Kuro is the black ink in Taccia’s new line of 13 fountain pen inks, which just hit US dealer shelves. I tried all 13 in Taccia tester pens at the San Francisco Pen Show, and bought three to review, including Kuro. The inks are $13 for a 40 ml bottle.
In the last week of August I inked Kuro in two pens, a Lamy 2000 with fine nib, and a Franklin-Christoph with medium stub. I also recently put it in a third pen — a Lamy 2000 with fine nib, which I’ve kept inked after cleaning out the other two.
Taccia Kuro is a darker black ink, with minimal or no shading on most papers. I didn’t think we needed the usual extended writing samples on different papers, because black inks in photographs just tend to look black. Instead I’ll compare Kuro to my regular black ink, Pelikan Brilliant Black, to see if I can highlight the differences.
Here are the inks on Rhodia paper.
You have to look hard at photos, but in real life it’s more apparent: Kuro is darker and writes a wider line than the Pelikan. Both these pens are Lamy pens with fine nibs that are nearly identical in width.
Here are writing samples on Tomoe River paper, first the Franklin-Christoph medium stub with Kuro, second the Lamy Safari fine with Pelikan Brilliant Black, third the Lamy 2000 fine with Kuro.
Here’s a third comparison, on my everyday Staples Sustainable Earth paper.
The top line shows Pelikan Brilliant Black in the Lamy Safari with fine nib. The next three lines are all Taccia Kuro: in the Lamy 2000 with fine nib, and in the same Lamy Safari from the first line.
I actually took Pelikan Brilliant Black out of that Safari, and put Taccia Kuro in, to improve the pen’s performance. That’s because Kuro is a wetter and more lubricated ink, but not so wet or lubricated that it’s a gusher. It’s a very good black ink for a dry-writing pen, but it’s a well-balanced ink.
Kuro’s behavior in all three pens has been great — consistent flow and nearly perfect startup. I’ve left the first two pens unused for days at a time over the past six weeks, and only once did either of them, the Franklin-Christoph, display any hesitancy starting up.
Because Kuro is a little wetter, on the very worst paper you can see the slightest tendency to feather, compared to Pelikan Brilliant Black. But feathering stays within normal limits, and Kuro did not exhibit any showthrough or bleedthrough. In these aspects, Kuro reminds me a lot of Lamy Black, another wetter, darker black ink
Here is an extreme closeup of the minor feathering I got with Kuro in the wider nib, the Franklin-Christoph medium stub nib, on Sustainable Earth.
That minor amount of feathering is perfectly acceptable to me, and I’m a tough judge, because I have to use bad paper a lot.
When I tested water resistance, Kuro exhibited the normal level for a black ink: some dye runs off, but a water-resistant core remains, on both fountain-pen friendly and regular paper, making Kuro suitable for envelopes and checks.
I left Kuro inked up in the Franklin-Christoph and Lamy 2000 for about six weeks. Kuro seems to have more dye load than Pelikan Brilliant Black, but it still cleaned up with just flushing with plain water.
One thing I always like to check with black inks is the tint. Kuro has a very subtle dark blue tint. So subtle that you won’t really notice it in regular writing.
Perhaps you can see that when you compare Kuro with two other black inks and KWZ Warsaw Dreaming, a very dark blue ink that reads almost black.
Blue is my favorite color, and I suspect I may have been drawn to Kuro at San Francisco because of its very slight blue tint. But now that I’ve used it, it’s the ink’s good behavior that will keep me using it.