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Aces Vapor Joshua Gearheart talks with Tom McBride and Julia Hartley-Barnes
SPINFUEL: Welcome to the pages of Spinfuel. We’ve been looking forward to talking to you. Would you like to introduce yourselves to our readers?
Thanks Julia, I’m glad to have this opportunity. My name is Joshua Gearheart and I’m the founder/owner of Aces Vapor, LLC.
SPINFUEL: Getting down to business; Who or what inspired you to get into the e-juice business? When was that?
Like everyone else, I’d tried tons of liquids from many of the big vendors out there. It seemed like the ones I really enjoyed were too expensive to vape everyday so about a year and a half ago I decided to start mixing my own. I started out with simple flavors until I felt that I had them down and then started combining flavors to come up with more complex flavors. Once I had five down that I really felt worked well together, I started passing them out to other vapers that I knew and getting their feedback. Months of tweaking later, I felt solid enough about them to release them for sale as our premium Spades line. Since then we’ve only had one other flavor that we’ve felt was ready to be called a Spade, but there are others in the works now.
SPINFUEL: Where are you located? What’s the local and state level situation there with respect to electronic cigarettes?
We’re based out of Northeastern Kentucky. Kentucky has always been a tobacco state so we’ve not really seen much opposition here. They did pass the law restricting sales to minors not long ago, and they’ve left the flavors and taxes alone so that’s been a good thing.
SPINFUEL: Why “Aces Vapor”? Does the name have a history, a meaning behind it?
It was actually a stroke of luck. I’ve been into cards since I was young, but I never thought about using it for the company until I’d tried dozens of other names that were either too hard to brand or did not have available domain names. I honestly don’t remember what struck me to try Aces, but as soon as I did I knew that it was a winner.
SPINFUEL: When you launched Aces Vapor how did you decide on your first flavor or “set” of flavors?
The first few including Beginner’s Luck and Lady Luck were based on my own preferences. The others I asked other friends who vaped what they wanted and used the most popular to create our premium Spades line.
SPINFUEL: It seems that no matter how many eLiquid vendors we review, they all have their own “signature” recipes. Each brand is different, which I find remarkable and exciting. With just a handful of ingredients each company is able to create their own specific traits, or flavor profile. How would you describe your signature/profile?
I try to come up with combinations that haven’t been used before. I try to stay away from the popular liquids by the big brands because I don’t want to get into a rut of chasing something that someone else has already done. I would much rather my liquids be unique and original.
SPINFUEL: We steep all the eLiquids we receive for review purposes, even if we’re told there is no need to do so. It’s become a habit I suppose. Do you steep your eLiquids before they are shipped to customers? If so, how long do they sit before you ship them out? If you do not, do you suggest that customers ‘home steep’ them before vaping?
All of our liquids are formulated and tested to make sure they taste great as soon as you open the box, but most of them will mature after a week or two.
SPINFUEL: Let’s talk about packaging. How are your eLiquids packaged?
All of our liquid comes in a glass bottle with a child-resistant dropper. We also include a playing card with the business contact information as well as a promotional poker chip with the Aces logo on it.
SPINFUEL: There is a lot of concern these days about how and where eLiquids are being made. Could you describe your ‘mixing’ area? Where do you do your mixing?
All mixing is done in a sanitary food-grade environment with plans to expand to a fully functional clean room in the near future.
SPINFUEL: What assurances do you have to make sure the nicotine levels in your individual bottles of e-Liquid are what they are supposed to be?
All of our nicotine is titrate tested twice – once upon receipt from the manufacturer and once upon it’s dilution to the working level. We also randomly titrate bottles to ensure that all levels are correct.
SPINFUEL: Do you mix everyday?
Of course. We’re always busy filling orders and working on new flavor recipes!
SPINFUEL: Do you have a specific audience in mind for your eLiquids? In other words, are your eJuices best used with cartomizers, tanks, and clearomizers? Does it matter?
I want everyone to be able to enjoy our liquids, no matter what hardware they are using. To that effect we test on a variety of setups when creating our flavors. Granted, certain setups used by advance vapers are tailor made to enhance flavor but you can use our liquid in any device and have a great experience.
SPINFUEL: What is your suggested, or “house blend” for PG/VG ratio for your eJuice? Is there a reason for that ratio?
Our house blend is a near 50/50 mix but we do favor VG. I find that this mix gives the best all-around blend of flavor and vapor production.
SPINFUEL: What makes a good all-day-vape? Do you try to make all your eLiquids all-day-vapes, or do you develop certain recipes for an all-day-vape?
For me an all-day-vape is something that has a great flavor profile and vapor production, but isn’t so powerful that you get tired of it. It’s really hard to develop something with that in mind, though, because everyone’s taste and opinion is different.
SPINFUEL: Which flavor is the most popular with your customers?
Lady Luck and Maverick are currently the most popular with our internet customers while Underdog seems to be a big hit with the locals.
SPINFUEL: Were you a smoker before you switched to vaping? If so, what made you decide to quit smoking?
I smoked for 16 years before making the switch. I’d tried quitting dozens of times before using just about every method out there. When my wife became pregnant with my son, I knew I had to quit.
SPINFUEL: What type (and/or brand) of eCigarette did you use to break away from analogs?
I actually started out with a cigalike that I picked up from Walmart. The cartridges were expensive and they rarely had the ones I liked in stock so I started looking for ways to refill them myself. My research led me to the more advanced setups that I didn’t even know were out there at the time and I just went from there.
SPINFUEL: How long did it take to completely leave analogs behind?
I quit immediately. I actually picked up an analog about a year ago while out with some friends. I took one draw and tossed the pack. The taste was horrible.
SPINFUEL: Do you have a “favorite” flavor? What is your favorite category of eLiquids for your personal vaping? Fruity, tobacco-based, sweet, and so forth?
I prefer desert or fruit-type vapes. We don’t have any tobacco flavors yet because I haven’t found a combination that I’m satisfied will appeal to new vapers and those like me who have been off of analogs for some time. We’re definitely working on them, though!
SPINFUEL: Is there anything else you’d like to say to our readers while you have their complete attention?
I’m just happy to have this opportunity to reach out to them. We receive great feedback everyday and I can’t stress enough how important that is. We go over every suggestion that we get and if it’s something that we can do better, we take every step possible to do so. I just want to thank everyone who has tried and will try us in the future. There is no greater reward than having people enjoy something that you’ve created!
SPINFUEL: I can’t thank you enough for talking with us today. We look forward to arranging a “sequel” down the road.
I hope so Tom and Julia and thank you for having me! I’ll be sure to reach out when we have a few more flavors for you to try.