Bonjour mes petits geeks de papeterie! Time for another staff pick.
If you’ve read any of my reviews before, you will know how much I love a beautiful/collectable fountain pen so when the J Herbin Tempete pen arrived on my desk at Bureau HQ, I was more than a little excited. It really is a little slice of Parisian stationery heaven, so lovely that it should be nestled on a cake stand amongst some fluffy beignets and chocolate éclairs in a patisserie window.
For those of you who haven’t heard of J Herbin (have you been living under a rock?!) they have been making wax seals and inks since the 1600’s, when Monsieur Herbin brought back a revolutionary new formula for making the seals neater and more adhesive, from one of his many voyages to India. He later went on to produce ink for King Louis XIV and Victor Hugo, who then wrote The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Les Mis with it, so it’s fair to say he’s quite a big deal. We’ve been stocking some of their products for well over a year and they’ve become hugely popular, so we’ve been keeping an eye open for any interesting new items to add to our shelves, and the Tempete pen is a most welcome addition.
The pen itself is really very unusual, the barrel is clear acrylic and according to J Herbin it is the only Direct Filling System fountain pen in the world. So instead of using cartridges or a convertor, you transfer the ink into the barrel using a dropper that is supplied with the pen. Of course because the barrel is clear, you can see the ink sloshing about which I love. It looks good regardless, but using one of Herbin’s brighter inks such as the Rose Tendresse or Bouton D’or would be fabulous…If a bit impractical.
The pen is quite chunky, but it’s not particularly heavy and the ink reservoir is generous- about the equivalent of 3 cartridges worth of ink. The pen comes in 3 colour ways, a clear barrel with a Black cap, a Navy Blue cap or a Clear cap (nb: the Navy pen will be due in April). They’ve gone to town on the little details too, each has a silver lapel clip and the J Herbin lettering stamped around the lid on a silver strip. The nib unit matches the cap, so on the Black and Navy versions the top section is also coloured. The nib also has the J Herbin ship logo etched onto it, which is a nice touch. Personally I could live without the flourishes as I am a fan of ‘less is more’ when it comes to my pens, but nevertheless they’ve been executed well.
As well as it looking smart, I was so pleased to find that the Tempete pen is one of the smoothest fountain pens I’ve ever used. It’s been passed around the office and so far, even the non-fountain pen users among us think it’s impressive. I’ve had absolutely no scratchy letters, no skipping on any of the upstrokes, it writes like a dream. Even having been left for a few days with no use, the ink flows well. It’s only available in a medium nib, but it’s so nice to use I don’t mind that it’s not my usual broad nib of choice. Even the presentation box that it comes in is lovely, with the J Herbin ship logo discreetly embossed onto the lid.
All in all, the Tempete Fountain pen gets a thumbs up from me. Beautiful to look at, amazing to write with and you’ll be looking for reasons to use it. Truly a lovely thing to own.
Now where can I get a chocolate éclair from in Acton…?