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J. Herbin “Lie de Thé” (brown): Ink Review

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J. Herbin “Lie de Thé”: a nicely shading brown ink – vintage-style

J.Herbin "Lie de Thé" ink swab

Ink name: J. Herbin “Lie de Thé”
Unit capacity: 30 ml (glas bottle)
Price: ca. 12 € in Europe (cheaper in the USA – just around 11 $)
Price per ml: ca. 0,40 € (USA: 0,36 $)

  Leuchtturm 1917 Standard copy paper
Color  vintage style brown  vintage style brown
Saturation  quite high  quite high
Shading  extremely nice shading – from darker brown to a light golden brown  still decent shading, but a lot flatter than on Leuchtturm
Feathering  none  yes, slightly
Bleed-through  none (though a little on the 2nd pass)  often on the 2nd pass, sometimes also on the 1st pass or with slow writing
Wetness  pretty wet, but still dries relatively fast  pretty wet, though soaked in quite fast
Drying time  20 sec. (safe probably a wee bit earlier)  8 sec.
Smudging when dry  hardly, but can happen  nope
Regular smear test  just okay (when not writing too fast)  alright
Left-page smear test  okay  okay

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

J.Herbin "Lie de Thé" on Leuchtturm 1917

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

J.Herbin "Lie de Thé" on standard paper

The J. Herbin-website describes this ink as “a subtle brown with soft shades whose name symbolizes the tea from Orient”. And I think when it comes to color, the description really fits. I love the vintage look and feel of the ink.

There is, however, a significant difference in the character of this ink, depending on the paper you use. While this is the case with most inks (not so much with black ink or the Diamine Pumpkin I reviewed lately, though), it is especially true for the J. Herbin “Lie de Thé”. The color is a lot richer and more saturated on Leuchtturm than on standard paper. The ink shades a lot better and looks much more interesting. While it shades from darker nuances to almost light golden brown on Leuchtturm, it looks a little flat on standard paper, though you can still see some shading.

Since “Lie de Thé” is a pretty wet ink, it has a danger of bleeding through on standard paper. If you plan to use it a lot on this kind of paper, I would be careful. No problem on Leuchtturm, though.

As for its ‘leftyness’, I can say that “Lie de Thé” just cleared the requirements. Even though it is a pretty wet ink, it still dries acceptably fast. You gotta be a little careful on Leuchtturm-paper, since it takes about 20 seconds to be dry here. Anyway, I have used the ink for about a week now in my Bullet Journal (bullet point-style entries, of course, but also some longer notes of several lines) and had absolutely no smudging issues. Once dry, you are definitely in the ‘safe zone’ with this ink – it really takes a lot of effort to smudge “Lie de Thé” once it has dried. On standard paper, you are in general rather on the safe side with this ink (dry after about 8 seconds), however it looks less interesting and feathers/bleeds a bit at times, which is due to its wetness.

Pricewise, the J. Herbin-inks are rather pricey in Europe. In the States they are considerably cheaper. Anyway, I think the “Lie de Thé” is such an interesting ink, it’s definitely worth its money.

Lefty approved? Yeah, you just made it, sis!


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

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