Smoking a Pipe With Tutankhamun: Noodler’s Walnut Ink

I’m in search of a fountain pen ink, but I’m not sure where to find it.

I’m looking for something that conveys the feeling of old writing. Something that looks old-timey. I want sepia, but inks called “Sepia” are too light. Something I can tolerate looking at over an entire page. Something neutral and dark and antiquey. Something that has a certain feel.

Noodler’s Nightshade, for example, has a certain feel. When I look at it I think Edgar Allan Poe. Arsenic and old lace. Dead roses. I like it, but a whole page of it at times brings out a predominant purple quality that’s too light. It takes a long time to dry — quite long on Rhodia webnotebook paper.

I also want something that can do well on cheap paper. I’m finding that some inks spread on yellow legal pad as if written with a mushy felt tip pen.

I hadn’t tried brown inks yet, so I ordered the Browns, Chocolate ink sample package from Goulet Pens. Maybe here …

The Pursuit

I’ll try each sample and at the end choose a winner, of which I’ll buy a full bottle. Or maybe there will be more than one winner. Or none.

I decided to try Noodler’s Walnut first, since it appeared the darkest. If it was close to black, that would be fine. I prefer black inks anyway.

Looks Good but … What Does It Feel Like?

You’re sitting under a canvas tent wearing khakis with a pith helmet on your head at an archaeological site in Egypt in the 1920s, with a pipe close at hand, despite the beastly heat, and you’re writing dispatches to be passed to your telegraph operator. You’re in the desert. You’re smoking a pipe with Tutankhamun.

I like this ink quite a bit. It’s subtle. Good for everyday writing. It has a grandfather-clock elegance. It can blend in well with a page that also has black ink. It’s no problem looking at a full page of it. It isn’t jarring. It’s brown and golden with a greenish cast. Hay fields at dawn, darkened with dew? Turned-over turf browned and paled in the dead of autumn? Khaki at sunset. Desert. A vegetable-matter greenish, hence walnut, though another Noodler’s ink name, Burma Road, might be a better designation for this one.

“Tutankhamun Hekaiunushema”: Living Image of Amun, Ruler of Upper Heliopolis — with figure eights. Lamy Safari Fine on Baron Fig Confidant.

Noodler’s Walnut does well on cheap paper (Staples legal pad). I’ve tried it on Baron Fig Confidant paper and like it quite well on that. Behaves fine on Rhodia webnotebook paper, but I’d prefer it on lighter-colored paper. Shading comes out on Tomoe River paper and dries in 15 to 20 seconds. (I’ll leave it to others to do official timings of such things. These are overall impressions. As I use the sample, I might update this post with closer observations … dispatched by telegraph from the field.)

The color bars in the image above the title of this post are a fair approximation of Noodler’s Walnut at a quick guess. Again, just an impression. I put a filter on my handwriting photo to brighten it, but it didn’t change the color. It’s close — should be a little brighter, more golden, more lively.


A good start. This is a contender for the full-bottle buy and I’ve hardly even started.

It just might be, however, from the wrong century.