Today’s Pilot Iroshizuku Tsutsuji ink review will introduce you to what may possibly be your new favorite pink fountain pen ink! It’s trusted and dependable, but also vibrant and fun. We love the combination. Hear all about it and get a fantastic look at how it performs with one of our guest reviewers, Iris Tu.
Meet Your Guest Reviewer: Iris Tu
This week’s Pilot Iroshizuku Tsutsuji ink review is coming to you from one of our guest reviewers, Iris Tu. Iris is a wanderer, an adventurer, a forever student, a mom of 2, and a huge fan of all things fountain pen and ink! We also find that she is very thorough when she’s checking out a new ink for review. We know you’ll appreciate her approach to tackling the “get-to-know-you” phase with a new ink!
Read on for the full ink review in the words of Iris Tu!
All About the Ink Maker: Pilot
Pilot Pen Company is a well-known pen and ink company hailing from Japan and founded in 1918 by Ryosuke Namiki and Masao Wada, though it was called Pilot Pen Corporation at conception.
All About the Ink Series: Iroshizuku Ink Series
Their Iroshizuku ink line – “iro” meaning color and “shizuku” for droplet, roughly translating into “color droplets” – is known to be high-end and well-behaved inks that span a total of 24 colors to choose from, though 3 (Tsuyu-kusa, Tsukushi, and Ina-ho) were discontinued in late 2021 and replaced with 3 new inks (Sui-gyoku, Hana-ikada, and Hotaru-bi). The week’s featured ink, Pilot Iroshizuku Tsutsuji (Azalea), is still a part of the Iroshizuku family.
All About this Week’s Featured Ink: Pilot Iroshizuku Tsutsuji (Azalea) Ink
Pilot Iroshizuku Tsutsuji (Azalea) is a vibrant, deep pink ink, with yellow sheen.
What Sort of Ink Bottle Does Pilot Use for its Iroshizuku Inks?
It is in a beautiful, glass bottle that holds 50 ml of ink, complete with a decorative touch of the thread lightly tied around the neck of the bottle.
***Wondering where to find the giveaway for the inks in our weekly ink reviews? We used to run a weekly giveaway featuring each week’s ink, but now we have a monthly giveaway day that includes the inks featured in past reviews! Inks featured in our weekly ink reviews are listed as giveaway prizes during 15 on the 15th: GIVEAWAY DAY with Pen Chalet. Check it out and enter to win all month long!
What Other Products Were Used During This Week’s Ink Review?
- Tomoe River 68 gsm White Paper bound in an A5 notebook, dotted
- Cosmo Air Light 75 gsm Paper bound in an A5 notebook, dotted
- Clairefontaine Triomphe A5 Paper Pad, blank
- Generic Copy Paper, cut in half
- Strathmore Writing Paper 90 gsm in a Passport sized notebook, 25% Cotton blend, blank
- Col-o-Ring Ink Tester
- Col-o-Ring Dipper Ink Tester
- Calligraphy Dip Pen Holder
- Zebra G Nib
- Moonman Glass Dip Pen with fude nib
- Lamy Al-Star Vibrant Pink (F)
- Glass rod
- Cotton swab
- Watercolor brush
- A small cup of water
Iris’s Testing Method:
Ink swabs on the Col-o-Ring and papers were made with a cotton swab and ink name with a dip pen with a Zebra G nib. Ink swabs for comparisons were made with a glass rod. Ink drops were made with an eyedropper dropped from a height of at least 3 inches.
The ink was used on 4 different papers to test various properties of the ink: Tomoe River (68 gsm), Clairefontaine Triomphe (90 gsm), Cosmo Air Light (75 gsm), and generic copy paper. A “swatch” of the ink with water added was made on Strathmore Writing Paper (90 gsm).
The long writing sample was taken directly from the beginning of the Prologue to Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan and written with a Lamy Al-Star Vibrant Pink with a fine nib. Water was then dripped on it once dried and blotted off after at least 1 minute had passed. The shorter writing sample was made with the aforementioned pen, along with a Moonman glass dip pen with a fude-style writing tip, meant to mimic a broad/wet nib.
The dry test was performed in 10-second intervals, making the 5 strokes, starting the timer, then smearing with the clean end of a Q-tip as soon as the timer went off. It was repeated until nothing smeared. The fountain pen and glass dip pen were used to test and compare dry times.
Trying the Ink Out on Different Types and Brands of Paper:
The ink was used on 4 different papers to test various properties of the ink: Tomoe River (68 gsm), Cosmo Air Light (75 gsm), Clairefontaine Triomphe (90 gsm), and generic copy paper.
Does the Ink Have Good Sheening Traits?
Pilot Iroshizuku Tsutsuji is a saturated pink with some gold sheen. It’s a wonderfully wet ink, flowing out of the fine nib quite readily. It seems to be a true pink in color, though depending on the wetness of the writing and paper used, slight shading between a lighter and darker pink can be seen. In wetter writing, some sheen can be spotted at the edges in addition to an abundance in ink drops, giving it a little something extra. I’d call it a medium sheen, as it can be detected in writing with nibs that are wet enough – even in the fine nib, as long as it writes wet. Sheen in writing was most obvious on Cosmo Air Light though it can be detected on Tomoe River, but more muted. On Clairefontaine, it was mostly visible in swabs and drops and it was completely absent on copy paper.
Did You Notice Any Shading Traits with Iroshizuku Tsutsuji Ink?
It has low shading, since it does not display it consistently enough to be called a shading ink.
What Was Pilot Iroshizuku Tsutsuji Ink’s Dry Time?
Overall, dry time was within 40 seconds for thicker nibs and 30 seconds for smaller nibs, except for copy paper, where the ink was absorbed almost immediately after contact. On Tomoe River paper, both the fine nib and glass pen dried within 30 seconds.
How Does Pilot Iroshizuku Tsutsuji Ink Respond to Water?
Tsutsuji has low water resistance. A hint of the original writing might remain on Cosmo Air Light and Tomoe River, but it’s not guaranteed that what’s left is still legible. Most of the ink washed away.
Was There Any Ghosting or Bleed Through?
There is medium ghosting, or show through on the back of the page, except for copy paper, where the ink bled through on all nibs. Tsutsuji only bled through in drops or swabs. Clairefontaine performed best in regards to both ghosting and bleed through.
Did You See Any Feathering During the Pilot Iroshizuku Tsutsuji Ink Review?
Feathering was only seen on copy paper. The bigger nibs performed the worst, but still remained legible, and it spread a small amount in writing, with it increasing the more wet your writing is.
Comparing Pillot Iroshizuku Tsutsuji Ink with Other Popular Pink Inks:
In regards to what single ink tested Tsutsuji is closest to, it’s most similar to Lamy Vibrant Pink, but, more accurately, it’s in between Pelikan Edelstein Star Ruby and Lamy Vibrant Pink. Star Ruby is a little more red and Vibrant Pink is similar to Tsutsuji’s lighter spectrum, except Tsutsuji has no shimmer whereas Vibrant Pink has a subtle touch of it.
Final Conclusion: Pilot Iroshizuku Tsutsuji Ink Review
This is a gorgeous ink – even from someone who isn’t a huge fan of pink. The saturated color coupled with the beautiful sheen is perfection. It’s very well behaved and I enjoyed the wet flow it provided. Iroshizuku is a luxury line of inks. As such, it does retail for $28 ($0.56/ml) and is currently on sale at PenChalet for $22.40 ($0.45/ml). It is, admittedly, on the expensive end when compared to Vibrant Pink (retails at $12 a bottle [$0.24/ml]) though comparable to Pelikan’s Edelstein Star Ruby, but you’re paying for a beloved line of inks with a reliable reputation and beautiful presentation. I certainly recommend this ink for the performance and aesthetic, whether you are a “pink person” or not.
Hope You Enjoyed the Pilot Iroshizuku Tsutsuji Ink Review:
Thank you, Iris, for another thorough ink review! We always love seeing your ink testing in action. Come back soon or follow us on social media for more pen and ink news, ink reviews, pen features, and overall fountain pen fun. And, as always, shop for your favorite fountain pens and fountain pen inks at PenChalet.com.