“That Looks Ugl-Nope, I Love It”- Sailor Rikyu-Cha

First off, remember how I said I was going to the D.C. Pen Show? Well, I apologize, because that didn’t happen thanks to bad weather and American Airlines overselling all their flights. Flights got cancelled left and right, so despite the fact that I spent 10 hours at the airport, I never got onboard and I missed the whole thing. I’m pretty sad about it, but I did manage to land some goods thanks to a friend who muled two pens and some inks for me- an Omas “The Cinema” and a Montblanc 12. They both rock, but that’s not what today’s post is about. Then, my computer decided to not accept my SD card anymore, so I couldn’t upload images. I recently upgraded my phone, however, and now we are back in business!

On the right, Rikyu-Cha after drying. On the left, immediately after writing. Watching the transition from almost black to brown and great is really cool. Pen is a CH92 broad architect.

Again, another ink I should in theory hate has really blown me away. This ink was hyped for a while. Mike Matteson is a big fan, and among the Discord servers I frequent or moderate it comes highly recommended. I was a happy skeptic. I wouldn’t say that I judged people for liking it and in this hobby I’m just happy to see people enthused… buy really? It’s this ugly muddy-green-brown thing! Thus, when I got a sample as a gift from a friend (Sarah), I inked it up thinking “OK, let’s put this ink to rest.” Boy, I did, because I burned through the sample fast- but I have to say it didn’t leave my mind. This ink is either reasonably priced or really expensive depending on where you can find it thanks to Sailor’s new pricing scheme. Here is what you can expect to see, Anderson having the 50 ml ($18) still but Vanness only having the new bottles, 20 ml ($12) at nearly double the price per ml. PLEASE NOTE: I am not favoring one retailer over the other, this is entirely about existing stocks of old bottles. I got my bottle from a B&M anyway.

Review page for Sailor Rikyu-Cha. Look at the blue from the drop test, it’s pretty neat.

Rikyu-cha is a “tea” themed ink, and it’s one of the mainstays in the Sailor in line. It’s green-brown with some major blue undertones, and a bit of red sheen when laid on heavy. Even so, with that description I would not pick this ink out for myself. It just doesn’t sound appealing to me. And I was wrong, again. First off, it’s a Sailor ink, and that means it flows nice and wet, exactly how I like my inks. Thus, from the first kiss of the nib to paper I liked how the ink behaved. It goes down a very dark color, much like the brown one always gets in the water left in a cleaning cup after a few different got flushed. But… it shifts. One can watch the transformation, similar to iron gall inks, as the color gets much lighter, shading sets in, and the pools get this blue hue to it that is really sharp. Seeing it in person v. my computer monitor made a big difference.

It looks so brown in this swab! This ink can change so much based on pens and paper used.

On cheaper paper, I would say it did okay. Nothing special, the usual amount of feathering, bleed, and loss of some shading. I was surprised to find some water resistance, much in the same vein of Sailor Jentle Blue/Black. The color that does run was sluggish in moving off the page. I had no issues cleaning the ink and it has not stained at all.

Still some shading on cheap paper- from a JoWo medium nib

I have to say I prefer this in nibs that offer line variation or aren’t insane gushers. Between the CH-92 broad architect and the Retro51 broad I used for this, both are wet, but the Retro is a hose and a standard round nib. This showed more of the blue and less of the shading, but I think I prefer the shading.

Rikyu-Cha from the Retro51 broad nib. It is very blue from this pen, and I prefer what I see from the architect I think.

Tasting Notes: A muddy river polluted with crude oil, thick and slimy. The water in the pen-cleaning cup. Dark fuzzy mold on old stinky cheese.

Yuri’s Corner: Hmmm… what can I say besides what a beautiful disaster? Objectively, Sailor Jentle Rikyu-Cha is the tantalizing abomination produced when a painter mixed their blacks with yellow, then added some greens, reds, and blues for shits and giggles. Theoretically this should not work and should be offensive to one’s eyes, but there’s something to this ink that is quite nice. Staring into this ink is as if you are staring into the abyss of our black cat’s soul. Lighter strokes whisper of Diamine’s Earl Grey, while the dark strokes scream of the black Noodler’s Proctor’s Ledge but not quite. If you want a happy medium between Noodler’s Provoke the Puritan and Diamine’s Majestic Blue this ink is it. Either way, you won’t be bored with this ink, that’s for sure. Perfect for some spooky spectacular Halloween invites or making sure your death threats are taken in a serious manner.
8 out of 9 soul gems filled.

Color comparisons: Noodler’s Provoke the Puritan, Sailor Rikyu-Cha, Robert Oster Bronze, and Kyo-Iro Stone Road of Gion. Nothing quite like Rikyu-Cha that I’ve encountered yet.

Conclusion: I really love this ink, despite the gross tasting notes which is something I do for fun, rather that total seriousness (obviously). I love that it’s so unique, and the chromatography is just plain weird (sorry for no photo of that, I accidentally threw away the paper towel). I liked it enough that I went out and bought a bottle two days after finishing the sample. Part of my expediency was not just because I liked that much– it’s that my local pen shop still has the 50 ml bottles and I figured I may as well jump on it while it was still a purchase that I was willing to support. I’m not happy with Sailor’s choices regarding their prices… but damn this ink is nice.


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