This blog, well the fountain pen part, came about partly through my interviewing Luca Baglione of Scrittura Bolognese over the launch of the Feel in October 2018, which had just occurred with the help of Write Here of Shrewsbury. It was being recorded by Penultimate Dave and between them I finally had my armed twisted enough to write my first piece. What does this have to do with Grigio SCRIBO? Well off the back of the interview I ordered one of the first Feel pens to be sold directly from ScriBo. This first batch, and just the ones sold through the maker, came with a 20ml bottle of a unnamed ScriBo ink which matched the corporate colours and the grey-blue pen I had just bought. This is this ink was a beautiful colour but also rather wet, however it was also running out. Over two years passed before ScriBo launched their ink range and amongst them was Grigio SCRIBO. The question must be, is it the same ink?
Rather than a grey-blue ink this is more of a grey with bluish tints. Quite unlike the original this version is very dry, but it does seem to match the colour of the original ink and also the grey-blue resin of the launch Feel and Piuma pens. The ink does appear to share well.
You an see from the top that this ink is very dry and at first was not happy being swabbed. Come the second pass things improved, possibly with the cotton bud being more saturated with ink. The third swipe is actually about 2/3rds the way down and the start of where the ink becomes really dark, however you can also see a difference between than and the fourth swipe, which is just at the very bottom.
On the Midori MD paper the writing experience showed just how dry this ink is. Looking at the writing everything is fine but you could feel the surface of the tipping more on a couple of the pens. The needlepoint felt so rough I did wonder if it would pull fibres up from the paper and oddly the OMAS nib felt like it was dragging after a short while. With the latter I think the ink flow was not enough and you can see the ink fading slightly towards the end of that section.
Oxford Optik paper can be very forgiving, good for showing sheen, but also can also slow ink drying times. Here the needlepoint still felt scratchy though no longer as if it was going to gouge the paper. The OMAS worked well here, showing just how much of a difference paper types can make.
Shading and Sheen
This ink shades very well. From the writing samples on both types of paper you can clearly see where the ink has pooled at the start of letters and where lines cross over.
This is not a sheening ink.
Flow and Consistency
The ink is very dry, however it still flows well and does not stick to the side of the converter. With the very needlepoint it felt like I was using a scratchy nail but the pen kept writing. With the usually wet OMAS you could again feel a lack of lubrication on the paper, however with this nib, despite the ebonite feed, the ink struggled to keep up with the writing. There were no such problems with the Franklin-Christoph SIG nib, but then their nibs are tuned to be dry by default and I think that helped here. Interestingly enough the Pelikan Pelikano wrote as if this was a far wetter ink, perhaps this is a benefit of a starter nib (as well as the more forgiving shape of the tipping).
I will admit this is weird. With the swabbing and much of the tests this ink has been really dry, and it was so with the first pass with the Pelikan nib, however I re-primed the nib on that, wiped off the excess, and suddenly it was writing wet. In all honesty I would suggest the ink drying times are closer to the first set. This is a gut feeling though based across all the pens.
While I only have a sample vial of this ink you can see from the above picture that it normally comes in a four sided glass bottle which holds 90ml. Thought has obviously gone in to the design of these bottles with the view that the owners may keep them in boxes or draws for not only do the bottles neatly and safely stack upon one another but the cap comes with a label showing a good representation of the ink contained within. The front label also shows the colour, which could be useful once the bottle is near empty.
I only have swab tests for a couple of inks with similar writing, however both are darker. It should be noted that Diamine Earl Grey is considered to have purple tints, not blue.
For me this was the key test. Is the ink the same as the original which was given away with the initial Feel pens sold directly by ScriBo. The answer is they are very close, with the new ink being slightly darker when saturated, but not enough for it to be noticeable on the writing comparison. The one big difference is ScriBo have moved from a very wet ink to a dry one, and for pens with OMAS and ScriBo nibs this should actually be more usable as before the line being laid down was too wide due to the excess of ink.
At £35 for 90ml this is reasonably priced for a luxury ink. Slightly more expensive then Pelikan Edelstein, regular Montblanc, and Graf von Faber Castell, but also slightly cheaper than Pilot Iroshizuku and Sailor Manyo. Sailor Shikiori and non-base Montblanc inks are considerably more expensive.
Thing is, as with most 50ml+ size bottles, you are not going to run out of ink any time soon, in fact you will probably not be looking to replace a bottle of this size for years unless you are a prodigious writer with just a couple of bottles.
The good news is this does appear to be the same colour, with the same shading as the original grey-blue ink, however it appears to have been reformulated. The original was so wet it turned ScriBo and OMAS nibs in to fire houses. My original ScriBo Feel had a fine nib but wrote closer to a generous medium by the time the ink had settled and dried. Here we have the polar opposite with a very dry ink which may actually benefit from a dryer or finer nib to work well. I am quite probably going to try the remainder of this sample in my Grey-Blue Feel and see how well it works.
Alas this is not an ink that can be used in any pen, but it is still attractive and where it works it does work well.
- The Well Appointed Desk Col-o-ring ink testing cards.
- Midori MD A5 paper (cream page writing sample).
- Oxford Optik A5 paper (white page writing sample).
- Rhodia Dotpad No. 16 (drying tests).
- J. Herbin glass dip pen with the tip slightly smoothed (used the writing on the ink test cards).
- Franklin-Christoph 451 CDLI with a Mike Masuyama Needlepoint steel nib.
- OMAS 360 GM with a broad 18k gold nib.
- Franklin-Christoph 19 ‘1911’ with a broad SIG steel nib.
- Pelikan Pelikano with a starter/A steel nib (also used for the drying test and writing in the pocket book).