My impressions on Platinum Classic (‘iron gall’) inks

Hello. It was very busy summer, which unfortunately is nearly finished. Due to amount of day job workflow I had,  I was a little bit quiet on ClumsyPenman site recently. But it does not mean, that I was not working on my reviews. In fact, I was working a lot and I will be posting many hopefully interesting things in next coming weeks. Today is one of them. Platinum Classic Series Inks. I hope you will enjoy it.  Here it is.


Earlier this year Platinum has announced and introduced set of six new inks which really brought my attention. Most of the colours in the new ‘Classic’ line are earthy and natural looking muted shades of green, brown, sepia, burgundy and yellow, which I really like. There is no secret that I love earthy colours. There is something cool about them and they usually look adorable on creamy/ivory toned paper….somehow ‘vintage’.

Another very interesting thing about this series is the fact that according to the Platinum  all of the inks are manufactured by the ‘traditional methods’ and more importantly they are gradually darkening overtime. This obviously screams – ‘Iron Gall’ inks, however Platinum never used this term on their website. I am not entirely sure how Platinum synthesize these inks but in the nut shell ‘iron gall’ inks are obtained from the chemical reaction of tannins extracted from galls (for instance oak) and aqueous solution of  iron (II) sulfate. Because formed Fe(+2) complex is quite unstable in oxygen condition the iron Fe(+2) atoms oxidise quickly to Fe(+3) which manifests by ink darkening. This effect is very similar to rust formation and corrosion we see around very often. To improve flow and other physical and chemical  properties binders such as Arabic gum, stabilisers, anti-mould reagents are often used.

This is an example how oxydation process occurs and how it is affecting the colour (note the video speed is 2x)

In general iron gall inks need to be used with caution, because their acidic pH can make an effect on metal parts of the pen (steel nib, metal section, etc). It was really a problem the past, but nowadays IG inks are significantly less ‘corrosive’, however I do not have any experimental pH data for this particular set so can not say for sure. As a general rule is rather recommended to maintain pen regularly (use and clean). It is also suggested not to use very expensive pens either. For more information about Iron Gall inks I would highly recommend to check website.

Ok, let’s have a look at each colour of the new Platinum Classic Inks series individually. There six different colours to be picked. Cassis black, Citrus black, Khaki black, Forest black, Lavender black and Sepia black. 

Citrus Black – just applied is bright yellow which quickly transforms to almost dark brown/khaki colour with yellow highlights. In my opinion this ink shows the most dramatic change when exposed to air. Because it looks so initially, writing with this ink may be challenging. However, final result is very pleasing. Interestingly, the final colour is not that far from  Robert Oster’s – Khaki, but more toward brown tones.


Cassis Black – this is tryrly gorgeous colour. It starts from scarlet red and transforms to juicy dark red which indeed reminds Crème de Cassis (blackcurrant liqueur). Dark grey gall component definitely emphasises its dramatic look at the end.


Forest Black – this is actually very pleasant shade of darker green. Initially it is a forest green, but overtime it transforms to military looking dark olive-green. The change is not as dramatic as in citrus black, but not being a huge fan of green inks in general I really like the final colour. It looks quite natural, which I appreciate.


Khaki Black  – transformation is not that obvious in this case, but colour definitely is becoming darker. Colour varies from lighter, khaki/light brown (less ink) towards much richer and warm looking browns similar to umber especially in really ink saturated areas. 


Lavender Black – despite of misleading name (thanks to God! because I hate lavender) this colour lovely. Instead of darker lavender it becomes rich dark purple/burgundy instead. I am pretty sure this colour has many ‘ink worshippers’. I would be perfectly happy (and possibly will be) to use this ink on daily basis. It looks just amazing before and after transition.  


Sepia Black – comparing to the rest of the colours in the set sepia black is probably the less attractive . However I am pretty sure, that there are ‘ink geeks’ like me who like dirty looking inks which are not exactly classic browns. Fresh and wet, Sepia black looks like sludge and mud but when it dries on the paper  it  reminds nice earthy colour. The way it looks after being exposed to the air is probably a little bit too dark for being sepia as such. 


All inks in Classic series feel rather thin and watery (especially when compared to IG from KWZ) but they flow nicely and writing experience is pleasant. With finer nib Platinum Classic ink may feel on the drier side. Other than that I have not notice any feathering or severe bleeding through most paper types I used for my tests. In general I am very positively impressed by the performance of the Platinum IG series. 

It terms of water resistance, Platinum Classic (IG) inks are not fully water resistant as may think. With few passes of warm water, the base dye is washed out…no doubt.  However, the grey gall component penetrates paper well enough and stays firmly on the paper even after several passes. I am pretty that it will stay like that for much much longer. Probably it would be more appropriate to call these IG inks as permanent than water-resistant or water proof. 



Conclusions and final verdict:

Platinum Classic series IG inks are exciting. The colours are rich and the overall performance is good. Additionally, they show degree of resistance to water which is always a good thing unless you work with them to do artistic colour washes.

Would I recommend them? Yes, definitely, but with caution, since they are IG inks so basic pen maintainance would be recommended. I would not recommend to ink any pen with this ink and forget. If you decide to play with theme,  please use inked pens regularly. This is actually a very good practice in case of every single pen, really. Personally, I have not noticed any nib staining within a period I was using samples I had, but there are comments on fountain pen related forums that this may happen.

They are odourless which is a great feature.

However, Platinum Classic inks are not cheap by any mean. The UK retailer – Cult Pens sells them for £ 21.99 for 60 ml bottle. In States they cost around $25. This is still  a little bit less than Pilot’s Iroshiuku inks but again this is already high-end level.

Because these inks oxidises, I would be very interested about ink stability, especially in the regularly opened bottle which in fact is exposed to the air. Otherwise, Platinum Classic series inks are super cool to use and colours and it’s change is great, so if you are adventurous penman, journalist who cn spend few extra bucks on inks, then do not hesitate and go for.


This review will be a part of the larger metareview at the UnitedInkdom. For this honest review purpose, as free of charge ink samples were kindly provided by Cult Pens, UK.


(*) Disclaimer/ I have no affiliation with the all brands and companies mentioned above and this short review reflects only my personal views and findings about the product.







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  • alison cross

    These look wonderful! What a great review – love the videos (and your penmanship!). Can you buy them as a sample size set, do you know? Ali x

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