Ink & Pen Notes: Montblanc Meisterstück Ultra Black LeGrand (OM) with Montblanc Bordeaux

Montblanc Ultra Black LeGrand (OM) with Montblanc Bordeaux bottle

I matched this fountain pen and ink back on November 25th, when the pen first arrived (This Just In post with my first impressions). It seemed only fitting to pair the new Montblanc Meisterstück Ultra Black LeGrand with my absolute favorite ink, Montblanc Bordeaux.

It took a long time to write this pen dry, over two months. This is much longer than I would have estimated. Even though it’s a large capacity piston filler taking two months to write dry gives the impression that I didn’t like the combination. That would be the wrong impression.

Montblanc Ultra Black Fountain Pen oblique medium nib front view

The oblique medium nib is a factory nib, not a custom grind. The pen fits my hand well and the oblique nib meets the paper perfectly with my natural grip. But it’s a finicky nib. If my writing position isn’t stable it will skip a lot. I often write on a lap desk, or on the unstable left side of an open notebook. In these situations I often have to work too hard for the writing experience to be enjoyable. My note taking can also be a little haphazard so I avoid the pen for that too. I’m writing the draft of this article at my desk, on a sturdy Doane Paper writing pad and it’s a great experience.

I already refilled the Montblanc Ultra Black with the same Montblanc Bordeaux ink. Curiosity may drive me to try another ink in this pen, but I think these two will have a long-term relationship. I still have three unopened bottles of the long-discontinued Bordeaux (ink, not wine). I did mention that it’s my favorite ink, didn’t I?

It’s a great fountain pen and nib for the times I want to just sit down and write (at a sturdy desk or table).

Montblanc Ultra Black LeGrand (OM) with Montblanc Bordeaux writing sample

Ink & Pen Notes: Sailor Pro Gear King of Pen (M) with Montblanc Lucky Orange

Sailor Pro Gear KOP (M) with Montblanc Lucky Orange bottle

Lucky Orange is Montblanc’s latest Limited Edition ink and a recent addition to my ink accumulation. I picked the Sailor Pro Gear King of Pen with a medium nib as the inaugural fountain pen for the ink. It’s the sixth ink for this pen and it’s third straight orange.

I have to say, Montblanc Lucky Orange is my favorite orange ink so far, although it hasn’t been perfect. I admit to having a bias towards Montblanc inks since they usually perform consistently well in my pens, especially my typical thin nib, and I expected (and want) to like this ink.

Dried Montblanc Lucky Orange in the feed

As usual the Sailor KOP performed well. Lucky Orange is a straight-on, vibrant orange. There wasn’t any real shading or line variation with this nib. The flow was consistently good. This was despite the feed showing signs of the ink drying out more than usual. I didn’t have any problems with the ink drying out on the nib when I was using the pen, even with pauses of about 2 minutes. The ink was easy to clean from the pen.

The ink seems to go onto the paper nearly dry but that’s an allusion. I had a few accidental smudges while taking notes as the dry time is longer than I expected. I needed about 30 – 45 seconds to avoid smudges, depending on the paper. The drying time is my only complaint about this ink.

The ink lasted well over a month. I typically used the pen to write headings as I took notes. I did use it for regular writing on occasion, but a full page of this bright orange is a bit bright if I (or anyone else) wants to read the page.

I considered giving it a second fill of Lucky Orange but decided to try the ink in a thin nib next. I already know I like it with this one and I’m curious about how the ink will do in a fine or extra fine nib.

Montblanc Lucky Orange is a Limited Edition ink, but like most LE inks there’s not much of a clue as to how limited it is (or isn’t). Since Montblanc doesn’t have an orange in their ink lineup I decided to risk a purchase of two bottles. I don’t regret the purchase.

Both Montblanc Lucky Orange and the Sailor Pro Gear King of Pen will soon return to the rotation, just not together.

Sailor Pro Gear KOP (M) with Montblanc Lucky Orange writing sample

Ink Notes: Montblanc Ultra Black

Montblanc Ultra Black

Montblanc is easily my favorite ink brand and I readily try buy any of their ink. Well, not so much the blue ones, but the others for sure. I find that the inks work well in my thin nibs, are well behaved and work on all types of paper. So I had high hopes when I picked up a bottle of Montblanc Ultra Black at the Washington DC Pen Show.

Unfortunately this ink was a disappointment.

The color is a nice dark black, although not the darkest. Aurora Black and Platinum Carbon Black are two that come to mind as darker inks. This wasn’t a negative for me since I never equated “Ultra” to “the darkest” and I was happy with the color. Unfortunately the ink doesn’t match any definition I could assign to “ultra”.

Maybe it was me, but I was always smudging this ink, even in an extra fine nib. Plus I kept having to wait before turning a page in my notebook. While the dry time with the extra fine Lamy nib used in the writing samples was a very reasonable 2 seconds, that was an anomaly. The Visconti Homo Sapien Bronze Age was the fountain pen I used as a daily writer with this ink and the dry time was close to 10 seconds on Tomoe River paper and not much faster on Write Notepads paper.

The ink has very little water resistance although it was mostly legible after the drip test. The water soaked up a lot of dye and it was a grey mess that wanted to stain everything it touched. That’s why I was surprised that it was so difficult to flush from my pen. The Homo Sapien isn’t the quickest pen to clean but it took what seemed like forever to flush this ink from it. Eventually I just filled it with water and left it nib down in a tissue to wick the ink out. I ended up refilling the pen even though there were still traces of ink in the tissue.

Admittedly my problems with this ink a subjective based on what I expected and how was to use the ink. I don’t find the color of this ink to be anything special and there are plenty of other black inks out there. As this is a special edition ink it does have a premium price, about $19 for a 30ml bottle. But it’s the other ink properties that ruin it for me. It seems out of character for what I expect from a Montblanc ink. Montblanc Ultra Black isn’t “ultra” for me in any way.

Ink & Pen Notes: Pilot Vanishing Point Left Oblique with Montblanc Bordeaux

Cherry Bamboo Pilot Vanishing Point Left Oblique nib with Montblanc Bordeaux ink bottle

I inked up my Pilot Vanishing Point left oblique nib with Montblanc Bordeaux ink back on April 29th and refilled it once since then. One of the things I like about the Vanishing Points is that it’s super easy to swap the nib (filled with ink) between barrels. This one spent most of its time in the Cherry Bamboo barrel, but it did spend a couple days in each of my other Vanishing Point barrels.

While the click-action Vanishing Point is well-suited for quick notes, the left oblique nib is not. At least not for me. While the left oblique nib is perfect for my Vanishing Point grip, it does require a consistent writing angle. So the nib mainly gets used for longer writing sessions at a desk or table. The nib is a custom grind, of a factory medium, done by John Mottishaw.

There’s not much to say about Montblanc Bordeaux. It sits solidly atop my Favorite 5 inks list and will soon return in another fountain pen.

As for the Vanishing Point left oblique nib, it will be a regular visitor to my rotation but will take some time off.

Ink and Pen Notes: Omas 360 Vintage LE and Montblanc Golden Yellow

Omas 360 Vintage LE with Montbanc Golden Yellow ink bottle

This has been a week to write fountain pens dry. The latest pen to go dry is the Omas 360 Vintage LE filled with Montblanc Golden Yellow. I feel compelled to mention that this pen is vintage in name only.

I filled the Omas back on March 13th, wrote it dry once, and then refilled it. Now that it’s dry again I decided to put the pen back into storage.

As I mentioned in my review, I really shouldn’t like this pen. But I do. It’s ended up being a specialty pen for that I pull out occasionally, not one I use as a daily writer. Despite being such a large piston filler the Omas doesn’t hold very much ink and it doesn’t take long to write dry. It’s also prone to evaporation.

My first outing with the Montblanc Golden Yellow was in the Visconti Bronze Age, and it was not great experience so it was flushed early. The Omas is a much wetter nib and the ink liked it much better. It’s a nice yellow color that’s surprisingly easy to read and has some nice line variation.

I used the pen primarily to write headings for my notes or to make some notes stand out. That’s not a lot of words, so I did use the pen for some longer sessions of a page or two. During these extended sessions the nib began to dry up and it wasn’t as wet and I noticed some dry ink higher up on the nib. Washing this off improved the flow, either because of the added water or because the dry ink was a problem.

The Omas 360 Vintage LE is extremely comfortable in my hand, even with the triangle shape. The Montblanc Golden Yellow was easy to flush from the pen. I’ll limit it’s use to wetter nibs and use it when I’m looking for something different.

You may notice the nib is labeled as a medium. It started that way but was ground to a fine.