Saturday, March 5, 2011

Noodler's Nikita ink review

We will BURY YOU! is written on the 4.5oz bottle of Noodler's Nikita ink, right above an emblem of the former Soviet Union and next to a picture of a gesticulating Nikita Khrushchev. While Nathan Tardiff's (the owner and creator of the Noodler brand) political statements might not be to everyone's liking, I have nothing but respect for a man who makes such high quality inks and enjoys his craft to the extent he does.

Personally I find it amusing that he manages to incorporate his views into his ink labels and ink names. Noodler's Nikita is, just like the former Soviet's Union favorite color, red. A shade of red is required in any ink collection and I thought it might as well be this one for mine. I wanted this to be the one because I found the artwork on the label funny and because it comes with a free pen.

Noodler's Nikita ink and free pen

In the case of Nikita, the free pen is a Noodler's eyedropper fountain pen with a "creaper" nib. The pen is red and because it matches the ink, I'm using the Nikita in it. I won't say more about the pen at this point because I want to review it fully later. What's interesting is that Nathan has been stealthily including these pens in certain 4.5oz bottles but not all. My bottle of Heart of Darkness came with an eyedropper Platinum Preppy. I was under the impression that Platinum Preppys usually accompanied the larger Noodler's bottles but apart from the Nikita there's at least another ink (can't remember which) that comes with a Noodler's eyedropper fountain pen. And that one too is colored to match the ink.

The 4.5oz bottle includes an eyedropper and the cost is $0.14 per milliliter, same as most other Noodler's inks but overall you are still getting a better deal thanks to the free pen.

Noodler's Nikita has nice saturation but it doesn't show any shading. For all practical purposes it produces a flat color. This bears more testing with wider nibs but so far I haven't noticed any shading. Bear in mind that it is a dark shade of red.

Feathering and bleedthrough are not a concern and this is something to be appreciated, especially on the cheap paper I've been using.

Nikita flows well through the cheap Noodler's eyedropper fountain pen. Nothing to complain about here.

Drying times are variable. It seems that the photocopier paper I use is actually of better quality than the Staples journal. So the ink shows a longer drying time on the former. On thicker, 90g Clairefontaine sketchbook paper, thicker coatings of the ink take forever to dry but it doesn't matter a lot to me because I can just set it aside until it does.

An interesting feature of Noodler's Nikita is its water resistance. I haven't seen it mentioned anywhere that this ink is waterproof. My test shows that it isn't. However, it does seem to be water resistant. As you can see from the sample, subjecting it to more than a minute under the faucet does not erase the ink completely. It does cause some of the reg pigment to run but the lines themselves remain very visible and readable. So don't count on it being bulletproof but there is definitely some resistance to water in this ink. In this aspect, it is leagues ahead of other inks that I've tested such as Diamine Orange (which washes away completely) or Noodler's Gruene Cactus Eel (which washes away almost completely).

What impressed me the most about Noodler's Nikita was the dark, blood red color when the ink is fresh on paper. It literally feels like writing in blood. This ink has two faces though. Once it dries, it loses some of its vibrancy and becomes duller. I would have preferred if it had kept its original demeanor. Still, this is only a minor complaint because it retains its saturation.

The above minor issue could be influenced by the type and quality of the paper. I've noticed that on certain papers it retains more of its initial redness than on others.

So there you have it: Nikita is another ink in Noodler's "political lineup", with good performance and a punchy, vibrant shade or red (at least until it dries, and depending on the paper used). It comes exclusively in the 4.5oz bottle, with funny (and unique) artwork on the label and a free Noodler's eyedropper fountain pen which isn't bad at all. As an added bonus, it even exhibits some resistance to water which means that your precious notes won't be forever lost if you drop your notebook into the sea. Would I buy it again? Sure, why not. The question is moot at this point because it will take me years to go through this large bottle and I want to experience other inks as well. (Sorry Nikita, I can't stay faithful to you alone). One thing is certain: if you need an ink with some (or all) of Nikita's characteristics, you can't go wrong with it.

Noodler's Nikita ink on photocopier paper

Noodler's Nikita ink on Staples journal


  1. Nice review! The other ink that comes with a pen like this (but in orange) is Dragon's Napalm. Nathan actually shows all of the different color eyedropper pens like this in a video he made:

  2. Excellent, thanks for the link Brian! I'll include this when I review the pen.