Noodler's Kung Te-cheng - 3 oz. (90 ml) Bottle
Noodler's inks are known for being affordable and colourful. There are currently over 100 colours in their ink selection, all with intriguing label arts.
Colours may vary slightly from bottle to bottle as Noodler's Ink is handmade in small batches.
Caution: Be careful when opening the bottle for the first time as Noodler's ink is filled to the top and can easily spill.
*Our ink swabs are references to the actual ink colour. We have taken a lot of care and effort to ensure these swabs represent the actual colour to their best extent, but colours may vary due to factors such as monitor brightness and colour, nib size and wetness of your pen, and paper used. If you are unsure, we recommend trying an ink sample or chat with us, we are glad to help.
First I need to compliment InkyPaw on their generous 5 ml ink samples, which are fantastic. I eyedropper-filled a Platinum Preppy with this ink and still have ~2.5 ml left over. A+ for value!
Now on to the ink: Many reviewers on the internet have commented on the fast-drying nature of KTC, which contributes to reported issues with clogging in the feed. Nathan Tardif used to supply Preppies with this ink. I have to assume this is because the caps seal against a spring-loaded inner cap and thus resist drying out. Furthermore, the price of Preppies makes them ideal "dedication" (some say "sacrificial") pens to troublesome inks in general. I have had no drying or clogging issues with mine so far.
The color has been much raved-about in the fountain pen community and now I see why. It truly is the perfect so-called "blurple," and has a fascinating quality of showing more or less blue or purple depending on the paper used. For instance, on Tomoe River it looks more like a purple-leaning blue, while on copy paper it looks more like a blue-leaning purple. In any case it's hard to pin down as either/or. Despite its fast-drying nature, it writes comfortably out of my Preppy 0.5 nib, and doesn't make the pen feel particularly scratchy or dry. Note that if you leave your pen uncapped for even a few seconds too long it may hard start, but it only takes a couple of strokes to get writing again. It does have a distinct solvent aroma out of the vial, but as I am a chemist by trade, I don't find such things too off-putting. I haven't seen it feather on anything—even a $1 composition book. It does ghost on some thinner papers though. I couldn't detect any shading or sheen—the color itself is the star of the show here.
Unlike Noodler's bulletproof inks which have a chemical agent that binds irreversibly to cellulose in paper, this ink simply dries on the surface. It is purported to be a nightmare to clean, but I found the key to getting this ink off your hands (or your pen, desk, or wherever) is window or surface cleaner. Mr. Clean spray works fine, or pen flushing solution if you have it. I'd still try not to spill it though.
The finicky characteristics of this ink are the only reason I gave it four stars instead of five, but IMHO they are outweighed by the uniqueness of the color. If you're curious, just buy a preppy, some O-rings/grease, some plastic eyedroppers, and a sample vial, and give it a try!