Noodler’s is a huge one-man ink manufacturer that produces a wide array of ink colors with a huge amount of strange properties, from color-changing ink to archival-grade permanence. One of Noodler’s most popular inks is their Baystate Blue, a part of their Baystate series, which also includes Cape Cod Cranberry and Grape.
Each of the Baystate series is known for its bright, vibrant colors but also for its interesting behavioral properties. Baystate Blue may be the poster child of the Baystate series, with an intense blue color but also a tenacity for staining, feathering, and bleed.
I got a bottle of Baystate Blue in a standard Noodler’s 3oz. glass bottle. The bottle has a 3-sided label and features a depiction of the Massachusetts State House, with the words “Made in Massachusetts” on the bottom.
The neck of the bottle is huge and can comfortably fit any pen I throw in there. The cap is a brittle plastic, so I would be careful when opening the bottle, especially if the lid is jammed.
Here is a swab of the ink. Right away, you can see that it is an extremely saturated color that offers absolutely no real shading.
This is a quick preview of the ink in writing. The ink is equally vibrant out of a nib as it is with a swab.
This review was done on HP 32lb Premium Choice Laser with a Hero 616. The Hero 616 has an experimental modified nib which offers various line widths depended on the angle which it is held. The nib also received an increase in flow and wetness, as well as the feed channel being widened.
The behavior of this ink definitely presents some trouble. There is minor feathering on this HP paper, which in general, does not feather at all. The feathering is definitely more noticeable with cheaper papers such as regular 20lb copy paper and Red & Black notebooks. There was no noticeable feathering with Rhodia or Clairfontaine paper and definitely nothing with Tomoe River paper.
The ink did have a little bit of show-through on this HP paper, but that is to be expected, considering how wet the pen is. There is a significant amount of show-through on cheap papers and even a good amount on Rhodia/Clairfontaine. Without saying, the ink on Tomoe River clearly shows through. There was no bleed on the HP 32lb, except for the large ink splatter (2nd picture) that was done on the back of the review. This ink splatter when almost completely through the page, so the review had to be rewritten. Rhodia, Clairfontaine, and other cheaper papers exhibited severe amounts of bleed through, sometimes even appearing a bit on the second sheet. There was no bleed through on Tomoe River however.
Personally, I really enjoy the color of the ink, but the behavior of it makes it an issue. Unless I know I will consistently be using good paper, I tend to shy away from it.
Another problem which you may have been aware about is that this ink staining everything that it touches. I had this stain converters, pen sacs, the marble table in the pictures, my white ceramic sink, and my hands numerous times. These stains are extremely difficult to remove (especially the ones in the pen converters and sacs). To remove any stains on the marble table and sink, I had to apply a good amount of bleach or 409 and scrub repeatedly. Even when flushing, I had the ink stain my sink and even the cup that I kept water in. Keep bleach away from marble, so use 409 for natural stones. On the hands, it washes off eventually, so it is nothing to really worry about.
So far, I have not found an ink with a similar amount of saturation to Baystate Blue, so it must live in my collection for now. I tend to keep BSB (Baystate Blue) in its own special pen, in order to avoid accidental mixes with other inks. This ink has a high pH difference with other non-Baystate inks and will cause a chemical reaction, quickly clogging any fountain pens. If you would not like to dedicate a pen to BSB, be sure to flush very thoroughly, preferably taking the pen apart to clean.
This ink is available as a 3oz bottle with a flat cap, or a 4.5oz bottle with an eyedropper top. The 3oz bottle can be found for $12.50 and the 4.5oz for $21. I find that the 3oz bottle will last me for a long time and the larger size is definitely a bit of an overkill.
So, what do you guys think? Do you have a way to deal with BSB stains? Any horror stories regarding it? Have you dedicated a specific pen to it? Which one? Let me know down in the comments. I love to hear from you guys!