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Review: Monteverde Smoke Noir

There is nothing ambiguous about this grey. Some people don’t think well of greys because they are worried that it doesn’t show well on paper. Common criticisms of greys are that they look too ‘watery’, too much of a grey area, non-definitive.

Monteverde Smoke Noir is here to right the wrongs. It comes on bold and decisive, and it shows off as a deep concrete cool grey on paper. After reviewing quite a few Monteverde inks recently, i have formed a rather good impression of the Noir series in general.

If you are no stranger to grey inks, you might also appreciate that this is a cool grey, as opposed to warm greys. The staying power of the Smoke Noir is underrated – day 1 and day 30 gives you the same unwavering grey.

Their bottle design is also working in their favour. Clean lines, handy rectangular shape, with a wide mouth, I have reused the bottle (after a good clean) for my dip pens or when experimenting with mixing inks. Compared to other ink bottles of the same capacity (30ml), this bottle is top of the charts for stability, shape, and ease of storage (ink hoarders,pay attention!)

If you are a fussy pot and want the best of both worlds – you should know that Monteverde inks are lubricated to help prevent them from drying out in your pen. What this means:

  1. produces intense color but not pigmented
  2. intense color but fast drying time!
  3. good for EF and F nib users – we all know that inks dry out faster on your skinny nibs than the Broads.

Finally, a reliable everyday ink at everyday price points.

What the color reminds me of:

  • Smooth concrete walls with industrial look
  • Check out other greys for comparison:
  • Pilot Iroshizuku Kiri-same
  • Pilot Iroshizuku Fuyu Shogun
  • Diamine Shimmertastic Moon Grey

What I used:

  • Kaweco Sport, Broad Nib
  • Paper: Muji notecard, Bestform notecards


(Scale of 1 to 5)

Dry time ★★★★★ (1=slow, 5=fast)
Flow ★★★☆☆ (1=dry, 5=wet)
Shading ★★★★★ (1=low, 5=high)

Thanks to @missmuffat for this review.


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