TAG Stationery has a kind of cult status in the circles of ink. Known for their beautifully expressive colours inspired by their home city of Kyoto, TAG’s inks are coveted by fountain pen lovers around the world.
Of the TAG Stationery’s 3 lines, Kyo-No-Oto is without a doubt my favourite. The beautiful bottle is a no fuss, easy to store shape, with a simple white label with the Kanji name of the ink at the very top, while the bottom is simply printed with the series number of the ink, the Hiragana name of the ink, and the Romaji name of the ink. Although this series is notorious for inconsistency in the numbering of their inks, Hisoku is printed as No. 07.
I like to adorn the white part of the label with a small print of ink, which I swab quickly with my finger, which I think gives a nice unique quality to each label.
The ink itself is a very nice teal colour that reminds be of a metallic water blue. I personally think that this is one of the most beautiful inks made on the market, with a sense of nostalgia exuding from the ink.
However, the ink is, as Kyo-No-Oto inks are generally known to be, fairly dry. Some people experience troubles with the ink in drier pens, and in particular I know that this ink had some issues with a friend’s Pilot Custom 74. I had no issues with this ink in my Pilot Custom 823 FA nib with the stock feed, but it is important to keep in mind that the ink can be fairly dry.
Being dry, in my mind, is not a detracting factor to the ink. I particularly enjoy these drier inks because, in general, drier inks exhibit the greatest shading, and also helps with showing the ever elusive halo. This ink is no exception to that.
Watching this ink dry is always a pleasure, as the ink pools into distinct areas of the letters, forming a wonderful shade as it seeps into the paper at different degrees of intensity. There is a distinctive black halo that forms around the shaded areas of the letters too, which are beautiful to behold and gives the writing a unique character.
There is no sheen when regularly writing with Hisoku, although, as you can see in the top and the bottom ink dumps, black sheen can be seen when large volumes of ink are allowed to dry together. Since this does not exhibit in normal writing, I chose to classify this ink as “no sheen”, though I suspect that the use of a Pilot Parallel could bring out the sheening property.
There is no shimmering in this either, which I find to be appropriate for this ink, keeping with it’s very nostalgic atmosphere.
Overall, this is definitely a top contender for my all time favorite inks. It is interesting and full of depth, which makes looking at it easy on the eyes and mesmerises me every time I use it. It is a rare ink that is often sold out even in Japan, so I suggest grabbing a bottle wherever you can if you ever see one.