Saturday, August 20, 2016

KWZ Honey vs. Organic Studio Foggy Bottom

I have heard about Organic Studio before but had never tried the ink as the fella that makes it stopped for awhile so there wasn't ink to try. Organic Studio is back now and I decided to try an ink called Foggy Bottom (yellow sepia) and huh, it looks like KWZ Honey. Are they the same?

Organic Studio was founded by a Biochemistry student in 2012 and is stationed in Maryland, USA. KWZ was founded in 2012 by Konrad ┼╗urawski, a Chemistry graduate from Poland which is also where KWZ is located.

Why do I bring all of this up? Well, both colors are really identical in color, flow, shading. It is incredible as if one copied another but which was first? Foggy Bottom was a special release for the DC Pen Supershow in 2013, according to the box. I am unsure as to when the KWZ Honey ink was made.

Look at that similarity. The swabs are a tad different but the writing is where the similarities really stand out. I really love both inks, not surprising since they seem like twins.

So which ink came first? Did KWZ copy some of the Organic Studio ink as it wasn't being made any longer? If so, are there other similar inks? Both companies offer Iron Gall based inks as well although Organic Studios only has one that I know of. I am not accusing anyone here, not at all. Just asking a question and typing out loud. 

After a prolonged use of both inks, Foggy Bottom has major flow issues for me and it doesn't seem to matter which pen I load it into. Hard starts and drying out where as KWZ Honey has had none of these performance issues. I find that interesting.

There is a pen store here in the metro area that has the full line of Organic Studio inks as he loves them and did before they stopped production. There are some other colors I want to try from this brand and also to compare to the KWZ inks I already have. Will I find any other "duplicates"? Stay tuned!

This post is based off of my experience and opinion. I do not represent either KWZ nor Organic Studio and I am not being paid by either company either.


  1. Great info, Steve! I really like the KWZ Honey ink! From the online reviews, I am not alone!

    What size of nib did you use for those writing samples? I picked up a bottle of Foggy Bottom at Quill & Nib and don't find a lot of similarity; the FB is much more brown than the Amber/honey of the KWZ. Weird!

    Maybe I need to try a medium or broad nib?

    I used the same pen for the OS FB as I did for the KWZ Honey sample, my TWSBI Eco, though. I think it's a fine nib.

    Much more shading with the KWZ and much more of an Amber/yellow tint. FB is a nice ink but I did not find it too similar to the KWZ.

    Could it be the FB formula has changed now that OS is back in production?

    I may try some Pelikan Amber or Diamine Amber or a J. Herbin ink I saw mentioned in one of the reviews. Those have all been mentioned as similar.

    I signed up to get notified when the US vendor has more; both they and the vendor in Canada I found are sold out. Honey is apparently VERY popular and it sells out quickly. I also inquired to KWZ directly. Let's see what happens. I will let you know if I hear anything.

  2. Interesting....after a day or so in my pen, the OS Foggy Bottom is looking much more like KWZ Honey. I wonder if it needed a little mixing or something. It's presently in a TWSBI Eco find nib. I may ink up a medium nib and one if my broader calligraphy nibs with it to see how they look.

    1. Bill, this test was performed in 2 different pens but they both had a 1.1mm stub for the nib. I did not notice a difference in either ink whether it was fresh from the bottle or if it had sat a day in the pens. Either way, it appears that you are experiencing exactly what I did however.

  3. I have been around ink for a fair long time (way before 2012) and I am pretty sure that KWZ was not copying anything from OS. Mainly because KWZ inks are much more lubricated and have better saturation and overall much better quality (stability). Your statement "Both companies offer a fair amount of Iron Gall based inks as well." is quite wrong since OS in 2014-15 (can't remember when Tyler closed shop to go to school, only had ONE Iron Gall (Aristotle) and KWZ had at more than 10 Iron Galls.. (can't remember exact numbers.. but they were a BUNCH). Also, Aristotle developed "things" and it lost the its colour, while all the KWZ inks are still performing flawlessly years later. I don't work for KWZ, I am just an Ink aficionado. I have more than 40 bottles of each brand and I can assure you the quality is NOT the same.

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