Welcome to the inaugural Vapenstein Awards. The Vapenstein Awards is an annual presentation where Vapenstein recognizes and celebrates the best of vaping. Vapenstein is limited in its scope, therefore the number of categories is limited in this first year but will undoubtedly grow in future Vapenstein Awards presentations. Also, these are the Vapenstein Awards. I do not claim to represent the entire vaping community, just Vapenstein.
People from all geographic and social strata have chosen life and health by forsaking tobacco and have embraced the electronic cigarette. We are a global community who practice and advocate vaping as the safer alternative it represents. This is our community. You are here at ground zero, and as this community grows you will have been one of the cornerstones that future growth is built upon. It's a community that Vapenstein is very proud to be some small part of.
Whatever led you here, we all share a common love of vaping. In this, the very first Vapenstein Awards, I will be giving recognition to those products and people in the vaping scene who represent the very best we have to offer. It is my very profound honor to be able to do so, and to share this with you, the Vapenstein reader. You are the reason I spend all the long hours in The Lab, the reason there is such an extensive collection in The Juice Cellar, and you are what keeps me coming back to the keyboard every morning to add to the resource I have created for you.
Incidentally it was brought to my attention after these awards had already been completed that there had been a 2009 Vapy Awards. Being a new vaper myself in 2010 I had no prior knowledge of them until it was pointed out to me. I am not trying to ride anybody's coat tails. These are the Vapenstein Awards, and the honor is nicknamed the "Vapey". There is no affiliation with the former, defunct event.
So without further adieu let us commence with these, the 2010 Vapenstein Awards. I apologize for the lack of a genuine trophy, but Vapenstein is still in its infancy and this crummy medal was the best we could do this year.
I have chosen to split RY4 off from the flavored tobaccos category to free up room for the non-RY4s to shine. RY4 is one of the most popular flavors in vaping, and every vendor offers at least one variation on it. The combination of tobacco with sweet caramel and smooth vanilla is a brilliant mix, and one that is many vapers' all day vapes.
There are only two nominees in this category, because these two nominees are so good they render all other RY4s inconsequential, and also because I wasn't able to get Vapor Station's VS4 evaluated in 2010. Next year Eric.
The 2010 nominees for Best RY4 are:
- Backwoods Brew RY4 This excellent RY4 is the benchmark. Lovely tobacco base predominates, with smooth, sweet caramel notes. Great throat hit and all around good performance.
- Vaperite Organic VR4 Todd's organic tobacco base shines here, rich and natural with an equally excellent and natural tasting caramel finish. It just plain tastes real and is a pleasure to vape.
And the Vapey for the Best RY4 of 2010 goes to,
- Velvet Vapors White Chocolate Tobacco Kat really outdid herself with this delicious, delicate combination of tobacco and white chocolate. This isn't an aggressive tobacco, but it is truly sublime when you allow it to present itself to you on its own terms. My favorite dessert vape.
- Backwoods Brew Casablanca Blend Not only did Don come up with a brand spanking new tobacco base for this juice, he hit a home run with it right out of the gate. The Turkish tobacco base of this juice is mind blowing. His choice to pair it with cocoa, and to balance it as deftly as he did shows his genius at creating and sculpting flavors. Great throat hit and lovely finish. Not just for after dinner, I vape this juice all the time.
- Backwoods Brew Maple Tobacco Don gets two entries, with his outstanding tobacco and smooth maple joining the party. Not a sweet syrupy vape, just his great tobacco base with a sweet maple finish. I vape this juice almost every afternoon. Great throat hit.
- Vaperite APV Organic Natural organic tobacco extract paired with agave, plum and vanilla. The plum and agave combine to create a raisin note that is deep and satisfying. The vanilla is barely there, just enough to smooth the whole ensemble. His organic tobacco base tastes just like cured leaf smells. Really complex, artful design.
- Alien Visions Boba's Bounty This juice isn't one that wins you over right away. It took me a couple weeks before I realized I had a Boba's problem. The winning performance of this juice is the star of the show here, but the smooth flavor of the secret ingredient keeps us all guessing and coming back over and over. I still say it's cola, Ben says no. Whatever it is, it's a unique and excellent juice.
And the Vapey for the Best Flavored Tobacco of 2010 goes to,
- Halo Bella Valente What a difference a week can make. I hated this juice, and in a matter of days it transformed into something I couldn't do without. Deep and dark, this juice hits notes that make my eyes roll back in my head when it tastes just right. Smoothed by an almost undetectable vanilla into something totally sublime, it is an absolute joy, and a necessity, for me to vape this.
- want2vape Alcazar want2vape came out of nowhere with a juice that totally blew my mind. This juice is made from an extract made from genuine Alcazar cigars, and it is an incredible tobacco base. This juice leaves a taste in my mouth that makes me think I just smoked a stogie. A real treat for cigar loving vapers.
- Digitalciggz.com Cuban Crisis This juice really grew on me and has become a favorite cigar vape. Initially I was just going to keep the bottle long enough to review then trade it, but my initial impression of a "meh" artificially flavored cigar juice turned into real appreciation and I kept the bottle for myself. Good cigar flavor, but an even more impressive performance from this juice. Good throat hit and good flavor.
- Velvet Vapors Vanilla Cigar Despite not being wowed by the subtle nature of this juice, there is no question that the quality of flavor is outstanding. I would prefer more bite, but the cigar flavor is deep and rich, and the blending with vanilla is masterfully done.
- Totally Wicked Red Label Cherry Cigar Despite being of Chinese origin, and despite no trace of genuine cigar notes within, I keep reaching for this bottle. This juice does have bite, and the quality of the blending of the cherry and tobacco elements surpasses any cherry tobacco juice I've had. Great throat hit and a nice strong, if somewhat vague and indefinable, tobacco flavor won me over. A hearty juice that hits the spot, and surprisingly this Chinese juice outshines the UK-made Black Label Cherry Cheroot in terms of robust tobacco impact.
- basilray Jesse's videos have come a long way in a short time. One of the few reviewers I'm subscribed to. I always enjoy his videos. He is a calm, reasonable presence on ECF. An overall solid guy and someone who obviously cares about creating a valuable resource. Lives not too far from Castle Vapenstein.
- bornagainst Another voice of reason on ECF. bornagainst's videos are always good, and he has an animated personality and good sense of humor. I am going to have to attend a trade show and get these guys into some Vapenstein t-shirts.
- AllAboutTheVapor Another one of my subscriptions. The Truth has good taste in tobacco vapes, and I leaned on his videos a lot as I was getting to know the different vendors. Also a fellow musician, good for extra points.
- TheVapeBabe Amber's Bedtime Reviews offer an glimpse into vaping's most exclusive boudoir. In her videos you don't have to answer to Nick for an invitation. Great hardware coverage, overall a very solid resource.
- RavenVapes Edgy Gen Y'er Liam makes tongue-in-cheek vaping videos with good production values. Always worth watching.
- igetcha69 A true pioneer, Mr. Scott Bonner is prolific and has been doing this longer than most. You can stop practicing your vapor rings, they'll never be as good as his.
And the Vapey for the Best YouTube Vaping Videos of 2010 goes to,
Nick doesn't get this reward just for being vaping's most recognizable face. He's good at it. Nick taught me more and answered more questions for me than any vaping source outside of ECF. I definitely owe him a debt of gratitude. Young and edgy, he's vaping's rock star, but at the same time he is like a guy you went to college with and shared many misadventures together, and that's why I like him so much. I too was young and edgy prior to assuming lordship of Castle Vapenstein, and I also appreciate that Nick takes his work seriously and is constantly striving to produce a better product. We couldn't ask for better, and he is supportive of those who want to contribute to the scene. He sets the benchmark, and because of him others are elevating their game. Thanks for everything Nick, and I look forward to watching you in 2011!
Why are we all here? Nicotine is the thread that binds us. We get no euphoria from it. It doesn't improve physical or mental performance. It's addiction, plain and simple. No matter what your choice of nicotine delivery was, you got that nicotine sizzle from it. For me, a wave of relief would sweep over me from head to toe when I took a drag off a cigarette. It's not a feeling easily described, but presumably if you're reading this you know exactly what I am talking about.
- Vapor Station Tampa This is the juice I woke up with every day for the last couple of months. The first time I took a blast of this juice at 24mg right out of the mail, I felt like I had taken a drag off a Winston full flavor. Never mind that Tampa tastes much better, and honestly nothing like a cigarette. It was the first juice that really scratched that itch. This is Mrs. Doctor Vapenstein's all day vape.
- Freedom Smoke USA Purecig This juice has almost no overt flavor profile of its own, with the exception of a good dose of ashtray and a peppery edge. The performance is what this juice is all about; it hits like an analog.
- Halo Torque 56 Like 2010's Best Cigar winner Bella Valente, I started out hating this juice, but only a week after my initial negative impressions I found that I had fallen in love with its performance. A constant companion in my PV case, Torque 56 has that odd nut note on inhale that so many analog juices have, but redeems itself with monster throat hit and an exhale that is very analog-like.
- Intellicig ECOpure Rich I am a new convert to ECOpure. This juice is strikingly clean. It's like taking a blast off an oxygen tank. All VG, this juice outperforms every single VG juice I've ever had. Throat hit that outdoes most PG juices, nicotine sizzle galore on inhale, and an exhale that is oddly analog-like with voluminous clouds of vapor. Despite this juice's extremely neutral character it all adds up to performance that can't be denied and I find it extraordinarily compelling.
- Vermont Vapor Smoke This just flat out tastes like a cigarette. The dirty burning element, the smokiness. It's all there, and it's well executed. This is another all VG juice that performs like a PG juice in the department of throat hit and punch. Close your eyes and you'll think you fell off the wagon. Better with a low res atty or high voltage.
And the Vapey for 2010 Analog Replacement Sweepstakes winner goes to,