Ink Review: KWZ Old Gold

KWZ Old Gold writing sample

I have used Old Gold in two pens, a Lamy Safari with broad nib and a Sailor Professional Gear Kanreki with fine nib. The Safari was inked (and refilled) for about seven weeks. I tested this at the same time as KWZ Iron Gall Aztec Gold, reviewed here, because the two inks looked so similar. Old Gold, however, is entirely a dye-based ink.

The two inks behave very similarly, too. Wet, smooth and lubricated, both inks were easy to clean from my pens and displayed similar levels of water resistance (not much). Iron Gall Aztec Gold felt slightly more smooth and lubricated to write with, but Old Gold was excellent, too.

Here is a writing sample of Old Gold on cream colored Tomoe River paper.

KWZ Old Gold writing sample

The first nib is the Safari with broad nib. The second is a torture test, because I am mean: it’s my Sailor Kanreki with fine nib. If you know Japanese nibs, you’ll know that a Sailor fine is a very fine nib — essentially a thin Western extra-fine. I wanted to see if Old Gold would be legible from such a fine nib. I thought it passed that test.

Here is a writing sample on Rhodia.

KWZ Old Gold writing sample

Even with that fine a nib, you’ll see that Old Gold has lovely shading.

Old Gold’s performance on poor quality paper is essentially the same as Iron Gall Aztec Gold: good, but not exemplary. There is some feathering, but it’s an amount I can easily live with.

Here’s a writing sample on my everyday Staples Sustainable Earth legal pad paper. You’ll see the feathering most in the letters “l” in the last line. I decided not to go for an extreme closeup here, to put the slight feathering in a more accurate context.

KWZ Old Gold writing sample

This is not a water-resistant ink. When a writing sample encounters water, the dyes mostly disappear from fountain-pen friendly paper, on the right. Like most inks, however, the dyes soak in perfectly well on regular paper, on the left.

KWZ Old Gold water resistance

Here is paper towel chromatography of Old Gold.

KWZ Old Gold paper towel chromatography

Photo comparisons to other inks are in the Iron Gall Aztec Gold review, but in short, from my collection, KWZ Old Gold most resembles Pilot-Iroshizuku Ina-ho and KWZ Iron Gall Aztec Gold. And really, it’s closest to KWZ Iron Gall Aztec Gold.

I mentioned in my Iron Gall Aztec Gold review that the two KWZ inks were so similar in color and behavior that I couldn’t be sure which I was using without double-checking my list.

Here are both of them on Staples Sustainable Earth.

KWZ Iron Gall Aztec Gold and KWZ Old Gold comparisons

They are not, obviously, identical. The difference are clear if you look at the swabs.

KWZ Iron Gall Aztec Gold and KWZ Old Gold swab comparisons

I haven’t asked Konrad and Agnieszka of KWZ to confirm this, but I suspect that Old Gold may have been modeled on Iron Gall Aztec Gold. So people who just won’t use an iron gall ink could have a dye-based golden ink from KWZ.

You can see from the chromatography above that Konrad gave Old Gold a gray-brown base. That mimics iron gall’s effect. Compare the chromatography, with Iron Gall Aztec Gold on the left and Old Gold on the right, below.

KWZ Iron Gall Aztec Gold and KWZ Old Gold paper towel chromatography

I went back and forth, over seven weeks, about which one I liked better. I usually prefer an iron gall ink, but initially I actually favored the lighter and brighter color of the dye-based Old Gold. As the weeks went on, however, and I used both inks more, I decided (i) they are both great but (ii) I’d pick Iron Gall Aztec Gold.

Why? Iron Gall Aztec Gold has a more complex and rounded color, and it was every bit as gentle and well-behaved as Old Gold. And I love iron gall inks. The color change, as iron gall oxidizes in contact with air, gets me very time. (Not just for the “gee whiz” effect, either. That oxidation is what gives iron gall inks their depth. Which admittedly not everyone likes. I think there of my friend Rick, who hates “muddy colors.”)

But my slight preference for Iron Gall Aztec Gold isn’t to spurn KWZ Old Gold. Not at all — Old Gold is an excellent ink that many people will probably prefer. For one thing, it’s brighter and less “muddy.” For another, no iron gall. Since I like both of them, very much, I think you can’t go wrong with either. If I had any spare change, I’d buy both.

Here is one final comparison of the two inks, on Tomoe River paper, in Safaris with broad nibs, with Iron Gall Aztec Gold on top and Old Gold on the bottom.

KWZ Iron Gall Aztec Gold and KWZ Old Gold comparisons

Two beautiful inks.

6 thoughts on “Ink Review: KWZ Old Gold

  1. Wow you really gave another stunning review. I especially liked the comparisons to the iron gall version. That was quite helpful. The picture comparisons of the two really were outstanding. I wonder if this ink is fairly close to KWZ Honey? (as far as looks only)

    Liked by 2 people

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