Ink Review: KWZ Dark Brown


I have been using KWZ Dark Brown in a Lamy 2000 with fine nib, and in a Lamy Al-Star with multiple nibs, including a 1.5 mm stub. I think it’s an ink with medium flow. It seemed smooth in the nib, and started up easily enough, but it dried fairly quickly and wrote a normal width line.

I find it notable for its color — I love a black ink that shades — and especially its behavior. KWZ told me it was famed for its resistance to feathering, and I saw the same thing. I tried, but I could not make it feather, even on my “everything feathers” paper.

Here is a writing sample on Staples Sustainable Earth, which is a thinner, absorbent paper that tends to show feathering, bleedthrough and showthrough more than fountain-pen friendly papers.


Even with the Al-Star with 1.5 mm stub, you can see that the line is tight and there is no feathering.  In addition, there was zero bleedthrough or showthrough with this combination, which is astounding.  I even primed the feed to try to get extra flow, but it still behaved perfectly.

I mentioned in a previous post about KWZ Dark Brown, here, that only on one paper did I really see hints of a dark brown ink color. Otherwise it was a lighter charcoal black with nice shading. Here it is on Rhodia, with both the fine nib and the 1.5 mm.


And here it is on Tomoe River cream-colored paper.


It is such a nice black ink for me, who loves a lighter black ink with shading. If you seek the darkest black, however, it may not fit the bill.  It’s closer to a lighter black ink, like Pelikan Brilliant Black.


I do keep calling it a “black ink,” because that’s how it looks for me in almost every situation. But I have read that all black inks are really just very dark and saturated versions of other colors — often blue blacks. So it makes sense that KWZ Dark Brown would often appear black. KWZ did tell me that there are some papers that bring out the brown tint a lot more than mine do.

Here are swabs of KWZ Dark Brown bracketed by two of my darker brown inks, for comparison.


And here is KWZ Dark Brown in the company of some of my lighter black inks.


Paper towel chromatography of KWZ Dark Brown is below.


KWZ Dark Brown is the sixth or seventh KWZ ink I’ve reviewed so far, and one thing they all have had in common that they have all been extremely low-maintenance. Dark Brown joins its fellows in being very easy to clean out of a pen with just plain water. That is one of my favorite qualities in an ink.

Dark Brown is not the most water-resistant of inks, however. It washed off coated, fountain-pen friendly paper nearly completely, though a remnant remained on more absorbent regular paper. Interestingly, I see the brown tint more clearly after the other dyes run off in water.


I just adore this ink, and have using it nearly constantly since I filled my first pen with it.  If you like a lighter black ink, and don’t need water resistance, KWZ Dark Brown would be a very nice choice. Even if you prefer a very dark black ink, you may still like this one as a change-of-pace very dark brown, next to your regular very black ink.

I received this sample of Dark Brown from KWZ Ink so I could review it.  KWZ Ink is available online from at least one US store and also directly from KWZ in Poland.

2 thoughts on “Ink Review: KWZ Dark Brown

  1. Sounds like this has all the makings of a super-star ink! Black but still shades, AND non-feathering, AND easy-maintenance? Wow. That’s quite a list!


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