Ink Review: Kaweco Smokey Grey

Kaweco Smokey Grey writing sample

Note that I spelled the name of the ink wrong there. Yes, I just automatically defaulted to the American spelling of “smoky.” Apparently the smoke came from my brain stalling. However, the ink’s name is actually “Smokey Grey,” like “Smokey the Bear.”

Rather than rewrite every single writing sample, I decided to just go with the flow. My apologies, but we’re loosey goosey around here. Except about forest fires: like Smokey the Bear, we’re firmly against those.

Kaweco Smokey Grey is a beautiful color, a soft gray with a nice tint. I kept thinking there may be a touch of green in it, but I wasn’t sure. The ink slightly changes color as it dries: it has a warmer tint when wet and then dries down a little cooler and a little darker.

Note, a little darker. It’s never dark. Here is a writing sample showing it next to a few standard inks for comparison.

Kaweco Smokey Grey writing sample

But Smokey Grey is perfectly legible. The photos probably make the ink look a little lighter, if anything, than in person.

I used Smokey Grey in a Kaweco Sport with double broad and fine nibs, and in a modern Pelikan with medium nib. It was easy to read from all of them, though lightest with the double broad nib.

Here’s a closeup showing Smokey Grey first from the Kaweco with double broad, then the Kaweco with fine nib.

Kaweco Smokey Grey writing sample

Compared to the BB nib, the fine nib seemed to concentrate the ink color, because it’s darker in that nib than in the BB.

The ink flow of Smokey Grey is perfect, just like with its stablemate Kaweco Sunrise Orange. Both these new inks from Kaweco have a great feel in the pen: they seem to work in every pen I tried, feeling very lubricated but not oily.

In the Kaweco Sport I used Smokey Grey in cartridges. Kaweco has some of the best cartridges I know. Even if you leave a Kaweco cartridge pen unused for weeks, it starts up immediately. Part of the secret is the little plastic ball inside the cartridge, which you can see here, since I wrote the cartridge dry.

Kaweco ink converter plastic ball

I like the color of Smokey Grey on either white or cream colored paper. Here’s Tomoe River.

Kaweco Smokey Grey writing sample

That gives a nice sterling silver effect. And look at the shading. Smokey Grey has beautiful shading, just like Sunrise Orange.

Also like Sunrise Orange, I found Smokey Grey excellent on poor quality paper. I saw no feathering, showthrough or bleedthrough.

Here it is on Staples Sustainable Earth paper, from all three nibs, but mostly the Kaweco fine and then the Pelikan medium.

Kaweco Smokey Grey writing sample

And here is a closeup of writing with the Pelikan medium on the Staples Sustainable Earth. This looks a bit darker in real life, I think, but you can see that even on absorbent regular paper like this, Smokey Grey still shades beautifully.

Kaweco Smokey Grey writing sample

I was pleasantly surprised how legible this ink was, even though it’s lighter in color. But I was really surprised, nearly shocked, to see that it’s fairly water resistant. Here it is on regular paper and Rhodia after being soaked in water.

Kaweco Smokey Grey water resistance

On regular paper many inks remain partially legible even after contact with water, but this is fully legible. And look at the water resistance on Rhodia, which usually sheds ink like water off a duck’s back.

Despite the unexpected water resistance, I had no trouble cleaning Smokey Grey from my pens with just the briefest flushing with water.

I actually have some favorite gray inks, like Pilot Iroshizuku Kiri-same and Fuyu-syogun. But Smokey Grey isn’t really like them in color. Of the gray inks I have, these are the closest.

Kaweco Smokey Grey swabs comparison

Of those two, Caran d’Ache Infinite Grey is no doubt closest in value and shading, but the hues are clearly different. So I really have nothing similar.

Here is paper towel chromatography of Kaweco Smokey Grey.

Kaweco Smokey Grey paper towel chromatography

And that jogged my memory. So, here is something I found interesting: paper towel chromatography of Kaweco Smokey Grey on the left and Pelikan Brilliant Black on the right.

Kaweco Smokey Grey and Pelikan Brilliant Black paper towel chromatography

Kaweco Smokey Grey is a light gray in color, not remotely approaching Pelikan Brilliant Black. However, Smokey Grey and Brilliant Black seem to have some similarities in the base. Pelikan Brilliant Black also has excellent water resistance, for what it’s worth.

So that’s interesting.

And look — Smokey Grey does have a green tint after all.

I really enjoyed Kaweco Smokey Grey — a lot. The shading is gorgeous, and the color is soft and attractive. It makes a nice change of pace from black or blue ink. And I can’t think of an ink that behaves better in a pen, combining excellent lubrication and flow with ease in cleaning.

Kaweco Smokey Grey is not in US stores yet, but it should be soon. Kaweco provided me with a box of cartridges to review.

3 thoughts on “Ink Review: Kaweco Smokey Grey

  1. Thank you for such a wonderful review of Smokey Grey. I’m usually a bit ‘meh’ about grey inks, but this one looks great on Tomoe River paper. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This one looks amazing on the cream paper – really special and delicate. This might be one of the few inks that are shown off better on cream paper than white.

    Also: you managed to use ‘loosey goosey’ in an ink review, which aside from giving me the laugh I needed tonight, definitively proves this is Not Your Typical Uptight Pen Blog. My herooo 😉

    Liked by 2 people

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