Ink Review: KWZ Azure #1

KWZ Azure #1 ink swabs

I used KWZ Azure #1 in an Aurora Optima with broad nib and in a Lamy Safari with extra-fine nib.

I really liked Azure #1 in the Optima with broad nib. Unlike most Optimas, this one has a wet and wide nib. Azure #1 seemed to tame this, so that it wrote almost like a medium nib on fountain pen-friendly paper like Rhodia. I really appreciated that.

KWZ Azure #1 ink writing sample

The ink shades nicely, but never in a showy way.

Azure #1 also behaved very well in the Lamy Safari, with no flow or startup problem even if the pen was unused for days. The ink also wrote a nice tight line with the Safari. Its color was less robust, however, with the Safari’s drier, extra-fine nib.

KWZ Azure #1 ink writing sample

I thought Azure #1 looked extremely nice on the cream-colored Tomoe River paper. That paper also brought out the ink’s shading. I had hoped to see sheen for the sheen fans, but I really couldn’t.

KWZ Azure #1 ink writing sample

I use Staples Sustainable Earth as my everyday paper, and it’s a lot less fountain-pen friendly, and a lot more absorbent, than either Tomoe River or Rhodia. On Sustainable Earth, Azure #1 had nice color and a very quick dry time. Showthrough was negligible with the Safari extra-fine nib. There was showthrough with the Optima with broad nib, although not so much that I couldn’t use both sides of the Sustainable Earth paper.

KWZ Azure #1 ink writing sample

Azure #1 is not the most feather-resistant ink I’ve used. It resisted feathering on Sustainable Earth, as you can see above. But it didn’t do as well on my low-priced copy paper: with that paper, the Safari with extra-fine kept feathering to a usable minimum, but feathering was obvious with the Optima with broad nib.

If you are stuck with very poor paper you’d probably be okay using Azure #1 with a true fine or extra-fine nib. However, if feathering is a primary concern, then KWZ Azure #2 or Azure #5  might prove better choices.

As I expect from KWZ inks by now, Azure #1 cleaned up very easily from both pens. It had enough water resistance on absorbent regular paper, but very little on Rhodia.

KWZ Azure #1 ink water test

The color of KWZ Azure #1 puts it squarely in standard blue ink territory. That is not a pejorative statement: standard blue inks are, and always have been, my most-used inks, and that’s probably true for a lot of us. A standard blue ink is useful for work, and often required for school.

Here is Azure #1 amidst some other standard blues.

KWZ Azure #1 ink swab comparisons

Here is a writing sample with Waterman Serenity Blue and KWZ Azure #2, which were inked at the same time. Thus proving that I use standard blue inks a lot. As if any reader of this blog would doubt that.

KWZ Azure #1 ink writing sample comparisons

And here is paper towel chromatography of KWZ Azure #1.

KWZ Azure #1 ink chromatography

So Azure #1 proves to be a little more complex than some standard blue inks, having more than one blue dye.

KWZ right now has five blue dye-based inks in the Azure line, that I know of. I haven’t even tried Azure #4 yet — that’s next — but I have reviewed the other four, and I think any of those could function as an everyday blue ink. That gives Azure #1 a lot of competition just within the KWZ line.

KWZ Azure #1 Azure #2 Azure #3 Azure #4 Azure #5 ink swabs

Prefer a more vivid or distinctive blue? There’s Azure #5. And Azure #3. Prefer a darker, more navy blue? You’ve got Azure #2. Have to use really terrible paper? Azure #2 and Azure #5 behave particularly well on poor paper.

Then there is the Iron Gall KWZ line. I know some people are hesitant to use iron gall inks, but if you aren’t, KWZ Iron Gall Blue #5 is a beautiful ink with excellent behavior on poor paper. I think the color is gorgeous.

Azure #1 is a lovely color blue, itself, in a quieter way. But beyond that its biggest strength for me was how well it flowed in both pens. It never hesitated on startup, even in a pen left unused for days. I find that especially impressive with a Lamy Safari.

Azure #1 does not write “dry,” but it writes a tight line. That’s especially helpful with a wet-writing pen. I thought its color was more attractive with a wet-writing pen, too. So it’s probably a nice match for firehose pens. I’m going to try it next with a vintage Pelikan.

I got my sample of Azure #1 from a friend.  KWZ Ink is available online from at least one US store and also directly from KWZ in Poland.

KWZ Azure #1 ink writing sample

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