Back in late 2019 Monteverde released the Sweet Life limited edition of 10 cake related inks. I suspect (and will probably repeat this virtually every review of the set, so I will apologies now) that blueberry muffins are a favourite snack of one of the Yafa Brands office staff. Certainly I have enjoyed the occasional muffin though I am more likely to choose chocolate.
A nice maroon colour which does actually remind me of blueberry juice, so an ink name well chosen. As with many Monteverde inks, it seems to work well with any fountain pen/paper combination. It also appears to be well lubricated.
The first pass of the swab shows that even a very dry pen should produce easy to read writing. The second pass may have been too wet when applied. As such the third pass above is actually lighter, though also richer. The fourth pass makes the red more plummy and has interesting dark edging.
On the Midori MD paper there were a couple of oddities, but nothing too untoward. This was to do with the first two pens. The needlepoint wrote smoothly, almost as if it was a a fine or medium. The line laid down was dark and concentrated, but not flooded. This was not excessive ink flow. Conversely the OMAS nib felt dry, something it should not do. I suspect I should have left the pen a little longer to prime. Having said that there is very little feathering unless you really look closely. Again, like the needlepoint, the SIG nib wrote smoothly, but I think I expected it by this time. There was a little rail roading at the start of long downward strokes at first, but I think this was just the ink flow not reaching its working level. Finally the Pelikano appeared to produce lighter writing, but with a lot of interesting shading. Basically I think this ink worked well with this paper.
Unsurprisingly all four pens wrote well on the Black’n’Red Optik paper. There was darker, more saturated writing all round, yet no indications of any real pooling or feathering. It might be my imagination but there actually might be slightly more variation in shading with the OMAS writing than on the Midori paper.
The Tomoe River paper produced greater results with interesting shading from the dryer nibs. Here the Pelikan Pelikano produced the nicest writing for me, with a good balance of dark and light. The splodge at the bottom shows just what a wide variation of shades Blueberry Muffin can produce.
Shading and Sheen
There is some nice variation with the shading Blueberry Muffin produces. Sure the wetter and finer nibs do not exhibit this so much, but with the right pen and paper combination this can be an interesting ink.
This is not a sheening ink.
Flow and Consistency
This ink flows really well. None of the nibs needed to be primed (caveat – the converter was filled through the needlepoint nib). The interesting thing is how it works with the dryer nibs without flooding the wetter ones.
I would suggest this ink has an average dry time with the five second test showing some smudging, but not the ten.
In the UK you could only buy this ink as part of the box set with the 30ml bottles, however the marketing photo above infers the Sweet Life inks were available separately including in 50ml ‘portable ink capsules’ and the standard 90ml Monteverde ink bottle..
While I only show four comparison swab cards here, I did have a similar number which were just a bit too blue or a bit too red.
First up a couple of very similar inks and also …. other limited editions which are no longer available. The Monteverde ink is slightly lighter but the three are close.
With these two inks (which are both regular lines) you can see that De Atramentis Black Red is not that far out from Blueberry Muffin with similar writing, though the swatch card does indicate it is probably a considerably dryer ink. The Rohr und Klinger looks closer in natural light than the above scanner produced image would indicate.
Originally this set would have been £90 in the UK, meaning £9 per bottle. This is actually about the normal price for a regular Monteverde ink meaning you are not paying extra for a limited edition. There are a number of problems this ink faces though. First it is comparatively expensive compared to the produce of Diamine and J. Herbin (regular line with the latter), though it also should be remembered Monteverde inks are a lot cheaper than the produce of Sailor, another brand with a large catalogue. Second, in the UK anyhow, it is hard to find any where selling Monteverde inks, never mind a limited edition from a few years back.
I have actually enjoyed using this ink. The colour of Blueberry Muffin suits my tastes, but more importantly this ink seems to work with everything I have thrown it at. Wet or dry nib, it just seems to work.
I just have two caveats with this ink. The first is you are going to struggle to get it, either as part of the box set (though this is still possible) or separately. Secondly, as mentioned in my main set review, two of the bottles in this box have shown signs of mould. Now the person who gave me the samples may have just been unlucky (they have over 300 bottles of ink and this is the first time they have been hit by mould), it could just have been an issue with those two bottles, or it could have been an issue with all of production. Still if you can buy a bottle by itself then it may well be worth the risk.
- The Well Appointed Desk Col-o-ring ink testing cards.
- Midori MD A5 paper (cream page writing sample).
- Black’n’Red Optik A5 paper (white page writing sample).
- Rhodia Dotpad No. 16 (drying tests).
- GoodINKPressions A5 Tomoe River 68 gsm paper (white paper, this ink blot test at bottom).
- 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).
- Letter opener for the ink smear on the Tomoe River paper.