Issue#28 Of scented inks and a Chinese pen

Calcutta Inks, Majohn C4

Issue 28 | 7 April 2024

Here’s issue #28 - not much this time as real life is dominating FP life now. I hope to get back to meatier issues soon.

Calcutta Inks

The Calcutta inks, launched by a publishing house in West Bengal, captured a lot of attention on local Fountain Pen groups. They were said to be scented with the aroma of Calcutta, and a lot of lines were spent debating what exactly it was.

I was quite curious about the inks themselves, as well as the aroma, and so ordered a set. They arrived without too much delay, and I was quite pleasantly surprised by them. The inks were quick-drying, well-saturated, and I liked the colours.

The aroma on the other hand, is not for everyone. I did not have any initial reactions to it, merely noting the fact that they were quite strong when kept open on my desk. However, once the swatches were done and the notebook was kept open for the ink to dry, the aroma started giving me a headache.

Here are the swatches - the colours are nicely represented here on Graphilo paper.

This is the page with all the swatches. It was this that gave me a headache.

The blue was quite vibrant, with some very nice sheen.

The emerald green was pleasant, with occasional shading.

The red was a standard red, with the potential of shading.

The black had some interesting shading in the swatch, but came out standard in writing.

Although I did like a couple of these inks, all of them were scented with the same rather pungent smell of the Champak flower (Magnolia champaca). This was a deal-breaker for me personally, as the fragrance brought on a persistent head ache.

A surprise for me was that they had forgotten to add any fragrance to my bottle of purple ink. This worked out well because it was also my favourite of the colours.

My favourite Calcutta ink - the Purple

I was able to find new homes for all the scented inks I couldn’t keep - the monthly meeting of the Hyderabad Fountain Pen Club came in handy for that!

A Chinese Pen

After hearing a lot about the Majohn C4, and really liking it when I handled it at a pen show, I finally pulled the trigger and ordered a couple from a seller in China. They were delivered in less than 2 weeks without any hassles. I am suitably impressed by then - really nice build quality, very good performers, and the much-maligned little clip is fully functional. I have been carrying the pen around in my shirt pocket, and the little clip has done its work admirably well so far!

The only thing that was bugging me was that the nib that came with the pen was a steel nib in a chrome finish, while the clip was gold coloured. It kept bothering me thill I realized I could swap it out with a Ranga-branded Kanwrite nib that writes really well and is a matching gold shade! Check it out here:

Now that I have taken care of my little obsession with matching the nib to the trim, it’s my constant companion. A little more joy was added into the mix when I inked it up with J Herbin Caroube de Chypre without the shimmer - I love the colour of that ink, but don’t care much for the shimmer. A bit of careful decanting ensured I had a decent fill with no shimmer particles!

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