Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Erin C. Reviews Iroshizuku Syo-Ro Ink

(Guest Post by Erin C. with some fantastic ink pics!)

Having followed pen, ink & paper blogs for the past 2 or 3 years, it was quite a thrill to be the lucky winner of Pocket Blonde's one-year blogiversary giveaway. I promised Diane a review several weeks ago and today, having just read Notebooker Esq.'s review of Private Reserve Burgundy Mist, I am inspired to finally review Diane's giveaway prize: a bottle of Iroshizuku's Syo-Ro ink. Diane was also so kind as to include a Field Notes memo book.

I laughed in recognition at Notebooker, Esq.'s describing the goal of writing "the world's best ink review" as daunting as there are so many variables involved in an ink's performance. That said, I will list the two variables I can control.

Paper: Basics notebook journal with Clairefontaine paper (sent to me by Karen Doherty, VP of Marketing at Exaclair)

Gallery Leather Co. planner
Field Notes notebook (Diane sweetly added this with the ink she sent)

Pens: Parker 51 Flighter (F)

Lamy Safari (F)
Commander - American vintage lever-fill (M)
Parker Vector (broad Italic nib)

The ink flowed silkily across the Basic notebook's Clairefontaine paper, as you seasoned inkophiles might have guessed, with minimal to no show-through and no feathering. This held true with all of the pens, except where I wrote over a letter 3 times and of course you couldn't expect it not to go through in that case.

In the Gallery Leather Co. planner, the ink did show through as the paper is not as heavy as the Clairefontaine. The paper in the Field Notes memo book was absorbent, so bleed-through did happen, but no feathering.

The Iroshizuku ink has been reviewed as having “nice flow” and therefore is more prone to those characteristics. I would chose Noodler's or maybe Lamy ink in a fine point, such as Pilot 78G to use in Field Notes journal.

Iroshizuku's bottles are as beautiful as perfume bottles, if not more so. It has been discussed by many as a pricey ink, but if there is a color you like, it would be a worthy splurge. Plus, as mentioned in other reviews, there is the feature of a cone-shape at the bottom to enable you to draw up the last drop of ink.

I want to thank Diane at Pocket Blonde for the opportunity to try this ink. Syo-Ro (Pine Needle Dew) is a beautiful color, combining blue with green in a very subtle way. I would have called it Ocean.


  1. Erin C. congratulations on winning the Syo-Ro and your detailed review of it. It is indeed a gorgeous blue-green colour although it seemed to vary in tone in your sample using the vintage lever fill pen.
    Even the bottle looks elegant and classy.

  2. Great review, Erin! Any thoughts on the "psychology" of Syo-Ro? Is there an "Oh Wow!" factor? Would you use Syo-Ro for letters, postcards, business? (I agree, Notebooker, Esq. is doing good stuff.) Jack/Y-town

  3. Thank you, razide! I appreciate your comment. Yes, the color does vary from fine to wide nibs and with the paper.

    Jack, Thank you for your feedback. The "Oh Wow" factor starts with the elegance of the bottle. I think that does influence your opinion of the ink. The performance of the ink has been good in each pen I used it in. No skips or clogs. Syo-Ro, being a greenish-blue, would be perfect for personal correspondence and even business, depending on the type of business.

  4. Thanks, Erin! I'm a "reviving penman". Have to say I admire you, Note Booker, Esq., PB, and others for moving beyond the standard-issue black 'n' blue. (Is there someone in the community who's "working the spectrum"?) I've got a few colors, I like 'em---not sure I'm getting it yet, though. Thanks again, Erin. Jack?Y-town

  5. Anonymous,

    For someone "working the spectrum," check out The Harmless Dilettante. What industriousness . . . 156 inks reviewed at last check!

    Also, you can look up a review of just about any ink at The Fountain Pen Network. The ink review forum is here and the index of reviewed inks is here. Have fun!