From New England to Canada: Raven Black
This is the second of the two Canadian inks we’ve brought in from Noodler’s!
We’ve been anticipating this ink for literally months – before we even found this new space here at 250 Carlaw, we had been going back and forth on some of the old Noodler’s inks that had been discontinued. We had actually held off on shipping it at first because of the cold winter weather (imagine how disastrous – a box of broken inks, and Canadian ones at that!), and then with the delays from the move, we kept postponing and postponing. I’m pretty sure there were a few boxes of inks with our name on them at our distributor’s, just sitting and waiting to come home.
Raven Black is inspired by Edgar Allan Poe’s famous poem “The Raven.” Maybe it’s because I’m a former English student, and I know ink itself is a pretty romantic notion these days anyways, but how can you get more romantic than an ink inspired by a poem? If you’re a writer or a poet, how could you resist writing with an ink inspired by Edgar Allan Poe?
“The Raven” is a poem told from the perspective of a heart-broken lover mourning the death of his beloved. In the midst of his sadness, he’s interrupted by a mysterious raven, who – even more mysteriously – speaks.
As the narrator attempts to discover the raven’s origins, the raven can only repeat the phrase “Nevermore.” Twisted further and further into the dark lure of the raven’s answer and his own grief, the narrator continues to ask questions about life and his own dead lover. Fear and desperation begin to overcome the narrator as he realizes the deep darkness of the raven, and eventually it is revealed that the narrator’s soul is trapped under the shadow of the black raven.
Okay, so the poem is a bit dark and creepy, but it made Poe famous across America, a national celebrity. The poem was praised for its haunting originality, and was the start of Poe’s career as a writer and poet. Since then, “The Raven” has influenced or been referenced in all sorts of American and even international pop culture.
The label features, of course, a raven, and the phrase “Nevermore…” and I must say the label is one of my favourite parts of the ink as a whole! There’s something a bit haunting about the black raven and that yellow background…
Fittingly, this new ink, Raven Black, is a black black. A description from Nathan Tardif, the creator of Noodler’s ink, goes:
A large Northern Raven – solitary and mysterious as is its nature, unlike crows – from an old 19th century painting – seemed the perfect label for a deeper mystery than the louder 1930s style. Only Mr. Poe and that bird would be worthy – and thus the darkest vintage period style ink that Noodler’s could make became “The Raven”
It’s a dark, deep black, most close to Borealis Black from Noodler’s, actually, rather than Noodler’s Standard Bulletproof Black, which is just a touch lighter. Borealis Black is described as “…an intense deep black line from Noodler’s Inks. The Blackest of the conventional Blacks!!” from the Noodler’s website, and it truly is a dark black. Raven Black is in this same vein, being a deep, rich, saturated black.
I originally thought this wasn’t going to be a bullet proof ink, but it turns out it is! This is actually a bulletproof, eternal and forgery resistant ink! The slight smudging you see when it’s held under the tap for a while is due to the fact that Nathan has identified it as “vintage-waterproof” – see more here on Noodler’s Properties PDF.
Here’s a photo of the Raven Black against the standard bulletproof black after about 20 seconds under the tap. The swab lost a bit of ink, mostly the top layer of dried ink that wasn’t able to bond with the paper. The writing of “Raven Black” actually looks pretty good, I think because there’s not so much ink layered on top to lose to the water.
Raven Black is not bad on copy paper either! There’s a bit of feather and bleed through as is usually expected with fountain pen inks, but it’s pretty good for such a saturated ink.
Raven Black is a smooth, wet ink, with good flow. It’s fairly water resistant, even with holding the paper under the tap, and I imagine it would become more and more water resistant the longer it has to dry on the page.
As it says on the label, this ink is from New England to Canada, and we couldn’t be happier than to welcome it home! We’re really hoping that the Canadian fountain pen market continues to grow and that we can sustain a few of these Canadian exclusive inks. Of course we had to have a black ink along with our Blue Upon the Plains of Abraham, and we’re so pleased that Raven Black is here.