Sailor Inks are one of my favourite brands of ink – this is no secret. In general the characteristics their inks are what I look for in an ink. Reds are not my favourite colour but Maroons, Burgundies, Bordeauxs (etc.) are shades of red I really like, in fact they are one of my favourite colour families. The range of colours in this family move from inks with more blue, to more brown and more yellow. They also vary quite dramatically depending on the paper. This is by no means a complete account of Sailor's offering in this colour gamut but I think it still has a decent selection (but I clearly need more!)
On Tomoe River the two Sailor Grenades look fairly identical with perhaps a slight edge to the original release of Grenade in the sheen department. On the written lines they are indiscernible but on the swatch the 2017 re-release is looking a little pinker. Oku-Yama is a little less vibrant and a little less sheeny and Kobe #27 Kounan Maroon takes it a step further with even less sheen and also less saturation. Kobe #6 Bordeaux is looking quite purple here and the sheen doesn't show up meaningfully in the text. Bungubox Piano Mahogany is a browner version of Kobe #27 and has a similar amount of sheen. Surprisingly Sweet Potato Purple and Tears of a Clown, both Bungubox, are looking very similar here with both showing a rich amount of blue. Pen + Message Old Burgundy has practically no sheen, and a deep low saturation brown-purple colour. It's a very moody ink. Hankyu Maroon is almost looking magenta but only if you can see through the sheen which is very strong as it is Voice Shbazuke which has the most yellow out of all the inks but is still showing a hint of blue-ish pink.
Looking at how the inks perform on Rhodia there is a clear difference compared to on Tomoe River. The original release of Sailor Grenade is now a little bit more brown than the 2017 re-release and also darker than Oku Yama. The 2017 re-release is a little more magenta and less dark than the original as well. Kobe #27 Kounan Maroon is noticeable brown and #6 Bordeaux is dark and still shows a decent amount of blue or purple. Bungubox Piano Mahogany is almost a proper red-brown and Sweet Potato Purple is a good shade more blue than Tears of a Clown. Pen + Message old Burgundy is still a professional looking deep brown red and the magenta-like colour of Hankyu Maroon is showing a very nice amount of shading. Shibazuke is looking quite pink.
Sailor Grenade is interesting because on The Tomoe River it they looks practically the same, but on Rhodia there does seem to be a difference. It seems to be a slightly different hue to the original and I don't know if that's something Sailor is doing different of it's that my bottle of original (which has been kept in a cool dry and dark place) is somehow showing some age. At any rate, it's worth noting that there might be a slight difference but it isn't deal breaker, in my opinion.
Comparing each ink next to itself on Rhodia and Tomoe River paper (see bellow) it shows that Tomoe River is really bringing out the blue in these inks Tears of a Clown which is relatively brown on Rhodia is, relatively, very purple on Tomoe River. So much so, even, that it's colour more closely resembles Sweet Potato Purple but on Rhodia it's closer to Piano Mahogany, Conversely, Shibazuke is showing less yellow on Rhodia and slightly more blue than on Tomoe River. There really are some very drastic changes of colour between the papers. Hankyu Maroon and Voice Shibazuke seem to be the least affected. On a whole I'd say that Rhodia really brings out the browns and Tomoe River really brings out the blues.
Shading also seems to more obvious on Rhodia. Bungubox Sweet Potato Purple and Piano Mahogany have a fair amount of shading on Rhoda but the line is a little flatter on Tomoe River. Similar to how they maintain their colours across the papers well, Hankyu Maroon and Voice Shibazuke also carry their shading between papers relatively well.
Sheen is obviously a characteristic of ink that I look specifically for. This colour family of ink seems to exclusively a green-gold colour (at lest all the sailors in this colour family do!). Hankyu Maroon and Voice Shibazuke steal the show with massive amounts of sheen on the swatch and the written line. Shobazuke also seems to have the most yellow sheen of the set. Both The Grenades have a very respectable amount of sheen and you need a very wet nib to get any noticeable sheen out of Kobe #6 Bordeaux or Pen + Message Burgundy. Bungubox Sweet Potato Purple and Sailor Oku-Yama have a decent amount of sheen and the rest – Kobe #27 Kounan Maroon, Bungubox Piano Mahogany, and Bungubox Tears of a Clown have a relatively similar amount of somewhat subtle sheen.
I'm a big fan of this colour range and I love what Sailor is doing within it. My personal favourites here are, in no order, Hankyu Maroon, Pen + Message Burgundy, the original Sailor Grenade and Bungubox Sweet Potato Purple but I do still love them all. Inks like Bungubox are buyable from Vanness, Voice inks via Rakuten, Kobe inks via Rakuten or Vanness, and Hankyu Maroon was last years LE from the Hankyu department store in Japan (which I was told was the last bottle they had – and I'm not sure if they'll restock) and I purchased via White Rabbit Express.
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I was not compensated for this review and everything here is my own honest opinion. There are no affiliate links and all inks were purchased with my own funds.