Ink Review: Kaweco Paradise Blue


The ink for this review was generously provided by Kaweco. No additional compensation was provided for this review. All opinions expressed below are solely those of the reviewer. 

Seattle in the winter is drab: grey, cool, and rainy with short days. And that weather goes on for what seems like at least half the year. For someone who was raised in the sunny desert mountainscape of northern and central Utah, it can be a bit wearying.  (Although, don’t get me wrong: I would gladly give up a little sunshine to have the water and greenery around me, and to escape some of the blistering heat of the summer.)  After the holidays are over, I often find myself longing for a little bit of brightness and sunshine. Since I get horrible sunburns even thinking about temperatures over 70°F and I’ve usually blown my vacation fund buying pens for myself between Thanksgiving and Christmas, I don’t often get the chance to get away for a little tropical vacation.

So, instead, I just load up some happy ink.

Kaweco Paradise Blue is, in fact, an ink I would consider a happy ink. A member of the turquoise family, Paradise Blue is reminiscent of the clear waters on a white sand beach somewhere in one of those Caribbean countries I’ve never actually been but have seen countless photos of. It’s a light blue, with hints of green and even yellow lurking beneath the surface. It feels very sunny and bright.

Rhodia Dotpad 80gsm

Rhodia Dotpad 80gsm

As per my usual method, I tested the ink on three papers: 80gsm Rhodia Dotpad, 52gsm Tomoe River, and 75gsm Staples Multi-Purpose Copy.  The ink behaves fairly well on the Rhodia and the Tomoe River, with very little feathering (none on the Tomoe River) or bleedthrough. Dry times are on the slightly longer side of moderate, with the dry times on Tomoe River slightly faster than on Rhodia. Both of these papers exhibit moderate-to-good shading, and slightly better than average saturation, with Rhodia’s saturation coming out slightly above that on Tomoe River.  There is very little sheen to speak of on either paper. And, when it comes to water-fastness, Paradise Blue is not the ink you’ll want to turn to. With both of the premium papers, the ink all-but washed right off the page.

Tomoe River Paper 52gsm - Appears slightly less saturated on the cream-colored Tomoe River paper, but has slightly more pronounced shading.

Tomoe River Paper 52gsm – Appears slightly less saturated on the cream-colored Tomoe River paper, but has slightly more pronounced shading.

The surprise, for me, was how differently this ink behaved on the inexpensive copy paper. On the Staples paper, dry times were sub-5 seconds, and the ink was actually fairly waterfast; when soaked in water, the paper still held on to a respectable amount of ink. But the more absorbent paper resulted in a much flatter, less interesting experience. The shading was much less noticeable, there was a decent bit of feathering, and the bleed-through was pretty bad.

Staples Copy Paper 75gsm

Staples Copy Paper 75gsm

Staples Copy Paper 75gsm

Staples Copy Paper 75gsm

The ink seems to have a moderate-to-slightly-dry ink flow, and good lubrication, albeit not quite on the same tier as an inks from Iroshizuku or Diamine. Cleanup of this ink seemed to be no issue at all…it cleaned easily out of all the pens in which I placed it. Considering how easily it cleaned itself right off the paper, that’s not a huge surprise.

In the end, Kaweco Paradise Blue is a lovely color that does remind me of the shores of a Caribbean Island. It is, to my mind, more indicative of a true turquoise color than other inks that use that name. (*Cough*MB Dandy Turquoise*Cough*). It is a little less saturated than I usually like in my inks, but is still quite readable, especially on white paper, or with a wet nib. I probably wouldn’t use this in an extra-fine or fine nib myself, but medium and wider should work nicely in most cases. And this is an ink that would likely love some time in a nice flex nib.

The ink comes in 30ml bottles or short standard international cartridges. It retails in the U.S. for around $14.  With such small bottles, the price per mL is actually fairly high, at $0.47USD, putting it on the lower-tier of the high-end inks in my book.

Kaweco Paradise Blue

  • Hendy R

    Very nice colour, although slightly disappointed with the shading results, as you said, light inks should produce a greater shading. Bleedthrough on Tomoe River paper O_o whaaaat???
    Never seen that before!
    For your phomatrographie, have you checked real chromatography paper? its fairly cheap on amazon, and due to its properties I would expect a better separation of the colours on that paper, as the ink should rise slower through this kind of paper, resultin in better separation of the different colours.
    Thanks for the review!

  • tames

    Even though it does not appear to perform well, I really love the color (and this color family). I have a bottle of the Caran d’Ache Caribean Sea and this reminds me of it. I may have to pick up a bottle.
    Thanks Matt!

  • Rafael Pappalardo

    Just one question. How do you print the Tomoe River sheet? Maybe printing affect the paper which could explain the bleedthrough.
    Anyway, I like the format of the review.

  • Bourgeoisie

    The chromatography experiment is a brilliant idea. I have not seen that done before in an ink review. It really shows all the colors in the ink. It would be awesome if you could post chromatography pictures of several different inks. That would be a great comparison tool. I eagerly anticipate further reviews.

  • Ted

    still haven’t found my way to liking a turquoise ink. But thanks for the nice review.

  • Garth

    Hi Matt,

    Really enjoying the reviews – thank you for coming back for a second season!!! I really like the Q&As too – would like to know how fountain pens fit into your workflow. Take care and (a belated) happy new year.

    • I was actually planning on doing a Matt’s Musing on this very thing soon, so stay tuned!

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