In Japan, it seems most fountain pen shops have custom fountain pen inks made by Sailor. This is one from the highly sought after “BunguBox” range. BunguBox is a store in Hamamatsu, Japan, which is roughly halfway between Osaka and Tokyo on the Shinkansen. They have also recently opened a store in Omotesando, which I visited while I was in Japan not long ago.
Unique, custom Sailor inks have always been popular, due to their rareness and uniqueness of their colours – it really is amazing how many different ink colours one single company can manage to produce. BunguBox inks have been so popular mostly due to their unique colour range and also because they are so difficult to obtain – they are rumoured to produce each colour only once a year.
Piano Mahogany is a saturated red-brown ink which is highly reminiscent of deeply lacquered mahogany wood. This is my first and only brown ink so I have no baseline to compare it with colour-wise on a first hand basis. The colour matched my Faber Castell E-motion Pearwood very well.
For such a dark, saturated ink, there is still a level of shading that can be observed in the TWSBI Stub nib. Sailor inks are always extremely well behaved and I can always trust them to behave in slightly poorer quality paper – this one continues that trend – I used this ink in a training session which had rubbish photocopy paper handouts and it didn’t feather or bleed through at all.
As I mentioned, I have no other browns in my collection and I confess that I have no current aspirations to acquire more (don’t gasp – I’m not a fan of brown). When I purchased this ink, my hope was that this colour would be a dark red colour and the brown tone to it would only be slight. So when comparing this ink to others in my collection, the BunguBox “Tears of a clown” would be the closest colour match.
I didn't see any sheening with this ink either. Something to note, this ink is on the wetter side, so it would be great for drier nibs. I didn't have any problems with my TWSBI stub nib horizontal strokes (which can usually be problematic with drier inks).
Cleaning wise, this is not that difficult to clean – for this tone of colour. Reds seem to be the most difficult to clean, so this is going to be more trouble than say Iroshizuku Fuyu Syogun (blue toned grey) but you are not going to have to spend the rest of your life flushing the ink out.
This is the most expensive custom Sailor ink I’ve come across and the most expensive ink I own. In Japan, you can get these straight from the store in Hamamatsu (or their new store in Omote-sando). I went to the Omote-sando store in my last Japan visit and while it’s a cute little store in a nice neighbourhood with decent stores, I wouldn’t necessarily go out of my way to go to that particular store as the range isn’t huge and they aren’t always open, so check first before going. I would be keen to visit their Hamamatsu store which is located between Kyoto and Tokyo. The problem is that I don’t think the higher speed Shinkansens stop at this stop, so you would need to take one of the slower trains.
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