I think Steam Juice is one of the very best vendors offering juice that is premium tasting at a price that sub ohm vapers can live with. I can only think of a couple other names to add to that list. Seriously, if I didn't DIY 95% of what I vape, I'd be buying a lot of juice from them. Good juice at great prices with quick shipping and frequent discounts on top of their already good deals. A vendor that understands their market.
I bought their Rounder deal a while back. With a stackable discount code I got three 120ml bottles for right around $40 I think. All three were good, and they threw in a 15ml sample of one of their other juices along with some pipettes.
I vape a ton of custard, but after so many tanks of the same juice I need a diversion. I vape a Tripoli clone I made a lot, and I have a thing for yogurts too. Cheesecake was another flavor that I thought would make a good secondary vape for me. Steam Juice offers their Cheesecake Your Way plain or with added peach, strawberry, blueberry, butterscotch, coconut or caramel. I opted for the butterscotch because I have a thing for butterscotch sundaes and it sounded good. Plus another juice of theirs, Golden Road, uses butterscotch to great effect.
I've just about finished my 120ml of this juice. Let's take this 70%VG 2mg juice into The Lab for analysis.
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I vaped a small bottle of Charlie Noble Tripoli while I was still using 306 attys and loved it. I cloned it from memory, which I don't recommend. So I'm on batch #7 of my from memory Tripoli clone and I ordered another small bottle of the real thing a couple weeks back. I'm kind of shocked at how close I've gotten with none of the real thing to go by since January. One more tweak and I'm satisfied to call batch #8 a Tripoli Clone and share it.
Is it perfect? No. It's the same color and tint, but if you hold it to the light mine is just a hair lighter, but you have to squint to notice the difference. It smells the same. The fig is probably just a shade less forward. I use TFA Toasted Almond, and I'm going to try TFA Almond to see if that is a better match. The tobacco is most definitely not what Charlie Noble is using, but it's what I had on hand that worked and didn't make a new flavor profile. Originally I was using a combination of two tobaccos, but it made the tobacco too forward so I cut it down to one. For me, I vape the real thing and then I vape my clone and I can see subtle differences, but I feel that my clone recipe will pass for a dead ringer for most, so I'm comfortable sharing it in this state. If I end up making any little tweaks that I feel make this clone absolutely perfect, they'll be reflected here, where I keep the DIY recipes that I'm serious about.
I like Charlie Noble. I like their juice and I like them as a company. I feel no moral dilemma in posting my clone of one of their juices, because the average Charlie Noble customer is not going to jump ship for DIY. This is for those of you who make your own juice, which is a relatively small percentage of overall vapers. I hope that Charlie Noble, if they ever see this, will take it as a compliment instead of taking offense.
The target juice is a blend of Turkish tobacco, fig, almond and exotic spices. It's a very pleasant vape, way different than any fruit vape, and a nice change of pace for a guy like me who vapes a lot of custards. Let's take this clone into The Lab and see how it stacks up to the original.
I was itching for an unregulated box mod and ended up commissioning this box from RC Box Mods. It's a black anodized cnc milled Hammond G replacement box, dual 18650 in parallel, paracord on the wiring, mosfet, green led voltmeter, black low profile Fat Daddy, black Mitec switch. Great size, looks super clean, great in the hand. Very happy with this box, thanks to RC Box Mods! Pics below.
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.
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.
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.
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:
I am slowly finishing up my tour of custard vapes. Along the way I decided to DIY my perfect custard, as I just wasn't finding it among the commercial custard vapes, and I came up with two recipes that I think are far better than anything I've reviewed here on these pages. I will eventually get around to ordering a bottle of Daft Spunk, as many seem to hold it in very high regard, but my days of buying premade custards are pretty much done.
In retrospect I could have been more enthusiastic about three of the custards that I've reviewed. I have to revise my original opinion of ITCVapes Custard #3 and say that if I wasn't making my own I'd be buying from them regularly. The problem at the time of review was that I was primarily using Kanger Subtank Minis, and the thick ITCVapes VG just did not wick in those and made for a frustrating vape. The problem went away when I got my Lemo 2, and when I got my Cthulhu a couple weeks after the Lemo 2, vaping the ITCVapes custard was like vaping a whole different juice. Given that its price was the lowest of the bunch, it seemed like an even better vape factoring in the low price. ITCVapes Custard #3 is a pretty rich, flavorful custard vape for a premade juice regardless of cost, and it has my recommendation.
The same goes for Steam Juice Thick Vanilla Custard. This juice is just a shade light on flavoring, but that aside, I wouldn't be unhappy if my homemade custard came out like this one. In fact none of their juices have been big misses for me, and I recommend this vendor for cheap, high quality juice and great service.
Lastly, Charlie Noble Charlie's Custard costs a little more, but still qualifies as a good value. This one tastes like it has added graham cracker, and it's a nice smooth note on top of a decently rich custard.
So there you have it, those are my three recommendations after my Best, Big, Cheap Custard tour. I thought that maybe I shouldn't include this in a review for another juice, and then I thought screw it, my reviews aren't advertisements for juice makers and I can put whatever I want wherever I want. So apologies to Casey Jones and now on to their review.
For over four years I only vaped tobacco and pseudo-tobacco vapes. I think part of that was that in the beginning I needed something familiar. I always loved tobacco in all its forms, and I think back then most of the juices with really good throat hit were tobacco vapes. Also, you have to remember that old 510 and 306 attys coils were very prone to gunk up quickly. At $5 a pop you wanted your attys to last, so Halo and Vapor Station with their high PG ratios and clean burning became the default vapes here at Castle Vapenstein and stayed that way. My own line of eliquid was the worst coil gunking juice ever made, if you appreciate irony.
For the three years that I was absent as a public vaping figure I vaped Halo Captain Jack and Torque 56 pretty much exclusively. Mrs. Dr. has vaped Vapor Station Tampa and nothing but since the beginning. She still does, although now a version that I cloned and make here in The Lab. When we put down our 306s and started checking out the changes in vaping that had occured during my three year absence, Mrs. Dr. stuck with mouth to lung at low wattage. I put 2 ohm builds in her Lemo Drop and she vapes around 10w. Even so, she is down to 6mg versus the 16mg she used to vape.
When I started sub ohming a drastic change in juice was necessary. 80% PG and 18mg was not going to work. I went to maxVG and down to 6mg, but even with 6mg I was getting nic sick. I'm a chain vaper and kind of absently hit my device all day. I went to 3mg, and I could still feel the nic, which bothered me a little because I'm a cigar smoker and am pretty much immune to nicotine. I've now acclimated to 3mg and can vape it without getting sick, but I usually make my juice between 2-3mg and usually closer to 2mg.
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