Choosing Keeping is an independent stationery store at 21 Tower Street not far from Covent Garden who sell some of the most wonderful stationery you can imagine; and for a long time, they have been on my list of places to visit. So far, though, I have only managed to visit them online and I do this every so often to see what is new and indulge in a little window shopping and it was on one of these visits that I came across their own brand inks.
The ink is available in three colours; black, blue and sepia and it comes in an art deco inspired bottle which is what really caught my attention, but I was uncertain which colour to order. As much as I like black and sepia inks, I prefer blue for reviews as there is normally more colour variation but I’m not so keen on blue inks that tend towards teal. With this in mind I called Choosing Keeping and spoke to Julia and explained why I was ordering the ink and she very kindly tested the ink for me and confirmed it is a blue and not a blue/green, and with that confirmed I placed my order.
My order arrived and I was impressed, the attention to detail is something else. On the lid of the box your address is hand-written on a lovely address label and there is also Choosing Keeping bird sticker. Inside the box the ink was exceptionally well wrapped, and I also found a postcard of one of the stores display cabinets and below that a hand-written note and at the bottom of the box was an individually wrapped notebook for me to use as part of the review.
The bottle does have an unusual art deco inspired design having what looks like a series of columns extending from each side of the bottle and from a top down view the columns form a triangular shape. The cap is plain black and is approximately 36mm from side to side which means the neck of the bottle is wide enough to accommodate any pen.
When I first opened the bottle, I noticed a hint of purple in the ink and expected to see that come out in the ink test.
The Q-Tip swab test produced a pale almost cornflower blue result and the whilst the stripe testing, with the Q-Tip, produced a much stronger blue it did not vary significantly between the single pass and the triple pass; all three producing a good mid-blue with no real shading and no obvious sheen.
I used a Ranga dip pen for the text test and it came out somewhere between the swab and the stripe tests; the colour reminds me of the blue we used to buy for school, simply a reliable mid-blue.
This ink is a well-behaved ink that flows evenly, and I think it sits happily in the middle ground between wet and dry, however, it did take a while to dry. I put the pen to one side to see whether it would hard start or skip, and I was not able to achieve either.
When I had finished testing the ink, I moved on to test the notebook; the notebook is one of Choosing Keeping’s own, being staple bound with a black leatherette paper cover and red edges to the pages.
I opened it, at random, and added some text to a page and once the ink was dry, I turned the page and whilst there is a little ghosting on the reverse side it is not going to affect you using it. So, this is definitely a fountain pen friendly notebook.
Overall this is a simple no nonsense mid-blue ink that I think is suitable for use anywhere and given that you can build up depth of colour by adding additional layers of ink I suspect this might be a good ink for artwork.
Finally, is it worth your pennies?
Yes, I think it is. For £15.00GBP you get 70ml of ink, which is a lot in fountain pen terms, and it comes in a unique Italian glass bottle which is something you will want to keep once the ink has gone.
And lastly you get the pleasure of shopping with Choosing Keeping who are friendly and wonderfully helpful people who provide simply outstanding customer service.
Disclaimer: The ink was purchased with my own funds at retail price and the notebook was supplied at no cost and with no expectations. The opinions expressed in this review are my own; and I am not connected with either the retailers or manufacturers in any way.