Blackstone Barrier Reef
Gaze across an ocean of sheen with Blackstone Barrier Reef.
Barrier Reef is probably Blackstone’s most popular color, and with good reason. The ink is a beautiful rich blue that produces copious red sheen. Blackstone inks are produced in Australia and come in a variety of colors with many different properties. Their inks are packaged in a 30ml round Nalgene bottle that is easy to fill from and to transport. This review was done with a Pilot Custom 74 F, Lamy Safari B and on Rhodia blank No.18 paper.
Barrier Reef has a similar appearance in both a fine and a broad nib. At its lightest, the ink is a light cobalt blue. From there, the ink shades to darker denim and azure tones. At its darkest, the ink is a rich navy blue. There is a bit of green in the ink, so comparing it to a true blue makes it appear slightly teal. If this was all the ink had to offer, it would still be a beautiful color. But Barrier Reef produces a ton of red sheen. Even with a fine nib, on Rhodia paper, you’re going to notice it. With a broad nib on Tomoe River, you’ll be in sheeners’ paradise.
Blackstone inks generally perform very well and Barrier Reef is no exception. The ink has excellent flow with no feathering or bleedthrough on Rhodia paper. Even though it’s a highly saturated ink, it still has good dry times at 20-30 seconds. It shades only moderately, but that moderate shading has a great impact on the ink’s appearance. Water resistance is low, but clean up is easy.
Sometimes ink hype is unwarranted, but Barrier Reef deserves all the praise it gets. Some of the high-sheening inks that have come out recently have a chalky feel on the page and tend to smear even when dry. Not so with Barrier Reef. It is an excellent everyday ink that handles most papers very well. There’s really nothing else you could ask for in a blue ink.
As with any ink review, the pen, paper and person doing the writing will influence the way the ink looks. If you’re not sure about a color, try a sample to see if it’s the color for you.
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