Ink Review: Levenger Cardinal Red


Levenger Cardinal Red
Pen: Levenger True Writer
Paper: Rhodia 80gsm
Shading: moderate to high
Saturation: moderate to high
Flow: wet
Dry Time: LONG - 45+ seconds depending on the nib

It's been a while since I've used a red ink, so when I was loaned the Levenger Truewriter with a converter full of Levenger Cardinal Red, I was anxious to give it a go.  The ink behaved well on all of the usual ink-resistant papers I typically use, and has a nice balance of high shading and good saturation.  My page was never starved for ink, as this one flows quite well, even in drier pens.

The one problem I experienced with Cardinal Red is that it takes forever to dry.  I had to sit my page aside after finishing, as the ink took anywhere between 45 to 60 seconds to completely dry, making it bad choice for hook-handed lefties.

Despite the dry time issue, I wouldn't count this ink out just yet.  It had one feature that I absolutely love: it sheens like crazy.  In researching the ink, I didn't find any official statements about its sheen, so it would seem it's just a happy side effect.  In even the faintest light, the ink has a bright greenish-gold sheen.  It rivals that of J. Herbin's 1670 Rouge Hematite, without that actual gold fleck.


Of course if you're not a fan of sheen, this ink may not be for you as the sheen tends to drown out the actual red color; especially if you're in a setting with a light overhead.

Chromatography shows a bright red with a hint of magenta at the top.  The ink compares well to Pelikan Edelstein Garnet and Diamine Scarlet.

All in all, I really enjoyed using this ink.  I still tend to lean more towards darker reds, such as Diamine Oxblood; but for a mid-range red with an insane amount of sheen, Levenger Cardinal Red is just the ticket.

You can pick up a bottle for around $12 on Amazon.  I had trouble finding it on some of the usual pen vendors, but it still seems to be easily obtainable.

Thanks for reading!