I was struggling with a very dry-writing Parker 61, admittedly with an EF nib, when the chance of a trade with my good friend Jackie (@Jafferty on Twitter) from the blog Letters & Journals came up. Jackie's blog has some great posts about letter-writing, journaling, pens and stationery, as well as detailing progress of the magazine she is setting up, due for launch at the end of 2010, or the beginning of 2011. If you can help with Jackie's magazine surveys, please head on over here, it will only take you a few minutes.
Jackie asked if there was anything she could send me as the US part of the deal and I plumped for some Noodler's eel lubricating ink in the hope that might cure the 61, it was either that or the Parker would have to go off somewhere for a bit of a professional 'talking to.' Also, as far as I know, Noodler's eel inks are not available in the UK yet; at least nobody I asked stocks it.
Emails and packages duly exchanged, I am now the proud owner of not one, but two bottles of Noodler's eel ink in Cactus Fruit (pink/purple) and Gruene Cactus (green); Jackie, I thank you for your generosity, and for this awesome postcard which preceded your package.
The plan was to wait till I had plenty of time and to approach the whole rinsing, filling and testing procedure with some form of calm and precision - like that was going to happen! Having had mediocre to poor results teaming my Parker 61 with Private Reserve Sonic Blue, Parker Quink Black and J Herbin Eclat de Saphir, the latter of which was a surprise as I have found J Herbin inks to be quite free-flowing normally, I couldn't wait to try the Noodler's eel and so rushed off to change the ink almost as soon as I had Jackie's package open.
I decided to try the Cactus Fruit first, and can honestly say this stuff is nothing short of amazing! My Parker 61 is like a different pen, starting first time without protest and laying down smooth, wet, extra fine lines as I had always imagined it should.
Cactus Fruit is an interesting colour which I'll do my best to describe - it's kind of a deep cerise pink with a hint of purple, though under some lighting conditions there appears to be a slight blue cast to it, meaning that I would have to classify it as a 'cool' colour. Either way, it's certainly eye-catching and is a pleasure to write with. Gruene Cactus is more of a bright, mid green and I plan to try that one out when the current fill of Cactus Fruit runs out.
From what I've read, Noodler's eel lubricating inks were developed to counter the effects of detergents in some modern inks which can, over time, leach away the lubricants from fountain pen pistons and seals, leading to stiff filling mechanisms. A side-effect of the formulation is the super-smooth writing effect and improved ink flow I am now experiencing in my Parker.
At a Glance
Model: Noodler's Eel Lubricating Ink
Colours: Cactus Fruit, Gruene Cactus, Polar Black, Blue, Turquoise and Rattler Red.
Available from: Noodler's and Noodler's dealers
Price: msrp $12.50
Overall: 5 out of 5