Ink Review: Rohrer & Klingner Scabiosa


Rohrer & Klingner Scabiosa (Iron Gall)
Pen: Lamy Safari EF
Paper: Rhodia Dotpad 80gsm

Scabiosa is an amazing purple iron gall ink from the German company Rohrer & Klinger Leipzig Co.  It is part 1 of 2 in the Scabix mixture that I reviewed recently.  Rohrer & Klingner was established in 1892 when lithographer Johann Adolf Rohrer began creating "special graphic supplements" in the city of Leipzig.  His son, Adolf Jr., continued the manufacturing of these products with his partner Felix Arthur Klingner in 1907, under the company name that still remains today.  The Rohrer & Klingner inks continue to be some of my favorite inks out there.  Their brand continues to flourish in the fountain pen community, so they certainly are doing something right.

Scabiosa is my favorite of the two iron gall inks that Rohrer & Klingner carries.  It is a muted purple with a greyish undertone that I absolutely love.  As with all iron gall inks, the ink begins to oxidize once it hits the air, so after a few hours to a day, you'll see a subtle change in the inks coloring - mainly a slight darkening.  Aside from the permanence that iron gall is best known for, this characteristic makes it stand out from other inks.  One thing you'll notice about iron gall inks is they have a fairly unique smell to them.  I liken it to the smell of coins, or wet metal.  It's not evident in writing, but you can definitely smell it when you open up a bottle.

As with most of the Rohrer & Klingner inks, Scabiosa is extremely well behaved.  I see no feathering on most papers, and the dry time is around 8 seconds with a fairly wet Lamy EF nib.  It gives fairly moderate shading, though not a ton.  Scabiosa definitely stands out from the traditional purple fountain pen inks that you typically see with its unique color and the permanence of iron gall.  Don't be deterred by the fact that it is iron gall - all of the R&K inks are very easy to clean out of a pen.  So long as you practice regular pen maintenance, you should have no issue with any modern iron gall ink.

I highly recommend that you try this ink out - it is certainly in my top 2 favorites at the moment.  You can pick up a bottle from Goulet or a similar retailer for $12.00.