review: j. herbin stormy grey


IMG_8024Do I need a lead?

I had the luck of winning a Monday Matchup giveaway from the Goulet Pen Company a few weeks back. The prize: a Stipula Splash and a bottle of J. Herbin Stormy Grey. Stormy Grey, which is the new ink in the J. Herbin anniversary line, has been flying off the shelves since it was released late-ish in 2014. It only lasts for a few hours when retailers restock it, and for a very good reason.

Where Bleu Ocean (the 2013 anniversary release) was disappointing in terms of the sheen people had come to expect from the line because of Rouge Hematite, J. Herbin decided to alleviate a bit of the disappointment and skip sheen entirely. Their response: throw a bunch of glitter in the ink. I’m serious. It’s incredible.

Stormy Grey, without the particles, is a graphite-gray ink. If you hold a bottle of the ink to light, you’ll see a purple tint, but this doesn’t appear in use. Stormy Grey would be a pretty good ink if there were no particles, I think–interesting because it’s not a standard black, and useful in every situation–but the particles just bring it to a whole different level.

The ink flows extremely smoothly. Use with dip pens was basically futile since the ink just slipped and slide off the nib, but this means it will probably flow out of your pen with no problems at all. I love using this ink because it’s just so easy to use. It’s definitely an ink I would suggest for use in broad nibs, since they tend to flow wetter and lay down a lot more ink.

After using Stormy Grey for a while, I have a few tips for you. For sure, shake the bottle vigorously to loosen the particles from the bottom of the bottle and spread them throughout the ink before you fill. If you take a while filling your pen–for instance, if you push the air out so you can get a complete fill, you might want to cap and shake before your second fill. After you fill your pen, try to “shake” your pen gently before every use, and maybe every sentence or so: I tip my pen back and forth until I no longer see a layer of particles in the converter. This makes sure that the particles don’t settle while you’re writing.

People have been worried because the box has a sticker warning you to clean your pen often and thoroughly in order to prevent clogs. I performed an experiment–completely consciously, by the way–in which I left the ink in my pen, stored nib down, without use for about two weeks. When I uncapped the pen and attempted to write, the pen barely wrote. However, after priming the feed and scribbling for a few seconds on a piece of scrap paper, the ink began to flow smoothly once again. Thus, in my experience, you don’t need to worry too much about this ink in modern pens. If you are worried, or if you’re using this ink in vintage pens, I would definitely suggest cleaning your pen between fills and using often–which won’t be a problem, I don’t think.

IMG_8064The writing sample above was done on a Quo Vadis Habana Smooth with a Stipula Splash fine/flexible nib. The swabs were done on Tomoe River paper, with a sample written with a J. Herbin glass dip pen. You can see how on some letters, the sparkle is much more apparent: this was mostly because of lighting. The sparkle is much more subtle in a fine-nibbed pen, but you can definitely see it.

IMG_8061My light couldn’t quite pick up the heavy amount of sparkle in the glass dip pen sample, so I snapped a macro shot for you. Just another taste for the road.

You can purchase J. Herbin Stormy Grey from Goulet Pens for $26 or from JetPens for $27.

Please note that the colors present in this review may not be perfectly true to life: there will be color differences between monitors. Pictures I post online are as close as I can possibly get them to the ink that I have. Please keep this in mind, as different factors (such as whether or not the bottle was shaken, the pen used, the paper used, the lighting in the room, etc.) could affect the color!

I received this ink free of charge from the  Goulet Pen Company as I won a giveaway. However, I am not affiliated by the Goulet Pen Company and they did not expect a review in return, nor am I affiliated with JetPens. I’m just a happy customer and fan!


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