I don’t usually review ink.
A long time ago in one of his videos, the pen reviewer SBREBrown said that there are people in it for the pens, people in it for the ink, and people who go nuts over all of it, or something to that effect. I tend to fall into the former camp–if I were cursed to only have one ink in my possession, I would shrug, stock-up on Aurora Black, and be done with it.
However, I also have an irrational love of all things Aurora, so when I saw a vintage bottle of Aurora Biflux ink, I knew I was doing my first ink review.
I’ve had plenty of vintage Aurora cartridges. Unfortunately, cartridges dry-up, so there’s really nothing to sample unless I wanted to puncture them and try to reconstitute them, which would probably be more of a mess than it’s worth. Bottled ink is less susceptible to this effect, and this particular bottle isn’t sealed, so I figured it would be fun to take a few milliliters and check it out.
I really wanted to compare vintage Biflux black to the much more popular Aurora Black, but this bottle is Bleu Reale, or Royal Blue. I’m not sure a bunch of pictures of black ink would be totally compelling, but maybe I’ll stumble on a bottle of Biflux Black some day.
I wasn’t really sure what to expect with this ink, honestly, because there isn’t any information on it–at least that I can find in English. Was this ink some legendarily cool ink, like Parker Penman Sapphire?
Spoiler: it’s not. It’s just a solid, work horse ink. Interestingly, it’s not anywhere close to what we’d call a royal blue today–I’d definitely call it blue-black.
A few more observations, in no specific order:
It’s a pretty wet writing ink. The pen I used for the review–my Aurora 888–is not exactly a dry pen, but the two go together very, very well. It’s almost like they were made for each other (they were. Sort of. The 888 never filled via converter. So assuming the cartridges and bottle ink were the same, then. . .)
This ink is incredibly well behaved. It works on basically every paper I’ve used it on, and functioned fine on the test papers–Hammermill paper notwithstanding.
The dry time is long, around 30 seconds. Perhaps this is a side effect of its wetness. It’s somewhat hard to judge these qualities because the ink may have changed a bit in the last 60+ years it’s been hanging out.
Shading is pretty standard. There isn’t much sheen to be had. I even sacrificed one of my last remaining sheets of the original formula, pre-shutdown Tomoe River paper and brought-out a super-secret Aurora friend that I can’t reveal yet–a combo that would certainly expose any neat sheening–and the results weren’t anything more interesting than a standard ink like Pilot Blue Black. There’s some there, but it’s not an ink those sheen-loving folks are going to go bananas over.
Water resistance is very good, at least as good as Rohrer and Klingner Salix–an iron gall ink. It really wouldn’t surprise me if this vintage Aurora ink was an iron gall ink, based on how it performed on paper, but I have no way of testing it. Interestingly, the box states that the ink only contains dyes and no harmful solvents–at least according to Google translate–so who knows.
Clean-up was fine. No issues. It didn’t dissolve my vintage pens. I didn’t use it in a modern a pen, but I can’t imagine it would hurt those, either.
So there we have it. If I were forced to only use vintage Aurora Biflux Bleu Reale, I think I would get by. I’m not going to make it a habit of using this ink, I’m afraid–it’s too cool having it in my collection–but it was a very solid ink in its time and just as reliable today, if a bit on the utilitarian side. Anyone looking for a similar ink could check out Pilot Blue Black–it’s way, way cheaper, easier to find, and overall very similar in appearance and performance.
The pens I used/the inks I used in them:
- Aurora 888/Vintage Biflux Bleu Reale
- Aurora Internazionale/modern Aurora Blue
- Parker 51/Rohrer & Klingner Königsblau
- Pilot E95S/Pilot Blue
- Edison Herald Grande/Waterman Serenity Blue
- Aurora Olo button filler (review to come!)/Rohrer & Klinger Salix
- Pilot Custom 823/Pilot Blue Black
- Aurora Duo Cart (2017)/Aurora Blue Black