Normally ‘Ink Of The Month’ is just that, a singular ink. This time however, I’ve decided, as a one off, to look at a range. The range in question, as you will have guessed from the title, is the Mabie Todd Blackbird Inks offering six different colours named after various wild birds; Mallard Green, Starling Purple, Sand Martin Brown, Robin Red, Kingfisher Blue and Blackbird Black.
The inks come in cardboard boxes and a printed with a vintage design, each bottle was secured with Sellotape, not Mabie Todd’s best idea as it leaves a lot of sticky residue which is annoying to remove; it would be better to follow KWZ’s lead and use a cling film.
I bought mine when they were offering a discount and currently you can buy all six 30ml bottles for £24.99 which is not bad value and as you can see they are a nice range of colours which are not overly saturated but none the less are good solid colours which dried quickly and behaved well.
Mallard Green: Whilst I am not a great fan of green ink I do like this one; it’s a middle of the road green that is reminiscent of ducks. If you are looking for a strong bright green this isn’t it (take a look at Mont Blanc Irish Green) but if you want a natural green this could be the one for you.
Starling Purple: I have quite a few different purple inks and this is a nice purple; it’s not one of those inks where you can see a hint of something else in it and when writing with it it comes out as a strong blackcurrant purple.
Sand Martin Brown: Brown inks are something of a special interest for me, most probably because they remind me of chocolate and yes, I have that Herbin ink and yes it really does smell of chocolate. My favourite, Mont Blanc Toffee Brown now has competition, Sand Martin Brown is a real chocolate brown that writes a little darker than the swatch, probably nearer to espresso, and looks good on the page.
Robin Red: This is a nice bright red and is well named as it reminds me of the Robins that frequent the garden; it’s a good stable red and it doesn’t lean towards any other colour and the written colour matches the swatch. It’s a great colour to use for marking up documents as it will stand out well.
Kingfisher Blue: As blues go this one is very nice; it’s a blue you could use anywhere and like KWZ’s Azure No.3 it’s blue, not blue green or anything else it’s just blue and I really like it for that.
Blackbird Black: As black inks go this one is grey, admittedly a dark iron grey but still grey, both swatch and writing test gave me the same result, written text was a little darker, but it still leans towards dark grey. It’s still an ink I would use, and it is perfectly fine for everyday use and a wetter pen would give a darker result so do consider it but just remember it won’t be as black as inks like Aurora.
The only thing I think Mabie Todd could do better, other than not using Sellotape to seal the bottles, is the printing on top of the cap; it’s very small and difficult to read and if the ink is not in its box then you are relying upon this to tell you what colour it is before you open it. This could be easily remedied by using a small colour swatch sticker like Robert Oster do. Although it’s fair to say other manufacturers don’t even label the top of the box let alone the cap which is even more frustrating especially when you are in a hurry.
So, there you have it, Inks Of The Month for September ’18. Do I think these inks are good value?
Yes, I do. They are nice well behaved inks that give good results and if you are not sure that you want the full size bottles Mabie Todd offer 5ml sample bottles, but at £24.99 for all six you can’t go wrong.
Disclaimer: The inks were purchased with my own funds at retail price. The opinions expressed in this review are my own; and I am not connected with either the retailers or manufacturers in any way.