I'll start out by thanking Luxury Brands, the US distributor for Noodler's products, for supplying a bottle of this ink for review purposes. Noodler's Cactus Fruit Eel is a hyper-saturated magenta ink that is marketed as being extra lubricated to help maintain the seals in piston filling pens. While I agree that it is a lubricated ink, it doesn't seem abnormally so, in fact both of the other comparison inks felt more lubricated than the Noodler's offering in use.
Shading: While I would not consider this a shading ink, there is some subtle shading when used in wider nibs.
Bleed Through: Copy paper experiences some spot bleed through with all nib sizes. As always, Rhodia is a champ and Field Notes does quite well too. There is some minor feathering on Field Notes but this is not really an issue.
Show Through: I wouldn't use the backside of Copy Paper but I think that others might. Rhodia and Field Notes are perfectly usable.
Saturation: Higher than average saturation.
Water Resistance: There is no water resistance on Rhodia but copy paper retains a lot of the dye while exhibiting some spread and bleeding.
Drying Time: Slower than average, 30 seconds using an EF nib on Rhodia.
Flow: Good flow and lubrication.
Colour Make Up
As can be seen above, this ink is composed of nothing but magenta/pink dye.
I don't have an exact match for Cactus Fruit Eel on hand. Both of the comparison inks lean more purple than the Noodler's offering.
Dry times for this ink seem reasonable on the test papers that I use for review purposes but my experience over the last month of use shows a different side to this ink. I use Clairefontaine Triomphe and Tomoe River paper for my letter writing and I have found the dry times to be exceptionally long on these two papers. As the water content in the ink evaporated over the course of the month, this behaviour worsened and I also noticed that the ink became a bit of a hesitant starter. Once flow was established it performed well but you may have the first letter of your writing require a second pass. I believe that both of these characteristics are due to the highly saturated nature of the ink. Performance may improve with slight dilution but I have yet to try this.
So what are my thoughts on this ink? I think that this a colour that will be hard to work into everyday use unless you are doing document editing or some similar task where you want your writing to stand out. I used it in letter writing to friends and it worked well but I had to be very careful about smudging and I allowed a lot of dry time before folding a letter. I don't think that I will be loading it up again any time soon, instead I'll probably choose the slightly more reserved Pilot Iroshizuku Yama-Budo. Cactus Fruit Eel is nice but it is not Yama-Budo nice.
For other reviews of this ink search Ian Hedley's Pennaquod search engine.
Luxury Brands, the US distributor for Noodler's ink, provided this ink for review. I do not feel that my opinions of this ink have been affected by receiving the bottle free of charge.