Red inks are a peculiar bunch. They come in all sorts of shades—from dark maroon all the way to candy red. Noodler’s Inks is no stranger to this as they have 16 different shades of red available themselves. One of these inks I have to review today: Noodler’s Qin Shi Huang Red (pronounced Chin-Shi Huang). The ink is quite fantastic as it is a bright, popping red ink that is not too painful to look at, and has a professional, teacher’s-red hue.
The ink is named after the first Emperor of China: Qin Shi Huang, later named Qin Shi Huangdi, after he unified China and proclaimed himself the first emperor in 221BC. (He is also famous for having the Terracotta Warrior Mausoleum, which he had created for himself). The bottle and box are standard Noodler’s three ounce set; and, while polarizing to some people, I like the bottle quite a bit. The bottle is slightly tinted, allowing for good storage, and is very functional in its shape, allowing for the most ink in as small a package as possible. It is also very easy to organize in a collection thanks to its cubical form.
The label of the ink is something quite interesting. Unlike most inks, the name of the ink is neither in English, nor is it front and center of the label. Instead, the name ‘Qin Shi Huang’ is in Mandarin Chinese, written as ‘秦始皇.’ The label, instead, is dominated by a painting of Emperor Qin’s boat, sailing to find immortality. I also believe that the label is an original painting, done by Noodler’s Founder Nathan Tardiff. The paining is, honestly, quite striking, and a beauty to look at. The bottle is exceptional, and I always appreciate the effort Noodler’s puts in towards having both wonderful form and fantastic function.
The Qin Shi Huang ink has a very pleasing color. It is, to quote Noodler’s founder Nathan Tardiff, “A very red red ink,” and while somewhat confusing in terms of vocabulary, this sentiment runs true. The ink could never be mistaken for a pink, or a brown, or an orange, or anything but red itself. It’s a very red ink. However, despite the ink’s hue, it is not eye-gougingly bright or annoying to look at; it is actually quite pleasant. However, this ink is not serene, as it calls attention to itself on a page the way a teacher’s red pen may. The ink is also quite saturated—however, it does not have much sheening or shading to speak of (it is quite constant in color).
The ink is also quite water-resistant. Even though it is not an ‘immortal’ ink, it is quite water resistant whilst maintaining relative ease of cleaning. It is a slow drier, however, taking about 50 seconds to dry thoroughly. However, it does not feather or bleed, unless it is only less expensive paper, where it will absorb immediately while feathering and bleeding like crazy.
This is also one of the Noodler’s inks which also happens to be a weak acid (with a pH around 4.5 or 5). This means that it does not mix well with other inks, so it should only be used alone, as a reaction might occur when used in concert with other inks that may end up ruining your pen. So, please, use it alone (for the sake of your pens).
The ink also has one quite cool property: it fluoresces under UV lights (also known as black lights). While not glow-in-the-dark per se, it does have a lighter, extra dimension, so to speak, when underneath a UV light.
Noodler’s Qin Shi Huang Red is a very nice, well-behaved red ink with a few tricks up its sleeve. And, even though it is a red ink, it is not eye-popping or annoying to look at for long periods of time. It could even be used, albeit rather more dramatically than blue or black ink, for professional use. Regardless, I’d recommend you give it a try. It is available on Goulet for $12.50 and on Amazon for $13.50 with Prime Shipping (most of the time)—(this link is not an affiliate link).
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