Ink Review: KWZ Honey

KWZ Honey writing sample

I kept KWZ Honey inked for weeks in two pens, a Pelikan M620 Piazza Navona with double broad nib, and a Lamy Al-Star Pearl with medium nib. Behavior was flawless, with immediate startup even if the pen had been left unused. I didn’t find it a particularly wet-writing ink, however: the ink dried fairly quickly, and the line width seemed on the narrow side. But KWZ Honey flowed perfectly in both pens, even the normally dry-writing Lamy.

In fact, my favorite pen for KWZ Honey was the Lamy with medium nib. As you can see in the photo at the top of the page, tone and shading are beautiful, and the line is crisp and on the narrower side of medium. Yet I saw no startup issues ever, not even when the ink ran low in the converter.

Here is KWZ Honey on cream-colored Tomoe River paper, first with the Al-Star with medium nib and next with the Pelikan double broad.

KWZ Honey writing sample

You can see a few things right off the bat: gorgeous shading, but the looks remains on the subtle, elegant side. It’s easy to read, despite the light color you’d expect from a gold ink ink. It’s a nice, warm neutral color. The color doesn’t vary in these pens.

Here is a writing sample on Rhodia.

KWZ Honey writing sample

The photos today are darker than normal, since it’s been raining or completely overcast for a week straight here. Luckily KWZ Honey lights up the page.

KWZ Honey writing sample

On paper that’s not fountain-pen friendly, KWZ Honey had impressive performance. Feathering and showthrough were minimal, even on the worst copy paper. Here is the ink on my normal “regular” paper, Staples Sustainable Earth.

KWZ Honey writing sample

KWZ Honey does not have much water resistance, but there’s a bit on absorbent regular paper. Here’s what happens to the ink when it meets water on copy paper, on the left, and Rhodia on the right.

KWZ Honey water resistance

Note the orange halo that remains on the copy paper. That was surprising. It’s not an ink that ever looks orange, or even leans orange.

In terms of how easy it was to clean KWZ Honey from my pens, I’d grade it in the middle. I only needed water to clean both pens, but cleaning the Pelikan required more cycles than the lowest maintenance inks. I found that surprising for a light golden brown ink. Surprise number two.

While I was using KWZ Honey, it reminded me a little of Pelikan Edelstein Amber. (It never reminded me of Montblanc Golden Yellow, which is yellow, not a honey golden brown.)

Here is a swab comparison of KWZ Honey with Edelstein Amber and with two J. Herbin inks that seemed in the same neighborhood as KWZ Honey.

KWZ Honey swab comparisons

There is no comparison. Surprise number three.

Now, if you don’t want to see how the sausage is made, as the saying goes, don’t read any further.

Paper towel chromatography of KWZ Honey.

KWZ Honey paper towel chromatography

Okay then. That’s surprise number four.

Now I know why KWZ Honey was hard to pin down. It’s a very unusual blend. There’s is a bright gray-blue dye, where the blue almost leans periwinkle. But most of it is bright yellow or yellow-orange. You can see the orange best at the very top of the chroma.

But then go back to the water resistance test. There’s the vivid orange halo. And remember how KWZ Honey didn’t clean up as easily as I expected from a light golden ink — as Ambre de Birmanie or Edelstein Amber, for example, do. Also remember how legible the ink is, even in the Lamy. Those dyes in Honey aren’t delicate. They have strength.

In the end, what you get in KWZ Honey is really interesting, very attractive, and engaging to write with. In the end, this what I had left of my sample.

KWZ ink sample tube

I received a sample of Honey from KWZ so I could review it. KWZ Ink is available online from at least one US store — Vanness Pens — and also directly from KWZ in Poland.

12 thoughts on “Ink Review: KWZ Honey

  1. KWZ are just putting out one winner after another, it looks like! Amazing when they’re such a new company 🙂

    I love big nibs (and I cannot lie…groan, had to go there). I would love to try a huge one but without a variable line – I use the bigger ones sometimes for straight up notes, but I use the biggest ones for things like headers or underlining. I have a double-broad italic (stub? ugh, embarrassing, but I still don’t know for sure what the difference is) that I use mostly when crossing things off of to-do lists 😛

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I am so surprised by the chroma on this ink. Wow! No wonder it is such a special ink.

    It’s an ink I love. It’s an ink that makes me feel warm and brings a smile to my face. It is an ink that falls under the my completely subjective category called “happy inks”.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I feel the same way, on both counts. 🙂

      I wonder if it’s the bit of orange that gives it that lift? I just never would have expected that. I have said before Konrad of KWZ to me is something of an ink genius. (If he saw this, he’d no doubt be embarrassed by that, so I apologize; also I do use that term expansively — i.e, I’m a genius at spilling.) But to me, the dye combinations and mixtures he comes up with are so creative and sometimes so unexpected, that it’s the best word I can think of. Not to mention what he does with the safer, lighter iron gall inks in his lineup.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. I tried Honey back at the end of January. Although I liked it very much, I didn’t find that I had to have it. Yes it is pretty, and yes it is different. I did find long dry times on Apica Premium. On Tomoe River it left a visible layer, and yes I would say layer on top of the paper. At one angle it looked matte. In another angle it shined a little. I had my Honey in a Faber Castell Loom ground to a broad cursive italic. It was a shade monster. It was great in flex pens. (finer flex, didn’t try in wider flex) This ink is the favorite of a friend of mine. She gave me a very generous sized sample to try. I think I will soon try this in a medium nib, or fine. I have tried 4 KWZ inks thus far. I had to have 3 of them. Grapefruit in a xf-fine nib is my favorite one of KWZ inks for some reason.

    Laura, you did a wonderful job highlighting this ink. I was surprised by the chroma test. I have put a lot of stock in your reviews. They can make me consider a new ink, or drop one that I might’ve been thinking about. I am on the fence with Honey though. I think if I am, then I should pass it by. Unless a more narrow nib compels me to change my mind, I will stick with my initial thoughts on it.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I think you should stick with your own impressions, for sure! Not every ink hits everyone the same.

      Speaking of myself, there are definitely inks that nearly everyone loves but me — and it’s not that there’s anything wrong with those inks. It’s just something in the hue hits me wrong. It’s totally personal.

      And I definitely like certain inks in fine or extra-fine nibs, but not in broad nibs, and vice versa.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I hear ya! A couple of inks come to my mind, that some people love. It didn’t do a thing for me. In fact I just flat out didn’t care for it…lol. The problem is I love too many inks. I had a goal in mind for how many inks I would need. But then I started sampling. That was a blessing, and a curse all rolled up into one. Some inks grow on you. When I was given a sample of Sailor-Amanita muscaria, I thought it was okay, actually pretty good. But the more I used it, it grew on me. Then I went on a mad search trying to find an ink that compared. No such luck. Usually I love it right off the bat though. I loved Oster-Deep Sea right off the bat, and Sailor-Yama dori. I remember you said you didn’t like Yama-dori, much to my surprise. But different paper and pens make a difference too. I try to test in two pens, if I like an ink. One more narrow, and one more wide…’cause you never know. I need a 12 step program for ink, but I don’t want one.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. The thing about a 12-step program, is that it’s my understanding you have to give the thing up…. Are you sure you really want that? 🙂


          1. HAHA, I said I need a 12 step program. I’m not giving up ink, frankly that isn’t going to happen. I need to quit buying it, but I’m not giving up this little obsession. At least I have dramatically slowed down getting samples, and sampling. I haven’t sampled much for several months now. I do plan to get a couple of Papier Plume small bottles…like maybe the 15ml size. I bet you have a good idea which ones. LOL. Yes, the Pecan and the Moss Green.

            Liked by 1 person

  4. Excellent review! KWZ Honey is probably my favorite ink since a friend at our local Pen club (IowaPen) gave me a sample. I’ve since bought three bottles.

    It and the somewhat similar Private Reserve Sepia are always in my some of my pens.

    Similar inks I have tried are Organic Studio Foggy Bottom, Pilot Iroshizuku Ina-ho and DeAtramentis Khaki.

    My friend who gave me the Honey sample recently gave me a Noodler’s Whalenan’s Sepia sample I have not used yet, and I am liking Organics Studios Green Sepia too; it’s my green equivalent of KWZ Honey.

    How do you do the paper towel chromatography? Drop ink on wet paper towel? Do you hold the towel up and let it dangle and put the drop of ink at the top? I would love to try that with some of my inks.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you. Yes, I like Ina-ho very much, too! As you’ll see on the blog, I really love the category I call “odd greens,” with gold or brown or gray leanings, and it’s a wide range. KWZ Honey isn’t an odd green of course, but it’s a special honey gold. 🙂

      There are a lot of ways to do paper towel chromatography, and I wrote about mine in an early post, down in the comments. However, a number of people keep asking, and it’s hard for readers to search out comments, so I’ll do a new, separate post on it soon. 🙂

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Thanks! I find I am collecting green, brown & sepia type inks too, more than anything else. I have been enjoying your ink posts, and have found my self looking back at a lot of them especially the greens & browns.

        I am going to be in New Orleans later this year and was just looking at your Papier Plume Moss Green & Pecan reviews today; going to have to visit them when in NOLA! They got added to the “Things to do in NOLA” list straight away when your review mentioned where they were. Thanks for that too!

        I will try and find the chromatography post, but searching in WordPress seems a bit difficult; I may have to try via a web browser instead of the WP app, or just resort to Google’s site-search feature. A separate post about it would be great; will have to share it with my IowaPen club members and maybe demo doing it at a future meeting. Thanks!

        Liked by 2 people

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