I have a soft spot for red inks…I really do, especially with all these inks which give some character and life. I came across several red inks from different brands and there are some which I really like and many others which are OKish or just dull and boring. I like when red inks stand out, maybe because I am using them every day for making text corrections, annotations and marking in my busy looking calendar important things to do be done.
I was recently searching through pretty large collection of ink samples to be reviewed at some point and among many others I spotted nice looking red ink from KWZ called – Flame Red. I have already revived another red ink from KWZ – Thief’s Red, which I really enjoyed to write with, not only because the lively beautiful red colour with pink undertones it has, but also good physical properties flow or ease of use it offers.
Colour wise KWZ – Flame Red is different from Thief’s Red. This is also very well saturated ink, however colour is brighter and more towards dark orange spectrum. The closest ink I can think of is Noodler’s Cayenne. The dark orange/red colour is caused by very bright yellow component mixed with red base colour. There seems to be some pink undertones too, but not that much compared to Thief’s Red. Depending on paper used for writing, the tone of the KWZ – Flame Red ink varies greatly. On ivory or creamy paper it may looks brownish than on white paper, but much less than Diamine Terracotta for instance. Obviously, wetness of the pen or nib itself plays important role here as well. There is a tint bit ‘rusty’ feel as well, which reminiscences the colour of drying blood. I can feel some spiciness and heat too, so is not surprising that Flame Red shares similar colour palette as Noodler’s Cayenne.
Because the overall deep colour saturation, Flame Red does not exhibit great deal of shading, but there is decent amount of colour gradation along the stroke going from deep red to orange which I like. This is especially visible with not that extremely wet pens, however the bold colour the former produce is just fantastic. I have not noticed any accompanying sheen to this.
Similarly to other KWZ inks I tested or I am using on a daily basis, KWZ – Flame Red performs very well indeed. The ink itself does not feel thin and dry. The writing experience is very good both on smooth and rougher types of paper. On good quality paper there are no issues with bleeding through or show through, however on lesser quality and more absorbing paper these may appear. I have not noticed any feathering too.
Drying time is quite slow, but again this is quite ‘thick’ and well saturated ink. With standard nibs is on average side, however with flexible nibs it can take a while to dry out completely. Once it is dry it does not smudge. KWZ – Flame Red is not water resistant by any means and almost no ink remains after few washes.
The only concern some people may have about this ink (and many in the KWZ line) is very specific to KWZ inks scent which is not that easy to get rid of if you like to change the inks afterwards. Some users smell vanilla, menthol or hint of thyme. The smell is caused by anti-mould agent used in production as far as I remember from the conversation I had with Konrad Żurawski (an owner of KWZ Inks) some time ago. My sample has already few months and is from the older batch. I know that Konrad and Agnieszka were working on reformulation, which means that new batches may be odorless, but I have not tried these yet and need to check it. Otherwise, KWZ – Flame Red is a lovely looking, juicy red – orange ink which I really enjoyed. If you like your ink to look like post Halloween gore like scene, KWZ Flame Red is the way to go. It can really look disturbing both wet and dry and in this sense it may be the top contender so far on my list of ‘bloodiest inks’.
KWZ inks are not widely available but more and more popular retailers have them. The price (around £ 13.0 UK, $ 13.0 Canada or 10.0 Eur) seems to be fair for 60 ml bottle of good ink. In the UK KWZ inks are available from BureauDirect and recently from PurePens. You can buy them also from Appelboom and Fontoplumo in Netherlands. In the US KWZ inks are available from Vanness Pen Shop. They may be ordered directly form KWZ Inks too.
(*) Disclaimer/ I have no affiliation with the all brands and companies mentioned above and this short review reflects only my personal views and findings about the product.