This is the second J. Herbin ink I have sampled, and unlike the first, this one had no scent whatsoever. I confess too I was looking forward to trying it as it had received nice reviews on another blog. It is a very nice ink, too. At this point in my survey of black ink for fountain pens, I will confess too that on a page they all look black. The differences I am talking about here are most noticeable when you are comparing ink swabs on a white card. This is not to say that you can't look at written word in your Moleskine and detect the differing shades. You can. You just have to be paying close attention.
No, the point to this exercise really is aesthetics. It is having selected a black ink that is just the right shade with just the right amount of saturation. It is having an answer to the question, "I wonder how that particular brand of black ink compares to the one I am using?" If you have sampled every brand on the market and have each one catalogued for future reference on a three by five card with writing samples and a swab of the ink, then you know and you can speak with virtual certainty, and how cool is that? How many things are there that you can be completely certain about in this life? Precious few if you are an NT. On this one thing I will be able to speak with certainty.
So, the ink. This black ink is the lightest in color of all the black inks I have sampled, lighter even than Waterman black. Having said that, this ink is very close to the Waterman, enough so as to be indistinguishable unless you were looking at them both side by side with tags. The saturation of the ink is also quite light, it goes on the page easily and dries quickly. It is nice to look at with that faint translucent quality that appeals to The Ridge Walker in a black ink. Make no mistake, this is a very nice ink for your fountain pen. To my mind, though, this makes the relatively higher price unsustainable. Waterman black does everything this ink does, looks almost exactly the same and costs less. Unless you are a fan of J. Herbin, which I can well understand, this ink is one I can easily pass over.