Montblanc JFK Navy Blue Ink

Rumor has it that amongst fountain pen lovers there are those who are able to maintain a respectable office position. Kudos to you if you are one of them! And if you have a decent job, you will need at least one decent ink. An ink that will confirm your office appropriateness. Montblanc JFK Navy Blue is just such an ink. But even if you cannot or do not use fountain pens at your place of work, this is a great ink to have in your collection/hoard/walk-in ink closet. This is not a boring blue-black or navy blue ink. Plenty of shading and sheen going on here. And depending on your nib width of choice, Montblanc JFK shows a nice range of blues. Let’s have a look.


Depending on the nib width and the dry- or wetness of your pen, JFK shows quite a lovely range of cool dark blues. I would even classify this as a new-pair-of-denims blue. Dark enough where the ink pools and lighter at the edges and frays. The ink shows a nice sheen in particularly wet nibs, as the line in my vintage Pelikan 140 OBB (yes, I did the eclectic thing and put a Montblanc ink in a Peli…)


This gusher of a nib puts down a near black ink line, very nice! So this ink gives you a range of colors from near black via dark royal blue to a light indigo.

Even office appropriate inks can have hidden aspects. It’s a good guy with a bad boy edge. Is that why it was named after JFK?


The ink is a special edition Montblanc ink and has been re-launched (we’re speaking end of 2016 – early 2017) at a number of pen sellers. In the Netherlands, it is currently sold at Akkerman and in the USA I have seen it on the Anderson site. Not affiliated, just to let you know should you want to go after this ink. On auction sites it goes for triple or quadruple its store price, so be aware of that. It is sold in the special edition 30 ml bottles, which isn’t much for an ink of this color, I think. It is so multi-purpose, you will finish the bottle in no time.

I do love the look of these elegant ribbed special edition bottles, I think it suits the elegance of the ink color itself very well. Although I have yet to experience what it is like to get the last drops out. But you can always transfer it to an ink miser or sample vial for those final drops. The box is very stylish, a clear white box with the Montblanc mount and logo in gray, JFK in navy black blue with a gray outline, John F. Kennedy below that and navy blue in small caps at the bottom. On the sides the capitals JFK are repeated in a glossy finish, a lovely detail.


I always keep my inks boxed to protect the color from sunlight and moist. I am sorry this particular box is slightly dented and have to convince myself that is not a valid reason to get another bottle of this ink. For practical reasons, yes, because I always have one pen inked up with a color that I can use for all occasions, as this ink absolutely is. It is also reasonably waterproof by the way; holding a written piece under running water somewhat diluted the ink but the writing was still legible.

Let’s finish this review with a look at the chromatography. As expected with a blue, the largest part of the pigments is blue as it is a primary color. fullsizeoutput_419.jpeg

The blue pigment has been darkened with pigment that looks to be an oily greenish gray, a color that reminds me of Noodler’s El Lawrence or Diamine Salamander, to obtain the blue-black/navy blue hue. It stayed pretty low in the chromatography while the blue pigments all shot upwards with the water absorption.

So, a work appropriate ink with a nice dark edge, interesting shading and sheen. A classic if you ask me and I would very much like to see this become a regular Montblanc ink.

Do you have a limited edition ink (of any brand) that you would like to be a regular?


Private Reserve Daphne Blue


Private Reserve is an artisan ink maker based in Zionsville, Indiana USA. Terry Johnson and Susan Schube, at the time working at Avalon Jewelers, wanted to offer their fountain pen department customers a wider range of colors than those available through pen brands. According to the Private Reserve website, where I gained this knowledge, they started making inks in their basement. Every aspect of the production process, as is often the case with small ink makers, is done by hand. Their inks became a big success and they had to relocate to a larger facility in Zionsville. At this point in time, Private Reserve offers 53 shades of ink, bottled or in international standard short and long cartridges. Some iconic Private Reserve inks include Shoreline Gold, Avocado, Spearmint and DC Supershow Blue. If I can get my hands on these, reviews will follow and be linked to this item.


Private Reserve Daphne Blue is a light sky blue, leaning towards turquoise. The simple chromatography above leads me to believe that this ink is dyed with one pigment.

Even though it is light in color, it seems quite saturated as it hardly shades in my Lamy nibs. Only in the two broadest calligraphy nibs, this ink shows some nice shading. Perhaps the single pigment accounts for that aspect. If anyone can add to this assumption, please post a comment.


A written pageful is very pleasant on the eye, and I could very well see this ink being used for writing personal letters, gratulation cards for new-borns or in journaling. It is a fun school color and I will and have used it at the office to use as a mild highlighter or comments ink.

It is not waterproof and as such cleans easily. I have had two bottles of Private Reserve inks for over a year and have not experienced any gooey bits or sediment in both (this Daphne Blue and Lake Placid Blue)


The writing samples above are all done with a Lamy Vista, using the Lamy nibs extra fine through the 1.9 mm calligraphy nib. The faux calligraphy title was done using a fine nib to write the basic letter shapes. Then I emphasized the down strokes where a flex nib would put down a thicker line by adding that effect by hand. Where I colored the flex effect in, you can see slight shading.


Some similar inks in my possession are shown below. I think Sheaffer Skrip Green comes pretty close, as does Robert Oster Bondi Blue, which is not included in the picture below. I will link to a review of that ink once that is up.


The paper is a Leuchtturm A5 blank journal.

Thank you for reading. Let me know if there are inks you would like to see reviewed.