Monday, June 4, 2012

Pelikan Brilliant Green ink review

Welcome to my first review of a Pelikan ink! Although I didn't know what to expect from Pelikan Brilliant Green, the experience was so-so, leaning on the positive side. I only bought a sample which I tested in my trusted Pilot Varsity for over 2 weeks of daily writing.

Brilliant Green comes in a 62.5ml / 2.1oz bottle which costs $9.25. At $0.20 per milliliter it isn't the cheapest ink, nor is it the most expensive.

Color and saturation
Pelikan Brilliant Green is, you guessed it, a green ink. Though it is the brightest green ink I have tested, I'm not sure I would call it "brilliant". The term "brilliant" implies something shiny, sparkly and perhaps even eye-popping. This, Brilliant Green is not. The color is, in fact, on the dull side and a bit washed out too. While the sample done with the q-tip looks brighter, that's by virtue of the large quantity of ink deposited on the paper. With a fountain pen, things are a bit different. I suspect this has something to do with the flow of this ink, discussed further below.

Overall I would liken this color to a light shade of emerald.

The watery nature of this ink doesn't help the saturation which is somewhere between low and medium.

Pelikan Brilliant Green may fail to sear your retinas but it features some surprising shading. This is especially evident in the large q-tip swaths but it is also apparent when writing with a medium nib like the the Varsity. The shading, in fact, reminds me strongly of watercolor. I did mention this ink is watery, didn't I?


The ink doesn't bleed through Rhodia paper, evidently. However, although I wrote in my review on copy paper that it doesn't bleed, upon using it some more I found that it bleeds a little on cheap paper, especially paper that's been abused a little (writing on both sides). I wouldn't worry too much about this unless you plan to use really cheap paper.

Flow and lubrication
I am puzzled by Pelikan Brilliant Green's flow. Though it glides relatively well across the paper (ok, feels a tiny little bit dry), the flow seems inconsistent. Can it be the Pilot Varsity pen? I'm doubtful because this pen has excellent flow with most of the inks I have tested. However, the more watery ones, such as J Herbin Diabolo Menthe, tend to flow poorly. I believe this is also the case with Pelikan's ink. The inconsistent flow practically means that one moment it writes wet, and if I pick it up again in 5 minutes it writes dry. All I can say is that this ink would get a huge usability boost if it wrote consistently and wetter.

Drying time
As you can see from the samples, drying times are very short, even on the shiny Rhodia paper.

Smearing when dry

Water resistance
This isn't a water resistant ink. 15 seconds under running water almost wiped the ink clean from the paper.

Pelikan Brilliant Green is an ink with an interesting shade of green but the fact that it is watery doesn't help it stand out. Though the color is subdued you won't be able to use it in a formal setting. On the other hand, it can probably do a good job as watercolor substitute thanks to its strong - and quite lovely - shading. My sample had inconsistent flow issues and that's something to consider. You'll probably be fine using it in a pen with wet flow. Would I buy a bottle of Pelikan Brilliant Green? Frankly, no. While this isn't by far the worst green I've tested, it is a bit pricy for all its little disadvantages. In the meantime, I'm still searching for the perfect green ink.

Here are the two writing samples on photocopy and Rhodia 80g, respectively.

Pelikan Brilliant Green on copy

Pelikan Brilliant Green on Rhodia


  1. Yes, this one looks a bit weak to me. While I am a big fan of Pelikan's pens and Edelstein inks, I am not overly fond of their standard inks. Thanks for the review!

  2. You are welcome! Indeed, this is not Edelstein. I have yet to try Edelstein though they are a bit expensive.

  3. I can send you a couple of Edelstein samples to review if you'd like. You can contact me at

  4. Thank you, you are very kind but I will have to decline for now. I have way too many samples that I want to test (at least for another year) and I need to do it before they go bad.

  5. I have the Pelikan 4100 Brilliant Green and think your review is pretty much spot on. Of the standard Pelikan inks that I have tried, I like the Violet best.

  6. nice review, tnx