- Where to buy: Blackbird Inks [Here]
- Price: £5.95
- Bottle size: 30ml
- Price/ml: £0.20 (2dp)
- Colour: Black
- Shading: Not much
- Sheening: No
- Recommend?: A no fuss black from a brand you can trust. Will come in handy in a lot of applications.
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. 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. You can find the reviews here (all links open to a separate tab)-
- Kingfisher Blue
- Mallard Green
- Sand Martin Brown
- Blackbird Black (this review)
- Robin Red
- Starling Purple
Mabie Todd was known for their flagship pen series, The Swan. So famous it was called the pen of the British Empire. Their ‘budget’ version of this range was known as The Blackbird (there was also The Jackdaw and The Swallow). I think this is a nice nod to the Mabie Todd of past, by calling this ink as such. Not sure what else it could have been called. Penguin Tuxedo Black? Magpie Black.. Okay, I guess there’s a few. But none as relevant as Blackbird.
Remember to salute your magpies!
Blackbird Black is a no fuss black. It’s not the deepest darkest black I’ve ever seen, but I have to say, it does do a very nice job in that respect. Though, what I’ve heard is that Aurora Black is the pinnacle of dark black blacks. I’d be interested to see how this compares, but unfortunately all I have to offer you is Diamine Onyx Black and Parker Quink as a point of reference. I’ve also included Robert Oster Grun-Schwarz as well.
I think it is fairly useful to have a look at this ink compared to Parker Quink (which was my first ink by the way) because both are “vintage brands modernised”. Of course, the Quink bottle that I have isn’t from the vintage Parker era, but it’s a brand known for inks behaving incredibly well and could have a slight vintage feel to it because of the brand’s prior reputation; much like Waterman inks. I hear their inks are very nice as well as very well behaved too. I find that Mabie Todd’s Blackbird Ink range falls into this, as I called it, “vintage modernised” category. Blackbird Black is definitely slightly more saturated than Quink, however.
I wrote this with a Platinum fine nib, so in part the good performance may be attributed to the pen (though, being so fine it is quite wet). The performance is good – very little feathering and no bleed that I can see – showthrough is incredibly unnoticable as well. I think using these inks, and perhaps this in particular, would be fantastic in a finer nib if you’re using paper that you’re not in control of. Exam ink, anyone?! (He says, using Noodler’s for exams).
As good as the performance is on good and poor paper, I wouldn’t advise writing on wet paper, good or bad. Though, I wouldn’t recommend that even with a waterproof ink. You can still make it out, but most of the colour does wash.
Some occasions call for a straight up no fuss black ink. This is what you want. Well behaving and from a brand that you can trust. Very happy with this ink and it’s one I would be consulting in the future, no doubt. I’d be extremely interested to see how this compares to the Swan ink back in the 20th century.
Disclaimer: I was sent this ink in exchange for an honest review. All views expressed are my own.