Do you really get the eLiquid you pay for?

Choices, choices, choices... Anyone who vapes knows all about choices. There really isn't any aspect of vaping that doesn't mean choosing, from your coils, drip tips, batteries to your VG:PG ratio, flavours and nicotine strength. It is easy to be overwhelmed.

For most new vapers though there is one choice of importance and that is choosing not to smoke anymore and in so doing opening up a world of flavour and satisfaction. Very quickly though they discover that this choice leads to other decisions to be made and not least of all- which flavours they are going to be using.

Many of those who create the flavours people use regularly were once simply vapers dissatisfied with the choices they were offered in the market- they were curious enough to start digging around trying to make their own flavours, spending hundreds of hours on forums and online stores looking for those components that would create something stunning. Eventually some of these graduated to making and selling the flavour blends they came up with.

The more serious of these started putting together flavour libraries- boxes, tubs, cupboards filled with strange flavours from all over the world. This library and the data about the flavours in it is the Rosetta Stone of the mixers toolkit- with it they can analyse the mixes other people have made; work out how flavour companies are making flavours work- flavours from The Flavor Apprentice, FlavourArt, Capella, Inawera and many more obscure companies too many to mention.

Mixing is a world almost without limitation. Each blend presents the mixer with an infinity of choices to be made. So how do they ever manage to get something finished and into production?

The short answer to this is intuition. Recently, whilst working with the Tamahaac base, I opened the fridge to find that my partner had bought a brand of fruit juice I hadn't seen since I was a teenager. The juice was made from a very specific fruit variety and, as I drank it, I wondered at the deep, complex and stunningly lasting taste of it. Suddenly possessed by a notion that this flavour might work really well in the Tamahaac line, I went straight to the internet to find out if that exact variety of fruit had been analysed and replicated in the flavour industry.

I was awestruck to discover that it was and that many flavour houses offered it. Excited, I bought one of each and on arrival opened and tongue-tasted them. There was a clear winner. Amazingly, it plugged straight into Tamahaac with only one other tweak. It is awesome. In fact- I am vaping it right now and have been for three weeks.

It was intuition that took me to this flavour- one that I would otherwise have never tried; It is a classic case of the happy accident that mixers talk about all the time.

Here's the thing- serious mixers are in a state of constant readiness to pick up on these moments and implement them in their mixing. But in essence, these moments are really just a series of choices- and there will be many of these moments in the course of a year; some of them work out- some of them don't.

If it is intuition that drives those choices along, then it is self-education and study that turns this into useful information: the methodical and systematic sampling and recording of aroma-sensory experience which is physically embodied in the flavour library the mixer is accumulating, their knowledge and their intuitions about the flavours they're working with.

Many thousands of hours of wondering and buying go into creating and maintaining this library- there are spreadsheets of data about the flavours; tasting notes and impressions; failed mixes; promising mixes.

When they bring all this time, expense and passion to bear on the question, "What flavour am I going to release next?", you had better believe they are going to take great care over what comes out.

On the other hand, They could simply have a look at what people are buying and dash some things together that approximate it. They are only a label design and a TPD submission away from releasing it.

Which mixer's work will you buy?

Well, we've made our choices. Here they are in liquid form.

Now it's your turn.

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