These three bottles look great, with labels that remind me of our Chicago Pen Show ink, KWZ Chicago Blue, because they all feature artwork relating to the ink.
My reactions to the inks haven’t changed: I still love them all. Also, I think they are kind of exciting inks.
Once again, I’ll start with Baltic Memories (the teal). This one made the strongest initial impression on me. It’s probably the most spectacular — a dark teal with incredible sheen. I’m not predisposed to like an ink like this: I don’t seek out teal inks (though they are fine) and I don’t seek out sheen (though it’s fine). But this ink, Baltic Memories, made even my cold, dead heart come to life.
Here it is on Rhodia, in a Kaweco Sport with broad nib.
It even sheens a lot on Rhodia.
Here it is on Tomoe River.
It’s beautiful sheen, but well-modulated: the ink is dark enough that the sheen is never overbearing or exaggerated.
Next comes the blue ink, Walk Over Vistula, less spectacular, but just as attractive. Walk Over Vistula has red sheen, too. But it’s a nice shade of teal-leaning blue that’s more moderate in intensity. What makes Walk Over Vistula so impressive is that I’m only using it in a Lamy Al-Star with medium nib; that’s a dry-writing pen, with an average nib, that doesn’t exactly show off inks. Yet Walk Over Vistula looks striking, and flows perfectly.
Here is Walk Over Vistula on Rhodia.
There’s red sheen, less pronounced but still there, on Rhodia, not a sheeny paper, and with the Lamy medium nib, not a sheeny pen.
Here is the sheen you can see on a sheeny paper — Tomoe River — even from the non-sheeny pen.
If you want more sheen, put Walk Over Vistula in a wetter-writing pen, and I am certain you’ll get it. But this represents what you’d see in what I call a “normal” everyday pen you might use for work or school. Still pretty special.
One final note: I think Walk Over Vistula may prove to be the most popular, because it’s that shade of slightly teal blue that seems to have taken the market by storm. If I ever have free time again, and the sun ever struggles out behind the winter gloom, I’ll put together some swab comparisons.
I’ve left to the last the stealth favorite, Warsaw Dreaming. This is a black ink with a twist. It combines my two most-used ink colors, blue and black. It’s a black ink, but also a very dark blue. The blue tint is very hard to bring out in photos, and it’s not even super obvious in person, but it’s there.
Here is Warsaw Dreaming on Rhodia, in a Pelikan with double broad nib.
Here it is on Tomoe River. Warsaw Dreaming sheens, but it doesn’t sheen like the two other inks with a contrasting red sheen. Instead, the sheen gives Warsaw Dreaming some body and shine.
But the best part, to me, will always be the blue tint under the black. (Blue is my favorite ink color.) In the photograph above, if you look at the “m” in Dreaming, you can make out a small bit of blue. Also, in the photo below, you might be able to see the blue below, comparing Warsaw Dreaming to Pelikan Brilliant Black. Increase the brightness of your screen to bring it out, in both photos.
Still, even in person, Warsaw Dreaming is subtle.
All three inks perform well for me on lower-quality paper — the two teal-blue inks have a tiny bit of feathering on the worst paper, but nothing much. However, as always, sheen doesn’t really come across on low-quality, absorbent paper. So I think both of those — Baltic Memories and Walk Over Vistula — really benefit from good paper. These two will also vary in color, a bit, depending on paper. The black ink, Warsaw Dreaming, is consistent in hue no matter what paper I use, though on absorbent, regular paper, it’s flat rather than shiny (because there’s no sheen).
The only one I’ve tried cleaning, before refilling, is the blue, Walk Over Vistula. As I’d expect from a KWZ that isn’t extremely saturated, Walk Over Vistula cleaned up very easily.
Everyone’s asked me my favorite, and I really can’t say. In some ways, it’s Warsaw Dreaming. In some ways, it’s Baltic Memories. But then I really like Walk Over Vistula, even though it is the quietest, and it is in the quietest pen. They are a great set.