Question: When is Blu Cigs not Blu Cigs? • Answer: When they are sold in the UK.
Warning: This review is likely to cause some confusion. Read with caution, or better yet, read the make believe boardroom meeting published earlier today to get a better idea of what we believe happened when Lorillard decided to take Blu to the UK.
The following is a review of the UK product Blu eCigs Pro Kit. Spinfuel eMagazine purchased two pro kits directly from the UK online store for review purposes. Our decision to do so was mostly curiosity.
When we set out to purchase the Pro Kit by Blu eCigs we believed, like most others, that the same company here in the US, Blu Cigs, had decided to test a larger battery and bottled eLiquid in the UK and ‘if’ the Blu Cigs Pro Kit did well in the UK it would make sense that the Pro Kit would find a home in the US as well. By reviewing the UK version of the Pro Kit we thought we might get a jump on what to expect when, or if, the Pro Kit was introduced here.
We were wrong. Dead wrong.
Blu Cigs in the US and ‘Blu ‘eCigs’ in the UK are actually two very different brands. Yes, all the branding is ‘nearly’ identical, and they are, for the moment, owned by the same company…. Lorillard. But where it counts, they are nothing alike, although Lorillard would like to you believe otherwise.
The physical characteristics of Blu Cigs products and Blu eCigs products are constructed in such a way that any sensible person would intuit that both companies are the same, and the only differences would be the wall adapter. (The UK and US outlets are very different animals)
After receiving the Pro Kit via the Royal Mail, and using it for a couple of hours, it makes me think that Lorillard has set out to scam the UK public into believing they (the UK public) could now purchase real Blu Cigs ecigarettes while the truth is they can’t. The tactics used remind me of the tactics used by Lift Vapor, Emerald Lux, Regal, Prada, and many other scam ecigarette companies we’ve written about before in our Scam Alerts. Only this time the players are not used car dealers and real estate brokers, this is a major tobacco company.
But before we get to the actual review of the Blu Pro Kit, a bit of history and current events surrounding Blu Cigs US is warranted because Blu Cigs is the biggest cig-a-like company in the United States, holding by far the largest share of the cig-a-like market.
Bear with me as I try to make this as short and painless as possible.
Jason Healy’s start up company, Blu Cigs, was arguably the cig-a-like brand that pulled ‘vaping’ into the mainstream spotlight back in 2010. With its tiny black battery, rechargeable ecigarette ‘pack’, and high quality American made ejuice from Johnson Creek, Blu Cigs gave American smokers their first, real alternative to tobacco.
Rail against cig-a-likes if you want, but there are a several hundred thousand vapers who proudly admit that it was Blu Cigs that got them off tobacco, regardless of how quickly they abandoned the brand after discovering infinitely better vaping devices.
Jason Healy is to vaping as Steve Jobs is to personal computing. Like it or not.
What made Blu Cigs stand out was the unique, sexy, battery (as poor as it was), and drop-in battery charger that doubled as the ecigarette ‘pack’ (holding 4 spare cartomizers, one battery sitting in the charging slot, and one fully assembled battery/cartomizer).
Johnson Creek Smoke Juice
What made Blu Cigs actually worth vaping was the smoke juice provided by Johnson Creek. Without Johnson Creek Blu Cigs would have had no more success in the electronic cigarettes than American Blue Tips, a now defunct ecigarette brand – check this YouTube video if you’re unfamiliar with American Blue Tips.
Blu Cigs decision to use specially formulated ‘smoke juice’ from Johnson Creek was not only vital to its success, it was the catalyst for Johnson Creek in becoming the largest, most successful eliquid company in the world.
When Jason Healy cashed out and sold Blu Cigs to Lorillard for 135-million dollars, the company did the smart thing by continuing its relationship with Johnson Creek.
Reynolds American Inc. acquired Lorillard in July 2014 (parent company of RJ Reynolds) for roughly 25 billion dollars see here – http://investors.lorillard.com/investor-relations/news/news-details/2014/Reynolds-American-To-Acquire-Lorillard-In-Transaction-Valued-At-274-Billion/default.aspx.
However, Reynolds American Inc. has since divested itself of several ‘brands’ of tobacco cigarettes, KOOL, Salem, Winston, and Maverick, along with Blu Cigs. The fate of Blu Cigs is now up to Imperial Tobacco.
Now, naturally, all this takes time. If you visit blucigs.com and blucigs.co.uk you will see Lorillard currently owns them both, though that will soon change.
My guess for ditching Blu Cigs is that RJ Reynolds Vapor Company, owned by Reynolds American, is putting its muscle behind VUSE, a Blu Cigs competitor and Blu Cigs would just get in the way.
Lorillard to Reynolds American to Imperial Tobacco
Before the rush of sales and acquisitions of Lorillard by Reynolds and the spinning off of Blu Cigs to Imperial Tobacco, Lorillard acquired SKYCIGS in the UK for $39-million (USD). In short order SKYCIGS was rebranded into the UK version of Blu Cigs.
In late July of this year Blu eCigs UK introduced the Blu Pro Kit, the product we’re reviewing today.
The Blu Cigs Pro Kit (UK) Review
I’ll start off the review by admitting up front that had we known, and perhaps we should have known, that the purchase of SKYCIGS by Lorillard meant a simple rebranding of the current product, including its cheap Chinese eLiquid, instead of actually bringing Blu Cigs to the UK, we would not have bothered with a review. The Blu eCigs Pro Kit from the UK is, in a word, garbage.
From Johnson Creek Smoke Juice to Cheap Chinese eJuice
As I stated above, what made Blu Cigs a success was the choice by Jason Healy to use Johnson Creek’s PG-free eliquid. We would have hoped that upon the purchase of SKYCIGS by Lorillard that a rebranding to Blu eCigs would have meant that the actual eliquid used in Blu Cigs US would be used in Blu eCigs UK. Disgracefully, that did not happen. The eliquid that came with the Pro Kit is called Classic Tobacco, the same name as the US version of Blu Cigs classic tobacco flavor, but it is in reality an awful tasting Chinese eLiquid, an eliquid ‘taste’ I haven’t subjected myself to in nearly two years. Vapor production was awful, even for a Kanger battery/clearomizer set, which isn’t that great in the best of circumstances. This cheap Chinese eLiquid is also all-PG.
The hardware for the Blu Cigs Pro Kit is ten times better than the eliquid, yet the hardware is far from “pro” anything. The battery is a 900mAh Kanger battery; the clearomizer is a simple Kanger clearomizer sporting a 2.2-ohm coil.
What You Get:
- 1x 950mAh Kanger battery
- 1x Kanger Clearomizer 2.1ohm coil
- 1X 10ML “classic tobacco” eliquid (cheap Chinese PG-based ejuice)
- 1x Manual
Cost: 19.99 Pounds-Sterling or $33.69(USD)
Avoid the Blu Pro Kit at any cost. This is one of the worst tasting ecigarettes I’ve used in a long, long time. The 950mAh Kanger battery isn’t bad, for what it is, and despite the Blu Pro Kit instruction manual instructing the owner NOT to use any other eliquids with the Pro Kit, you can… of course you can.
Blu Cigs or Blu eCigs?
The soul of a Blu Cig ecigarette is the eliquids formulated by Johnson Creek.
The Blu eCigs Pro Kit is a soulless creature. I have to wonder what Jason Healy thinks about all this. Is he laughing all the way the bank, or is he feeling dismayed by the way his brand has been bastardized? We’ll probably never know.