Thursday, July 29, 2010

Noodler's Kung Te-cheng Emperor's Purple ink

Another ink I received to review from Lily Kim of JetPens was a bottle of Noodler's Kung Te-cheng Emperor's Purple ink, one of Noodler's specialty inks from the Asia Pacific Bulletproof series. The 4.5 oz bottle is one of the most detailed I've ever seen, showing stylized drawings of Confucius and his 77th lineal descendent, Kung Te-cheng. It was Confucius who noted that the weakest ink is better than the strongest memory, an exhortation to keeping a journal if there ever was one. The ink's color is an imperial purple, deep blue-purple that comes as close to the original as Noodler's could get given the very limited samples available to them.

As noted on the bottle, this ink is the strongest one made by Noodler's and so should be used in eye dropper fountain pens only. For that reason an empty Platinum Preppy fountain pen and highlighter are included with the set, to make your own Emperor's Purple pens.

Being contrary I decided to give the ink a try in my Noodler's fountain pen (a review to follow, but TAO at Bleubug has a very thorough review of these pens). The first thing you notice is how strong the ink smells, a commingling of astringent chemicals laced with a hint of sweet crude oil. (One word of advice: vanillin, try it.) The next thing you see is the eye dropper cap, which is interesting if you decide not to follow instructions.

Inking up wasn't difficult even with the aerometric filler on the Noodler's fountain pen (that's why coffee stirrers were invented), and the ink was taken out for a test drive. As with all the Noodler's inks I've used, it makes the pen a wet writer and there's a lot of nib creep. First go in a Rhodia Webbie produced definite bleed through on the paper; second time with a Rhodia dotPad notepad was fine, heavy shadowing but no ink on the opposite side.

But let's get to the best part of this ink, the color. It is a definite deep blue-purple, so thoroughly mixed that you can't tell which color dominates. It's not blue with a hint of purple, or purple with a hint of blue, but the two together making something totally different. I've enjoyed writing with this ink in my Noodler's pen, just letting the rich color flow over me.

If you're not intimidated by the warning on the bottle, or you don't want to use any of your regular fountain pens with this ink, definitely try out the Kung Te-cheng. I'd been looking at it for some time at JetPens, and was thrilled when I saw it was one of the inks in my goody bag from Lily Kim. It is a great ink color and you should have one like it in your collection.


  1. Purple can certainly be a dangerous ink. I've had some that stained like crazy. This one has great color though. Thanks for the mention of my review too.

  2. I don't get what a "strong" ink is . . . does that mean it will stain a converter?