What Makes an e-Liquid “Premium”?
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I decided to stop by a newish vape shop down the street from me, for the second time ever. I just wanted a spinner or twist because my wife is considering to start vaping and didn’t want her limited to a fixed voltage eGo. I get there and there was a guy standing in the doorway smoking an analog. I excuse myself past him and go inside. (I found out later that he is the owner’s buddy and in hindsight, I feel I should have said something.)
They didn’t have what I was looking for; they had sold out and decided to not stock them anymore. Instead, they had a few click-type VV eGos. I wasn’t having it. Then they told me about the great gear they have, including a CE4 with a LED in it that lights up during use. A few knockoff pro tanks and a scant selection of straight flavors rounded up his entire inventory.
We chatted a bit, he was telling me how he now mixes his own juice and how much better it was than the “ready-to-vape” juices he previously carried and how much better they were than any of his competitors. I reminded him the first time I was there I had bought a bottle and it was… not very good. What I didn’t say it was that the juice he had sold me previously was outright disgusting and unvapable, and I couldn’t toss it out fast enough.
He tells me again how his juice rivals premium juices. I tell him I’ve tried a few different vendors now that I consider premium, I even mention that I write for a blog who uses a monthly vape juice subscription service that deals with some of the best juices made in the nation. We go back and forth about this a bit and he continues to insist that his hand mixed juices are “cleaner” and superior to any “ready-to-vape” juices on the market.
Finally, he decides to prove his point by making up a bottle for me on the spot. He asks me to pick a flavor, so I choose strawberry. He begins with digging out a hand-graduated syringe and pulling 4ml of VG into it and squirts it into a bottle. He then quickly rinses the syringe and pulls out another 4ml of PG to add to the bottle. He finishes off his masterpiece by dripping about 40 drops of his “extract” into the bottle and shaking it up. We finish our conversation, I thank him for the sample, and we part ways.
Admittedly, it didn’t suck. At least not in the way his previous stock did. The nic-free juice had a much muted strawberry flavor that wasn’t unpleasant. It was hardly worthy of being compared to a vape Box e-juices, however. It’s tantamount to going to the local grocery store and picking up a random quart of strawberries and having a gourmet chef hand pick a quart of strawberries in a field at their peak of ripeness and sweetness, full of flavor.
This is what separates a “premium” juice from the rest. Premium juice developers don’t just dump flavoring into a bottle of glycerine and glycol and call it fine. Flavors by market leaders and premium e-Liquid vendors are taste adjusted, tested, aged, and again tested some more with lots of different type flavors in different amounts to get that purest flavor with perfect balances of sweetness and tartness that you would expect from a perfectly ripened piece of fruit or professionally crafted dessert or drink. Even “simple” flavors aren’t simple for a premium vendor. Take Euphoria by The Utopia Group for example.
It tastes like a perfectly ripened pear: refreshing, crisp, flavorful, and delicious. I highly doubt it was created by merely pouring a simple pear flavoring into a vat. This kind of flavor accuracy doesn’t happen by accident, it takes months of development and testing to perfect. I’m also sure it’s made in much more sanitary conditions with a very high level of accuracy and readily duplicated consistently.
Yes, there are cheaper juices out there but, like everything else in life, you pretty much get what you pay for.
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