Private Reserve – or simply PR – is an artisan ink manufacturer based in the US. As the founder of the company writes, the idea for PR inks was born when they realised there weren’t many options for vivid fountain pen ink colours in the market. So they have started manufacturing, bottling and selling their own inks since. They are quite popular in the US market, mainly because they offer strong and saturated colours.
DC Electric Blue belongs to the “DC” series of PR inks, which includes Super Show Blue, Super Show Violet, Super Show Green and others. I believe this series is mainly characterised by bold and saturated colours.
The PR inks are sold in glass vases that include approximately 65ml of ink. The opening is quite wide and can easily accommodate any fountain pen, even the biggest ones. On the other hand, the bottle does not include a way to fill your pen when the ink level is low, but at this price point ($10), I don’t believe anyone is bothered.
Current vase in the middle, old one on the right.
The ink is deep blue, with red sheen. It has a bold character and it is quite noticeable, even though it is a dark blue. It is perfectly fine for formal documents and everyday use and will not disappoint blue ink lovers.
Because it’s quite saturated, it doesn’t exhibit a lot of shading and its sheen also varies according to the paper it is on.
It isn’t the only ink in the market that tries to imitate the legendary Parker Penman Sapphire Blue. It competes against Diamine Majestic Blue and Akkerman Shocking Blue (among others) that are easily obtained in the European market.
On porous paper, the ink is absorbed almost instantly, but on smoother paper (e.g. Rhodia and Tomoe River), the ink takes its time – sometimes up to 30 seconds to dry.
It does not feather or bleed, even on cheap paper and is generally very well behaved.
It’s no secret that this ink is tricky. It requires special handling, due to its viscous nature. This means it does not behave well in pens with a fine nib: it dries, skips, hard-starts and is generally an ink that will require attention and effort for every day note-taking.
However, with broader nibs (medium or broad), these problems disappear. It lubricates the nib well but due to its high viscosity, you can’t say it’s wet ink.
Something to note is that many Private Reserve inks have gone mouldy (my two pots are fine, and I’ve had them for more than two years). If you do buy one, please check the bottom of the pot for particles or other solid matter before you ink your pen.
As far as water-resistance is concerned, the ink is not waterproof, but it does resist water to a certain degree.
Private Reserve DC Electric Blue is a special ink that will reward you if you treat it as it demands. Maybe it will take time and effort to match pen, paper and this ink, but if you do manage it, you may find it’s very close to Parker Penman Sapphire.