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Tag Kyoto - Kyo-No-Oto - Sakuranezumi



namrehsnoom

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namrehsnoom
TAG Kyoto - kyo-no-oto - sakuranezumi


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TAG is a stationary shop in Kyoto (Japan) that produces some interesting soft watercolour-style inks. With the kyo-no-oto series they produce a line of inks that replicates traditional Japanese dye colours. According to available only info, the manufacturing process of the kyo-no-oto inks follows traditional dying techniques dating back to the Heian era between the years 794 and 1185. The inks come in 40 ml bottles, packaged in luxurious thick paper with a texture that feels like heavy watercolour paper.



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In this review I take a closer look at sakuranezumi. The ink's name derives from a type of pigment (iron-holding Magnesium-Aluminum-Silicate) that is traditionally used in Japanese painting techniques. The name literally translates to "Cherry Blossom Mouse" and refers to the purple and grey character of the colour. Sakuranezumi is a dusty grey-purple that fits an ancient Japanese setting. Understated and elegant, with an inherent complexity that is very appealing. I immediately took a liking to this ink. It's still early in the year, but this one will probably end up in my top 3 of 2020.


The ink feels a bit on the dry side in my fine Safari nibs. But not so dry as to be unusable. The line is still nicely saturated, even with fine nibs - you just get a bit of feedback when writing. With medium Safari nibs and with wetter pens, the ink just feels perfect and writes smoothly. Shading is great, without too much contrast between the light and darker parts - just as I like it. In writing, this purple ink leans heavily towards the grey, which just looks great on paper - classic, vintage, elegant, aristocratic... I love it!



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To show you the impact of saturation on the ink's look & feel on paper, I made some scribbles where I really saturated portions of the Tomoe River paper with ink. This gives you a good idea of what the ink is capable of in terms of colour range. As you can see, sakuranezumi has a medium colour span. This ink moves from a light to a dark grey-purple, without a sharp contrast between these extremes. In writing, this translates to subtle shading which is aesthetically very pleasing.



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The ink's chromatography shows a wonderfully complex mix of muted pastel-like dyes. Cherry blossom and mouse-grey/blue tones are clearly present. The resulting mix is definitely a purple, but with a strong grey undertone that clearly shows in writing. In swabs and when used as a drawing ink, the purple dominates. The bottom part of the chroma seems to indicate that there is some measure of water-resistance, but alas... in practice the ink shows zero water resistance (both with still and running water).



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I've tested the ink on a wide variety of paper - from crappy Moleskine to high-end Tomoe River. On every small band of paper I show you:


  • An ink swab, made with a cotton Q-tip

  • 1-2-3 pass swab, to show increasing saturation

  • An ink scribble made with an M-nib Lamy Safari

  • The name of the paper used, written with a B-nib Lamy Safari

  • A small text sample, written with the M-nib Safari

  • Source of the quote, with a Pelikan M400 with F cursive-italic nib

  • Drying times of the ink on the paper (with the M-nib Safari)


Sakuranezumi behaves well on all my test papers, with no visible feathering. It even worked reasonably well on the horrible Moleskine paper, without feathering and with only minimal bleed-through. Drying times were mostly just above the 5 second mark with the Lamy Safari M-nib. The ink looks great on both white and more yellow paper, and behaves well across all my test papers.



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Writing with different nib sizes

The picture below shows the effect of nib sizes on the writing. Sakuranezumi can handle all nib sizes without problem. With the EF nib, you still get a nicely saturated line albeit without shading. Shading starts to appear with the F-nib, and is strongly present in broader nibs. Because of sakuranezumi's medium colour span, shading is never harsh and looks very eye-pleasing. And the strong grey undertones in this ink really add a layer of sophistication and elegance to this dusty purple.



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Related inks

To compare sakuranezumi with related inks, I use my nine-grid format with the currently reviewed ink at the center. This format shows the name of related inks, a saturation sample, a 1-2-3 swab and a water resistance test - all in a very compact format. This kyo-no-oto ink is different from my other dusty purples, although Diamine Damson comes close (Damson has just a touch more purple).


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Inkxperiment – men's best friend

With every review, I try to create an interesting drawing using only the ink I'm working on. Such a one-ink drawing is a great way to show off the colour-range nuances the ink is capable of. These inkxperiments are my favourite part of the review: often challenging, but always great fun. The elegance and complexity of sakuranezumi already implied that this would be a great drawing ink - I just had to verify this with the inkxperiment. I wanted to use watercolour paper for this drawing, but mistakenly grabbed a piece of cardboard paper (a Fellowes binding cover) - I only realized this when the drawing was finished.


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Inspiration comes from the apocalyptic zombie movie "I Am Legend" starring Will Smith and his dog. The city setting and dog kept lingering in my mind, and form the concept for this drawing. I painted in the background with a Q-tip and 4:1 water-diluted ink. Next I painted in the dog and the people with a fountain pen and brush using pure sakuranezumi. The city backdrop was added with a Q-tip, and building accents were penciled in with the fountain pen. I personally like the end result. It shows quite well what can be achieved with sakuranezumi as a drawing ink.


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Conclusion

TAG kyo-no-oto sakuranezumi is a winner! A very sophisticated dusty grey-purple that is a beauty in writing: nice contrast with all nib sizes, works well with all paper types, looks great on both white and off-white paper. It is also a superb drawing ink, that I really enjoyed. In my book, this is a must-have ink. I can almost guarantee that you will enjoy it!


Technical test results on Rhodia N° 16 notepad paper, written with Lamy Safari, M-nib


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Back-side of writing samples on different paper types


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  • namrehsnoom

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Thanks for the very extensive review!! Above all, I love your arsenal of comparable inks !!!

Life is too short to drink bad wine (Goethe)

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Wow what a beauty! Thanks for your beatiful review, as usual. I am also very, very thankful for showing how close it is to Diamine Damson, which I already have and therefore DO NOT NEED to buy this wonderful, beautiful, seducing ink. :wallbash: :wallbash: :wallbash:

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errantmarginalia

I love your drawing! I’m put off by these inks’ lack of lubrication, but this is a very nice color.

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Amazing review as always. You show off the colour range of this ink perfectly, especially in that inkxperiment piece.

 

Perhaps a shoot-out with R&K Scabiosa?

 

Loved the detailed review. And I'm looking forward to the Scabiosa shoot out too :)

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Morbus Curiositas

Awesoe review :thumbup: Love the colour

Das leben ist wie ein Perpetuum Mobile mit ein Mangel..... Immer im Bewegung jedoch nicht unendlich. (life is like a troubled Perpetuum Mobile ever moving but not for ever)

Tricked throughout the centuries...

For centuries people had been tricked by kings & "religion-alism"

In the 20th century people got tricked by communism

Today people get tricked by (neo)capitalism :)

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inkstainedruth

This is a really pretty color. Thanks for doing the review. But I have to say that I remember my bottle of Diamine Damson being MUCH darker than what your swab comparison shows. :huh: So part of me is agreeing with Eclipse157 -- but part of me is going "Oooh, I need to try this one...." (while muttering, "I do NOT need more ink, I do NOT need more ink..." :blush:).

Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth

"It's very nice, but frankly, when I signed that list for a P-51, what I had in mind was a fountain pen."

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Great review!!

Special thanks for 3x3 comparison.

This inks goes straight to the wish list :) for one of my Pelikans.

LETTER EXCHANGE PARTICIPANT

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Kyoto TAG inks are ... lets say "dry". The total opposite of Sailor (except maybe low numeration ink studio series) and Pilot inks which i also like.

Bengarairo LE is an exception.

These inks are perfect for my Pelikan and Montblanc pens.

I have 6 Kyoto inks and i like all of them.

This one will be in my next ordering with a Fumisome from tag stationery store. But i will have to wait, it is out of stock for now.

Thanks for your fantastic review.

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white_lotus

Thank you for your as always comprehensive review. But it definitely is too gray for my tastes.

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Sailor Kenshin

Thanks for the wonderful review.

 

Fascinating color! I have a sample of Diamine Vivaldi...are the two Diamine colors really as close to the Kyoto ink as they appear on the screen?

My other pen is a Montblanc and...

 

My other blog is a tumblr.

 

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RoyalBlueNotebooks

namrehsnoom I love your reviews so much, they're one of FPN's staple elements in my opinion.

 

Also wow, sometimes inks look so different scanned and photographed, and this is definitely one of those cases! Thank you for the work you put in the comparison tables as usual!

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As always, an excellent review! Thank you for taking the time to do this. While it is an interesting color, I wish it were a wet ink or with more lubrication.

"Today will be gone in less than 24 hours. When it is gone, it is gone. Be wise, but enjoy! - anonymous today

 

 

 

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namrehsnoom

Perhaps a shoot-out with R&K Scabiosa?

I haven't played with R&K inks yet. From a look at reviews here on FPN it definitely seems an ink of the same family. Who knows... I might give it a go :)

 

... But I have to say that I remember my bottle of Diamine Damson being MUCH darker than what your swab comparison shows.

 

I have just taken a look at the comparison swabs again... Diamine Damson from my bottle matches almost perfectly the scanned comparison picture. My comparison were written with a Safari M-nib pen - ink looks always less saturated with the Safari in comparison with e.g. my Pelikan pens.

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namrehsnoom

Fascinating color! I have a sample of Diamine Vivaldi...are the two Diamine colors really as close to the Kyoto ink as they appear on the screen?

The Diamine inks in the comparison scan pretty much match what you see on the screen. Vivaldi is definitely more grey - comparing it with the kyo-no-oto ink, I would say that Vivaldi is a purple-grey, while sakuranezumi is a grey-purple. Damson is pretty close, but a bit more purple.

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namrehsnoom

Also wow, sometimes inks look so different scanned and photographed, and this is definitely one of those cases!

 

The scans I used in the review pretty accurately match what you get in real life. The photo was taken in the evening under a warm-light desk-lamp. This gives a distorted view of the ink's true colour. But you're absolutely right ... inks can look radically different under artificial light and daylight. Part of the charm I guess :)

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inkstainedruth

Kyoto TAG inks are ... lets say "dry". The total opposite of Sailor (except maybe low numeration ink studio series) and Pilot inks which i also like.

Bengarairo LE is an exception.

These inks are perfect for my Pelikan and Montblanc pens.

I have 6 Kyoto inks and i like all of them.

This one will be in my next ordering with a Fumisome from tag stationery store. But i will have to wait, it is out of stock for now.

Thanks for your fantastic review.

 

Thanks for the information. I have a TWSBI 580-ALR with a 1.1 stub nib and have yet to find an ink that doesn't make it into a gusher (it writes better upside down). I just tried Noodler's Blue Upon the Plains of Abraham, which was too dry for a Parker 45 with an OM nib, only I'm having the same problem -- it writes better with the nib upside down (which I keep thinking can't be all that good for the nib) and when I move the piston up enough to get ink into the feed, it's still a gusher -- I had lots of bleedthrough issues this morning in my journal, and the Miquelrius paper is generally pretty forgiving (but not today... :().

Maybe I should try a sample of this ink (or some of the other Kyoto-Tag colors) and see how they do, one I finish the fill of BUtPoA....

Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth

"It's very nice, but frankly, when I signed that list for a P-51, what I had in mind was a fountain pen."

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amberleadavis

Another great review. Not as cool as your shoot outs, but darn informative!

Fountain pens are my preferred COLOR DELIVERY SYSTEM (in part because crayons melt in Las Vegas).



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