A technophile lawyer rediscovers the joys of pen and paper

Friday, October 1, 2010

Noodler's Navy ink review, ink sample giveaway . . . and disclosure of a deep, dark secret (updated with winners)

Noodler's Navy Ink Bottle Label
Nothing particularly "Navy" about that catfish!
I've been sitting on two bottles of ink Jet Pens generously provided me for free for reviews. Here's the first one: Noodler's Navy.

Odd they decided not to call it Navy Blue, but I guess the "blue" is obvious. Nobody's going to think it's Navy orange. Which could explain why they went with a catfish on the label instead of something navy-related. I'll have more to say about "navy blue" when I reveal the secret near the end of this post, and instructions for entering the ink sample giveaway are at the very end of this post.

So, you all know that I'm still earning my ink review chops, but I have a couple of very general observations to make here.

The Review

I did not like this color at all the first time I tried it. It seemed boring, especially compared to my then-favorite blue, Iroshizuku Tsuki-yo. But this ink has really been growing on me. The shading is attractive, and the blue is such a deep midnight color.

Noodler's Navy Ink Writing Sample with auto-adjust applied

You'll see some skipping toward the end of that line written with the 1.5 mm italic nib, but I'm pretty sure that was the fault of the nib, which needed a good soak. This ink has flowed exceptionally well in all three pens I've tried, and it seems well-lubricated. It even made my dry-writing Pilot Knights feel comfortable to write with. It's a wet-writing ink that also tended to make my pens write a little broader than they do with other inks. But the comfort made it worth it, and you just have to remember that characteristic when you ink up.

I must say that I think Noodler's Navy stacks up well against other deep blues in appearance. The deep, deep midnight color is quite attractive.

Noodler's Navy Ink Color Comparisons

I really don't think I've done this ink justice with these photos. Hopefully I'll have a working scanner again by the time I write my next ink review.

The Secret

Now, to make up for these cruddy pictures, it's time for me to let you in on that secret. While this color does indeed resemble what most people think of as "navy blue," there is no "navy blue" in the Navy. I spent four years at the Naval Academy and another five years in the Marine Corps, where I spent plenty of time around squids sailors, and I can tell you on good authority that every Navy uniform you think is blue is . . . black. Not dark, dark, dark, dark blue. Black. Noodler's Heart of Darkness black. Peacoats (which we called "reefers") and overcoats: black. Ties: black. That dark band around the white caps ("covers") and shoulder boards: black. Those double-breasted suit-looking uniforms ("service dress blue"): black, black black.

The dungarees, of course, are blue, as are the ball caps worn with them. And the stripe around the edge of a plebe cover at the Naval Academy ("dixie cup" -- I've still got mine around here, somewhere!) is also blue  . . . but that's about it.

Somewhere in naval history, there must have been more blue. Or maybe the color is named from someone else's navy. Whatever the case, Noodler's Navy is a pleasing deep midnight blue. At least, that's what I call it.

The Giveaway

Jet Pens sent me this bottle of ink for free, and I'm going to share the good fortune by giving away five -- count 'em, five -- ink samples of 2-4 ml each. To enter yourself in the giveaway, all you've got to do is leave a comment on this post before midnight Sunday night, October 3. The time stamp on the comment will determine the timing of your entry. I'll select five comments at random and post the winners here and in a new post on Monday, October 4. Winners will have one week to email me their mailing address.

It helps if you use a distinctive name or leave some unique comment. If three guys named Dan leave a comment, that makes it easier to distinguish the Dan that is the winner.

Update: The Winners!

Winners were picked using Random.org's random number generator. Congratulations to the following, each of whom has until midnight on Monday, October 11 to claim his or her ink simple by emailing me his or her mailing address:

Julie (Okami)
Erin C.

Use the the Gmail badge in the sidebar to email me. I may not be able to mail the samples until this weekend, so please be patient.



  1. I'll bite. I'm not a big fan of blue inks, but I like to try inks that I've not used before.

  2. The secret anticipation was like waiting for "The Decision" this summer.

  3. Thank you for the chance to try Noodlers Navy, never used it before!

  4. I never had Noodler's ink before. I would definitely like to have (win) it. :-)

  5. A chance to win free ink? My pens quiver with anticipation! Please sign me up!


  6. This Navy looks like a winner, hope I am too!

  7. love ink giveaways. sometime I will win. Sam

  8. I love the Noodler Inks that I've tried and I'd sure love to try this one ---


  9. Count me in! This would go great with my two vintage fountain pens I found that are in need of restoration. :)

  10. Woo! Thanks for sharing! More ink is always good.

  11. I would love a sample of the ink.

    As I recall from my time in the Navy the Cracker Jack uniforms were blue (this from dim memory, I never wore one as they were phased out when I enlisted).

  12. Sounds great to me! I need an awesome navy blue.

  13. Gotta love free samples. Thank you!

  14. Count me in! I love trying different blues.

    Erin, the one in Texas

  15. Cool free ink. I always prefer blue.

  16. I'm just getting into fountain pens and inks and would love to try this ink.
    Christina with Lazy Bones Running

  17. Oh, enter me, please! I think I'm distinctive enough, considering I've only ever met 3 people who share my first name...

  18. Please enter me as I'd love to win and, of course, try Noodler's Navy. Thanks for the review and I love your drawing of the anchor. Interesting facts regarding the Navy as well. My nieces and nephew call me Crazy Aunt Joyce and I live in a very sweet town!

  19. Nice review. I'm not happy with my lamy blue at the moment

  20. The navy blue comes from a Navy that was around a little earlier than the US Navy i.e. the Brits.