Ink Notes: Graf von Faber-Castell Hazelnut Brown

GvFC Hazelnut brown bottle

Graf von Faber-Castell (GvFC) Hazelnut Brown is priced and bottled as a luxury ink. It’s a nice heavy bottle and I love the look. Even though a bottle doesn’t do anything for the ink, fancy bottles are all the rage among luxury ink makers. The ink is definitely in the luxury price category, but it’s a 75 ml bottle which helps the price per milliliter a bit. According to Faber-Castell this ink is light fast, which means the color holds up with extended exposure to light, although this is something I haven’t tested.
The ink flow is good, although it’s not a wet ink. I like dryish nibs and this ink suffers a bit for this. As an example, my Pelikan 620 Piazza Novone’s broad nib was ground to a stub by Mike Masuyama at the 2013 Washington DC pen show. I had him tune it to be on the dry side. The ink is good in this nib, with good shading. But it’s obvious that the ink would be better with more ink on the nib. Plus, the line tended to thin out if I write fast.
GvFC Hazelnut brown has a nice, deep brown color that has a hint of red to it. Despite my comments above, the ink flows well in any pen that hasn’t been tuned to be on the dry side. The Piazza Novone was the only pen I used that had anything less than perfect performance.
The ink can’t be called waterproof. There was some trace of what I wrote after the water test an extended soaking would wash it away.
Dry time was pretty good, especially with extra fine nibs, But the drying time goes up considerably with wider and wetter nibs. While the colors aren’t close, Montblanc Toffee Brown is my current brown ink of choice and the GvFC Hazelnut Brown takes about twice as long to dry with everything except extra fine nibs.
Feathering was non-existent on any of the papers I used. It’s a dark ink so there was some show through on thin papers but there wasn’t any bleed through.
This is a nice brown ink that will get as much use as my current favorite brown – Montblanc Toffee Brown. I like the color and the shading. If I didn’t value dry time so much Graf von Faber-Castell Hazelnut Brown could have topped Toffee Brown as my favorite brown. I like the ink and will be keeping the bottle.

Additional Reading

Reviewed at The Pen Habit
Reviewed on FPN

5 thoughts on “Ink Notes: Graf von Faber-Castell Hazelnut Brown

  1. Thanks Ray. I’ve been casually in the market for a new brown to replace my Caran D’Ache Grand Canyon. I’m a sucker for the pretty bottles even though I store them in the box in an Ink drawer. Go figure.

    • Hi Bob,
      I keep mine in the box too. The only reason these aren’t in the ink drawer is because I ran out of room. And I’m a sucker for the bottle too, otherwise I would have done a sample.
      Thanks for reading,

  2. Nice review, Ray. I’ve just written up a review for this one, too, but it won’t be out until next week. I hope to be posting from (and about) the pen show this weekend. Are you going to be there?

    • Hi Mike. I won’t be at the show this year (I sat this as I sit here crying into my beer). I’m sure it will be great but I’ll have to attend vicariously through you and the others posting photos.
      I’m looking forward to see what you think of the ink.
      Thanks for reading,

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