When few days ago I was kindly asked by Mishka from BureauDirect,UK, if I would like to receive a few samples of KWZ inks to play with and write what I think. My initial thought was – What the question is that? Sure I am ! I was planning to get KWZ inks on my agenda for a while now, especially when they become in a spotlight within last few months and many beautiful pictures shared by nice people on Instagram/Twitter brought my attention. The first reason I was interested with KWZ is rather sentimental in nature, simply because KWZ inks are made in Poland where I came from and are made by a chemist (Konrad Zurawski) as I am too (but I believe we specialize in quite different areas). The second and more important reason is, that Konrad and his small company is producing also unique iron gall inks which nowadays are pretty rare. His products are not widely available (…for now) compare to other brands, but deserves recognition – his inks are very interesting. The colour palette is very impressive too (check his website KWZ for details).
The first ink from the batch I received is called – Honey, which in fact is not an iron gall ink. Color may resemble runny honey or honeycomb but for me personally it reminds molten caramelized sugar. It is beautifully warn golden-brown, which resembles also inks like J. Herbin- Lie de The (which is more brownish and less vibrant) or Diamine Golden Brown. Some shades of Diamine Golden Sands base colour (except sparkling particles) are similar too. There is something from sepia too. But to be absolutely honest KWZ Honey is pretty unique and really stands out. There are brown, orange and yellow components, which together give nice and vibrant golden brown colour, which is readable with no problen on both white and ivory toned paper.
When I opened the vial containing 2 ml of this beauty, the first thing what stroked me was a very distinctive ‘sweet’ smell. I know that some people absolutely adore this smell, but some my not appreciate it that much. I did not like it initially (it reminds me some herbal, thyme-like based products), but after some time I did not mind it at all, and actually I quite like it, especially how it smells on the paper after while. Pretty unique again. Smell goes off in time, but not entirely.
How about overall properties? Well I must say, this thing is pretty impressive and I was not expecting it. Honey is relatively well saturated ink, especially for this particular colour range. It flows really well, so writing is pleasurable, smooth experience with all nibs and pens I tried. It lubricates well too. This is ‘wet’ ink. On smooth paper like Rhodia drying may take a while, however on rougher copy paper it dries pretty quick within 10 seconds or less. Despite its saturation it does not smudge once is dry. I have not noticed any bleeding through as well as fathering, except cheap absorbing paper, but nor severely. The thing which this ink really does well is beautiful shading going gradually from light brow towards yellow hues. Interestingly, shading is much more interesting with nibs which produces lighter lines compared to flexy ones where browns are much more pronounced due to amount of ink left on the paper. KWZ Honey is not water resistant at all and little amount of water washes out most of it. For some my be a drawback. I do not care that much about it, since many ink do the same. The positive aspect of this is that it may be successfully used for drawing and washes which looks beautiful!
The best to my knowledge KWZ inks are distributed as 60 ml bottles and the cost is around 8 Euros or 12 USD, which is a good and honest price. Unfortunately, I only had 2 ml of this beauty which went quickly, but definitely I wish to have the whole bottle on my shelf. This ink is really something and writing experience is great.
If you do not mind this colour, then I would highly recommend it. Cool stuff!
13/Sep/2015 Update. For comparison please check the review of very similar color by KWZ – Old Gold.