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Here’s my review of Diamine Beau Blue, an ink which I’d not given a fair chance and had already made up my mind to hate. But fortunately those feelings changed when I saw that icy blue goodness being laid down on Rhodia. And also, as you might notice, I’ve made up a completely superfluous term to go along with my reviews to describe a VERY desirable (for me) trait of inks that I call…


Diamine Beau Blue (Medium)

And onto the new term: Grotto.

I first noticed this trait in Herbin inks. In fact, if you look at some of my previous reviews I make several references to the “‘Herbin’ look”. It’s the beautiful darker-on-the-edges look that many J. Herbin inks can achieve when they dry on quality paper, and is especially prominent in nibs that are wet, bold, or flexy. I’d never had a name for it, but when reviewing this ink I found this particular quality so striking that I felt I had to name it.

To me it is a very “wet” look, like coffee that’s dried on non-absorbent paper. But I couldn’t call it “wetness” because people would think it just never dries (and what I call a “wet” look may very well trigger something completely different when someone else see’s it). So I ran with the word “wet” without actually using it, and after some thinking I decided I shall call this ink characteristic—at least within the context of future reviews—”grotto”. Grottos are mysterious, often beautiful places that might be harboring secrets. Their walls are often wet, and the water that might come from a natural spring and form a pool in them is clear and cool, straight from nature.

So now that I’ve gotten all the poetic junk out of the way, that’s “grotto”. This ink has great grotto. Not that I expect anyone else to pick up the word (though I’ll be perfectly happy if they do); it’s just a word to describe something I’ve been trying to describe for a long time.

And here are some other inks that have great grotto.