I wanted to try Baystate Blue for a while and I had a sample for months, just waiting for me to use it. I kept putting it off but finally decided to load it up in one of my Platinum Preppys, not the eyedropper from the review but a regular Preppy with a cartridge. I just filled up the empty cartridge with a syringe and off I went.
I kept an open mind during my time with this ink but I might as well just spill part of the beans here: even my low expectations were too high. Read on to find out why.
I only bought a sample but Baystate Blue comes in two bottles types. There's the classic Noodler's 3oz/89ml bottle for $12.50, or $0.14 per milliliter. And then there's the large eyedropper bottle at 4.5oz/133ml for $21 or $0.16 per milliliter. While the big bottle seems more expensive, it does come with 2 pens: a Platinum Preppy eyedropper with an additional rollerball tip and a brush pen.
Color and saturation
Baystate Blue's color and saturation are legendary. While they are both very bright, I think my expectations were a bit too high and I wasn't exactly blown over when I first started writing with this ink. It is a bright cobalt blue, very saturated, and yet I couldn't help but feel that this is just an ordinary blue ink.
In the writing sample on photocopy paper I also did a brief comparison with another bright ink I own, Noodler's Navajo Turquoise. While these two inks are different in every way, Navajo Turquoise is also a bright blue ink. To my mind, the brightness and saturation of the two inks are almost the same, with Baystate Blue being a little bit darker, and obviously of a different hue.
Baystate Blue doesn't exhibit any shading. It's a flat ink, although there are some shadows in the thick swab done with a q-tip. Still, I wouldn't call this a shading ink.
I didn't notice any feathering but other reviewers have. Different batches of ink perhaps?
Once again, Baystate Blue was very well behaved. The q-tip shows some ghosting but that's to be expected from such a saturated ink. The Preppy didn't bleed one bit.
Flow and lubrication
Here's where Noodler's Baystate Blue starts to slide downhill. One of the things that annoyed me about this ink was the poor flow. The Preppy itself can't be the problem because I've tried it with other inks and it flows well, not too wet but just right. Baystate Blue didn't flow well at all. While it didn't exactly skip, it felt very dry and wasn't at all a pleasure to write with. After resting in the pen over the weekend, it would sometimes dry up and would require some vigorous shaking to get it started. I hate dry inks so this is strike one.
The drying time was very good. Baystate Blue dried between 5 and 10 seconds on regular paper and slightly longer than that on Rhodia. Considering how dry this ink is, it wasn't surprising.
Smearing when dry
Baystate Blue doesn't smear at all when dry. I'm thankful for that at least.
Noodler's Baystate Blue is water resistant but not bulletproof. As a result, it doesn't wash off when exposed to water but some of the dye does come off, as you can see from the sample.
You might have noticed that my review doesn't seem to find too many negatives about Noodler's Baystate Blue. The only significant issue seems to be its dryness. To me, a dry ink is a big no-no. This, alone, would cut an ink off my list. However, there are other, more subtle things wrong with this ink. Perhaps because I was hoping for this ink to be eye-searing, I was a bit disappointed that it wasn't. Yes, it is bright and saturated but so are other inks. It is possible that this is the only blue ink with such properties. Still, I haven't tested enough blue inks to be certain. I have a suspicion that there are other bright blue inks out there which are more fun to use.
The other thing that I didn't mention yet is the difficulty of cleaning anything that comes in contact with Baystate Blue. I was wary of this ink from the start. I heard stories of what it can do and I treated it with caution. Yet, it permanently stained the insides of my Platinum Preppy and the cartridge I used, despite flushing it with water for almost half an hour. The sink was collateral damage, as well. I made sure to use my dark sink but even that didn't escape unscathed. The damage wasn't permanent though. It cleaned up with the usual bathroom cleaning supplies. Baystate Blue even managed to stain my yellow Ahab which happened to rest on a piece of paper towel imbibed with BSB. Luckily, it came off easily with rubbing alcohol.
Incidentally, if you need to clean Baystate Blue off of something, I recommend rubbing alcohol. It seems to work well, but you'll have to rub it hard. Unfortunately it isn't always possible to rub the insides of a pen. For that reason, if you really gotta have this ink, I recommend a dedicated fountain pen, preferably a cheap one. As long as you don't plan on cleaning that pen or using another ink in it, you should be fine.
So there you have it. My experience with Noodler's Baystate Blue has shown me that the controversy surrounding this ink does have some truth to it. It does stain whatever it comes in contact with and it felt dry and unpleasant to write with. It's a no-buy for me. Your mileage may vary.
Below you have two samples of Baystate Blue, on photopier paper and Rhodia 80g, respectively.