Review: Monteverde Brown Sugar

My thanks to Cityluxe for providing the ink for review.

This is my first experience with Monteverde inks. (Yes last week I’ve just posted Monteverde Olivine. That was reviewed much later. I’ve moved it up in the schedule so that I can have a giveaway first week of 2018.)

Like I was saying, this is my first experience with Monteverde inks. They are a USA based company that sells pens and inks. They have a wide range of inks. Monteverde inks come in 2 sizes 30ml and 90ml. Monteverde Brown Sugar is a shading warm brown ink. It goes from a dark brown to a red-brown. It feels lubricated in my Platinum SM nib. Monteverde Brown Sugar is a great colour.

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Posted on January 19, 2018 and filed under Ink, review.

Review: Monteverde Aldo Domani

The Numbers:
Weight: 28g
Length (capped): 136mm
Length (uncapped): 120mm
Price: USD$32 from Pen Chalet
Body Material: Plastic exterior with metal interior
Nib Material: Stainless steel
Filling Mechanism: International cartridge and converter
Colours: Black, Blue, Red, Light Purple and Light Pink

Monteverde is a division of YAFA pen company corporation. They make fountain pens as well as inks. This is my first experience with Monteverde fountain pens.

The Aldo Domani is obviously designed to appeal to the corporations. It looks extremely suited for corporate gifts where the company logo or name is printed or etched on the pen body.

It comes in the standard Monteverde packaging. A green cardboard sleeve around the snap case green box that has the Monteverde logo on it. Opening the snap case, the pen is nestled among the faux satin fabric. Inside, you can find 2 short standard international cartridges, along with papers.

The Aldo Domani comes in a varieties of colours and I opted for the red. It is has a silver clip and centre band. The branding on the pen is subtle and minimal. The Aldo Domani has red shiny plastic sheathed over a metal interior core, that gives it a nice heft to the pen. More on that later.

The clip is leaf shaped - albeit an elongated leaf. It is stiff and not easy to slid over anything but the thinnest of paper. Frankly, it is too stiff for my liking but I don’t make it a habit to clip it over my notebooks.

The cap screws off in less than a single turn. That’s really nice so it makes for easy note taking. More on that later too. Once the cap is off, you can see the black plastic grip section and the good size stainless steel nib. The grip section is nice and long, plenty of space for your fingers to hold onto. The threads are smooth and the step was minimal. The Aldo Domani takes a standard international cartridge and converter so there are plenty of inks readily available in that format.

Ok, it’s later now.

First, the body has a metal core but the grip is plastic. This puts the balance of the fountain pen towards the back. If you have larger hands I figure this might not be too much of a problem but if you are like me with smaller hands, it might tilt the pen too much towards the back. The balance is not totally off but it is enough to notice.

Second, the ink constantly dries out in the pen. I cap the pen after using, 30 minutes later I uncap the pen to write, it hard starts. If I wait longer, like the next day, I have to prime the feed again to get the pen to write. This is a terrible flaw. It makes for a very frustrated user at the best of times.

Finally, when you get the Aldo Domani to actually write, it writes very dry. I filled it with one of the wettest ink I have, the Bungbox 4B and still there is a feedback there that isn’t entirely enjoyable. The stock nib could use some adjusting especially in terms of the wetness.

Personally I cannot recommend the Monteverde Aldo Domani to anyone. It just doesn’t write well, leaving the balance issue aside. The fact that the ink just dries up in your pen when capped is a deal breaker. There are better pens at a similar price point and design out there, seek those.


  • Corporate design
  • Multiple colours available


  • Ink dries up when capped
  • Hard starts
  • Dry writer
Posted on January 12, 2018 and filed under Fountain Pen, review.

Review: Monteverde Olivine

My thanks to Cityluxe for providing the ink for review and giveaway.

Olivine is a dark green with a yellow undertone. Dark yellow-green is definitely my kind of green. It shades quite nicely even in my European fine nib. It goes from a deep dark green to a muted green-yellow. Like most other Monteverde inks, it’s rather lubricated. This is definitely my favourite Monteverde ink so far.

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Drop me a comment below to stand a chance to win a 30ml bottle of Monteverde Olivine. This giveaway ends 18th January 2018, it is open to all residing in Singapore. The winner will have 1 week to claim their prize.

Posted on January 5, 2018 and filed under Ink, review.

2017 Purchases

Another year has come and gone. And it’s time to see how much I’ve spend on this hobby of mine. This year has seen a drastic decrease in the number of pens I’ve purchased. The main reason being each pen that I buy is significantly more expensive in general so it makes sense that I buy less pens. I’d be worried if I didn’t. I spent a total of $3800 on 7 fountain pens. One of them was a shoo in on Christmas eve. It’s a Pilot Custom 823 in WA from Tokyo Quill. I had expected it to receive the invoice next year. Comparing it to last year’s 19 pens, I feel I’ve exercised a great deal of self control. However with the average price of each pen is more than $500, it is probably due to the higher end fountain pens that I’ve been buying rather than due to any self control.

Ink purchases has gone up when compared to last year’s 19 bottles. I got 27 new inks at $500 in total, some were multiple bottles of the same inks for gifts. 27 bottles of inks at $500 total is not too bad. Well, inks will always be cheaper and it’s easier to impulse buy when compared to pens.

I’ve added a new category to track this year. It’s a category to cover non-pens and non-ink related products, mostly paper and pen cases. That came in at $340. The bulk of it was due to a Pelikan M400 B nib that I’ve purchased for modding.

I’ve sold 6 pens, none of them purchased within the year. And 16 bottles of inks were also sold, some from within the year. I’ve gone a little crazy with Robert Oster Signature inks so I had to cull some to make room for more inks. My collection is probably due for another culling pretty soon.

So that’s $4600 over the course of 12 months, baring nothing just comes up in the next 2 days. Now comparing this to last year’s purchases which came in at more than $5000, I think this is a step in the right direction. It’s not that I’m losing interest in the hobby but as any hobby matures, I think you’d get to know what you like and what you don’t. In turn, you’ll be able to apply these criteria to your purchasing decisions. At the end of the day, hopefully it will means less buy to try, more buy to use.

Which direction has your fountain pen and related products purchases been going?

Posted on December 29, 2017 and filed under shopping, thoughts.

Top 4 Favourite Pens 2017

This year is slightly different. I didn’t buy much pens. Actually to date as I write this (19th November), I’ve only purchased 6 fountain pens this year. It’s a little hard to have a top 5 when I only got 6 pens in the running. Considering one of them is a Lamy Safari, I didn’t think it’s fair to put the rest in the top 5. So, to make things slightly fairer, I am going with a top 4 instead this year.

Like the top 5 inks of 2017 list, the criteria to make it onto the list is simple. Firstly, I must have made the purchase of the pen during the year. And, I’ve used it and loved it.

Number 4: Montblanc Heritage 1912

This is one pen that I’ve used the longest out of the bunch. I got this very late last year but I consider this a 2017 because I didn’t use it long enough to evaluate it for last year. The 1912 is my first Montblanc fountain pen and I really enjoy the retracting nib feature. The weight is really solid and the nib writes really well. Though the barrel scratching cap is somewhat of a let down, it is still a classic fountain pen.

Number 3: Nakaya Negoro style "Nuno kise Hon Kataji" Arai-shu version

This is the 3rd year in a roll that I have a Nakaya fountain pen on the list. This one is the cracked finish which I had been lusting after ever since I’ve discovered the brand. What drew me to the pen is definitely the cracks. It’s like stonewashed jeans, this is breaking the finish of the pen while it is brand new. It is a striking pen for sure. I went with the M nib for this pen. The nib writes as well as can be expected from Nakaya. Review coming soon.

Number 2: TWSBI Eco - Right foot oblique medium grind

What sorcery is this? A TWSBI ahead of a Montblanc and Nakaya fountain pen? The secret here is the nib grind. I had Sunny of Straits Pen to mod the nib. I went with a right foot oblique medium grind at the suggestion of a friend and boy did it open my eyes. Line variations, crisper lines and all that for a lefty!

Number 1: Aurora Optima Red Demonstrator

This is my first Aurora fountain pen and I went immediately for the Optima Red Demonstrator. I love my demonstrator pens and I have a soft spot for those with a tiny bit of colour. The Aurora Optima Red Demonstrator ticked all the boxes and then some. Aurora offers factory nib grinding without any additional cost so I went with the right foot oblique fine. Wow, the nib, just wow. It has a very tiny sweet spot but when you hit it just right, it is like flying. No tooth, just pure smoothness with crisp line and line variation.

Posted on December 22, 2017 and filed under Top 5, Fountain Pen.