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Kaweco “Smokey Grey” (“grey”): Ink Review

On Scrively's Ink Reviews - Background Information (click to expand)

Kaweco “Smokey Grey”: a interesting grey with great shading

Kaweco Smokey Grey ink

Ink name: Kaweco “Smokey Grey”
Unit capacity: 30 ml (glas bottle)
Price:  10 €
Price per ml: ca. 0,33 €

  Leuchtturm 1917 Spiral-bound Notepad
Color  Normally a lighter stone-grey with a greenish hue  Stone-grey with a greenish hue
Saturation  Medium  Medium
Shading  Amazing shading. The nib used in the review is pretty wet, causing the ink to poole often. When I go slow with writing and the nib lays down a lot of ink, the color gets dark to an almost graphite-black  Very interesting shading – very pronounced
Feathering  None  None
Bleed-through  None  A little on the 2nd pass (but note: the nib used here is very wet!)
Wetness  Rather wet  Rather wet
Drying time  ca. 8-10 sec. (NB: Very wet nib used – so should come down by about 2 sec. with a drier nib)  ca. 5 sec. (NB: Very wet nib used – so should come down by about 2 sec. with a drier nib)
Smudging when dry  No  No
Regular smear test  Ok  Ok
Left-page smear test  Ok  –

Handwritten review on Leuchtturm 1917 paper
(scanned @600 dpi with Doxie Flip – click image to enlarge on Flickr)

Kaweco Smokey Grey ink

Handwritten review on a Standard Spiral-Bound Notepad
(scanned @600 dpi with Doxie Flip – click image to enlarge on Flickr)

Kaweco Smokey Grey ink

Kaweco has recently released two new ink colors to add to the lineup of the already existing eight colors. The two new colors are “Sunrise Orange” and “Smokey Grey”. While the latter will be reviewed here, the inks are not yet widely available at the time of writing this review. Most likely, the distribution is still ongoing – but the inks should be available soon.

“Smokey Grey” is a really interesting ink. Colorwise, it is quite a lot lighter than the recently reviewed Diamine Grey, for instance. I would say that it is a stone grey tone with some greenish hues to it. However, the shading of the ink really sort of makes the name “smokey grey” appropriate. Just as smoke can be very light at its thinner parts and almost black where it is fairly dense, the same can be said for this ink.

The maybe truest representation of the inks color are the ink-swatches in the handwritten reviews as well as the bottle-label (see the header photo), which also does a pretty good job in giving an idea of the ink’s color. Note that especially in the handwritten review on the Leuchtturm-paper, the first few lines when the fountain pen just had been uncapped and layed down a very wet line of ink, the color gets even graphite-blackish. The spectrum in between that and the ink swatches sort of shows the inks shading-ability, which I find extraordinary. Especially with a very wet nib like the Jowo-Medium nib that is mounted to the Diplomat Aero that I wrote the review with (I will have a review of this pen coming in about 4 weeks  Edit: review is done and now linked).

Otherwise, Kaweco “Smokey Grey” is a very well behaved ink that is on the wetter side – but dries fast. I find it a fun ink that is good when you are tired of blue or black inks.

Pricewise, I do find the Kaweco ink fairly expensive. With around 0,30€/ml it is in direct competition with luxury inks such as the Graf von Faber-Castell inks, Pelikans Edelstein Ink-series or the Pilot Iroshizuku inks. A Diamine ink, for instance, costs about a third of that (roughly 0,11€/ml). While the Kaweco ink is certainly a great ink, no doubt here, I think it would be of great help to for example also make the packaging match its price. While the luxury inks mentioned above all come in very elaborate design glas flacons, the Kaweco ink comes in a simple bottle that you for example also find with the Pelikan 4001 inks – the latter also costing less than half of the Kaweco ink. On top of that, the cap of the Kaweco-bottle does not close perfectly. The inner white plastic lid-inlay often sort of comes off when opening the bottle and/or makes it difficult to close the bottle with the lid sitting on the bottleneck with an all-around even gap. While this is not a huge issue, it certainly counts considering the price of the ink. Having that said, I would either lower the price of the ink or increase the whole appearance. Again, the ink itself is really good – no complaints here.

As for its ‘leftyness’, “Smokey Grey” is a very good ink, too. Being a fairly wet ink, it still dries very fast, even with a super wet nib like the one that I wrote the handwritten review with. So, with a ‘more normal’ nib, you could expect drying times of about -2 sec. of what has been stated in the table above. Also, there is next to no chance that the ink smudges once dry. This all makes it excellent for lefties and one of my to-go greys for the future!

Lefty approved? Yes. No doubt about that!







I hope this ink review was helpful – feel free to check out my other ink reviews as well.

If you would like to compare this color to any other ink color/brand, I would suggest to head over to GouletPen’s “Interactive SwabShop” – a tool that lets you compare over 500 different inks, while the swabs are done under similar conditions. This is a wonderful tool for “cross-color-brand-comparison” that I can highly recommend.


  1. L L

    Fantastic review, thank you.

    • Scrively Scrively

      Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a comment. I really do appreciate this kind of feedback! Thanks, and thanks again!

  2. Agreed, Kaweco must invest a little more on their ink bottles and packaging if they want to go head to head with the likes of Pelikan and Iroshizuku. But still then, I find the Edelstein lineup to perform better than the couple of colors I’ve tried from Kaweco. Their Paradise Blue ink is the only ink I own that dries in the pen if not used for a couple or more days.

    Excellent review and gorgeous site. Instant fan!

    • Scrively Scrively

      Hi Guillermo! Thanks a lot for your thoughtful comment!
      Also, I would wanna agree with you. What I meant was that Kaweco, price wise, puts themselves head to head into competition with the likes of Edelstein, Faber Castell, and Iroshizuku – but then the overall appearance does not live up to that. That is the packaging, of course, but also, as you said, the ink itself. I do also find Edelstein (as well as Iroshizuku) to be better performing inks. I never had any issues with the Kaweco inks drying up in a pen. I do also like the colors a lot. Most of them are pretty deep and saturated. The problem, however, (especially for a lefty) is that most of the Kaweco inks are prone to smudgeing after they had tried. For a lefty, that is not very good. I have a couple more reviews of some of their inks coming over the next months, I hope. Just didn’t get around to them yet. The grey is indeed my favorite of all their inks. I currently have sunrise orange inked, and this will be the next to be reviewed.
      Thanks again for your kind words!

      • I’m also a leftie but am not having smudging issues with the Kaweco yet -tell you, this ink is pretty dry. Thou, thanks to your review, I will definitely be biting the bullet again with that gorgeous Grey from Kaweco!

        • Scrively Scrively

          I never tried the paradise blue. Smudging occurs with me especially with the Royal Blue, Pearl Black, and Caramel Brown. The Grey and Orange are fine, though. Bet you will like the Grey!

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