I was destined to fall for this ink, for three reasons.
First, I’m a fan of Vinta, the young ink brand from the Philippines. Since I first discovered them 18 months ago, its bottles have quietly become a presence in my core ink box, with inks like the bright Android Teal and the murky Kelp Tea.
To me Vinta’s inks are a bit like Montblanc’s: they’re not crazy wet or oily and lubricated; they’re just solid, easy to clean (I avoid the shimmer inks), reliable and predictable performers, and they tend to come in really nice colours, shade well, and have evocative names.
It also helps that the little 30ml glass bottles are compact and easy to fill from, with clear and well-typeset labelling. Oh, and they’re not going to break the bank, at a shade over a tenner a bottle.
Second, I’m a big fan of interesting shading greys, and I always have several inked. I quickly plucked out the eight inks below thinking “they’re sort of greyish, heavy shaders”. Put them together on a page and they couldn’t look more different. Some are green, others purple (I swear my bottle of Sailor 123 used to be more grey…), others almost pink or brown. The subtle variety I just love.
Grey inks are easy on the eyes and they so often have names that remind me of cold rainy days while I’m wrapped up indoors: not only the rather direct names like Dominant Industry ‘Downpour’, but Iroshizuku ‘Fuyu-Syogun’, which translates as ‘Old Man Winter’, or Herbin Gris Nuage, ‘Cloud Grey’. Somehow London has grabbed a few ink names: Ulap here technically translates from Tagalog as ‘clouds’, but Vinta subtitles it as ‘London Grey’; Venvstas does a rather nice ‘Fumo di Londra’, and I’m sure there are others.
And third, I’m a total sucker for exclusives, whether they’re tied to a pen show or a shop I like. And this particular ink is an exclusive to Cult Pens here in the UK, along with three others: Lavender, the intensely shimmering Glam Pink, and Greenwich.
So, by now it’s pretty clear that I like this ink.
Over the past couple of weeks I’ve tried Ulap out in a few fountain pens, as well as my Drillog dip pen, but the shots here are all from my Montblanc Agatha Christie with M nib, on Tomoe paper. And a tissue after filling, I might add, which shows off the underlying blue/green chromatography:
But on the page, Ulap dries to quite a straight silvery steel grey, with a little underlying green, pronounced shading and a little dark halo.
It’s gorgeous to doodle with, drying quickly and shading extensively. There’s no sheen, which also means no smearing or smudging.
As you can see from the handwritten review, Ulap is perfectly legible, something not all greys can claim.
So there you have it. Another Vinta hit, in my book. A well-behaved shader with a pretty grey tone, for £13. What’s not to like?
Cult Pens gave me this bottle for free. You can get yours here.