There is always going to be a question in some people's minds about how objective a reviewer's feedback about product they received for free is going to be. I think all any of us can do, myself included, is find reviewers whose tastes seem to resonate with us who we feel we can trust. That's for anything. Videogame reviews, Youtube vaping hardware reviews, and especially eliquid reviews since taste in eliquid is incredibly subjective.
All I can tell you is that when I review a juice, whether I bought it or it was free, whether I like the company or am mad at them for whatever reason, the review itself is only going to contain my honest impressions of the product. That held true even when I was involved with my own product. Vapenstein the reviewer and Vapenstein the NET co-creator were two separate entities, despite what any unhappy reviewees might think. My father raised me to value honesty and integrity above all else, and I have always felt that nothing of value could be got by stepping on someone else's neck to get where I was going.
So as a reviewer I tell you that free samples are welcome and encouraged. It doesn't guarantee a review, and it certainly doesn't guarantee the outcome of any review, but it does help me review more product than I otherwise would since my tastes are fairly specific and limit my exposure to product.
I received an email from someone at 10th Planet inquiring about sending me some juice to review. I looked at their site and told them to send me their Vanilla Mousse as it wasn't too far off the course I've been sailing lately. The packaging was an insane display of overkill. I really thought I was going to open that box to find a 60ml bottle waiting for me, but no, it was just a 10ml packaged to survive the apocalypse. They describe the juice as "A deep, rich yet mellow custard flavor with a kick of vanilla. Vanilla Mousse will remind you of a smooth and creamy cheesecake with a hint of graham cracker.". It's a custard, vanilla, cheesecake, erm let's just vape it and see.
I'm nothing if not thorough when I focus on something. For the last couple of months it's been the search for the Best, Big, Cheap Custard. Today's entrant is Charlie's Custard by Charlie Noble. I've only vaped a couple of Charlie Noble juices, and both of them have been a reorder for me. Good flavors, and I like the premium packaging coupled with the discount juice prices. 120ml bottles are less than $45, and going through 15ml a day I can live with that. I've said it before and I'll say it again, vendors need to start reading where vapers are headed, and $20+/30ml is not it. High PG ratio is not it. High nic is not it. Vendors that don't adapt will see increasingly shrinking market share as vapers move on to juice makers that cater to the way they vape.
Those of you coming back to Vapenstein after my long absence may be scratching your heads, wondering what happened to me. Custards are a bit of a stretch for a guy who was a NET pioneer and has a well documented love and knowledge of tobacco. In fact the time to be into NETs has never been better than now. There are more vendors producing quality NETs, and the ease and affordability of recoiling and rewicking our tanks and attys largely offsets the big liability that NETs have.
I love tobacco. Vaping gives me a way to indulge my nicotine addiction that is much better for my respiratory and overall health than the 2 packs a day I used to smoke, and I'm grateful for that. But I still indulge my love of tobacco. I use nasal snuff when I'm away from The Lab and vaping isn't convenient, and I smoke a cigar every evening after dinner.
So increasingly, trying to scratch my tobacco itch via vaping just couldn't hold a candle to the real thing, for me. I'm less interested in trying to get a satisfying tobacco experience from my vape when I can look forward to one of my favorite cigars later in the day. It's a balance that works for me.
Custards hit the performance marks I always prized in my tobacco vapes. Excellent core satisfaction and throat/lung hit. The flavor is pleasant for me without being cloyingly sweet. The rich, egg-y variety of custards have their own appeal, as they have a lively, almost sourdough twang to them. Vape what you like, for me that's been custards lately.
About Charlie's Custard, Charlie Noble says "A rich, silky custard, homemade with a perfect balance of vanilla and baked crust.". Sounds good to me, and if my experience with their Tripoli is any indication it should be good. Let's head to The Lab and find out.
I've been making the rounds of big bottle vendors with good reputations who offer Vanilla Custard. I go through way too much of this stuff to pay $20 for a 30ml. In fact I'll just use this space to make a PSA to all juice makers: The day of $20 30ml bottles is over. Many of us vape that in a day. Your market is only going to get smaller and smaller.
Dr. Crimmy's, and vendors like them, absolutely have the right idea. Premium juice at discount prices. $20 should get you 50-120ml, and more and more vendors are going this route. Much of this juice tastes like you had to compromise, but some of it is every bit as good as the $20 30ml stuff, it just falls upon you to find out which vendors are selling the good stuff at wallet friendly prices.
Crimmy's was also a stop I had to make in my search for the ultimate custard vape. Ever since I embraced new technology and updated The Lab I've replaced tobacco with custard for my all day vape. Something about the custards just does it for me. They offer the core satisfaction my tobacco vapes did, the flavor never becomes too much, and most of them seem to be fairly coil friendly. They hit all my benchmarks for what I look for in a juice.
I've been looking for one that has that satisfying, somewhat sour, tangy, egg-y richness. Let's head into The Lab and see if Dr. Crimmy's Overdose has what I'm looking for in a custard vape.
On my quest for the Best, Big, Cheap Custard I made a stop at Steam Juice. One of the juices I ordered from them was Golden Road, which they describe as "a combination of several different flavors with a touch of RY4, vanillas, caramels and other dessert notes". Yeah I'm in. RY4 was one of the flavors you usually couldn't go wrong with back in the old days when there wasn't as much great premium juice around as there is today. Everybody had one. There is even an active ECF thread devoted to RY4 that is up to 569 pages.
For me the all time best RY4 ever was Backwoods Brew RY4, which I reviewed in November 2010 and was only the second It's Alive! Award winner. That juice was inconsistent and varied from bottle to bottle, but when it was on, to this day it's one of the best things I ever vaped. It's a shame Don discontinued it.
For me RY4 means a tobacco base with caramel and vanilla in the background. I don't even know if Ruyan #4 is still available, but it spawned countless variations over the years. In this day of strawberry custards many of you may not have ever vaped an RY4, but it used to be a thing as The Creature and Little Igor would say.
Let's head to The Lab and tank up some of this modern day RY4 and see how it compares to the great RY4s of vaping yore.
I've been on the hunt for a custard that is both cheap and good for an ADV. My preference is for a rich, egg-y custard, something that I've so far been unable to find in a juice that sells in 60-120ml bottles for a reasonable price. I will be running through a few of these. Some of them have been surprisingly good, and some of them have tasted like they cost what they did.
I've been hoping that I'd find a vendor that sold a GVC clone. I mean how hard is could it be, the recipe is well known and published all over the web. People can't get enough of it. If I was a vendor trying to build a customer base I would definitely bottle a GVC clone, and call it Great Vanilla Custard (GVC, get it?) or something similar to tip people off that was what I was doing. Instant fan base. Nope, haven't found one yet. Most of the custards offered by the big bottle vendors are the more vanilla-y strain of custard. If I make it through the end of these juices I'll just start making my own if I don't find one, but I have more money than time and I'd just as soon buy it premade hence the search.
If you're making the rounds of big bottle vendors Mount Baker Vapor is likely to land on your list. Today's review juice is their Vanilla Custard, which they say combines the flavors of "maple sugar, vanilla bean, and sweet cream". Maple sugar? I love maple sugar, but it isn't what I expect in a custard. My grandmother frequently made custard and custard pie, and I have a firm memory of them because I absolutely loved them. Custard should be very simple and rich. You should definitely taste the egg. Custard and tapioca are to my mind what pudding should be like, certainly what they were like before the modern era of bland mostly cornstarch instant pudding. I have high expectations and am easy to disappoint, so let's fire up this juice.
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