E-Cig Essentials: How to Judge the Quality of Your E-Liquid
This e-cigarette thing can be a little confusing. When you first Google “electronic cigarette” it all seems so simple: Buy an e-cig. Buy cartomizers. Vape. There are a number of ‘e-cig essentials’ though, especially when it comes to your e-liquids.
Once you decide on an e-cig, you want to get the best possible flavor, and start a search for “e-liquid.” Suddenly, in one click, what was a simple task becomes a journey flooded with options—and new words. Unwieldy words. Words that take on new meanings when used to describe e-liquid, like
(This is a family-friendly publication, so we’ll leave the last one alone.)
Joking aside, choosing an e-liquid is as important—if not more so—than choosing the right device. And without proper understanding of what comprises a good liquid, your experience might be less than satisfying.
Fortunately, we’re here to help. Since we’ve already discussed the finer points of PG and VG in e-liquids
- How does the e-liquid look?
- How does the e-liquid smell?
- How does the e-liquid taste?
- How does the e-liquid vape?
Once you get the answers you want, then you can go back and tinker with PG–VG and nicotine levels. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. If you want to see if the liquids you buy are of good quality, read on…
Take a good look at your e-liquid. Then keep looking.
This isn’t only about what the e-liquid looks like when it’s motionless in the bottle. You need to look closer, give the container a shake or two, and then look again. When agitated, the liquid’s appearance can reveal a few telling factors.
First, the obvious. If you look at an e-liquid and see things floating in it, do not pass “Go.” Just toss the stuff back from whence it came. If that’s your local vape shop, try not to hit the owner. If it came directly from China, stretch first before heaving it skyward.
When buying any type of consumables, appearance needs to be a primary factor in your decision. You wouldn’t eat chicken that wasn’t cooked properly. You wouldn’t drink water that was visibly polluted. Why should you be less discerning when it comes to vaping?
If your E-liquid is unusually cloudy, or strangely colored, it’s probably not of very high quality. This could speak to lower purity nicotine solution, an excess of artificial coloring, or simply the inclusion of unnecessary ingredients.
Sure, there’s some shelf appeal in seeing a neon bottle of fruit-flavored juice, but the truth is that top-tier e-liquids (present company proudly included) do not need coloring, preservatives, stabilizers or other nonsense to deliver a great vape.
Leave the tie-dye to the label makers and only vape what you know to be pure and sourced with ingredients you trust.
Smell first, then taste.
Point blank, flavor is the key element of an e-liquid. I mean, this is going into your mouth, after all. But like any food or beverage aficionado will tell you, the taste experience truly begins in your nose, well before you ever put something near your mouth. E-Cigs are no exception.
To draw a parallel, this is why top chefs layer ingredients so carefully, and why wine lovers enjoy sniffing and swirling their latest vintages. (We’ll never quite understand the “spitting out” portion of the process, but will concede to greater wisdom.)
While e-liquid isn’t exactly a fine Bordeaux, it also isn’t cheap. Nor should it be. Taking a few hearty sniffs of an e-liquid can tell you a lot about its flavor and the quality and potency of its ingredients.
For example, if your initial smell is overly sweet or even “sticky” and candy-like, you can bet the mouth-feel will be similar when vaping it. Perhaps unbearably so. Likewise, an overly sharp or abrasive smell can all but guarantee a more “aggressive” taste and throat hit.
Of course, tastes are subjective. If these aromas are in line with your needs and expectations, vape on! But if you were hoping for something different, you might want to try something else or risk a bad experience.
In turn, any sour, overly pungent or starkly disconnected flavors (meaning dissimilar to how the flavor is labeled or described) should be an immediate red flag. Pungent, acrid aromas are often a sign of degraded nicotine and lower-quality PG/VG content. If you can’t tolerate a smell from outside the bottle, you certainly don’t want to inhale it regularly.
Disconnected aromas can sometimes mean a liquid is layered and complex, much like our highly touted Gourmet flavors. But you should also consider the potential dangers looming. If you buy a bottle of Joe Cloud’s Monster Menthol and you’re smelling distinct vanilla and papaya notes, it’s a safe bet the company is guilty of the following:
- Not cleaning its equipment
- Not paying attention to filling processes
- Not adhering to strict quality standards
- Not giving a damn about its customers
- All of the above
Sure, blindly buying e-liquids might reveal a hidden gem. But you might also find yourself with 30ml of unadulterated, inconsistent nastiness. Caveat emptor.
Once the sniff tests are complete, THEN feel free to give them a puff or seven. If everything matches up, go buy that bottle! If not, consider yourself a more educated vaper, and spend your money on something of a higher quality.
Don’t forget the look and feel.
In its relatively short history, the e-cigarette industry has seen more changes than Guns ‘N’ Roses. When the stateside e-cig boom happened around 2007-08, the initial focus was solely on replicating cigarette smoking. Then, as new flavors began popping up, the focus shifted toward surpassing the limitations of cigarette smoking.
Today, much of what is considered “vaping” doesn’t even resemble cigarettes or smoker behavior. Instead, the lion’s share of attention is on “volume vaping” and “cloud chasing.”
A quick YouTube search for the above terms will show you some impressive, if not a little silly, demonstrations of vapor production. But, once the fog clears, you realize something—blowing flavorful clouds of vapor can be really enjoyable.
If you notice a company’s e-liquid regularly misses the mark in vapor production and flavor, it clearly isn’t focused on customer satisfaction, and likely isn’t too worried about maintaining high standards for other ingredients, either. Walk away from the bottle and the company, and don’t look back.
This same thinking can be applied to throat hit and nicotine levels. If I want medium strength nicotine in my liquid, then I shouldn’t be forced to endure a harsher, more abrasive inhale because some guy in a company’s QC department was fighting with his girlfriend and miscalculated because he was too emotional to pay attention.
I bet you expected this post to be a 1,500-word sales pitch for Halo cartomizers and e-liquids. And it easily could have been. After all, our extensive line of popular, USA-made e-liquids features flavors for all types of vapers, from the tobacco purist to the tropical enthusiast, and seemingly everyone in between. More importantly, all Halo e-liquids are precisely crafted, produced, and tested to ensure ideal balances of flavor, vapor, and satisfaction.
(And we certainly hope you’ll try them, whether or not you use Halo e-cigs.)
But choosing an e-liquid is a highly subjective, personal journey—a fun one, mind you, but a journey, nonetheless. There is no point in telling you our products are “the best” when your wants and needs may be different from what we currently offer.
At the end of the day, your perfect vape is what makes you happiest, whether it’s Tribeca or Tiki Juice or Joe Cloud’s Monster Menthol. But if you follow the steps above, and take the time to ensure you’re purchasing top-quality products, your e-liquid journey will likely be more educated, enjoyable and satisfying.
Because finding the perfect e-liquid for your needs is an answer a Google search can’t provide …
The opinions and other information contained in these blog posts and comments do not necessarily reflect the opinions or positions of Nicopure Labs LLC, owner of the Halo and HaloCigs marks.
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