Blackstone Kunzea Red Ink (30ml Bottle)
I first encountered this as a sample and when I opened it, the most beautiful floral scent wafted out of the vial.That's all I needed. I loaded my pen, started writing, and was pleasantly surprised on several counts.
1. The scent is amazing! It lingered on my pen nib and on the paper. I had read reviews of other brands of scented ink and nearly all warn of the scent being discernable only while in the bottle. Not so here. Every time I uncap my pen, I get a delicate whiff of the ink's perfume. Even after a month in the pen, the aroma still greets me when I use my pen. The scent does not last long on the paper once written, however, but as I can still smell the lovely floral scent while the ink is wet, the lack of lingering scent on the paper is not really a disappointment.
If I had to pick only one property that sold me on this ink, it would be this one.
2. The color: rich deep red. It doesn't seem watered down at all. It has a good level of saturation that allows for shading when writing. Though it does darken to a near black in the puddled bits (because we all puddle it on the paper to see the color gradations, right?), there is no real sheen. I love it, myself, but if not having a sheen is a deal breaker, this might not be the ink for you.
3. Handling properties: this ink is well lubricated, flowing off my extra-extra fine nibs with ease without a hint of scratchiness, regardless of the paper I used: cheap school paper, dollar store scratch pads, Clairefontaine 90gsm smooth paper, Midori MD paper ... it behaves like a champ on all of these. It's not a gusher of an ink, but it's comfortably wet. Ghosting and bleed through is mostly a matter of the paper used (although I've seen inks go through the CF 90gsm like acid blood from the Aliens movies--I'm lookin' at you, Noodlers Apache Sunset!) and with this ink, I haven't had any ghosting/bleed through on papers it shouldn't have.
4. Packaging: NICE! This ink is packaged in a Nalgene bottle that can stand the rigors of shipping (and the occasional American Tourister Gorilla posing as mailroom staff). Unlike glass bottles, I had no problems with breakage or leakage. It arrived in perfect condition. The cap's seal was unbroken when I received it and it made the satisifying clickety-crack noise when I twisted the cap. The label on the bottle was colorful and showed the Australian flower the ink was named (and scented) after. It makes the bottle stand out from the more staid/minimalist packaging of the other bottles in my collection.
5. Value: is going to be rather subjective. There are other inks out there that are more expensive than this ink, as well as less expensive. I am as happy--or even happier--with this ink as I am with the other red inks in my collection that cost more or cost less than this bottle of Kunzea Red. None of the otehr inks in my collection (even amongst the red inks) is scented. 12 dollars (at time of my purchase) might seem like a lot to pay for only 30 ml of ink, but the scent, color, and handling properties made it worth it to me.
In conclusion: if you like a rich vibrant red that's still dark, flows well, and plays nice with a variety of papers AND smells floral and sweet, give this ink a try. You may find you like it.
Rating: 4.8 stars. (I'm rounding it up to 5.)