A quick comparison of Noodler’s Black Inks

Noodler's Black Comparison

After responding to a thread on Reddit in the fountainpen subreddit (reddit.com/r/fountainpens), I decided to do a little breakdown of my opinion on Noodler’s Black inks. While there are several other resources and scattered reviews out there, I figured it would help out to have a few thoughts all in the same place with the inks on the same page. I have a hard time reviewing black inks in depth because I’ve already found my go-to black (Sailor Kiwa-Guro Nano Black), which reminds me, I should really do a review of that. Anyway, here’s some quick thoughts on the differences between the four most talked about Noodler’s blacks!

After looking through my ink sample drawer, I found that I had some Dark Matter, Heart of Darkness, Borealis Black and X-Feather. Here’s an album of some quick swatches I made dipping a Lamy Safari Broad Nib:

The Dark Matter is definitely more of a very dark grey-black with some nice shading. I really like this ink in an extra fine nib. It’s nice when you don’t want a black that’s too dark. I’ve gone through several samples of this ink, but after owning a few different blacks, and a few grey inks, I deemed purchasing a bottle as unnecessary (for me at least).

Noodler's Black Comparison

Noodler’s X-Feather is definitely not my favorite. It’s a dark black that was meant to not feather on lesser-quality papers. I’ve had it feather on Rhodia, which is definitely not preferable. Nothing really unique about the color, it’s just kind of black. Probably my least favorite of the bunch due to the weird qualities. I usually don’t write on non-fountain pen friendly papers so this ink wouldn’t see much use, although keep in mind your mileage may vary.

Noodler's Black Comparison

Heart of Darkness is supposed to be the darkest, but it’s really hard to tell the difference between that and the X-Feather. There is a bit of a different sheen to this ink though when compared to the other three. Definitely a good, solid, dark black that’s available in a nice, big bottle.

Noodler's Black Comparison

Borealis Black (check my review here) is similar in shade to the X-Feather, but with no sheen like the Heart of Darkness. The ink is definitely the smoothest writing out of the four, but I wasn’t thrilled with the performance. Check the review to see more about this ink.

Thanks for reading, hope this could help some of you out there trying to choose a Noodler’s black!

P.S. – A big milestone on this blog is coming up really soon, and I have something really cool to give show you!


16 thoughts on “A quick comparison of Noodler’s Black Inks

  1. What about the original Noodler’s Black? If you need a sample, I’d be willing to send a sample once I acquire the vials.

    1. I think in the context of the post I initially did this for, the person asking already knew about the standard black. However, good point, it should definitely be in there!

      I’ll have to rummage through my samples, but I might not have that one. If you would like to trade samples, email me through the Trading Post when you get your vials!

  2. Yeah, you need Noodler’s Black in there. I find it very smooth in something like a Lamy Fine nib. Good, solid black.

    As for X-Feather, I call it eXtra-Feather. It seems to feather more than most other inks I have, which is not what I bought it for….

    1. I just went through all my samples, can’t believe I didn’t have one of the classic Noodler’s Black.

      I definitely see why they call it that!

    2. For some strange reason I have had the same result. It does seem to feather more than a great number of others.

  3. A nearly perfect comparison. Needs the ol’ standby – and DEFINITELY needs Noodler’s Old Manhattan Blackest Black. I could mail you a couple of milliliters…

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