Kaweco Smokey Grey ink review bottle

Ink of the Week – Kaweco Smokey Grey

John BosleyFountain Pen Ink 6 Comments

This week we’re going to take a look at Kaweco Smokey Grey fountain pen ink. I first tried this ink while doing my Great Grey Ink Comparison and it was one of the few grey inks I liked enough to buy a bottle of. I have a lot of other grey inks that I also use and enjoy, but this remains one of my favorites.

Kaweco Smokey Grey

To start, let’s take a look at the ink itself. It is a darker grey ink, but can actually have a wide range of looks depending on which nib you pair it with. In drier nibs, it almost looks like writing with a pencil. In very wet nibs, it almost looks black. It has some warmer undertones of yellow and red, but is unmistakably grey.

Kaweco Smokey Grey ink doodles

Here’s a look at this ink in a variety of situations.

When exposed to water, some of those warmer colors make an appearance and you’ll see light shades of purple and yellow. It’s not a very interesting chromatography, but you can coax out a bit of color if you’re interested.

Kaweco Smokey Grey ink chromatography

This ink has subtle colors that come out with water.

Dry times are pretty good and I didn’t have to wait for very long while writing before I could turn the page. I didn’t experience any smearing once the ink was dry, so this would be a great option if you want an ink that won’t smudge. It is also decently waterproof and only showed minimal fading when exposed to water.

The Pens I Used

Each week I choose five different pens to fill with the ink I’m testing. My goal is to get a variety of nib sizes and styles, as well as a mix of modern and vintage pens. Here are the pens I chose this week and some writing samples from each:

Kaweco Smokey Grey ink fountain pens used

The pens I used this week (L-R): Namiki VP, Pelikan M205, Kaweco Sport, Waterman, Parker Vacumatic

Namiki Vanishing Point – M nib

The Japanese M nib on this Vanishing Point is the finest and driest nib of the week. It makes the ink look a bit lighter, feels drier to write with and shows a bit more shading. Definitely not my preferred combo.

Kaweco Smokey Grey ink medium nib

Namiki VP M nib writing sample

Pelikan M205 – M nib

I have to admit that I made a mistake. I thought I used my F Pelikan nib in this pen, but actually used an M nib. That means I didn’t ink up a fine nib this week! Oh well. So how did it write? This is a fantastic nib to use with this ink. It is wet enough to bring out the darker tones in the ink. It also has some shading, but not so much that it’s distracting. Definitely a good combo!

Kaweco Smokey Grey ink Pelikan

Pelikan M205 M nib writing sample

Kaweco Sport – M nib

Kaweco ink in a Kaweco pen? Of course! This M nib writes fairly wet and made this ink look good. It was not super consistent in the flow, so some parts of my writing look darker than others. It’s interesting to see how dark or light this ink looks depending on the flow of the ink. I enjoyed this combo, but understand that some people might not like the inconsistent look it gives.

Kaweco Smokey Grey ink kaweco nib

Kaweco M nib writing sample

Waterman (vintage) – M flex nib

This was probably my favorite combo this week. The ink looks nice and dark while still showing great shading. This ink loves a wet nib and this pen really lets it shine.

Kaweco Smokey Grey ink waterman nib

Waterman with vintage flex nib writing sample

Paker Vacumatic (vintage) – B nib

Speaking of wet nibs, this gusher certainly puts down a lot of ink. It wasn’t necessarily difficult to use, but was a bit excessive. Look at how dark the ink is in this pen! With how wet it is, I’m surprised it still has some shading, but it does. Definitely fun to doodle with, but a little impractical for doing a lot of writing.

Kaweco Smokey Grey ink parker vac

Parker Vacumatic B nib writing sample


Unfortunately, with my recent site difficulties, I forgot to get writing samples on different paper with the two vintage pens. They were the first to run out of ink and I cleaned them without thinking about writing samples on other paper. I did get some with the other three pens, though. On cheap paper this ink did well, with no feathering and minimal bleedthrough. On good paper, I experienced no issues. It should be fine to use on almost any paper you have.

Kaweco Smokey Grey ink writing sample fabriano ecoqua

Here’s a writing sample on Fabriano EcoQua paper

Kaweco Smokey Grey ink writing sample g lalp

Here’s a writing sample on G. Lalo Verge de France paper

Cleaning The Ink Out Of Pens

Most grey inks are not very difficult to clean out of pens. This ink has a bit more red in it than many grey inks, so it tends to linger a bit more than I’d like. Still, it was not too bad to clean. It did stick around a bit in the vintage pens, especially the Vacumatic, but after a few flushes and letting it soak for a bit I had a clean pen. With that being said, I might think twice about using it in a pen that is especially hard to clean, but in the end would be comfortable using it in any of my pens.


I’m a big fan of grey inks and Kaweco Smokey Grey is one of my favorites. It has a nice, warm feel to it and has some nice shading. Before this review, I had never used it in multiple pens at the same time. When doing so, it really highlighted how different it looks depending on which pen it’s being used in. While I enjoy the lighter look you can get from a drier nib, I prefer it in a pen with a wetter nib that makes it look darker and gives more shading. On top of the color, it’s a great ink to use if you want to avoid smearing once it is dry. It also seems to work well with most papers, so I’d say it a great all-around ink to use if you want a dark ink that isn’t too boring.

Kaweco Smokey Grey ink doodles

Comments 6

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  1. I do like seeing how inks work in different pens. I think that aspect of your reviews is really helpful because it highlights the range of expression we can get out of an ink, which is one of the joys of using fountain pens.

    I tend to gravitate toward writing in colour myself, but I would enjoy reading something writeen in this ink.

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  2. “I thought I used my F Pelikan nib in this pen, but actually used an M nib.” I can’t help but sarcastically ask “what’s the difference?”.

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