In 1924, the French artist Jacques Majorelle constructed his largest artwork, the Majorelle Garden in Marrakech, Morocco. He painted the garden walls, fountains, features, and villa in a very intense shade of blue, for which he trademarked the name Majorelle Blue.
Let me tell you a story about myself. I love food! I used to frequently travel domestically and globally when I was a young man and I always made sure my hotel was an easy walk to a variety of restaurants. Fast forward, I am completely into a show called “Somebody Feed Phil.” Phil Rosenthal was the writer, producer, and creator of a sitcom called “Everyone Loves Raymond.” What makes the Feed Phil show interesting is Phil simply loves food. He probably cannot boil water. The show follows Phil as he travels through a city enjoying the local cuisine. He genuinely loves the people making the food, the other patrons, and it is simply a joy watching him eat! I was watching an episode, Phil was in Marrakech and the color of the houses resonated with me. Thus began an ink quest.
I searched and searched for pen ink by the name “Moroccan Blue,” “Marrakech Blue,” or “Majorelle Blue” to no avail. Then I stumbled upon references on FPN (Fountain Pen Network) of a blue ink so intense as to glaze upon it “hurt” the reader’s eyes, while others exclaimed they needed sunglasses when writing with it, but more on this ink later.
Really, this hurts your eyes, doesn’t it? Majorelle Blue has it’s own hexadecimal code, #6050dc. Or if you want to mix it in RGB, just add 37.6% red, 31.4% green, and 86.3% blue, while in CMYK color scheme would be made of 56.4% cyan, 63.6% magenta, 0% yellow, and 13.7% black.
Many color-oriented websites recommend Ultramarine (a strikingly vibrant hue) as a very acceptable alternative to Majorelle Blue. This color is readily available from Montblanc, Octopus Fluids, Diplomat (Octopus Fluids), and L’Artisan Pastellier. But honestly, only Octopus Fluids seems worthy.
But, thanks to the FPN, I stumbled upon Noodler’s Baystate Blue ink…a ”screaming out loud, [ink that] really does hurt eyes and ears.”
According to Vanness Pens Shop, Baystate Blue is a “vibrant blue permanent ink” with a purplish tendency [my edit]. Vanness offers the following warning: “This ink is a different formulation than most inks, and will stain your pen. We do not suggest using this ink in any valuable pens. Do not mix with any other inks or an undesired reaction will result.” With acolytes like this, how could I refuse?
Noodle’s Baystate Blue
My order arrived and I quickly got to playing with it. This is not the best example as the paper is textured for watercolors, sketching, etc. but, as you can see it is an intense worthy BLUE!
The bottle came filled to the very tippy top. I immediately set to work with an Esterbrook #9 Drawlet square nib. The ink is not water-proof (contrary to the claim it is permanent), it flows freely (wet), and subject to shading. I did not notice any peculiarities when using the ink – remember the ominous claims made by the pen shop – this is pretty much a normal ink. I will attest it stained my porcelain sink, but with a little effort, I managed to remove the stains. If I ink up a pen, I will not allow the pen to dry out prior to cleaning.
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