Ink & Pen Notes: Visconti Homo Sapien Bronze Age with Monteverde Burgundy

Visconti Homo Sapient Bronze Age with Monteverde BurgundyI filled one of my favorite fountain pens, the Visconti Homo Sapien Bronze Age with an extra fine nib, with Monteverde Burgundy back on February 12th and wrote it dry on April 5th. I’m a little slow getting these notes out even though there’s not much to say.

The ink & pen both performed nicely. This is Monteverde’s older Burgundy ink, now replaced by Napa Burgundy. I like the color of Napa Burgundy a little better, but the performance is similar. The flow was good and problem free. Dry time was on the long side of normal for most inks, meaning it was a little slow for my taste and I did have a few accidental smudges. But it wasn’t a bad experience and I wouldn’t avoid using this ink in the future, although not in a wide or free-flowing nib. The color is a little muted, which I sometimes like, and sometimes don’t.

The inked cleaned as well as any other ink from this Visconti. It’s a tedious process. Plus, ink has a tendency to collect where the feed meets the section. Normal flushing doesn’t clear this ink and I admit to letting it build up a bit and only dealing with in every two or three cleanings. It was time. This process has me hold the nib/section in the ultrasonic cleaner. Then fill the pen with water, wrap the nib in tissue and put it in a tall shot glass to wick the ink out overnight. This time around I repeated the process a couple more times. I can’t clam complete success since there’s was still ink on the tissue even after the third time. But I decided it was enough since the water was clear when it came out of the pen and I use safe, pen friendly inks in this pen. The Visconti Homo Sapien material likes to soak in the ink.

Normally the Visconti Homo Sapien would already be back in the rotation, but I want to write a couple more pens dry. While I won’t avoid the Monteverde Burgundy in the future, nothing about the ink makes me eager to pick it over other inks.

Visconti Homo Sapient Bronze Age with Monteverde Burgundy writing sample

Additional Read

Reviewed on Fountain Pen Network


Ink & Pen Notes: Visconti Homo Sapien Bronze Age (EF) with Montblanc Lavender Purple

Visconti Homo Sapien Bronze Age (EF) with Montblanc Lavender Purple bottleI inked up the Visconti Homo Sapien Bronze Age with Montblanc Lavender Purple back on December 8th and was immediately disappointed. One thing I’ve liked about most Montblanc inks was their ability to have a little “pop” along with line variation, even in my fine and extra fine nibs. Not so for this Montblanc ink, at least in this pen with this extra fine nib.

The line put down was more of a dark blue-black than purple, with no line variation. Then to make matters worse it’s slow to dry, leading to many accidental smudges. Those smudges do bring out the purple in the ink, so at least there’s that. If I use white paper in good light I can call that thin line purple. I’ll give the ink a try in a medium nib. There are those who love the ink so I have no doubt the right nib will improve the color, although it will probably lead to even longer drying times.

There was heavy show through, especially considering the thin nib, in the Write Notepads wire bound notebooks I use for much of my business note taking. There wasn’t any actual bleed-through.

There was some rumors of a reformulation when the ink was unavailable at retailers a couple of years ago. This was a recent purchase, so if there was a reformulation I certainly have the reformulation, not an older bottle.

The Homo Sapien has a power filler, like a vac filler, and does not come apart for cleaning. I wouldn’t normally make this a first pen for any new ink, especially a purple which has a reputation of being a harder to clean color, but Montblanc inks have always been easy to clean (waterproof inks aside). So I gave it a try since I wanted to try this ink and keep the pen in the rotation. This was easily the most tedious of my inks to clean from this pen. After 15 minutes of filling and flushing I gave in and held the nib in the ultrasonic cleaner for another 15 minutes or so. After this and a couple more flushes and shakes into a tissue the water seemed to run clean. I filled the pen with water, wrapped it in a tissue, and left it nib down in a shot glass overnight. In the morning the tissue was caked with ink, mostly from where the feed inserts into the section. Lots of ink in those nooks and crannies. So some more flushing and it’s back in the shot glass tonight. If there’s still signs of ink I’ll give up and just fill the pen to get it back in the rotation.

Except for drying slower than I would like the ink performed great. Flow was excellent and problem free. I plan to give the ink a try in a medium nib next, I suspect it will look a lot better. I’ll also pick a converter pen to make cleaning easy. It may be awhile, but the ink has potential so I will give it another try.

The Visconti Homo Sapient Bronze Age is a favorite, so it will be back in the rotation later today, although I haven’t picked the ink yet.

The Homo Sapien Bronze Age is long overdue for a full review, but there’s more information and pictures in my year old This Just In post.

Visconti Homo Sapien Bronze Age (EF) with Montblanc Lavender Purple writing sample

Review: Visconti Dreamtouch Leather 3 Pen Holder

Visconti Dreamtouch 3 pen case full with SheaffersI picked up the Visconti Dreamtouch Leather 3 Pen Holder a few months ago and have been enjoying it ever since. Once a year or so I order from overseas. Usually for items that aren’t available in the US, such as Pelikan Blue-Black ink. Even though it’s available in the US I added this case to the order. I’d done some research and picked this case as my solution but was holding back because of the price. The exchange rate gave me a significant savings, plus it brought me above the free shipping threshold from Cult Pens.

Rather than buying it because it’s a nice case, which it is, I bought it because it’s the one pen case I found that met my current requirements. Cases for three pens are the sweet spot for me since I often carry three pens when I’m out and about. I had been using the Nockco Sinclair but it didn’t meet my current requirements, although I’ll certainly continue to use it.

I have three Sheaffer Balance IIs that I love using, despite their medium nibs. The pens have the reputation of being fragile (and feel it), especially around the clip. Mine are still crack free and I’d like them to remain that way as long as possible. They’ve been home-bound because I’ve been afraid to take them outside the house. I love using the pens and they give me a nice trilogy of pens and ink – a grey or brown in the Aspen, red in the Crimson Glow and green in the Jade Green model. They are too nice to ignore so I wanted a way to carry them in relative safety.

I wanted something that was more rigid although it didn’t have to be a fountain pen bunker. I wouldn’t expect it to survive me sitting on it, but I wanted it to survive in my iPad bag which is my typical carry these days. I didn’t want it to cause damage if the iPad ended up on top of the pen case. It also had to protect pens from bouncing notebooks or keys. I also wanted it to hold all three pens securely without using the fragile pen clips.

The Visconti 3 Pen Case is the one I found that met my requirements, plus it does look good. I just had to get past the price, which I obviously did.

The case has a rigid bottom which keeps it from bending. This was important to me because I’m more concerned about an indirect hit putting pressure on half the case that I am about it being crushed under a large object. The top panels are also rigid although there’s a hinge between them. The sides are rigid except for the zipper which has cloth along it’s length, which doesn’t provide any support. While it’s not a fountain pen bunker it does provide good protection without requiring that the pen be clipped in place. Overall, I think the case provides very good pen protection.

The pen slot dividers run the entire length of the case and are attached to the bottom along the entire length of the case. The don’t flop around and do feel like they are also attached to the bottom side of the case. The inner lining is soft and has a felt-like feel. It doesn’t appear as if it will scratch or wear the pens at all. Unless of course some sand or other grainy particles get caught inside it.

The zipper is exposed to the inside of the case. The zipper teeth are small and fairly smooth along the inside. The zipper is metal. The position of the zipper, high relative to the pens rather than along the middle, plus the small zipper size makes me confident that it won’t scratch my pens. That said, I can’t rule out a series of unfortunate events that could cause it to scratch a pen since it is exposed. Wrapping the pens in a protective cloth, or a protective sheet along the zipper side would eliminate my concerns, but that adds a complication I decided was more of a hassle than the low risk deserved.

I used the case for a couple of months with my regular carry pens to build my confidence that it will protect my more fragile fountain pens. Then a couple weeks ago I inked up my three Sheaffer Balance IIs and moved them into their new home. I don’t have any complaints about the case and it’s protected my pens well. The Sheaffers are the few pens I have that I consider fragile, requiring special handling. I’m not about to see how much abuse they can take inside the case, but I am confident they are safe in there during my normal travels. My only concern is to make sure I don’t run the pen over the zipper as I take it in and out of the case. The cover opens wide and the zipper is easily avoided, it’s my carelessness that I worry about.

“Dreamtouch” is the name Visconti gave to their leather processing. It tends to turn me off when manufacturers give a made-up name to their process, since it’s meaningless to me. I’m more concerned about the result and the name doesn’t help determine that. That said, the leather is smooth and soft and it does appear to do a good job of resisting abuse. Scuffs have been easy to work out so far. There is some creasing where the hinged top attaches, but no signs of cracking. Being black every spec of dust is highlighted in the photos. In real life it has a much cleaner, dust-free look.

Three months of normal use isn’t exactly an endurance test, but the case has held up well. The stitching seems solid and there isn’t any sign of it coming apart. Normally I like my cases to show they’ve been used. This case has had a few scuffs which really stand out on that black leather, which I don’t like. I’ve been able to work them out with just my fingers. The zipper is another potential failure point but it seems to be holding up well.

The case fits all except my largest pen, a Edison Huron Grande. My Franklin-Christoph Model 66 just fits in the center slot, although it doesn’t fit in the side slots. Both the case and pen have an official length of 6.3″. The Model 66 does press against the top end but not enough to affect the zipper operation. It’s a bit hard to remove since friction holds it in place. I haven’t tried all of my pens but I’m confident any others will fit fine. Because the pen clip won’t hold the pen in place smaller pens may rattle around a bit but that isn’t a concern for me.

I’m very happy with the Visconti Dreamtouch Leather 3 Pen Holder and it’s been used daily since I got it. Now that I’m confident in it’s protection, my 3 Sheaffer Balance II fountain pens have claimed it as their new mobile home. I’ve enjoyed having them with me which makes the case worth the money.

Additional Reading

My Pen Needs Ink – 3 pen case review

The Pencilcase Blog – 6 Pen Case review

Ink & Pen Notes: Visconti Homo Sapien Bronze Age with Lamy Dark Lilac

Visonti Homo Sapien Bronze Age Extra Fine with Lamy Dark Lilac ink bottleI inked up the Visconti Homo Sapien Bronze Age with Lamy Dark Lilac ink back on May 15th and refilled it once since then. It has an extra fine 23kt palladium nib that I love. The Visconti Homo Sapien is my favorite fountain and has been since I first wrote with it. I’ve been concentrating on using a variety of inks in it. While I may refill the pen with the same ink if I don’t clean it, but once it’s time for a cleaning I pick a brand new ink for the pen. The Lamy Dark Lilac is the sixth ink for this pen.

Lamy Dark Lilac is a Special Edition ink released this year. Actually, it seems to have passed to limited edition status as supplied have already started to dry up. I’ve also been using this ink in a Lamy Safari with a medium nib.

This ink and pen worked fine together, after all I did refill the pen once. But I wasn’t overly impressed with the look of the ink with this pen. It was a rather bland, dark purple on anything but the whitest paper. On the other hand, I really liked the look of this ink with the Lamy medium nib. So, a pen I love and an ink that shows promise in another pen, yet together they are rather bland. The ink performed well, no skipping or hard starts, it just didn’t pop off the page.

The Lamy Dark Lilac, while a fine ink, is not an ink that will return to the Visconti Homo Sapien. It’s still in the Safari and will remain there.

The Visconti Homo Sapien Bronze Age remains my favorite pen so it will be back in the rotation sooner rather than later.

Ink and Pen Notes: Visconti Homo Sapien Bronze Age and R&K Blau-Schwarz LE

Visconti Homo Sapien Bronze Age with R&K Blau-Schwarz LE ink bottleI filled the Visconti Homo Sapien Bronze Age with Rohrer & Klingner Blau-Schwarz LE ink back on March 13th and refilled it one more time between then and now.

The Bronze Age is my favorite fountain pen and R&K Blau-Schwarz is one of my favorite inks. This is the first time that these two have been paired and I had high expectations. I picked the ink to cleanse my palate after a disastrous performance of Montblanc Golden Yellow in this pen.

I wasn’t disappointed, it was a terrific writing experience, the pen and ink performed perfectly without any skipping or hard starts. Cleaning did take a little while. Flushing the pen until the water was clear didn’t take too long but then I held the nib in the ultrasonic cleaner. Ink flowed from every nook and cranny for nearly 10 minutes.

The Visconti Homo Sapien Bronze Age, with its lovely extra fine nib, will get a little time off in order to give some other pens a chance. I’m having fun using different inks in it so when it returns it will be with something new, at least new for it. Likewise the R&K Blau-Schwarz LE will be back in the rotation in the near future.

Pen and Ink Notes: Visconti Homo Sapien Bronze Age and Montblanc Golden Yellow

Visconti Homo Sapien Bronze Age extra fine with Montblanc Golden Yellow bottleThe Visconti Homo Sapien Bronze Age with its extra fine nib has been my favorite pen since I got it. Montblanc is my favorite ink brand. I had my doubts about the yellow ink but eventually gave in and got some. I figured the Bronze Age was the best choice to give this ink a fair shot. It’s a extra fine but on the wet and wide side of the spectrum.

Boy, was I wrong. This combination has been terrible. They’ve been together nearly a month and I’ve yet to write the pen dry. I finally gave in and flushed the pen early.

First the good. There is significant variation in the flow which contributes to some nice line variation and it looks nice as it goes onto the paper. Despite being yellow it’s very legible when it dries, although this does depend a bit on the paper color. The ink has a nice orangish tint to it. I like the color more than I though I would.

Now the bad. This never felt like a smooth writer, I constantly felt the need to press harder to get the ink to flow. Some of this is probably just me. Maybe my brain couldn’t process that the lightly colored ink was flowing well. The pen just felt like it didn’t like writing. Yes, I know that’s not a very good description and not much help. Technically all was fine, no hard starts and no actual skipping (although some close calls). I didn’t actually have to press harder than other inks, I just wanted to and had to resist the urge. Fast writing did result in very weak lines at times which bordered on skipping but I never had to step back a re-write anything. I’ll try the ink in other pens before I pass final judgement, but it does not get along at all with this pen. I’ve used three other inks with this pen and all have been a delight to use so I do blame the ink for the bad writing experience. Although, like many disagreements, both pen & ink probably share the blame.

The Visconti Homo Sapien Bronze Age has already been refilled with Rohrer & Klingner Blau-Schwarz LE, one of my favorites inks but new to the pen. I again smile while using the pen. The Montblanc Golden Yellow ink will get another chance after I’ve cleansed myself with some better writing experiences. I’m in no rush.

Ink and Pen Notes: Visconti Homo Sapien Bronze Age with Pilot Iroshizuku Fuyu-syogun

Visconti Homo Sapien Bronze Age with a bottle of Iroshizuku Fyo-syogunI filled the Visconti Homo Sapien Bronze Age with Pilot Iroshizuku Fuyu-syogun back on January 9th. Over the course of a month it got a couple of refills which was slightly off the pace of previous inks which had been running a week or less between refills. A logical conclusion would be that this has been my least favorite ink in this fountain pen.

Pilot Iroshizuku Fuyu-syogun was on my Favorite 5 Ink list back on October 2013 and I still do really like the ink. Part of it is that this is a gray ink and it’s the middle of winter here in the northeast U.S. with many gray days. So I reached for pens that had inks that had a little more pop.

The ink and pen got along really well and I didn’t have any skipping or hard starts. The ink was also easy to clean from the pen. The ink flow varied just enough to add some shading which is one thing I like about this ink.

The Visconti Homo Sapien Bronze Age didn’t spend much time without ink. In fact, it’s already inked up with a new ink. I’ll withhold the ink now for now, but my first impression is that it will not be refilled once I write it dry.