Taccia’s initial lineup will contain 13 inks, in a wide range of colors. They’ve got the standard colors blue, black, blue-black and red, plus orange, brown, green, purple, pink, purple-red, sky blue, olive green and golden wheat.
Shu-Jen R. Lin, Taccia’s brand manager, told me she’s getting everything ready for launch this fall. Her attention to detail is obvious. Everything from bottle to box looks great, and the setup at the Taccia table at the show was neat. Taccia had images showing samples of each ink with a crosshatch, a large circle, and a wide line, brushed with water. Plus, there were inked-up tester pens to try. It was a great way to pick an ink, because you got a complete overview, whether you intend to write or draw with them.
Here’s a photo of Taccia’s pen show setup, courtesy of a friend who wisely takes photos at pen shows.
I tried all the inks at the show. A lot of the tester pens had very fine nibs, and I liked how good the inks looked with fine nibs. The 13 colors are in shades that should appeal to a wide audience — they aren’t difficult colors, or quirky or muddy. For example, Taccia’s standard green ink reminded me of J. Herbin’s Lierre Sauvage, one of the best regular greens I know.
The two most unusual colors were probably olive green (Uguisu) and golden wheat, and I liked them both, perhaps because they reminded me of inks I already love. Taccia Uguisu, which I bought, reminded me of Sailor Waka-Uguisu, and the golden wheat from Taccia reminded me of Pilot Iroshizuku Ina-ho.
Taccia says they chose colors “inspired by the Japanese way of seeing colors, in a very pure, honest, and innocent way. All of the colors should give you the feeling you had when you were a child and saw a set of crayons for the first time.”
It took me a while to choose only three bottles. I wanted two standard colors, for practicality, and I picked Kuro (black) and Aoguro (blue black). Of course I wanted the standard blue, too. (I’m me.) But I thought the third and last should be a fun color. Uguisu prevailed, though the orange, the golden wheat and the pink were also very tempting.
I’ll be doing reviews of the inks later, but my initial impressions are very positive. The inks are on the wetter side, and they are working well in the pens and handling different kinds of paper.
Of my three, the one I’m using the most is Taccia Kuro, in a Lamy 2000 with fine nib, because that’s a great combination for work. Kuro is a nice standard black. It looks extra dark in a wider nib, but in a fine nib it’s pretty close to Pelikan Brilliant Black, my reference black. Here is a closeup:
Next is the blue black, Aoguro, and that’s a standard, gray-leaning blue black. It’s darker from my Kaweco Sport with an extra-fine nib, which helps legibility, but in a pen with a broad nib, below, it shades more. This is a Montblanc with broad nib.
Of my three inks, obviously the most beautiful is Taccia Uguisu.
Taccia kindly provides a lot of technical information about their inks. The pH value is neutral, and Taccia says the inks are “carefully formulated so that [they do] not damage pen resins and celluloids.” Safety seems to be emphasized: Taccia says that each ink has “the perfect balance of permeability and viscosity so it flows nicely on paper but also is not harsh on the pen nibs.”
As a person who firmly believes in judging a book by its cover, I just love the beautiful packaging. The most special touch is that each box is adorned with an illustration by Japanese illustrator Hiroshi Sato. The Kuro is probably my favorite.
The ink bottles have a nice wide mouth, and are blessedly free of any plastic reservoir or insert. There’s a sticker on top of the cap with the color and name of the ink, so you can identify the ink even when it’s out of the box. I really appreciate this thoughtful level of detail from Taccia.
Taccia inks are manufactured in Japan, by Nakabayashi Co., Ltd. The bottles contain 40 ml of ink, and I paid $12. Taccia is hoping to have these inks on the market this fall, perhaps as soon as later this month.