eVo e Liquid Review – Is This the Future of eLiquids?
By Julia Barnes and Tom McBride
Nicopure Labs, maker of eVo eLiquids, not to be confused with eVo Liquids at evovapor.com, contacted Spinfuel by way of Twitter about doing an eLiquid review. One thing led to another and we’re publishing the results of that review below.
This review is quite different than any other e-liquid review Spinfuel has done in the past. For one thing, Nicopure is a wholesale-only company, selling their line through various outlets around the country. They have no official website, though one has been under construction for a while, and we did not receive a pricelist, product description, or company history. We did receive an “Introduction” page the other day when we requested a press kit, and it contained a lot of information about how their eLiquid manufacturing is first-rate and all that. Here are the most pertinent parts of that introduction page that I have paraphrased for the sake of brevity :
Since 2009, Nicopure Labs has been providing some of the largest electronic cigarette companies in the industry with the highest quality e-liquid base available. Working behind the scenes for years, Nicopure Labs is now pleased to offer a collection of our own American Made e-liquid. eVo has four different collections, Tobacco, Menthol, Cafe and Harvest with a current total of 36 premium eLiquids. Nicopure Labs uses only United States Pharmacopeia (USP) grade ingredients and FEMA GRAS flavorings, and our e‐liquid base is developed to current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP) in our FDA registered laboratory.
The above has also been posted in various vaping forums, along with an offer to send out free samples to the first 100 people that claim them. No strings attached, nothing to worry about, Nicopure will send them out and that’s the end of it. It was, and remains to be, a huge marketing push to get these eLiquids into the hands of vapers. Since they are strictly wholesale the idea, I assume, is to get vapers interested and then have them act as agents on behalf of Nicopure so that they, the vapers, will ask their vendors to carry the line. It’s pretty smart. EVo eLiquids are already showing up on some vendor websites.
Nicopure as also sent out hundreds of samples to various YouTube eLiquid reviewers as well, from the semi-famous (in the vape community) to the ones that receive around 50 or so views for their videos. Again, a pretty smart, and bold, move.
Before we get into the specifics of the flavors we reviewed, a total of 13 in all (eVo offers 36 flavors in all), I need to say something that I’m sure Nicopure isn’t going to like, and some of you might not appreciate it. However, if I don’t say it now I will always regret it, especially if I turn out to be correct in my analysis.
So here goes…
Is Nicopure the future of eLiquids? By that I mean, will large corporations like Nicopure, who will invest millions of dollars in setting up laboratories with the safest equipment and the strictest standards to produce eJuice, come into the e-cigarette industry and crush the small mom-n-pop companies, or even the mid-level companies like Johnson Creek and Mountain Oak Vapors, effectively taking over that part of the industry?
Are there backroom meetings going on between big government and big corporations where the government will structure these so-called “deeming regulations” over e-cigarettes and eLiquids so that the only source for eLiquids will be large corporations like Nicopure? It sure looks that way to me.
Nicopure is a large wholesaler of eLiquids seeking to be sold in vape shops, both brick and mortar and online. They are sending out tens of thousands of dollars in samples (and postage!) to hundreds of people in order to gather a legend of fans that will insist that the people they are buying their eLiquids from start selling Nicopure eVo line.
The 13 samples we received have been here for a few weeks now, and in that time we’ve vaped them and talked about them, and yet we know little to nothing about the company. That strikes me as strange.
But, I don’t think for a minute that what they are saying isn’t true; I believe every word of it. And that’s the point. I’m all for quality standards in the eLiquid business, and strict enforcement of some decent regulations that will protect consumers against eLiquid companies that make their ejuice in the kitchen sink, but what I am not ready for, nor do I ever think I will be ready for, is to have the entire industry run by a few large corporate entities who will produce eLiquids that appeal to the lowest common denominator in huge amounts.
After spending time with Nicopure products I have a strong suspicion that we have invited in a Trojan horse.
A Trojan Horse
What I love about a good number of eLiquid companies is the artistry they have in making the best eLiquids in the world. White Leaf by Mountain Oak Vapors, MeeseTracks by FanceeJuice, Vanilla-Anything from Ginger’s eJuice, Twas Brilig and White Rabbit from Alice in Vapeland, Kona Milkshake from Virgin Vapors, Sticky Buns from Mt Baker Vapor, Sweet Potato by The Vapor Girl, and a handful of others are eLiquids made by, as John would say, “the Flavorists”, real artists spending hundreds of hours on perfecting the perfect “whatever”, and they represent everything that is unique in this industry. We must not allow them to disappear at the hands of Corporate America.
There is nothing inherently wrong with Nicopure’s eVo line of eLiquids, nothing at all. I have no doubt they are manufactured safely. I also have no doubt that they are also manufactured in huge vats. I very much suspect that the recipes have been formulated to appeal to the widest number of vapers. The flavors, the eLiquids, are soulless. They are generics.
Don’t get me wrong, as generic eLiquids they are pretty damn good, well, some of them are. Some of them are too perfumery, some of them are awesome on the first few drags and then become unbearable 10 minutes later, but for the most part they are acceptable generic eLiquids.
Maybe I’m way off base. I hope I am completely wrong. Or maybe what’s happening here is what happened in tobacco industry when it came down to just a few major tobacco companies making dozens upon dozens of different brands….
Nicopure has been supplying their ‘base’ solution to many e-cigarettes companies who use them to create eLiquids for use in prefilled cartomizers. Now they want to sell their own line of eLiquids.
Then again, maybe I should just shut up and do the review. I will, but I had to get this off my chest if only to give you some context for the review below.
On With The Review…
Since we received sampler-sized bottles, 10ML, we assigned Tom McBride and myself to do the review. The reason Tom is helping out on this review is because several of the flavors we review below are tobacco flavors, and seeing as how Tom is a master of tobacco flavored eLiquid he was the obvious choice.
In general terms, eVo eLiquid flavors profiles are without personality, but are intensely flavorful nonetheless. The eLiquids are 100% American made and American sourced. The packaging is more than acceptable, plastic bottles with a wraparound label consisting the name, size, nicotine strength, batch number, and best used by date. All the things you want on an eLiquid bottle.
Every flavor we reviewed had plenty of flavor. Most of them were authentic and true-to-form. The viscosity of the liquids is middle of the road; not super thin, not super thick. We had no issues with dripping them into cartomizers, clearomizers, and various tanks.
We are scoring them in the usual manner, the 1-5 Star method, with 1 Stars meaning it is basically unvapeable and 5 meaning it is a great flavor, excellent recipe, and the best in its class. Since all but 3 of them were 10ML bottles there was just enough to spend a couple of days in all.
Since there is no website to draw information about each flavor we’re left with no official description. We cannot tell if they’ve come close to their stated flavor profile because there is no profile, but we’ll manage.
These flavors are listed in no particular order.
Maraschino (Cherry Pipe Tobacco?) –
Julia – 4.99 Stars A really good, deeply flavorful pipe tobacco vape with a nice touch of cherry. Vapor output was magnificent and the throat hit was excellent as well. If you like pipe tobacco vapes you could love this one. It is easy to see where EVo/Nicopure’s strengths are, it’s in their tobacco flavor juices.
Tom: 5 Stars – For a light cherry, full flavored pipe tobacco eLiquid there isn’t anything better than this one, at least not that I have encountered anyway. I loved vaping it and would love to get more. The vapor output was as huge as taking a big drag from a fully stuffed, fully lit tobacco pipe. This was one flavor that should have been sent in a 30ML bottle. I hated to run out of it. I did manage to take a cartomizer and fill it up before it was gone, and I have sealed it in a plastic bag and will save it for future use. Maraschino is a homerun.
Julia: 3.99 Stars – I had high hopes for Caramel Coconut and I was crushed when it didn’t live up to its first 10 minutes of vaping. Caramel Coconut has a lot of caramel and coconut flavoring, the first few puffs are delicious. Out of this world delicious as a matter of fact. Then the artificial flavors kick in and all of a sudden its not very good at all. So disappointed, I thought I had found another diamond in the rough to add to my rotation. Great vapor production, good throat hit, it had everything going for it.
Tom: 4 Stars – The initial taste of this caramel and coconut concoction is awesome. You really taste a sweet and heavy coconut, the vapor production is excellent, and the throat hit was the best of the bunch. But after a bit of vaping it just begins to lose the caramel and coconut sweetness and delivers a nasty artificial flavor, an almost ‘flavorless PG’ eLiquid.
Julia: 3 Stars – A lot of spearmint flavoring went into this juice. That was a kind of a smart move because from what I know from talking to people about spearmint flavors is that there are loads of spearmint recipes out there in the marketplace but they all shy away from the flavor concentrate and use it sparingly. Nicopure did the opposite and loaded it up with Spearmint. If it hadn’t been for that the weird menthol kick it also has I would have really liked it.
Tom: 2 Stars – This is a not a good juice. You can definitely taste the spearmint but then they ruin it with cheap menthol. The kind of menthol that goes up through the nose and stays there. Very unfortunate for me because I am looking to add some good spearmint to my rotation and I thought maybe this one had a chance, but it doesn’t. In my opinion menthol and spearmint should not be mixed.
Julia: 4.5 Stars – I’m sure Tom loves this one because it is a very strong tobacco cigar flavor. If you’re not used to full flavored cigar vapes this one will set you back on your butt. It possesses a vapor production that bows to no man or woman, and a throat hit to write home about. Makes me wonder why some of their flavors have an artificial aftertaste while ones like this, and Maraschino do not. Excellent vapor and a big throat it rounds out the Habanos Robust cigar flavor. For cigars aficionado’s this would be an all-day vape.
Tom: 4.5 Stars – If you’re not a big fan of cigar vapes stay away from Habanos Robust. This is one of the best cigar vapes around. Heavy cigar flavor, excellent vapor and a medium throat hit finish it up. This taste almost, perhaps exactly, like Totally Wicked’s Disposable Cigars we reviewed a few weeks back. Some of the flavors we vaped had an artificial taste to them, but the tobacco ones do not. Too bad no one makes a refillable cigar ecigarette that would look as good as the TW disposable, because I would buy it and use this flavor to refill it.
Julia: 4 Stars – Very, very authentic cantaloupe flavor. So authentic that you really have to like cantaloupe to appreciate it. Very good vapor production and a light throat hit rounds this one out. All in all, a real delight as a good cantaloupe vape.
Tom: 4.5 Stars – A very agreeable cantaloupe vape, Cantaloupia delivers a vaporized version of the melon. Vapor output wasn’t the best of the bunch but it was no slough either. A light throat hit I’m afraid, but other than that, if you like cantaloupe this is one of the best.
Spiced Apple :
Julia: 3.5 Stars – Spiced Apple is an okay flavor, but its not so such spiced as it is cinnamon apple, which is actually better. You can definitely taste the apple and the cinnamon and they go together pretty well. Vapor was good, throat hit was a bit light, but overall I enjoyed it. Simple, and effective.
Tom: 4 Stars – The recipe for this flavor had to be fairly simple, yet effective. I enjoyed vaping Spiced Apple as it reminded me of an actual apple pie with cinnamon sugar. The vapor was good, but the throat hit left a lot to be desired. There isn’t a whole lot of complex flavors in it, and it doesn’t try to be anything more than it is.
Apple Pom Smoothie:
Julia: 3.99 Stars – Okay, there is ample amounts of Apple flavoring in the Apple Pom Smoothie, but what else? Nothing really. I would say that this is a nice apple flavor that delivers a sweet-ish apple taste with plenty of vapor. Sadly there is almost zero throat hit with it. I even tried to up the voltage further than I should have and still nothing with respect to the throat hit. I did think the apple flavoring they are using in this recipe isn’t bad at all. Would love to know what the Pom Smoothie thing is all about.
Tom: 3 Stars – A decent enough Apple eLiquid with good vapor production but with little imagination I’m afraid. Julia and I talked about the ‘smoothie’ aspect and neither of us could come up with anything. Not a bad flavor, but nothing to separate it from the pack. Good vapor, but that’s too be expected now, and a very light throat hit. Unless you’re the type to buy all your juice from a single vendor I can’t see why anyone would turn to eVo for his or her Apple flavored juice.
Julia: 4 Stars – One of the better peach flavored vapes on the market. Very peachy, but clean, sweet and full-bodied flavor. I enjoyed vaping this one, and since it was a 30ML bottle we had plenty of juice to vape. Awesome vapor and not a terribly bad throat hit. Not complex, no ‘nuances’ to talk about, but for a peach flavored vape its pretty good.
Tom: 3.75 Stars – This peach flavored eLiquid lacks originality, but that’s nothing new with a lot of vendors. A simple, full flavored peach vape, and one that I actually enjoyed. No perfumery or artificial flavors in this one, just good sweet peaches. If you’re actively seeking out good peach flavored juice then you could do a lot worse than this. Vapor is excellent, but the throat hit leaves a lot to be desired,
Julia: 4.99 Stars – Crimson Leaf is a very smooth tobacco flavor on the sweet side. Flavorful, but in a non-distinct way. I liked it a lot, and enjoyed the time I spent with it. Vapor was not the best of the bunch but it wasn’t bad either. Throat hit was light, but all the flavors were 12MG nicotine (just the way we like it), so I wasn’t expecting much more than what we got with respect to vapor.
Tom: 4.99 Stars – Crimson Leaf is not a bad eLiquid at all, very generic but certainly not bad. It is a sweet tobacco profile in many ways, but lacking a throat hit. This is not a bad vape for times when you simply want to vape without thinking a whole lot about it. Having said that, there is nothing special about it that would make you want to drop your usual tobacco flavor in order to buy this one, but if you were looking for your first tobacco flavor this would be a decent choice.
Julia: 4 Stars – Very definitely a hazelnut and coffee blend. Very nutty tones with a black coffee finish. A was vaping this one night and Keira had just made a pot of Hazelnut coffee and asked if I would like a cup. I did, and while sipping my coffee it confirmed an almost exact same flavor profile of the Hazelnut Cappuccino. Though it was almost exact, the eLiquid had just a touch of a harsh aftertaste. Not enough to complain about, but enough for me not to want to switch to another vendor for my hazelnut or coffee flavors. Vapor was good, not great, and again a weak throat hit. The PG/VG ratios are not known, but I would guess them to be in the neighborhood of 50/50 so when you combine that with the 12MG nicotine levels the end result is a thin throat hit. That’s physics baby!
Tom: 3.75 Stars – I really like the hazelnut flavoring, which was abundant in the recipe. The coffee, or rather cappuccino was somewhat bitter, with a slight scruff in the back of the throat. Not a great eLiquid, but vapor was okay. Throat hit was weak.
Julia: 4 Stars – A year ago a friend of mine was crazy in love with grape flavored eLiquids. He snatched up every grape recipe from every vendor he could find. It was an obsession for a while. So I’ve had more than my share of grape flavored eLiquid, though it’s been almost a year since I’ve had one. eVo Grape Vape is heavy on the grape, with a strong vapor output and not a bad throat hit either. If I were a grape fan this would be my grape “juice”.
Tom: 3 Stars – I have a strong dislike for grape flavored anything, so I was not in a hurry to vape this one. I saved Grape Vape for the last flavor, and I’m glad I did. This is a very, very grape recipe. Somewhat sweet, very flavorful and carries with it a good throat hit. I’m giving it 3 Stars for being extra generic. This recipe is a very simple one, PG/VG/Grape concentrate, heavy on the grape. Uninspiring, but then so few eLiquids inspire anyway. If you dig grape flavored juice this one might be a good choice for you.
Julia: 3.75 Stars – A pretty ordinary vape with a pleasant flavor of tangerine. I was expecting a more complex juice and although it wasn’t delivering on that it did manage to deliver a satisfying tangerine flavor. Not the best vapor production, but not that bad either. A light throat hit with 12MG nicotine, but if you’re looking for a solid tangerine vape this could do.
Tom: 3.5 Stars – A sweet tangerine vape that I actually liked. Less vapor than most of the others, and a very little throat hit forced down the star rating. Nothing very complicated about it, but if you like tangerine you might like this. You should know though that despite being able to produce an almost perfect replica of cantaloupe they don’t come that close with tangerine. Another thing that surprised me was that as a citrus flavor there weren’t a lot of citrus tones to it. Still a very acceptable tangerine vape.
Crème De Menthe
Julia: 4.5 Stars – I did not expect to like Crème De Menthe at all. Surprisingly I like it a lot. Although it is a menthol type vape it is also deeper, sweeter, silkier than simple menthol. More vapor that you can hit with a stick, but a light throat hit. Overall though, I can see myself vaping this flavor quite a bit. Very definitely the flavor of crème de menthe liquor, it is velvety, smooth and satisfying. A surprising, delightful, vape.
Tom: 4 Stars – An authentic crème de menthe flavor gives this juice a sweet silky texture and delicious flavor. Not in any sense a normal menthol type vape, this one is actually pleasing. Vapor is awesome, but the throat hit is very light. We received a 30ml bottle of crème de menthe and it is all gone. That is the biggest takeaway for this flavor.
Backwoods Blueberry –
Julia: 3.5 – Very weak on the blueberry flavor and that was kind of a shock. All the other flavors in our assortment had plenty of flavor except for this one. Nothing very original about Backwoods Blueberry, no real reason to want to vape it. Vapor output was as good as any other in this selection, but the throat hit was nonexistent. I wanted more from this one.
Tom: 3.5 – Backwoods Blueberry lacks flavoring, and whatever reason they chose to use the word ‘backwoods’ is lost on me. I was looking for some kind of heavy flavored blueberry with perhaps a woody type touch but all I got was a light blueberry flavor. Can’t complain about the vapor output, but sadly the throat hit wasn’t there
So there you have it. Nicopure’s eVo eLiquid line seems to be a perfectly ordinary, but acceptable, line of flavors. But, is it enough to win over many fans that have been perfectly happy with their own vendors? I doubt it. Nicopure’s best bet is to market this at a less than premium price and aim at newbies coming in from cig-a-likes. I don’t have much in the way of negatives about the juice, it just seems to be a lackluster bunch. Where’s the complexities, where are the nuances in a flavor like Tangerine Swirl, or Hazelnut Cappuccino? A couple of them nearly broke out from the pack and earned themselves a Spinfuel Choice Award but we just couldn’t get over the hurdle. Nicopure needs to try harder to be artistic with their flavors, but something tells me that is not where their interest lies.
I have no idea how big a company Nicopure is, and there are rumors that they are somehow connected to Halo Cigs (but I sincerely doubt it), and if this is the future of eLiquids due to ‘deeming regulations’ and forcing smaller companies out of business due to their lack of financial backing to build a larger or more sophisticated mixing lab then the industry is going to get very boring. We need people who own companies like the ones I mentioned above because for them it’s all about the flavors. There are some artists that put their souls into the eLiquids and I just don’t see it here with Nicopure.
Tom: I hope Julia is wrong about Nicopure. She has a sharp eye, and taste buds, for things like this so there is a better than 50/50 chance that she is correct.
Some of the tobacco flavors in this line were excellent, and some others showed potential. But the thing that really bugs me is that I too get the feeling that these flavors were designed by committee, not by flavorists that spend time and money into creating ‘designer flavors’ that can completely mesmerize the Vaper. I guess the bottom line is this; anyone can make a decent eLiquid by following a recipe and giving it proper time to steep. If Julia is correct in her assumption then I agree vaping will become a boring affair. If Nicopure is primed to step in if the FDA slams the hammer down on smaller operations there won’t be a need for reviews because they will all taste alike.
Something that bothers me about all this was only touched on by Julia… the money. How much money did Nicopure spend in order to get all these samples out to all the vapers and reviewers? As magnificent as companies like Mountain Oak Vapors and Johnson Creek are, do you really think they would send out several thousand sample bottles to anyone that asked? There is a lot of money behind Nicopure, and when money is involved it becomes more about the bottom line then anything else. The safest way for Nicopure or any other large company coming into this industry is to create “acceptable” eLiquids that appeal to the largest section of vapers. In other words, using the lowest common denominator. I sincerely hope that it doesn’t happen.
So far we’ve only seen eVo eLiquid available at Alien Vision. The price there is $7.74 for 10ML bottles. That is incredibly expensive for ANY eLiquid. To put it bluntly, Mt Baker Vapor sells 50ML (5 times as much) for $3 more. Alien Vision sells 30ML bottles of eVo for $16.50, better but still no bargain. By the way, Alien Vision is closed as we write this, some kind of payment error or something.
Our buying advice, as it stands now, is to stay put. Let’s see how this plays out. Something’s not right.
Julia Barnes and Tom McBride