“You’ve got to try this, you really do…” Those words, or at least words to that effect, fizzed excitedly across the shop floor as Malcolm, the proprietor of my local (pen shop that is), passed me this ink to review. Now Malcolm and I don’t always agree, take our divergent views on the Lamy Vista/Safari/Alstar series of pen as an example. But I’ve learned to listen to his opinion as a true pen and stationery enthusiast and so I agreed to review another blue ink. I’m very glad I did. (In terms of full disclosure I should say I received this ink at no cost to myself for the purpose of this review)
The name Asa-Gao means morning-glory and I believe the shade comes from a particular shade of the morning-glory flower petal. Of course it is part of the Pilot Pen Co’s ‘Iroshizuku’ range. The name ‘Iroshizuku’ derives from the Japanese words ‘iro’ meaning colouring , and ‘shizuku’ meaning droplet. These are fine, and expensive, inks where each of the inks in the range seeks to articulate the colours or sense of beautiful Japanese landscapes, plants and seasons.
Presentation: I’ve repeatedly waxed lyrical in the past about the packaging and presentation of this series, so I won’t rerun what I’ve said just for the sake of it; just take a look at the gallery below if you’re unaware of the delightful design and quality of the range.
On Test: Rarely has an ink so taken my breath away from first use. There have been others to be sure, there are always others, but it doesn’t happen often and even less often with shades of blue. This is a sensational shade. It has to be right up there with my other favourite blue inks including the now sadly discontinued Sailor Jentle Sky High Blue (see my review of that ink here).
I immediately inked up my TWSBI 580RB with a 1.1 stub nib in order to put this ink through its paces and was not disappointed. The drama and marvellous intensity of the colour makes writing a pleasure. To use an American phrase, this ink ‘hits it right out of the park.’
As with all the other shades in the range it behaves very well. This included an unexpectedly rapid dry time on my stock Rhodia dot grid test paper. It perhaps doesn’t shade as much as I would have liked but that is more than compensated for by the impact that this shade of ink makes.
Summary: I was wrong to be skeptical about the power and intensity of this shade. Asa Gao is a truly piercing blue that will add impact to your writing. It has gone straight into one of the pens which I keep inked up constantly and I see no reason in the foreseeable future to change it. It is without a doubt a beautiful ink that will bring a smile to your face; in fact the only reason you’ll cry over this blue is if you havent got any… BTW if you’re in the UK and you’d like a sample, drop me a line sometime…