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Ink Dupes #1: Montblanc and Diamine

Posted in Ink

Welcome to Ink Dupes. I’ll warn you now, this series will most likely feature fairly irregular posts. Make sure you subscribe to my blog or to the fountain pen category so you don’t miss an issue.

This week, I’m starting with red — my favorite color — with Diamine Matador and Montblanc Corn Poppy Red.

A bit of a backstory — since you all know I’m so fond of stories. I noticed a while ago that some inks are nearly identical to others. When Ink Journal shared an article about chromatography in their Flex Nib Friday newsletter, I was curious to find out just how similar these seemingly identical inks really are.

After the first comparison, it occurred to me that I’m not the only one who’d be interested in knowing which inks are similar (or identical) in color. So, I’ll be sharing my comparisons with you all. I’m hoping it will help those who are looking for expensive or hard-to-find inks.

That said, if you’re curious about how two inks compare, let me know. I may have (or be able to get) both inks for comparison.

Series Features

Each Ink Dupe issue will feature the layout below. Working on Tomoe River paper, I’ll swatch the ink with a damp paintbrush, then various nibs (fountain pen and dip), and I’ll do a chromatography strip. If you’re interested in seeing the tools I’m working with, let me know and I’ll write a short post on them. I don’t plan to provide a write up for each image, just my overall thoughts on the comparison.

If neither ink has sheen or shimmer, I’ll just scan the page. If either ink does have sheen or shimmer, I’ll take a couple of photos to show those. I doubt they’ll show up in a scan. I’ll only scan the chromatography strips.

I won’t adjust colors in any way from the scan. I will, however, likely move sections of the scan in Photoshop to better align the various samples.

Keep in mind that there’s no way to guarantee the colors will appear true-to-life on your screen. However, both colors will be “equally distorted” for lack of a better way to put it. My goal is to show you how the ink colors compare as best as possible. This series isn’t about performance. You can find numerous ink reviews for that. 🙂 Now, enough blabber, time for the good stuff.

The Inks

Montblanc Corn Poppy Red
Price: ~$24 USD
Bottle Size: 60ml
Availability: Readily available
Diamine Matador
Price: ~$15 USD
Bottle Size: 80ml
Availability: Readily available

Comparison swatches and chromatography strips for Diamine Matador and Montblanc Corn Poppy Red

Keeping in mind that I’m not an ink or pigment expert, I’m surprised that Matador is the more complex color when it comes to chromatography. I would expect the more expensive ink to be more complex.

If you have any suggestions for future comparisons, let me know in the comments.


  1. LaDonna Qualtieri
    LaDonna Qualtieri

    I just bought a Montblanc Generations in red and gold. Naturally it came with a warning to “only use Montblanc ink.” It’s a c/c pen with an inlaid nib, that what brought me here to your comparison. But maybe red ink in a red pen is too much red!

    January 2, 2024
    • Oooh, I haven’t seen a “only use our expensive ink in our expensive pen” warning in quite a while. 🙂 You can always get a sample and try a red ink or three. If you don’t want to go the matchy-matchy route, maybe try a complementary color? I rarely match, instead choosing an ink that “goes” with the pen.

      January 3, 2024

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