I was fortunate to have won a sample giveaway of the newest member of the J. Herbin 1670 ink line up, Caroube de Chypre (Cyprus Locust Bean), hosted by Bureau Direct on Instagram.
My first impression of the ink is of its warm brown with red/pink undertone. To a certain extent, the color is similar to De Atramentis Beethoven. While it may not be as saturated when comparing to Sailor ink, but it is more so regular line of J. Herbin ink. Caroube has some shading, though not dramatically, that complement well with the shimmery quality.
One apparent difference between Caroube and normal J. Herbin ink is the suspended golden flecks. I have only used Pilot Falcon with a soft fine nib to test Caroube and for the first couple lines, there were only minuscule amount of shimmer; however, as I wrote on, the shimmery quality of the ink started to show. The ink transforms regular writing into gilded writing as seen in some of the medieval illuminated manuscript. There are instances when I use the pen first time in awhile, the first several letters are almost completely in gold. An alternative to ensure the more even distribution of the gold flecks is to gently tilt your pen back and forth a couple times to disturb the gold fleck.
Another nice difference exhibited by Caroube is its slight water resistance property. Most J. Herbin ink I have tried has zero water resistance; the ink immediately “melts” into water at the point of contact. Caroube withstands several washes with the text reminding intact. This quality is a good news to a klutz like me, but also makes this ink ideal for crafting and art project (see the link from Miss Thundercats below).
Most J. Herbin ink I have used do feather on normal paper and Caroube is no exception. The performance on fountain-pen friendly paper, however, is exceptional. I have mainly tested the ink on Tomoe and Maruman paper. Even with all the washes I did, there is not seeping through on the opposing page.
One common inquiry is whether the gold flecks will clog the feed and causing damages to fountain pens. Just like the rest of the J. Herbin ink, the 1670 line is water-based and designed for fountain pen use. As Zeynep of Write to Me Often observed, the flecks did not clog on either old or new Pelikan, and the cleaning was not particularly difficult. I have used Gris Orage (Stormy Gray) on a variety of sizes of nibs (fine, italic, and flex) and the flow is mostly steady and cleaning is not a hassle. One interesting observation is for the italic nib on a Lamy, there are times where the pen would not start due to the accumulation of flecks around the channel. Everything returns to working order once I wipe the area with a piece of tissue. If you have a vintage pen or just want to be safe, it is good to err to the side of not keeping the ink in the pen for prolong period of time.
The shimmer may not render Caroube an everyday ink for official business, but it adds finesse to any handwritten notes and correspondence. In fact, this color may become the holiday card color of the year for me, as Stormy grey was years ago. In a way, J. Herbin 1670 line has kindled both new and old ethos. It added nuances to fountain pen ink by transforming it to an art media that can be broadly utilized, as I see similar qualities between Caroube and Sakura glitter pens. It can also allow us to continue the tradition of the medieval scribes in creating elegant pieces without the hassle of mixing powdered pigments and binder.
Other thoughts on Caroube: