I've been meaning to write up a quick review of my favorite gray ink: Pilot Iroshizuku Fuyu-Syogun, and here it is, finally.
Fuyu-Syogun was not a love at first sight/write. No, in fact I thought it was just too pale, bland, and boring. Only after I kept going back to my sample periodically for sketching and doodling did I fall in love with it. And I can't get enough of this ink now, so I got a full bottle. On the photograph below, you can see my less-than-enthusiastic thoughts about this ink in the older writing in the notebook underneath. I don't have a lot of grays--only a few samples and a full bottle of Paper Plume's Oyster Grey (another great ink), but in Fuyu-Syogun I have found a gray that does not make me wish for any other of its family.
It behaves perfectly in any pen and on most papers, even cheap absorbent kind (as long as you use a conservative fine nib on the worst paper). Easy to wash out of a pen, great flow, no problems! It has excellent water resistance. The hue is clearly legible and does not look like pencil writing due to the prominent blue-lavender tint, however it has a familiar kind of appearance for those who've taken a lot of pencil notes in the past, only with better shading and longevity.
Due to this gray not being a pure gray but rather having a slight tint (I think lavender-blue is the closest description I can think of), the appearance of the ink changes based on the paper you use it with. For instance, on more bright, clean white paper, like Col-o-Ring cardstock rectangles, you see the pure color of this ink. On white Tomoe River (which is actually quite creamy and not pure white), the hue is warmer, and the lavender is less prominent. On Fabriano Bioprima 85g/m2, which is a pale cream, more creamy than Tomoe River White, the ink is more toward dirty bluish hue.
I've added a sample card of Birmingham Pen Co.'s "Midnight Blue". It's not the same (higher saturation of blue in that one), but it from a similar family of colors. I did not photograph it, but Montblanc's old formula IG "Midnight Blue" is similar in hue to Fuyu-Syogun once dried and aged a bit, but is significantly darker.
One of the properties of this ink I like a lot is the "outlining" (also sometimes called "halo-ing") effect when written with a juicy enough nib or on low-absorbency paper:
Edited by Intensity, 21 March 2018 - 20:17.