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Graf von Faber-Castell “Hazelnut Brown” (“brown”): Ink Review

On Scrively's Ink Reviews - Background Information (click to expand)

GvFC “Hazelnut Brown”: a rich dark brown with amazing shading – perfect for lefties

Graf von Faber-Castell "Hazelnut Brown"

Ink name: Graf von Faber-Castell “Hazelnut Brown” (Haselnussbraun)
Unit capacity: 75 ml (glas flacon)
Price:  25 €
Price per ml: ca. 0,33 €

  Leuchtturm 1917 Spiral-bound Notepad
Color  Lovely dark chocolatey brown  Rich dark brown with a tiny bit of a red hue
Saturation  High  High
Shading  Amazing shading from lighter tones to deep dark brown  Nice and complex shading across the brown spectrum
Feathering  None  None
Bleed-through  None  A tiny bit on the 2nd pass
Wetness  Rather wet  Rather wet
Drying time  ca. 8 sec.  ca. 5 sec.
Smudging when dry  No  No
Regular smear test  Ok  Ok
Left-page smear test  Ok  –

Handwritten review on Leuchtturm 1917 paper
(scanned @600 dpi with Doxie Flip – click image to enlarge on Flickr)

Graf von Faber-Castell "Hazelnut Brown"

Handwritten review on a Standard Spiral-Bound Notepad
(scanned @600 dpi with Doxie Flip – click image to enlarge on Flickr)

Graf von Faber-Castell "Hazelnut Brown"

So far, I have had no experience with the Graf von Faber-Castell inks, but have heard quite some good things about them. So I am very glad that I got to finally try the Hazelnut Brown, as brown inks really are one of my favorites. Up to this point, J.Herbins Lie de Thé was my favorite brown ink. And I must say that it now got a sibling.

“Hazelnut Brown” really is amazing to me. A deep dark brown, it is very rich in color and exposes some tiny little bit of a reddish hue on whiter paper. On ivory paper, it just looks like a piece of chocolate that I wanna bite into. A very lovely brown color, indeed.

As to its shading, it is very complex, too. The ink shades from pretty light brown tones into very dark brown. Actually the shading itself, not so much the color, reminds me a lot of “Lie de Thé”. Maybe that is why I really loved “Hazelnut Brown” straight away.

The ink behaves extraordinarily well and really lives up to it being a premium ink. It just flows perfectly from the nib, being pretty lubricant and definitely on the wetter side. From its feel, it is a joy to write with. Being a wetter ink, there can be an occasionally bleed through on a second pass on standard paper. In “normal use” (i.e. if you do not re-draw a line repeatedly or so), this does not occur, however. Despite its wetness, “Hazelnut Brown” dries extremely fast. And I mean extremely fast. About 8 seconds and you are good to go. This is comparable to orange inks – which, for some reason, have some of the best drying times out there.

Pricewise, the Graf von Faber-Castell inks are also premium. They range on about the same category as for instance Pilots Iroshizuku inks or the Pelikans Edelstein ink series. But you definitely get the value you pay for. The ink bottles themselves are amazing and beautifully packaged and, most importantly, the ink is just awesome.

As for its ‘leftyness’, “Hazelnut Brown” benefits from (according to the GvFC-wesbite) being document proof, indelible ink. It is, for instance, next to impossible to smudge. This, in combination with its speedy drying time, makes it a perfect ink for left-handers.

All in all, I will make sure to always have a bottle of “Hazelnut Brown” at home. Apropos bottle: The Graf von Faber-Castell ones also are really decorative on the desk! They weigh quite a lot and may easily serve as a paper weight, too.

Lefty approved? Yes. No doubt about that!







I hope this ink review was helpful – feel free to check out my other ink reviews as well.

If you would like to compare this color to any other ink color/brand, I would suggest to head over to GouletPen’s “Interactive SwabShop” – a tool that lets you compare over 500 different inks, while the swabs are done under similar conditions. This is a wonderful tool for “cross-color-brand-comparison” that I can highly recommend.


  1. TH TH

    Hi, I’m really enjoying reading your ink reviews as I am fairly new to the world of fountain pen ink. I want to ask you how much do you think the pen with which you write affects how the ink looks on paper? For example with Graf von Faber Castell Hazelnut Brown I only have it in Cartridge form which I have tried to use in my Kaweco Skyline Medium nib fountain pen.It does not produce the same shade as you have. It also writes very dry. I do also use Leuchtturm journals so I can make quite a good comparison.Obviously the monitor you use would have some effect 2 overall I have found comparing Lamy Safaris and Lamy Nexx M fountain pens with my Kaweco Skyline pens has meant that the same ink can look darker when used in the Lamy brand. I have almost the full range of Lamy nibs but at present I only have medium and fine Kaweco nibs. I have not had this problem with the Graf von Faber Castell stone grey ink cartridges which perform exactly as you show.

    Look forward to your thoughts on the above.

    • Scrively Scrively

      Hi – thanks for the kind words and your comment. You are absolutely right: The pen (and paper!) you use does highly affect how the ink will look on the page. A broader nib and/or a pen with generous ink flow will normally make the ink look darker than a finer nib and/or a pen with less ink flow. The amount of ink on the page also affects the shading. Too little ink will result in little shading – an awful lot of ink can have the same effect, just darker. So I recommend to just play a little bit around with different pen, nib and ink combinations until you find what you like.

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