Ink Showcase: KWZ Gummiberry
There are few things in this world I enjoy more than fountain pens, but candy may be one of them. Sour Patch Kids, Swedish Fish, Buncha Crunch, Kit Kat bars: give me one of each! So when I found out there was an ink with a name that evokes one of the most iconic candies of all time, the gummy bear, I knew I had to give it a try.
Packaging & Bottle
KWZ inks come in white, rectangular, paper boxes with a glossy finish. Each box includes a cardboard internal liner that adds some rigidity, allowing for easy stacking and storing.
I particularly enjoy that KWZ stamps the ‘batch number’ on each box. If you are as paranoid as I am about the shelf life of your ink, having a date to reference right on the box is convenient. Having said that, it would be even more convenient if the batch date were printed on the bottle itself, rather than the box, for those who prefer to discard packaging.
The bottle is cylindrical and made of glass, with a very slight taper toward the plastic screw-cap. The mouth of the bottle is wide enough to allow just about any pen to be easily inserted and filled. I won’t fault KWZ for putting function over form, but it would be nice if the bottle were a little less...plain.
Color & Inspiration
Gummiberry is a highly-saturated, vibrant, intense hue that is unapologetically purple. I'm surprised I find myself using these adjectives, as I’d seen other posts online that made Gummiberry seem washed-out and dull. Now that I’ve had time to use it, I can say that it has more character and depth than I was expecting.
Though I do enjoy the color, I’m not sure how closely it resembles its namesake candy. My idea of a purple gummy bear has a wider gamut of purple than what I get from this ink. The beauty of my favorite gummy candies is that they radiate that gooey, waxy goodness, and I’m not sure Gummiberry elicits that feeling from me.
Writing with Gummiberry in my pens has been enjoyable. The ink demonstrates no feathering when used on popular premium papers like Rhodia, Tomoe River, and Leuchtturm, and even performs well on cheap office copy paper. It cleans out easily, and does not cause any staining.
On Rhodia paper, finer nibs dry in around 15-20 seconds, while broader nibs may take closer to 30 seconds. During my testing, I didn’t notice any show-through or bleeding worth mentioning, except when I used the ink in excessive volume (ink splatters) or when I used paper that is generally known not to be fountain pen friendly (cough...Moleskine...cough). I also experienced no abnormalities relating to skipping, hard starts, railroading, or drying out, even when using Gummiberry in pens that have been finicky with other inks.
This ink shines in flex nibs. When using traditional round nibs, I don't get much shading, but that all changes as soon as I start using this ink with my flex nibs. The increased ink flow brought about by the flex nib really allows the subtle lavender tones in Gummiberry to shine.
As of this writing, KWZ inks list for around $15 for a 60 ml bottle. At $0.25 per ml, these inks are among some of the more affordable inks and compete well with offerings from companies like Diamine and LAMY. 60 ml is also an ample volume, so if you go through ink quickly and enjoy Gummiberry, you need not worry.