Noodler’s 54th Mass – My backstory and experience with this ink.
When I first discovered fountain pens, all I had was a bottle of Noodler’s Black, good ink for sure. But I only had one pen, and I wasn’t about to spend a bunch of money on a new pen and ink that I may, or may not love.
In walks guy with a pen.
The only other person I knew, who collected and used fountain pens, at that time was the Chaplain at my command. And he carried this really unique looking pen that was transparent… and WOW, did it look cool – it was THE pen that drew me into fountain pens, to begin with. After some pen talk, I wrote with it, and I realized very quickly that this pen and this ink were something special. The pen was a TWSBI 580, and the ink was Noodler’s 54th Mass. It was such a rich dark blue, with a really nice grey hue to it, and the shading was out of this world. I needed this combo.
Though I didn’t go for the 580, I did grab one of the recently released TWSBI Eco’s, and a bottle of the 54th Mass. That’s when it happened… I noticed my blue was much brighter than his, and the grey overtone was just a bit less noticeable. But I still enjoyed the ink, I assumed that it had to do with the plastic bottle mine came in (Noodler’s Ink was undergoing a bottle crisis) and I moved on.
Fast Forward three years
I had used about three-quarters of the bottle of 54th I bought, It was time to order another. I jumped onto one of my favorite ink vendor sites, Goulet Pens, and picked it up.
Here was the resulting color, and look at the difference from what I had grown accustomed to. I hated this color for its difference. I reached out to Goulet Pen’s just to see what they thought. They assured me that it shouldn’t be that common and I probably got a bottle from older stock.
So I ordered another bottle and a sample, just to be sure. Different again, on both accounts. The sample was so much closer to what I had used all those years ago when I fell in love with this ink. Now to be fair, all of Noodlers ink is made by Nathan Tardiff and he mixes it all by hand, so there is bound to be some color disparity from batch to batch. (hopefully not this much though) I will give him credit as despite the differences I have observed this is one of the most top selling inks within the community, and I feel I am taking a risk here in my review, but It warrants discussion does it not?
I think what it comes down to is the risk of falling out of love with your favorite ink or buying multiple bottles to find the right color and maintain consistency – For me, it was falling out of love with the color. For three and a half years I had nothing but 54th in my Eco. These days, it’s Apache Sunset. The Noodler’s Brand is still one of the best, with very safe and superbly gorgeous inks in the lineup. 54th Massachusetts, for me, is no longer one of them.
The #2 was a swab of a sample I have somehow misplaced… Have you ever done that?
For this week’s thought-provoking question…
What Ink have you had issues with? Were you able to get past them or did it ruin the ink for you?