Mouth to Lung vaping- the original format for enjoying inhaling nicotine and flavourings- has had a sudden resurgence. Indigene, Manabush and The Druid's Brew have always had this audience in mind with our mixes and to say we are gratified at the return of this wayward child would be an understatement.
There are lots of reasons for this resurgence- not least of all the 10ml bottle limit imposed by the TPD here in the EU; the emergence of Nicotine Salt based liquids as an option for tiny "Pod" style devices; the economy being difficult and people having less money.
Atomisers that deliver this experience are now everywhere- The Aspire Nautilus 2, the Vandy Vape Beserker, the Siren... every week companies seem to be releasing something for the MTL vaper.
We do have an opinion here. Maybe you'll be persuaded by it but neither of us would dream of telling someone else what to do and most especially what to vape. It's a very personal thing and it strikes at the heart of vaping is really about- choice.
But, for what it's worth...
Everyone loves the thrill of a massive cloud of vapour right? One that engulfs you and your friends on a night out or creates an authentic Victorian Gothic fog as you watch The Frankenstein Chronicles on Netflix, right?
MTL is for noobs, surely?
Well, it might surprise you to discover that many vapers never really embraced the cloud. Swimming against the flow, they sought vintage, high-end atomisers and the mods that fit them and looked good. The market has been awash for almost 3 years with cloudy gear with edgy, low ohm clapton coils so it was a bit of a job- but we did just this. As industry professionals me and Martyn had access to some of the best gear in the planet, backstage at Expos, other businesses we trade with and so on but we both arrived at MTL all the way, independently of each other.
And there were good reasons for this.
First and foremost- flavour. In many ways a 50:50 eliquid ratio is just a habit. Arbitrarily conceived by who knows (presumably in China) back in 2010 or thereabouts, it became the default ratio for mixing and it's where we optimised our flavour mixes when we launched our businesses. So, it's a benchmark for us- we could have gone 45:55 and no-one would have been the wiser.
But what happens as you approach to 60:40 on a mix- as a mixer- is a bit troubling. VG is a poor flavour carrier so, although you get more vapour production you have to increase the flavour strength to get to your optimum (more on this below). You begin to get a soft sweetness added to your mix- it's a bit more "wooly"; less refined.
We both (independently) tried high VG mixes back when this was all breaking and we still supply in higher ratios for those with this preference. And you know what? We've made them work and work well. But this is with a proviso:
Typically flavourings are supplied in a PG carrier- you can, of course, simply buy the pure ingredient and use that- but then you'd have to develop an entire flavour library of your own to do this and limit yourself to the flavours you came up with.
But at some point in an increasing VG ratio your typical PG concentrate mixture either loses flavour impact or dilutes the VG so you're back to 70:30 or 60:40. You're kind of fighting the mix a bit here... maybe you can work with the VG sweetness and softness. If so, great- but the imposed style of them wasn't for us.
And high VG, low ohm, high temperature vaping with users getting through 30ml or more a day had very real consequences for the industry.
This influence was driving an interest in very cheap eliquids (so people could afford to even vape) which in turn meant a customer was effectively buying in bulk. The market became much more fickle with people routinely buying 500ml of liquid, hammering it, getting bored and moving on to something similar but different. All on a very slim margin.
Businesses launching a new flavour had to do so in grand style- and this started a race to the bottom with IP infringement, age-inappropriate marketing and graphics: nutjob tiny margins requiring crazy sales volumes to make a profit.
Not a comfortable place for companies interested in flavour, style quality and doing something spectacular flavour-wise unfortunately.
So to summarise (all things being equal) MTL liquids are flavour-oriented and suffer less of the imposed sweetness of VG. This flavour and style aspiration can also (and often does) translate into grown-up, unique and stylish branding aimed at adult users.
So, with a resurgence of MTL there's real scope for balance returning to our beloved industry and we reckon that's better for customer choice and flavour- which is what it's all about in the end.
So, here we are in early 2018 and we have stuck to our guns- aiming for those prize classic products both us and our customers will cherish. And many are discovering for the first time this world of layered, endlessly interesting flavour.
We reckon they're going to like it a lot.