Hi everybody! Here's the last of my samples. Let's hop right into it!
I've always been a big fan of reds, but I mostly stuck to the deeper end of the spectrum (Diamine Red Dragon was one of the first inks I'd ever owned, and I loved it right up until I spilled most of the bottle, rest in peace). I love trying out red inks, though they tend to be quite finicky (more on that later).
Let's talk about the presentation first, shall we? To be honest, I don't have much to share here that I haven't shared in the previous review. I'm a big fan of Diamine's new packaging. One thing I neglected to mention is that Diamine ink bottles are quite flat, so it may start getting difficult to fill a pen if you're more than halfway done. I have a bottle of Diamine Marine that's about 3/4 empty, and filling a converter pen is an interesting examination in glass bottle gymnastics and not making a mess all over the carpet. Regardless, if you ever have problems filling from a bottle of ink where the level is getting too low, there are three things you can do.
The first is to pull out the converter (if possible) and dunk the opening into the bottle of ink, then fill the converter as normal. You can then put the converter back into the pen and expel some air to get the feed saturated. You can then pull the converter out again and get a full fill.
The second is to use an ink syringe—basically a blunt-tip syringe, which you can purchase at a drugstore—to fill the converter. Expel the air as usual when you put the converter back into the pen, and you can get a full fill once again.
The third is to pour some ink into a smaller container (like an ink vial) which you can comfortably fit your pen into and fill as normal.
Here's yet another gif of the ink's box, because I think it's just so dang nice. I'm not one for keeping packaging, usually, but something about these Diamine boxes compels me to keep at least one squirreled away somewhere.
As you've heard me mention in my previous review on Diamine Sepia, I much prefer the new packaging. The name of the ink is on a sticker on the front of the bottle, rather than on a tiny silver strip stuck to the top of the cap. You can tell from my bottle of Tyrian Purple that the labels tend not to last very long; and if you have multiple bottles of ink, all of which have lost their labels, and some of which are in the same color family, you might be struggling with a major headache.
So what about the ink?
I think the first thing you'll notice is that this is a bright, cheery red. It's a very true red, I think: it doesn't have much orange in it, although I do think it has just a hint of pink in the tone. After all, it's supposed to look like red poppies, and I think it does a great job there! Poppy Red has very, very slightly shading, but definitely nothing interesting.
I was really interested to see that this ink also has a hint of sheen. My scanner can't capture it, but there's certainly a slight gold sheen where the ink collected in my swabs. It's really quite pretty, although I doubt you'll be able to see it much in normal writing.
This ink has absolutely no resistance to water; just a couple of drops wiped all the color into a muddled mess. It also takes a little bit longer to dry than other inks; however, the ink was dry to the touch in my Midori MD notebook within 20 seconds. I was definitely not as worried about smears with this ink as with others.
Smearing is definitely something I want to touch on (pun intended?). Deep reds, oranges, and browns tend to take quite a while to dry. In my experience, both Diamine Ancient Copper and Noodler's Antietam almost require an overnight dry before they're largely smudge-proof. Something like a sheet of blotting paper does little to stem the issue, as blotting the ink removes some of the surface dyes but not all of it. You still get a smudgy, smeary mess as soon as you move the blotting paper.
Luckily, Poppy Red doesn't suffer from this issue. It dries down relatively quickly, and is actually dry. For my fellow lefties, you most likely won't smear with this ink as much as with other, deeper reds. If I try this ink on other papers and see something different in this section, I will absolutely update this review to reflect my experiences!
All in all, Poppy Red is a really interesting ink that I definitely didn't have in my collection. I'm not sure if I would've picked it up had it not been offered to me. While it's a well-behaved, cheerful red that isn't searing to the eye, it reminds me a little too much of teachers and professors madly slashing at your exams with corrections. It also probably isn't useful in too many situations; I would definitely use it in letter-writing (my pen pals are very forgiving like that), but I can't see it being useful in a formal situation unless you were a professor about to make your way through a stack of essays.
Regardless, if you were looking for a bright, red ink, I think you could do much worse than Diamine Poppy Red. It behaves well and dries relatively quickly. While it doesn't have water resistance, the pink tone that comes out with exposure to water might be really interesting to play with for you artists out there.
Thanks so much for sticking with me during Conrad's Review Week. I hope you enjoyed! If you have any thoughts about where I can improve, or what information you'd like me to share in the possible next round, feel free to let me know.
Thanks so much to Mike for sending me these inks to review!
As always, you can find me at http://wintersharks.blogspot.com, and at http://instagram.com/pharaonis/. Feel free to drop by and say hi!