Ink Review: Noodler's Zhivago


Noodler's Zhivago
Pen: Lamy Safari EF
Paper: Rhodia Dotpad 80gsm

There's always a lot of talk about Noodler's Zhivago in the fountain pen community.  Typically it relates to what color it actually is - some say black, some say greyish-black, some say green and some say green-black.  I've seen some reviews and websites that classify this as a black ink, which always surprises me because the green tones are pretty apparent to my eyes.  The ink is quite dark and the green can be subtle; so if you have a little bit of colorblindness it may be hard to spot.

Very dark green

If I had to guess I would say this ink is a mix of a fairly bulletproof black ink/dye along with the dark green.  When exposed to water, the green washes away, leaving behind a black ink.  This is similar to what Nathan did with Liberty's Elysium, where it is "semi-bulletproof."  The ink behaves great on Rhodia, and even on my cheap post-it notes with hardly any feathering.  Dry time was pretty long at right around 15 seconds with an EF nib.  Being as dark as it is, there is no shading to be found.

I love [color]-black inks, and Zhivago is no exception.  It reminds me of the Uniball BLX series green-black.  I wouldn't mind it if a little more of the green showed through, but it's still a great ink.  It does tend to dry on the nib a little and give some starting issues if you leave your pen uncapped without writing for a minute or two, so be mindful of that.  You can pick up a bottle from Goulet or a similar retailer for $12.50.