Mabie Todd Blackbird Ink Overview

Recently I have found myself down another rabbit hole, still in the pen hobby, but more niche. Mabie Todd fountain pens. Unfortunately, Mabie Todd ceased production, but now the brand has been resurrected and this begins with a line of inks: Blackbird Inks (to pay homage to Mabie Todd’s previous line of inks, Swan Inks). So to say I am really excited about this is an understatement as it brings new inks and new pens. I have an offering of six inks to review for you. As per my usual method, I will do an overview and then individual, more in depth reviews, over the coming weeks. These inks are made in England – operating in the same way Mabie Todd did back in the 20th century. The pens will also be made in England, which is why the release will be a bit later on because it’ll take longer to manufacture than outsourcing. Though, well worth the wait and stays true to the Mabie Todd brand that brought us the pen of the British Empire.

All the inks are named after birds, which is a great theme. You can buy the inks here directly. Links to independent reviews will be uploaded as and when they’re made – all links open in a separate tab. The inks are:

Kingfisher Blue

Mabie Todd Kingfisher Blue fountain pen ink reviewThis one had to grow on me, and now I really love it. Kingfisher Blue isn’t a stand out vibrant blue that I usually like, such as with Diamine Blue Velvet, and I think I was expecting something like that. Not to say this is dull, but if it was a spectrum of ‘vibrant – dull’ then this ink would probably sit somewhat in the middle but still on the ‘vibrant side’ slightly. This isn’t a royal blue sort of colour.

Mallard Green


Some of you will know that I have an aversion to green inks, but there are two that I keep in my collection: Montblanc Irish Green and Rohrer & Klingner Alt Goldgrün. The latter of which I love because it looks so bloody ugly it’s almost cute. If pond water could be used as an ink, it would be that – and I love it. I don’t know why. Apparently I find greens ugly, but ugly greens nice. Anyway, Mallard Green lies more towards the ‘ugly pond water’ colour of Alt Goldgrün than it does the vibrancy of Irish Green, but boy do I love this colour. I shall compare it to Alt Goldgrün in the independent review.

Also, I love ducks.

Sand Martin Brown

Sand Martin Brown fountain pen ink

I don’t think that browns get enough attention and it’s a fairly versatile colour family. You can have earthy browns (Caran d’Ache Organic Brown (aptly named)) and on the other side of the spectrum really nice chocolatey browns (KWZ Cappuccino comes to mind, as does Montblanc Toffee Brown). I think this sits in a nice middle ground, though may be more of an earthy brown. I will be honest, I didn’t actually know what a sand martin was. Bloody cute things they are.

Blackbird Black

Blackbird fountain pen ink review blackI say that every line needs a blue, black, possibly a red and maybe a purple. I would be extremely upset if Blackbird Inks didn’t take the opportunity of calling their black ink exactly that – Blackbird Black (as Swan White would be slightly impractical). I sound very silly whenever I say “this is a nice black”, but it is. When writing with it, it’s a very strong black colour.

Robin Red

Mabie Todd Robin Red fountain pen inkI know, I know. I was thinking the same. This is more of a vibrant-orange red. When I first inked up the pen with this I actually cleaned the pen completely and reinked because I thought I had left too much water in the pen from the last cleaning or something. Though, because it’s not a straight up red it makes it easier for me to use it, as you know I don’t like using red inks for general writing very often.

Starling Purple

fullsizeoutput_179eThis is a lovely purple. I don’t think I can say much else. I love purple inks; it’s my second favourite colour family after blue (blue will never be unseated). I’m looking forward to comparing this to other inks. It’s not as vibrant as something such as Lamy Dark Lilac, but it’s not dusty like Diamine Damson and not as pinky as Diamine Tyrian Purple, though I think this is the ink that it’s closest to. At any rate, I’m gonna enjoy reviewing this one (not to say I won’t the others!)

So that’s the lineup of the Blackbird Inks as it currently stands. I’m so enthusiastic about this project and happy to see that Mabie Todd are coming back. While I have been sent samples to review, and as enthusiastic I am about it, all views are my own; I’ll still be calling it as it is (which is my passive disclaimer!)

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