Sunday, February 23, 2014

Ink Review: De Atramentis Dianthus

When I was choosing my first fountain pen inks, for some reason I kept coming back to De Atramentis Dianthus.  A deep pinkish purple, it's not the kind of colour I usually go for.  And it's scented - another feature that doesn't particularly appeal to me.  But this ink caught my eye nonetheless and wouldn't let go, so I thought I'd give it a try.

De Atramentis Dianthus in Rhodia dotPad.

And after trying it out, the colour is still the main thing I like about De Atramentis Dianthus.  Although it's very different from the colours I usually like, I think it's gorgeous.  It's a bright, intense, saturated shade that hovers somewhere between purple and pink.  It doesn't have a lot of shading, but you can see it you look closely, and it would probably show up better with a broader nib.  The colour alone is so eye-catching, I don't notice or mind the lack of shading.  We have some Dianthus flowers that bloom in our garden in spring, and the colour of this ink really is close to what I remember of the colour of the petals.

De Atramentis Dianthus in Paperblanks journal with lines from the poem "Burning the Old Year" by Naomi Shihab Nye.  If my writing looks a bit fuzzier than usual it's because the ink was feathering a lot in this notebook.

The flow is nice - so much so that I wanted to start doodling immediately after I inked up my pen and started writing.  It seems to me to be slightly on the wet side.  Dry time is moderate (not fast, but not terribly long either).  The problem is that De Atramentis Dianthus is a bit finicky about the papers that it likes to write on.  On Rhodia, it performs beautifully, but in the Paperblanks notebook I used in my second writing sample (and which usually works well with fountain pen inks), it feathered badly.  It was fine in the cheap dollar-store notebook I wrote the draft of this review in, but it bled through like crazy on a different cheap paper I tried it on.  This is an ink that you'll need to test out for yourself on different papers before you start writing any lengthy missives with it.

However, my least favourite thing about this ink is the scent.  It seems to be a bit strong - not overpowering, but it's definitely noticeable as I write with it (and, given that I tend to have a poor sense of smell, it could be worse than I'm noticing).  Although I'm not usually too fussy about scents, to me this doesn't smell even remotely floral and is not pleasant at all.  The Dong-A Miffy scented gel pens that I reviewed last year smell way better than this ink.

Overall, I have mixed feelings about De Atramentis Dianthus.  The colour is beautiful and the flow is great, but the ink has some problems with feathering and bleedthrough and the scent annoys me.  I won't be buying a bottle of this ink, but I'd still be willing to try out other De Atramentis inks in the future - although probably not any of their other scented inks.  And if you love bright saturated colours and don't have any sensitivity to scents, then De Atramentis Dianthus could be the ink for you!


  1. Thanks for the review! I love De Atramentis inks. However, I do find that they tend to bleed and feather more than other inks. Some colors are worse than others in that respect. It's interesting to see, though, which papers are OK with it, and which ones aren't!

    1. Yes, I definitely noticed the bleeding and feathering. It seemed worst, I think, on the more porous papers. That's part of why Rhodia always works so well, since it has a relatively low porosity.


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