Friday, April 25, 2014

Ink Review: J. Herbin Vert Olive

When I was choosing my first fountain pen inks, I had my eye on two J. Herbin inks - Vert Olive and Orange Indien.  I liked the look of both of them, but since I already had two orange inks on my list, I decided to go with the Vert Olive.

J. Herbin Vert Olive in Rhodia dotPad.

Vert Olive is... an odd colour.  I'm not sure that I would have described it as an olive green.  To me, it looks like a lighter, brighter, and yellower version of Rohrer & Klingner Alt-Goldgrün.  That should be a good thing, because Alt-Goldgrün is one of my favourite inks, but Vert Olive is a bit too light for me.  I really love this shade of green, but it's simply not dark enough to make it easy  to read.  It might look okay in the writing samples here, but photos can be deceptive and I'm not so sure about reading an entire page (or two) of this ink colour.  That said, I am (as always in my ink reviews) using my Lamy F nib, so maybe this colour would work out better in a broader nib.

J. Herbin Vert Olive in Paperblanks journal with lines from Mary Oliver's most well-known poem, "Wild Geese."  As always, not much shading on this paper.

Vert Olive's shading is terrific.  It seems to me to be a bit... softer (or something like that) than the shading in some other inks I've tried.  It adds some character to my writing without being too obvious.  The flow of the ink is also great and very smooth.  Bleedthough is typical: you're probably going to see some on cheaper papers, but probably not on good papers.  Feathering seems to be minimal even on cheap paper (and of course is not present at all on good paper).  Drying time seems around average, and perhaps a bit faster than some.

Scan of the writing sample.  Sorry about how this looks.  It's white on my computer, but when I uploaded it to Blogger it turned this awful greyish colour.  Weird.

Overall, J. Herbin Vert Olive leaves me feeling conflicted.  I love the colour, the shading, and the flow, but I don't think it's an ink that I would want to use regularly for writing.  It should be great for doodling and sketching though, and I think some of J. Herbin's other greens will be in my future (I particularly have my eye on Vert Empire).  Despite my uncertainty about the practicality of the colour, I do like Vert Olive and if you don't mind a colour that's a bit on the light side, I would recommend it.

Related reviews: Peninkcillin, Spiritual Evolution of the Bean, The Well-Appointed Desk, Ink of Me Fondly, Without Ink, Seize the Dave, Good Pens, Pens! Paper! Pencils!, Inkophile.


  1. Ah! Ink kin of Alt-Goldgrun! Great review. I find this ink looks outstanding in a very wet flex pen because of its shading qualities. Delicious.

    1. Ooh, yes, I bet that would look lovely! I don't think it's really ideal for a fine nib.

  2. I've found the Vert Olive is too faint, too. The Rohrer green-gold ink is very nice. I like it very much. Another Herbin green ink that is too light (for my liking) is the Vert Pre. Perhaps I'll use it and the Olive to mix with other shades, but on their own, they are very hard to read.


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