De Atramentis ‘Topic’ Inks Test


These ‘Topics’ inks are part of the De Atramentis gift range and are dedicated to a host of famous people from a diverse range of backgrounds. Call me a cynic if you wish, but as far as I can tell, these are the standard inks with a fancy label. However, I have been told that every topic ink is unique, just like the wine inks (which are indeed unique). BUT I’m not totally convinced because Sebastian Bach and Mahatma Ghandi are as good as identical to the Standard Sepia and Yellow Orange – have a click on the link and see what you think? Please forgive me, but I’m not going to describe these inks as I’m testing the standard range at the moment and many of them, in my opinion, are the same.


So, let’s have a chat about money instead! If, like me, you are an inkophile, money matters. Inks aren’t cheap. I have circa 800 vials of fountain pen samples. So, looking at a cross section of product and taking an average price for a 50ml bottle of ink at circa £8.50 a bottle – that equates to £6,800.00 (GB), and this is a conservative estimate and doesn’t account for any shipping costs. Where am I going with this? I have no issue with re-badging products and adding smells. If it helps keep the manufacturer in business and enhances the writing experience then fine. But in this particular case, it is irritating, when you end up paying for duplicates, so unless money isn’t an issue, you may wish to inspect the swatch cards over the next few posts carefully so you don’t buy the same ink twice!

Inks sourced from and

All tests on Bockingford 200lb watercolour paper using Frankenflex pen Jinhao 159 with titanium zebra G flex nib.


9 thoughts on “De Atramentis ‘Topic’ Inks Test

  1. I have found a certain level of frustration with this ‘rebottling’ of colour under different names. Quite frankly I wish any manufacturer that does ‘edition’ of their inks that consist of only tweeking the labels should just say as much. People will happily purchase an edition, but will feel ripped off if they feel they have been cheated in some manner. My annoyance extends to ‘store brands’ that are not unique colours but rebottled versions of a name brand (but refusing to devulge the source)…Unless you really ‘want’ that particular bottle. Perhaps we are missing the point. Maybe there is a market to buy the same ink in as many versions as possible, like collecting unique Coke cans. However, like yourself…being an inkophile means I want unique examples of shades and resent the shell game some manufacturers play. :/

    • Pira, you’ve voiced my feelings on the subject, perfectly. I too, would not object to purchasing different editions of the same colour, provided I am aware that it IS the same colour, and I’m merely purchasing it in order to possess that particular bottle. I guess for those who aren’t inkophiles, or would never amass the grand volumes of ink that we do, it might not matter as much. Maybe for those folks who only have one bottle of each colour in the rainbow (a black, a blue, a green etc) it might never matter, since the chances of getting a duplicate would be slim. Although, as I consider it further, for those folks who are on a limited budget for ink, it would be terribly disappointing to purchase an ink in which they already possess a duplicate. Well, I guess this is another reason why obtaining samples first is a good idea 😉

      Ahh, just read in a comment further down that the bottles are labeled with the original ink name. Good on for Diamine for doing that.
      Thanks, Nick for doing up these comparisons, so folks like me are better informed! 😀 Cheers!

  2. I believe Alexander Hamilton is the same as Aubergine, and is even listed as such on some websites. Some people tell me they’re supposedly different from each other, but I’m not sure.

    • ‘Some’ websites….That’s the problem though, isn’t it? If I recall correctly, DeAtramentis actually says on their website what the colour of an edition ink is; I would have hoped that online retailers would follow suit across the board. On the other hand…I think it’s rather fun that you can have these unique lables. I wonder when personalized ones will become an potential selling point? 😀

      • Hi Pira. I was probably over reacting. But he fact is, my swatches takes quite some time to do and it’s frustrating knocking out duplicates. I did contact De Atramentis about duplication and they were not forthcoming. I strongly believe it’s purely for marketing and these ‘gift ink are duplicates so I’ve decided to leave the novelty inks well alone. They may well smell good but they are a distraction and an unnecessary cost. Noodler’s next!

  3. Most of the topic inks actually have the original ink name on the label. My bottle of Ferdinand von Zeppelin reads “Farbe: Atlantic Blue” on the label. I only bought it because I’m a massive Zeppelin geek.

    At least they don’t charge more for the topic inks, now that would be a scam.

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