy 2000 is rarely out of rotation. Last but not least, the Montblanc Meisterstück Classique has always been one of my favourites, since it is my first fountain pen. And of course it writes equally as well as the others, if not even better.

These pens are the ones that I love the most and use the most often. There are some honourable mentions that I want to list below. While they could not make it to the top 10, these pens are either very interesting to use, or offering great values for the money:

As for inks, below is my top 5:

  1. Montblanc Lavender Purple
  2. Sailor Jentle Souten
  3. Sailor Jentle Tokiwa-Matsu
  4. Pelikan Edelstein Mandarin
  5. Montblanc Toffee Brown

I love cool colour inks in general, except for the Pelikan Edelstein Mandarin. These inks all flow well, easy for pen maintenance and offer excellent performances on many types of paper. The best part is, they all have a decent amount of shading combining with most paper types and pens.

Once again there are some honourable mentions in each colour range. Please feel free to check out this page.

That’s it for my top 10 fountain pens and top 5 inks for 2015. In the next blog I will continue to talk about other things that made this hobby wonderful, in my opinion.

Thank you for reading!