I tested Azure #3 in an Aurora Optima with fine nib and also in a Kaweco Sport with broad nib.
It is an ink I’d classify as on the dry side: it loved the wetter Kaweco broad nib, but didn’t like the dry-writing Optima. If the Optima had been left overnight, I’d need to scribble with it to get the ink flowing. But as a dry ink, Azure #3 wrote a tighter line and dried quickly on the page for me. It’s a great match for a wet pen.
Here is what it looks like on Tomoe River paper. It’s such a crisp and friendly color, and so legible. You’ll see that it has very little shading. I would say “none,” but the wet Kaweco broad nib brought out a hint, perhaps.
I don’t know if it’s just me, but this color says “sunny summer sky” to me.
I liked it on both the cream-colored Tomoe River and on white paper. Here it is on Rhodia.
On poor paper, it behaved interestingly. I saw the slightest tendency to feather — not horrible, but there on poor paper, although mostly noticeable with the broader, wetter nib. But it actually seemed to flow better for me on the poorer papers, which are more absorbent. There was some showthough with the broad nib on poor paper.
It still looked very nice on poor paper. Here is a writing sample on Staples Sustainable Earth, which is one of my most absorbent papers.
Azure #3 cleaned out of my pens easily, as I’ve come to expect from KWZ inks by now. It even showed some water resistance. I should say, it showed absolutely no water resistance on fountain-pen friendly smooth Rhodia, but a fairly impressive amount on absorbent regular paper.
I happened to have Waterman Serenity Blue inked up in a Lamy 2000 with fine nib, so I can give you a writing sample comparing the two medium blue inks. Waterman Serenity Blue is in the middle of the photo below.
KWZ Azure #3 is more saturated than Waterman Serenity Blue, and of course a different color. I think Azure #3 comes across as a more pure blue, and probably as a livelier blue. And it’s so easy to read.
In terms of comparison colors, to me Azure #3 is closest to Diamine Blue Velvet.
I do have to say, however, that after writing with both extensively, I find Blue Velvet louder and Azure #3 more relaxed. You can’t tell from the swabs, but if you’ve had them in pens, you’ll know that Blue Velvet is very vibrant and attention-grabbing. Azure #3 is similar in color but not in effect. A full page of Azure #3, even with the Kaweco broad nib, is as lovely as Blue Velvet, but not as showy. I think different people will probably prefer one to the other based on that.
The other ink swab photographed above is KWZ’s own Azure #5, which I reviewed here. Azure #5 was the first KWZ ink I ever reviewed, and it’s a really nice medium blue ink, too. I would say the difference, beside color, is that Azure #5 has shading, is wetter and performs perfectly on very poor paper.
Paper towel chromatography of Azure #3 is below.
And just for fun, here’s Azure #3 on the left and Azure #5 on the right.
It’s interesting that I find Azure #3 so close to Diamine Blue Velvet in color, because the chromatography also tracks that. You can see Diamine Blue Velvet’s chromatography results here, where it is called “Lloyd,” because at that time it was one of the Mystery Inks on a fountain pen forum thread. Diamine Blue Velvet has similar blue dyes as Azure #3, as well as a bit of pink.
I know that Diamine Blue Velvet is a color people love, so I think Azure #3 should also be a crowd pleaser, as long as folks aren’t looking for an ink that shades. I would recommend using it in wet pens, however.
I received this sample of Azure #3 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.