The second juice that I really fell for right before I left old school vaping for regulated was Charlie Noble Tripoli. Vaped really well and had a good flavor profile for 3.7v vaping on old style gear, despite its 80% VG ratio which usually spelled bad news for 306 attys.
I liked this juice so much in fact that for the last couple months I've been trying to clone it from memory. I've vaped a lot of mls of various versions of my own recipe of Tripoli, so I thought it was time to buy a small bottle a) so I could give it an overdue review, and b) see how close my memory got me to the real thing.
Charlie Noble describes this juice as "Turkish tobaccos, fig, almonds, and rare spices". If you're a former tobacco vaper like me, that description is just irresistable. Also, it stands out in a world full of custard and fruit vapes.
I am a big fan of Charlie Noble's approach. This is premium eliquid, no doubt about that, but they're selling it at prices that lie between budget and premium. That shows that they completely understand their customer IMO. Those of us who sub ohm are going through a lot of juice. It makes $20/30ml juice irrelevant. That's right, irrelevant. I'm not even going to review your juice if that is your pricing model, because you've already shown me that you are out of touch with your customer base. From here on out, ultra premium juice vendors can pound sand.
I already know that I like this juice, so let's take it into The Lab and see how vaping it sub ohm compares to my memory of it on the old Silver Bullet. I will be vaping this 3mg 80VG juice at 39w in one of my Cthulhus with a dual 26ga 0.32 ohm build on my BMI.
Right before I transitioned to regulated vaping at the beginning of 2015, I tried two new to me juices while still vaping old school that I really liked. One of them was Space Jam Eclipse. Space Jam is what I would consider premium juice at $11.99/15ml. I seem to recall them having turned up before I dropped out of public vaping in 2012, but I never tried any of their product back then.
Anyway, Eclipse vaped great in a 306LR. I vaped a lot of Halo Captain Jack for years, and Eclipse kind of fell into that same fruity tobacco vape niche, and I thought it was pretty good.
I have to admit, I no longer have a lot of patience for juices that cost this much. Not when there are so many inexpensive juice makers offering decent vapes at a price that allows you to sub ohm without going broke. For me, $12 for a small bottle is 2012 pricing, and it doesn't hold water in 2015. I could make half a liter of my custard for less than this 15ml bottle, and I can vape this 15ml bottle between now and lunch time. Who is vaping juice that costs this much anymore? Do you justify it to yourself as a special treat? I could make a 120ml bottle of this and sell it to you for $20, and I'd be making money. This is not so much a rant against Space Jam, but against every vendor who prices their juice this way. Make a profit, that's why you started your juice business, but do you really need to make 1000% profit on it? Because more and more budget friendly juice makers are going to pop up, some of them will make good juice, and when people can buy 60ml and 120ml bottles for $20, what use do they have for a small $12 bottle of your juice that won't last the day? This is where I think Charlie Noble gets it right. Premium juice, half the price of traditional premiums. If I like something of theirs I can buy a 120ml without having to take out a second mortgage. End of rant.
Enough of the Angry Dr. Vapenstein show, let's take this pricey bottle of Eclipse into The Lab for analysis. Space Jam describes this juice as cavendish tobacco, vanilla and caramel.
Nicoticket is a wildly popular eliquid maker just down the road from Castle Vapenstein.
In reviewing their signature custard vape, Custard's Last Stand, I was unimpressed and a little put off by the weird artificial sweetener note that permeated that vape. The thing that makes this especially curious is that this isn't some custard flavoring that you and I can go buy and make our own juice with. Nicoticket makes their own vanilla extract, and whatever else they make CLS out of, it doesn't taste like any custard made by the prominent flavoring makers.
Everyone offers a custard. I vape custard all day every day. I've vaped a lot of custards. So it's kind of odd when a high profile vendor gets a high profile vape so wrong. CLS has its fans, though I wonder how many custards they've had to compare it to.
Ok, we've established I don't like CLS. That factors into this review, because I already have a negative predisposition toward this custard base. I am one vaper, and my tastes are not necessarily representative of the community. There are my opinions. Do what I do with any reviewer, decide whether or not you agree with me, and then read between the lines of my reviews to find some value in my impressions of these vapes.
Absolut Creme Brulee is Nicoticket's custard base with caramel and tobacco absolute. Tobacco absolute is very tricky. Use it very, very sparingly (like the old made in India formulation of Vapor Station tobaccos) and it adds realism and depth to a tobacco vape. Use it with an injudicious hand and your juice tastes like licking an ashtray. Let's take this juice into The Lab and see whether Nicoticket will change my mind or have me muttering fallar tras fallar tras fallar.
If I didn't make my own juice I'd be buying a lot of eliquid from Steam Juice. In my experience nothing I've had from them was a miss, and the specials they offer along with frequent coupon codes you can stack on top of their specials makes vaping their juice pretty inexpensive. Their custard and cheesecake are as good as any commercial versions of those vapes that I've had, and in all honesty their Golden Road should have got an It's Alive! Award from me. That one doesn't seem like anything special til you put it in a dripper and crank the watts up past 40w, and man oh man does that juice change when a little power is applied to it. Super good and really flavorful.
I have a small several month old bottle of their Blue Velvet, which is red velvet cake with a little doughnut. Normally I avoid all juice with chocolate, because I don't think chocolate translates very well in eliquid, and I've never tried a chocolate flavor that I thought was on point. Some juices in the past I've had that I thought were good had a cocoa note, but all the chocolates that have come into The Lab have been kind of weird. I briefly played with adding chocolate to one of my tobacco extracts years ago, and I never got it right and abandoned the effort.
Let's take this one into The Lab for analysis. I will be vaping this 3mg maxVG juice at 44w on a 0.29 ohm dual twisted 28ga build in one of my Cthulhus on my BMI. Another shout out to Beastmode, I love love love my BMI and think it was worth every penny. Cthulhus tend to condense quite a bit through the air holes, and the cerakote finish on the BMI cleans up great, shows no discoloration, and as many times as I have knocked it over on the desk shows not one scratch or chip. Fantastic mod.
Looking for the perfect custard led me to DIY when I wasn't finding what I was looking for in a commercial vape. There is a Grant's Vanilla Custard clone recipe on the web that by all accounts is right on the money. So that's where I started.
The recipe uses Capella's Vanilla Custard, and you have a choice between original or v2. The original is probably packed with extra tasty diacetyl, and the v2 reformulation is diacetyl free.
My personal stance on diketones in eliquid is not to worry. The worst case scenario of course is terminal, irreversible popcorn lung. Commercial cigarettes are far higher in diketone concentration than any eliquid, and to date I believe that the only confirmed diacetyl related cases of popcorn lung were contracted by workers in a microwave popcorn factory and one weirdo who was so addicted to microwave popcorn that he used to inhale the aroma right out of the bag regularly. Their exposure to diacetyl was much, much higher than would ever be possible from smoking tobacco or vaping eliquid.
It's good to know the risks, it's good to know what's in your juice, but in my opinion there really isn't anything to worry about vaping this stuff. We'll know for sure when a few years have gone by with people sub ohming these flavorings at a higher rate of ml/day, but as things stand right now I don't find any cause for concern. I totally endorse your right to vape or avoid flavorings with diketones, but at the present time I find no reason to advocate against their use. Know what you're vaping and make your own informed decision.
Today I am going to review the Grant's Vanilla Custard Clone recipe using Capella's Vanilla Custard v1, which is the "unsafe" version of the flavoring. Let's take this 3 month old juice into The Lab and see what comes to light. First, the recipe:
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