I grabbed this ink bottle from the Kaut-Bullinger shop in Munich, which is worth of a small digression here. Although it is a 5-storey office supplies store, it has an excellent selection of Schreibkultur pens and pencils. A wonderful lady on the ground floor, who seems to be the manager, was kind and patient enough to show me a writing sample of virtually all the inks that exist in the shop. The shop is in the very heart of the Altstadt, just around the corner from the Rathaus.
Montblanc is a luxury brand. A luxury item possesses many characteristics, of which high quality and high price are only a couple. For a Montblanc piece, and somehow surprisingly, this ink is by no means expensive. Nevertheless, if an Edelstein 50ml bottle trades for 12 euros, this 30ml will relieve you of the weight of 15 euros. I don’t find this to be overly excessive, but still, it is a special ink.
On the substantive side, I am afraid that I cannot say much. I am in no way an ink-ologist. You will not find any technical details about tones, pigments, or after-tones in this bulletin. I am only going to write some words on my impression of the item from the perspective of a final user. I have no knowledge of the alchemy of ink, which of course is somehow necessary to master the internals of a product. The only alchemy I will be commenting on is the impression, from a psychoanalytic side.
I am not a collector of inks either. I read somewhere that Montblanc produces and then discontinues its limited edition inks, thereby increasing their secondary market price. As with all my desk supplies, I intend to use this ink, as opposed to hoarding it. I trust that in the future, we will have a large variety of interesting inks to draw from, so there is no need to carry on stock in my opinion. Life is ephemeral.
It may seem pointless to comment on the package, but I think otherwise. I am impressed with the nice carton box, and I keep the bottle in it, though I rarely do so. Instead of recycling it, I keep it on my desk and stare at Miles Davis’s contrasting figure, leaning backwards while giving the world a beebop tone.
Why Miles Davis?
This ink is an homage to Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue masterpiece, a Meisterstück of jazz culture. Together with John Coltrane and Bill Evans and the rest of his sextet, Miles Davis produced in 1959 an innovative improvisation that experts qualify as unique. This acclaimed recording has been at the heart of jazz and the intelligent varieties of rock and other genres for years after its release. It is considered, to this day, as one of the greatest classic jazz records of all time. I can only think that Montblanc here alludes to the unsurpassable character of the Kind of Blue, which answers the questions of many disheartened reviewers around the pen blogosphere. To me at least, this is kind of evident.
Some things grow inside you only with the passage of time. This is precisely what happens with jazz music. From the Big Bands to post-modern Scandinavian niceties, jazz touches deep, internal chords way inside the realm of artistic creation that may appear to be esoteric to laymen. Dismissing it as noise or a hodgepodge of atonal music is the kind of vulgarity that leaves a bad impression. As with everything, the ritual of music listening is administered with piety, and with the necessary offers to the various elements of nature: the smoke of a cigar on the sky, and the scent of a malt whiskey as it conquers the ice rocks on a glass, whistling and moaning, in a jazz bar near Dearborn St. in downtown Chicago.
Ink as a Rorschach Test
This isn’t what I see, however, in this case. In writing with this ink, I cannot but think of another kind of blue. To me, it is its “marine” character that I suppose it prevents me from passing it on to other people, as I did with other unsaturated inks on my tray. I will keep this one, to use it during my holidays in Greece this summer. For when you put some drops of this ink on white paper, its shades are suddenly beveled very clearly.
A wet writer will reveal new dimensions with this ink, and suddenly you will reach the point where the text itself changes its character. Even unsaturated, this certain kind of blue does something to the writer. It’s not about smoky jazz clubs anymore, or about late night driving on a metropolis. It’s about the absolute lines of a minimalistic natural landscape, a horizon that yields an image of infinity, where the two blues of sea and sun join together in a real world image of perfection.
Monteverde Artista Crystal demonstrator, a fairly dry writer with an uncalibrated M nib
Do try this ink, it gives you a piece of the sea and the sky of the Cyclades.
Put a demonstrator pen and lots of creamy white paper in your bag. Book your next trip to a Greek island, preferably one that is not crowded with tourists. Avoid the miserably urban temptation to look for a Starbucks while you are there. You are not there to buy stuff. Rather, you are there to buy the experience. Observe how the dry, burnt, naked hills full of little white boxes join this particular kind of blue up in the sky and follow the arch back to the sea. That’s my own, personal certain kind of blue …