Sunday, October 28, 2012

Time for Orange! Iroshizuku yu-yake

Fall is here and winter isn't far either. Today has been the first cold day and we've had the first snowfall in parts of the country. The leaves that have been sporting warm yellows and reds for weeks have now gone limp and will fall in a matter of days. It's high time for warm colours!

Also in inks I find that I prefer cool blues and teals in summer, but keep going back to oranges, reds and brown in winter. At the moment an especially beautiful orange/burnt yellow ink is sloshing around in the tank of my gorgeous Montblanc 149 with super broad oblique nib: Iroshizuku yu-yake.

Iroshizuku yu-yake in Montblanc Meisterstück 149

Definitely one of those inks which are made for wet, wet, wet nibs. It might also work with a narrower tip if the pen is wet enough, else legibility might suffer.

I'm not going to go into the details of ink reviewing a lot since I a) don't have access to a scanner and b) am not 100% sure my monitor is calibrated enough to show the finest nuances of inks plus c) and most importantly I don't have the scientific interest to analyze my inks in terms of flow, feathering and what not.

So in all shortness and very subjectively: That is a really nice ink! Look at the shading. It looks best on ivory or cream coloured paper like the one in the picture. It's 100% cotton Büttenpapier (watermarked paper) by German papermill DFW in Dresden. Like all cotton papers it absorbs quite a bit of ink so you will need a wet pen or the lines will look skinny.

Iroshizuku yu-yake in Montblanc Meisterstück 149

The colour reminds me of something I can't quite put my finger on, maybe something I used to see when I was a child, but definitely something associated with fall. Pumpkins? Crisp, brown leaves on a sunlit path? No, that's not it though close. In any case it's a good memory. Maybe it will come back one day.

The ink also works perfectly with the 149, which currently is my go-to pen for writing letters and journal. It's surprising how easily your handwriting will fit into common boundaries even with such a broad nib as long as there's some line variation involved to keep your letters open (except for the Es, but that's not due to the nib. I manage to get closed-up Es with extra fine nibs - another aspect my handwriting still needs improvement in.)
I also love the ink window, not only for being convenient but also because it reminds me of film rolls.

The text, by the way, is a "Lord of the Rings" quote. I love so many passages of those books, they give me the goosebumps. It's the part where Gimli is scolded by Celeborn for stirring up the evil in Moria and crossing their border and is then consoled by Galadriel. One of my favourites.

Another one is where Gimli tells Legolas about the wonder of the caves at Helm's Deep. (Yes, I like Gimli!)


  1. This pen is really posing like its made for writing epics and novels.I love its design and nib structure.

  2. HUGE fan of Yu Yake out here in Iowa. One of my very favorite oranges. The only other one I like as much is JH's Orange Indien.

  3. I just happen to find your website on a Montblanc google search. I really like you blog. I'm a fountain pen User/collector, but i dont have any MB's in my collection. You seem to be an experienced MB user. What is your impression of the modern MB fountain Pens? I've read alot on the web that the modern pens post mid 80's are of much less quality than pre 1980's.
    I dont know, But this past weekend i was at the Montblanc store here in NYC picking up some ballpoint refills for my legrand BP. (which writes just beautiful.) and tested the New Heritage FP in resin. The Nib on that pen was very smooth and had some good flex which surprised me. I almost pulled the trigger on that purchase but restrained myself. have you tried the heritage FP?

    Thank You !

    1. Hi Felix,

      I'm glad you enjoyed the read!
      I don't like the Heritage's looks too much so I haven't tried it yet. Also my 149 is the only non modern Montblanc pen I own! So it would be hard to say something on the matter. If you're looking for flexible nibs, vintage would definitely be the way to go. Also if you'd be buying a vintage pen from another fountain pen user, chances are good they already have solved any problems the pen may have had.

      If you're looking to buy a vintage Montblanc I can recommend fountain pen network or fountain pen geeks or else penboard (sales platform of a few professional German pen restorers), though the latter is somewhat expensive.

      Happy New Year!

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