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Firstly, let me apologize for how long it is taking for me to get these reviews/comparisons up. I intended to do 3 a week, but they have turned out to be a lot more work than I bargained for. In addition, I’ve had some unexpected health distractions come up, so I’ve been away from the blog for about a week. I’m also in the middle of a move, so I’m going between two places that are 3 hours apart. I’m presently stuck at one of those places while all my review materials are at another place! This set of scans is the only set I have on this computer, so it’s probably going to be next week until I can start getting the other Iroshizuku reviews up. As if that weren’t enough, I’m a grad student, and I’ve got grad work that is taking a lot of time right now. I’m so sorry about this, but sometimes life just happens, and it’s happening to me at an astonishing rate!
Now for the review/comparison:
Iroshizuku Yama Guri (YG) and CdA Grand Canyon (GC) are the two browns that are responsible for my present love affair with brown ink. Now, you might be saying to yourself that these two inks are quite different. Well, yes they are, but hear me out! I still think GC can be a wonderful alternative to YG. Sure, there are inks that are a little closer in color, but they don’t come close to Iroshi’s behavior characteristics. CdA inks are some of the only inks that can go toe to toe with Iroshizuku behavior. It’s the behavior similarities that make GC the perfect alternative for me.
Yama Guri is
a dark cool brown that can have a sort of green sheen/tint to it in a wet writer
It doesn’t shade much
Grand Canyon is
A warmer brown with some golden undertones
It is not as dark as YG
It exhibits phenomenal shading
Here’s the thing though, if I’m honest, I actually like Grand Canyon Brown more than Yama Guri. Yes YG is a wonderful ink, yes the behavior is fabulous, but there is still something missing for me. GC has that something I’m looking for. What’s more, GC is every bit as well behaved.
(click to enlarge and sharpen the photos)
Rohrer & Klingner Sepia: Darker, not as well behaved
Noodler’s #41 Brown: not as well behaved, bullet proof
Diamine Saddle Brown (maybe): a little less saturated
Disclaimer: The goal of these reviews is to find inks that are similar in color and behavior to the Iroshizuku line but at a lower price point. This should not be construed as an attempt to find exact replicas. That is not possible. The Iroshizuku inks succeed at being unique. The only way you can get an exact match is to save up for the Iroshizuku. Whether or not these suggestions work for you is entirely up to you.
At their retail prices both are approximately $1.67 per ml. However, in terms of initial upfront cost the Caran d’Ache is more affordable even though you pay the same price per ml in the end. At the end of the review I list other inks that come pretty close to Yama Guri at a much lower price per ml.
But, honestly, I’m never going to get through 50ml of this ink. I have SO many bottles/samples of inks and several other browns. I can’t even hope to get through 30ml of it, so that makes the price per ml even less relevant for me. So if, like me, you are more concerned with the upfront cost as opposed to the cost per ml, then Caran d’Ache is a good alternative.