Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Rohrer & Klingner Alt-Goldgrun ink review

Here I am, finally able to review one of the ink samples that I still have an abundance of. I asked you a while back if you would like to participate in my ink sample survey and the response was excellent. It was a good idea to hold a survey, if I say so myself.

So it turns out that Rohrer & Klingner Alt-Goldgrun came ahead of the other samples in the voting, which made it an easy choice to load in my Kaweco Sport Classic with broad nib and eyedropper conversion.

Is this ink deja-vu or what? We'll see soon enough.

Rohrer & Klingner Alt-Goldgrun with Kaweco Sport

Before I start, a couple of mentions.

First, I changed one of the review papers from Rhodia 80g to Clairefontaine 90g. My Rhodia notebook that I was using has finally filled up, allowing me to start a new Clairefontaine notebook, with even better paper. I'm already loving this paper more than the Rhodia. It seems to play really well with fountain pens. I might do a little paper comparison in a future post.

Second, I have joined two more social media networks, beside Twitter, since my last review: Pinterest and Instagram. If you decide to follow me on either of them, I'll follow you back. Click the links here or in the right sidebar -->

Bottle and pricing
Rohrer & Klingner Alt-Goldgrun comes in a 50ml / 1.7oz bottle which sells for $12. The price / ml is $0.24 which makes it more expensive than other inks.

Color and saturation
Did I mention deja-vu? Rohrer & Klingner Alt-Goldgrun reminds me strongly of J Herbin Vert Olive, of which I own a bottle. Vert Olive is lighter in color but both inks seem very closely related. They are both an olive sort of green.

Rohrer & Klingner Alt-Goldgrun vs J Herbin Vert Olive

To stretch the olive analogy farther, if Alt-Goldgrun is a ripe(r) olive, Very Olive is a green one. Apart from that, Alt-Goldgrun is darker and more saturated than Vert Olive.

Similarities to its J Herbin step-sibling don't simply stop at color. Alt-Goldgrun also features some very nice shading properties which are even more intense than the lighter ink. The Kaweco's broad nib really makes it stand out. Incidentally that's another reason why I prefer broader nibs.

I'm sorry to say that Rohrer & Klingner Alt-Goldgrun feathers on cheap paper, which tends to act like a sponge. Combined with the broad nib, it's... not very pleasant. However, the problem all but disappears on good quality paper.

The situation here is similar to the feathering, in fact the two go hand in hand. Cheap paper is a sponge for Alt-Goldgrun, which causes it to bleed significantly. Personally it doesn't bother me too much because I use this ink at work to jot down notes and I use scrap photocopy paper. I can even use both sides because, well, I just hate wasting paper (and by association, trees). But if you're writing exclusively on better paper, like the Clairefontaine 90g I tested on, you won't have to worry about bleeding.

There is a bright side to this though, but not as you would imagine. Because the cheap paper I use literally sucks the ink out of that broad nib, my Kaweco is already empty after 4 days of use, which allows me to clean it and refill it with a new ink, hopefully to be reviewed next week.

Flow, lubrication, and smoothness
Rohrer & Klingner Alt-Goldgrun flows well in the Kaweco Classic and is wetter than average. On cheap paper it doesn't feel very smooth because of the sponge effect that I mentioned. On the plus side, it glides nicely on Clairefontaine.

Drying time
Drying on photocopy paper is nearly instant, but a somewhat longer (15-20 seconds) on Clairefontaine. Bear in mind though that this is with a broad nib. I'm sure it would dry quicker with a medium or fine nib.

Smearing when dry

Water resistance
30 seconds exposure to running water completely destroyed this ink. Not. Water. Resistant.

Despite some flaws (feathering and bleedthrough) on cheap paper, Rohrer & Klingner Alt-Goldgrun is a fun and attractive ink. If I were to choose between it and J Herbin Vert Olive, I would choose Alt-Goldgrun, hands down. Vert Olive is too watery and too light for my taste, while Alt-Goldgrun is darker, and the shading is also better, which gives it more character and makes it more distinguished. If the olive type of green appeals to you, I would definitely recommend Rohrer & Klingner Alt-Goldgrun, with the caveat that it requires premium paper if you want to avoid potential frustration.

Rohrer & Klingner Alt-Goldgrun with Kaweco Sport eyedropper

Following are the two samples on photocopy and Clairefontaine 90g paper, respectively.

Rohrer & Klingner Alt-Goldgrun on photocopy

Rohrer & Klingner Alt-Goldgrun on Clairefontaine


  1. We shall have to agree to disagree on this. I am not crazy about Rohrer & Klingner inks, in general, for just the reasons you mention. I have a sample of Alt-Goldgrun as well as a bottle of the J. Herbin Vert Olive and the Vert Olive wins hands down. The J. Herbin is lighter than the R&K, as you state, but there are lots of dark green inks out there and I find the Alt-Golgrun a particularly boring color. Because of the feathering and bleeding the R&K inks, in general, are a pain to use. In my Kaweco Sport I have actually used the J. Herbin Vert Olive on the Los Angeles Times with limited bleeding and almost no feathering and newsprint is notoriously bad for fountain pen use. I wouldn't attempt that with the R&K.

    Of course, inks are probably the most personal aspect of the fountain pen world and what one person may love another may loathe so it's all good. I appreciate your excellent reviews even if we don't always agree. ;-)

    Wednesday, June 25, 2014

  2. Inks are very subjective, indeed, more so than fountain pens I would think. My only beef with Vert Olive is that it's a bit too light and watery for a fountain pen, especially one with a thinner nib. I should give it another try though, but I don't know when since I have so many inks to go through still. Anyway, your comments are always appreciated Freddy, even if you completely disagree!