Ink Review: KWZI Iron Gall Gold


KWZI Iron Gall Gold
Pen: Lamy Safari, Charcoal - F
Paper: Rhodia 80gsm dotpad
Shading: moderate
Saturation: medium
Flow: medium-dry
Dry Time: 17 seconds

KWZI is developed in Poland by a fellow named Konrad.  He is a chemistry graduate and fountain pen user who'd been making inks for himself since 2012 - he wanted to increase the saturation of one of the inks, and his research eventually led to him developing his own line of inks for the public.  The KWZI line features colors that you just can't find elsewhere, some of which are iron gall inks that have a much wider range of colors than the few iron gall inks from the mainstream manufacturers such as Diamine or Rohrer & Klingner.

As I mentioned in a previous review of an iron gall ink from the KWZI line, I do have a fascination with iron gall inks.  Besides the benefit of their permanent qualities, they have some very cool properties that you just don't get with other inks.  KWZI's line seems to parallel much more closely with traditional old school iron gall inks, where the ink oxidizes rather quickly as you write on the page.  I did find this to be less pronounced with KWZI Iron Gall Gold than I did with their other ink Iron Gall Green Gold; but the effect is still there.  It goes on as a light golden brown and after several seconds begins darkening to a deep brown.  This effect can also mean that you may or may not have the same color that you expect once the ink is fully dried and oxidized (which can be a fun thing).  Iron gall inks do tend to have a funkier smell, so be warned.

30 seconds

4 hours

Iron Gall Gold is a well behaved ink, though I did find it to feel a tad dry coming out of the pen. The dry time was surprisingly longer than I expected given that the ink feels dry - right at about 17 seconds, with a fine nib on a Rhodia pad.  The ink wasn't at all unpleasant to use, but if you enjoy buttery smooth writing, you may want to use this ink with a bit broader nib to put more ink on the page.  It has some decent shading as you're writing, though it does become a bit less pronounced as the ink darkens from a medium golden brown to a muddy brown.  

I tried to let this swab sit for a bit before doing any color comparisons, to give the most accurate representation of final color.  It seems to sit somewhere in between Iroshizuku Yama-guri and Ina-ho.  I liken it to a more diluted version of Noodler's El Lawrence, because it has that motor oil look to it.

Chromatography of iron gall inks typically leaves a trail of dark grey/brown as it goes through the paper, and this one was no exception.  The two main colors that makeup this ink are black and yellow.

I'm often asked about whether it's harmful for pens to use iron gall inks in them.  For inks like Rohrer & Klingner Salix and Scabiosa - those seem to be more mild versions of the iron gall inks out there, so in my experience they behave close to traditional inks.  For the KWZI inks, they seem to sit somewhere between the R&Ks, and something like Diamine Registrar's (which I've heard folks have issues with from time to time).  I didn't have any cleaning issues with IG Gold, though I didn't leave the ink in my pen longer than a couple of weeks, and with regular use - which is about what I'd recommend with these iron gall inks before cleaning and refilling.  If you're using vintage pens, especially with any kind of sac filling mechanism, I wouldn't recommend using iron gall in them. Vintage pens are much harder to replace, so maybe stick to traditional inks for those pens.  I'm more of a modern pen user anyway, and in my experience as long as you practice regular pen maintenance, you shouldn't have any problems.  If you're curious, Vanness Pens has great information on their KWZI page talking about the properties and warnings about iron gall use.

I enjoyed the color of this ink more than anything.  It has a very retro feel to me, and is just different enough than a plain black ink to give your writing some character.  I could have stood for it to write a tad wetter, but I don't think I'd give up on it just for that reason.  Aside from buying straight from Konrad, you can also get the KWZI line from Vanness Pens here in the U.S. (60 ml for $14).  I can't recommend KWZI enough - they have such an amazing variety of colors to choose from and from the ones I've tried so far, they perform very well.

Thanks so much for reading!
- Lori

Ink Review: KWZI Iron Gall Green Gold


KWZI Iron Gall Green Gold
Pen: Kaweco BRASS Sport (F)
Paper: Rhodia Dotpad 80gsm
Shading: low to moderate
Saturation: high
Flow: medium wet
Dry Time: 11 seconds

(*edit* I originally assumed Dav was a man but she very sweetly pointed out her gender to me when we spoke today.  Thankfully she was more than forgiving of my mistake!)

KWZI was an ink brand that I'd not heard of yet until a friend told me about the website Ink by the Ml.  If you've not heard of this site, please, take a moment and go check it out, I'll wait.  Done? Awesome (you're welcome)!  Dav is the woman behind the amazing site that offers samples from not-so-common (at least if you're in the US like myself) inks from around the world, and is a pleasure to deal with.  Highly recommended!  I immediately found several samples that I wanted to try, a few of which were from the KWZI brand.

KWZI is developed in Poland by a fellow named Konrad.  He is a chemistry graduate and fountain pen user who'd been making inks for himself since 2012 - he wanted to increase the saturation of one of the inks, and his research eventually led to him developing his own line of inks for the public.  His line features some of the most amazing colors I've seen.  KWZI features colors that you just can't find elsewhere, some of which are Iron Gall that stray from the typical blue-black or Diamine Registrar's, or the blue or purple of Rohrer & Klingner.

I love the color green, and have found that I have a fascination with iron gall inks.  Not because of the permanent properties, but because of the roots of iron gall ink and its history in our country and the world as the ink that many historical documents were written on.  KWZI IG Green Gold is quite unique.  The first thing you'll notice is that the ink is a very bright green when first laid down on the page - I liken it to Iroshizuku Chiku-rin.  Immediately after you start writing, though, it will begin to oxidize before your eyes and turn a deep golden green color.  It's amazing how fast the color changes.  Before you can write out an entire sentence, the first words are starting to darken.  This is starkly different than other iron galls I've used, (Registrar's & the R&Ks) as those don't darken nearly as much and do so over a much longer period of time.

IG Green Gold immediately after swabbing

Aside from the things that make it unique, IG Green Gold is a very nice, well-behaved ink.  I find it to flow very nicely, and it doesn't feather at all on typical fountain-pen paper.  It is highly saturated, so shading is only moderate at best, depending on how wet your pen writes.  If you notice on my written review, my pen (a Kaweco with a less than desirable feed) was writing very dry until I did the ink splatter, so you can see a difference in the way a pen will write being dry vs. wet with this ink.  Unintended, but it worked out!  The ink has a fairly lengthy dry time at 18 seconds, though it was with a wetter writing nib that had been recently "primed."

The ink doesn't really compare to anything I've seen yet - hence why KWZI is such a draw to folks; but here are a few that are somewhat close.  I find Diamine Safari is decently close, though not really comparable.  KWZI's Green Gold (non-iron gall) is close, but still quite different.

Notice how much darker the swab is now

Chromatography shows only greenish-blue, yellow and the faintest hint of grey.  I'm curious as to whether that grey is due to the iron gall property, though I can't be certain.  I let this one soak a bit too long so the greenish-blue is almost gone, but hopefully you'll get the gist.

Being an iron gall, I know you'll be wondering about ease of cleaning.  I've had the ink in my pen for a little over a week now, and just flushed it with no issues.  I'm not one to keep an ink in my pen for months, so I caution you to practice good pen maintenance with any iron gall ink that you use.  I find them to be stubborn but not impossible even when I've left it in for a few weeks.

I highly recommend you check out KWZI if you can.  The line has some great variety of color, with lots of uniqueness.  Also check out Ink by the Ml - not affiliated with either, just a happy customer.

Thanks for reading!

Ink Review: Iroshizuku Ina-ho


Iroshizuku Ina-ho (Rice ear) 
Pen: Lamy Safari (F)
Paper: Rhodia Dotpad 80gsm
Shading: high
Saturation: low to medium
Flow: wet
Dry Time: 9 seconds

I've had my eye on Iroshizuku Ina-ho for quite some time now.  I always looked at it whenever I placed an order, but never got a sample.  For some reason the color was different enough to draw my attention, and eventually I did break down and get a sample.  I am very glad that I did.

Ina-ho or "rice ear" is a very unique ink.  Its a pale brown color with some distinct gold tones and is an AMAZING shader.  I would never have thought that I'd fall for a brown ink, but I really love this one.  I love it so much that I may end up getting a full bottle.


Aside from it's awesome shading characteristics, Ina-ho has a great dry time at around 9 seconds from my Lamy F nib.  Being an Iroshizuku ink, it flows very nicely and doesn't feather or bleed in the slightest.  The ink really glides across the paper, which is a big draw for me.

Chromatography was very interesting for this ink.  It has some blue, pink and yellow - if you're into easter colors, you'll love the chroma sheet!


You're getting some sneak previews of inks I haven't reviewed yet here, but Ina-ho compares closest to Noodler's Rome Burning as far as the inks I currently have.  I haven't decided yet which one I like better, but I'm thinking Ina-ho will win out.


All in all, Ina-ho turned out to be a very pleasant surprise for me.  I think I'll look into checking out more gold & brown ink colors.  If you're interested in a bottle for yourself, you can get the full size bottle for $28, or a mini bottle (15mL) for between $10.50 or $14 at Vanness Pens or JetPens respectively.