For my first ink review, I will be going with Noodler's 54th Massachusetts. I ordered this as a sample from Goulet Pens (an AWESOME place to start if you are looking into getting into fountain pens) and of course I paid for the ink myself. When I first got into fountain pens, I used Noodler's inks because they seemed to be extremely popular. However, I noticed that I was having problems with them compared to other brands, especially in my Pilot Metropolitans. Noodler's Inks, especially their bulletproof inks, often tended to clog up my pens and they were very difficult to clean out of the pens. Just when I though I'd gotten all the ink out, I would find that even more was hiding in the feed or somewhere. Because of my past issues, I've mostly stayed away from Noodler's inks since then. However, I feel like I'm missing out on opportunities for some really great colors, so I decided to order some samples and see if I could handle them better now.
I was actually surprised by how well I enjoyed this ink. The color is lovely. I think it looks quite blue, but I've seen other reviews saying to them, it looks more black. I definitely see that compared to other blues, but this is the lightest blue-black ink I have, as you can see in the above comparisons to other inks. This ink performs quite well in my Conklin Duragraph with Medium Nib. It is not overly wet, but it is not a dry write either. That being said, it does produce a very wide line in this nib compared to other inks, which is surprising because this usually only happens with the wettest of inks. The color really is gorgeous and unique though. I think it has an almost vintage quality due to the muted hue.
The ink flows quite well, unless you leave the nib uncapped for any longer than a few seconds. At that point, the ink tends to dry out in the nib, which will cause hard starts when you go to write again. I have heard some people say that this alone frustrates them to the point where they do not use this ink. If you are a student, or in a situation where you take a lot of notes, this ink may not be the best for that purpose. Also, this ink is a pain to clean out of pens. In order to get it all out, I have to remove the nib and feed from the housing - mere flushing just doesn't do it. I suppose if I let the pen soak all night in water or even pen flush, the ink might work its way out, but it's faster to just rinse it out myself. This could be problematic though if you feel uncomfortable removing the nib from your pen, or if you have a pen where the nib cannot, or should not, be removed.
All in all this is a nice ink, but it will not be my go-to blue black. I will finish using up the sample, but after that I think I will mainly stick with other brands. If you need a water resistant ink, though, and you do not mind giving your pen a deep cleaning if you want to put a different color in after using this one, then it is definitely something to consider.