Pen & Message: Old Burgundy

Pen & Message is a stationary store based in Kobe, Japan.  They sell some highly sought after inks including the holy grail Cigar.  All the Pen & Message inks come in the cool diamond shape bottle- perfect for those with humoungous nibbed- fountain pens.

Because of the worldwide popularity of Pen & Message inks, you cannot purchase them directly on-line unless you live in Japan.  So if you cannot buy them in person at their store you would have to use a forwarding service such as White Rabbit Express, which is how I got them.  Be aware they are currently limiting ink purchases to 1 colour/person.  I bought 1 each of the 8 piece set as follows;

  1. Cigar (Brown)
  2. Old Burgundy (Burgundy)
  3. Quadrifoglio (Green)
  4. Vintage Denim (Blue)
  5. Saku (Blue)
  6. Sanyasou (purple)
  7. Suyuurushi (red urushi)
  8. Fuyugare (grey)

Three of the inks were made in collaboration with Writing Lab namely; Quadrifoglio, Vintage Denim and Old Burgundy.  I have all three, here are mine…



*I managed to rip the Quadrifogio cap label by getting washi tape tangled in it.

The ink I will be reviewing today is Old Burgundy.

I don’t have many burgundy inks, and way too many blue inks (I think this is mainly because blue inks tend to sheen a lot, and if I look at my collection, most of these blue inks are Parker Penman Saphire tributes).

So I was happy to ad Old Burgundy to my cart, along with the other 6 Pen & Message inks.


I love the cool Writing Lab label on this one…


Here is an ink blob on Hobonichi TR paper- as you can see a nice and fairly saturated Burgundy, with a vintage, slightly dusky purple look…IMG_0205.jpg

As you can see here, there’s some green sheen on this one.

I feel like I’ve seen that sheen somewhere before…


Oh yes, Bung Box Sweet Potato Purple, but of course Old Burgundy is more to the classic red burgundy vs. pink-purple, hence name Sweet Potato Purple, opposed to Sweet Potato Burgundy!

Here is a writing sample on Hobonichi…


As with majority of the inks in the Pen & Message line, Old Burgundy has a lovely velvety texture to it, and I find it can smooth out the rough edges in even the finest and most finicky nibs.  I love to use it in my Sailor Pro Gear Slims for that very reason.  *I find the larger Pro Gear Standard and Realo’s with the bigger 21ct gold nib, are far smoother and juicier compared to the smaller 14ct gold nibs on the Pro Gear Slim.

Here are some other almost burgundys in my collection…

Montblac Antoine de Saint Exupery;


Bung Box Tears of a Clown


Here I’ll post a swatch of Old Burgundy with some comparisons below…


You can really see the dusky grey aspect to Old Burgundy here.

Tears of a Clown again.  As you can see from the dry part, much redder and…maximum sheen!


Kobe’s Kounan Maroon- also quite sheeny and again leaning to the red…


And Kobe’s #6 Bordeux.  This is more similar to Old Burgundy but pinker…


All the maroons (Kobe Kounan Maroon and Bordeux are samples).  As you can see Old Burgundy is quite distinct.



I love this ink.  From the cool Writing Lab collaboration labels to the rare-as-hens-teeth Sailor vase-shaped bottles to the semi-unicorn status and finally and most importantly to the ink itself.  As mentioned this is a very well behaved ink for an ink in the reddish range.  I usually have a complete nightmare getting red inks out of my pens and Tears of a Clown in particular is a bit of a nightmare.  But i found this ink cleaned out of my TWSBI Eco quite quickly just by running it under a tap and flushing water through it like that a few times.

The velvety texture of the ink is wonderful and typical of Pen & Message inks generally.  I feel comfortable using it in my more precious piston-fillers no problem.  Of course the deep bottle means I can actually use my precious piston-fillers with this ink in the first place.  I’m really getting irritated with my large-ish Bung Box ink collection for this reason.

And lastly to the colour itself.  A dusky, smoky, old world Burgundy.  There is a real depth and complexity to this ink.  And of course one mustn’t forget the wicked golden green sheen.  I feel like the Pen & Message line of inks have a real class and seriousness to them, a cut above some of the more cutesy and concept- driven Sailor store exclusives.

There is a very particular look and feel to this Old Burgundy ink.  It manages to retain an old world charm.  The lack of a similar dusky maroon in my collection (all my Maroon inks are quite red) makes me feel it is one of a kind.  I feel very lucky to have a gotten hold of this one.