Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Private Reserve Daphne Blue ink review

I haven't reviewed a bright blue ink in, like, forever, so I was almost taken aback to realize that I actually had some Private Reserve Daphne Blue among my samples. Here it goes then: PR Daphne Blue reviewed in the Kaweco Sport Classic with broad nib and eyedropper conversion.

Private Reserve Daphne Blue shading

Bottle and pricing

Bottle capacity: 66 ml / 2.2 oz
Price: $11
Price / ml: $0.17

Color and saturation

Private Reserve tries to be cute with the name "Daphne Blue" and I'd say it succeeds because this ink is light blue, bright and cheerful as a warm summer day. You could just as easily call it cerulean/sky blue, or baby blue. Or a light shade of turquoise. It fits all these descriptions.

Private Reserve Daphne Blue shading

To get an even better idea, here it is next to two similar inks: J Herbin Diabolo Menthe and Noodler's Navajo Turquoise.

Private Reserve Daphne Blue vs J Herbin Diabolo Menthe vs Noodler's Navajo Turquoise

What's immediately obvious from this comparison is that Diabolo Menthe leans towards green, while Navajo Turquoise is a darker shade of turquoise than Daphne Blue.


Whenever an ink shows color variation I'm a happy camper. Light inks sometimes don't do that, but Daphne Blue shades nicely. Of course, the broad nib brings this better into perspective.

Private Reserve Daphne Blue text


I haven't noticed any.


No, although a broad nib on cheap, spongy paper tends to at least produce some ghosting. Luckily this is pretty well controlled in this case due to the lightness of the ink.

Flow, lubrication, and smoothness

While it flows very well in the Kaweco, I noticed a tiny amount of dryness, but it's hard to pinpoint. I could chalk it to "measured flow" and I wouldn't be half wrong. So it flows very satisfactorily and it's smooth to boot.

Drying time

Nothing out of the ordinary here. As expected, it takes its sweet time on good paper, up to 30 seconds or so (especially with the broad nib). On cheap paper it dries in a few seconds.

Smearing when dry


Water resistance

Water resistance is exactly as I was expecting, despite knowing nothing about this ink prior to testing it. It's non-existent. You can see from the bottom (copy paper) sample how it reacted to only 30 seconds under water.


Private Reserve Daphne Blue has all the markings of a great ink, provided you're on board with the baby blue color. It's very well behaved on all fronts, with the exception of water resistance but that wasn't an advertised feature in any case. If you like turquoise inks, there's nothing that would prevent me from recommending it, with the caveat that it might be a bit light for certain uses. Otherwise, a solid ink.

Private Reserve Daphne Blue shading

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

Private Reserve Daphne Blue on photocopy

Private Reserve Daphne Blue on Clairefontaine


  1. I find that Private Reserve inks, in general, tend to be drier writing than a lot of others so I'm not surprised about your comment about the dryness of this one.

    My favorite ink in this color range is Diamine Eau de Nil, though I do admit it is darker than the Daphne Blue you are reviewing here.

  2. Margaret at Goulet PensApril 1, 2015 at 5:54 AM

    Great review. This will be a great ink to use this Spring and Summer! -Margaret

  3. Eau de Nil looks a bit greenish, doesn't it?

  4. Thanks! This and a yellow and a green and... so many possibilities! Definitely for summer.

  5. Honestly, I find Eau de Nil bluer than aqua but greener than turquoise and I just like that balance.

  6. This ink is lovely! Ultimately I think it will be too light for everyday handwriting but it's a great summery shade.

  7. That's right, it's a bit too light but it also depends what you're using it for. For random scribblings it works well - I've been using it at work for the past couple of weeks.