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Carpe Diem eLiquid Review by the Spinfuel eLiquid Review Team
Carpe Diem, or “seize the day”, is an old Latin saying lifted from the poem written in 23 BC by Horace, appearing in Book One, Number 11. At least that’s what Wikipedia says. (link) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carpe_diem
Class Over, you’re dismissed.
For us, today, Carpe Diem is part of the name a fairly new eLiquid brand from Round Rock Texas, Carpe Diem Vapor. Does this old Latin phrase play a role in the worldview of the company’s owner ‘Lacy’, or was it perhaps chosen because of Lacy’s passion for vaping. Whatever the reason the Spinfuel eLiquid Review Team is seizing the day and presenting an all-new team review of 10 of the eLiquids produced by Carpe Diem Vapor.
All Day Vapes
Carpe Diem strives to create eLiquids that can be vaped throughout the day. Known in our universe as “all-day-vapes” or ADV’s, for the most part Carpe Diem has done just that. All but one or two were considered by the team to be all day vapes. But this also presented a challenge, which I’ll explain below.
So, what do we mean by “all day vapes”? For any eLiquid to work as an all-day-vape it needs to have consistent flavor and vapor, but the flavors cannot be overwhelming. Nor can they be underwhelming. A careful balance must be achieved, and that is a very difficult thing to do.
Heavily flavored eLiquids can wind up just like anything else we might consider “over the top”; people adjust to it, become desensitized to it, and it rewires the brain to make it believe this normal. So the next time we vape, in order to get the same sense of being overwhelmed with the flavor it has to be even bigger flavor experience. If that doesn’t happen then the experience is now underwhelming. That can be a problem.
At the same time, an eLiquid that tries to be an all day vape by playing down the flavor runs the risk of becoming almost ghostly like in its flavor experience. If you’re a vaper of heavy flavors then vaping subtle flavors can be a disaster. In some of the flavors below that is exactly what happened.
In a perfect world an all-day-vape has great flavor and great vapor, but it isn’t overwhelming or underwhelming, it’s enough to satisfy without being overbearing.
The flavors used by Carpe Diem Vapors are applied with a soft brush…sometimes too soft, but some manage to be delicious and satisfying, without hitting you over the head. In that respect we found the Carpe Diem lineup to be a very unique. You’ll have a better handle on this below when we begin the reviews for each eLiquid.
We do have to admit something upfront, before we go on. Our team is made up of heavy vapers. Not more than 15 minutes goes by before we are all grabbing our vape gear and happily vaping away. Our ‘need’ for heavier flavors revealed themselves early on, probably within 12 hours of beginning the review period. Although we were able to adequately score the eLiquids, many of them reflect the opinion of being too subtle, or so subtle as to miss one of the flavor elements altogether.
That’s not to say that we were unjust in some of our criticism, but it does reveal the need for stronger flavors for ‘us’. So, as you read the comments for the eLiquids keep in mind just who are delivering these comments, heavy vapers, tobacco flavor vapers, vapers that enjoy flavors that can land a punch. If you do that then this review can assist you in deciding whether or not to give Carpe Diem a try. If you’re a vaper that enjoys subtle flavors you’re in for a real treat.
Packaging – Pricing – Sizes
All eLiquids from Carpe Diem Vapor are shipped in cobalt blue glass bottles with a glass eyedropper and silver colored labels. The labels contain all the information you should expect, from the date the eliquid was mixed and bottled, ingredients, nicotine strength, and more. In the coming days to weeks new labels will be introduced to include batch and lot numbers as well. Additionally, caps are shrink-wrapped now but you can expect to see childproof and cap-snap bottles very soon.
Pricing is in the lower level for premium eLiquids and make no mistake, the Carpe Diem Vapor line is a premium line. They are as follows:
- 15ML – $7.99
- 30ML – $12.98
- 60ML – $26.99
Nicotine strengths begin at 6mg, followed by 12mg and topping out at 18mg, and of course zero-nicotine.
When creating new recipes for the lineup the mixologist at Carpe Diem Vapor use a myriad of hardware configurations. In our review we used the usual vape gear we always use, including but not limited to various batteries and APV’s like the ZMAX, the ProVari, a Sigelei 20W, iTaste’s and Vision Spinners I and II’s. Cartomizers, clearomizers, and various tanks were also used. We’ll touch on specific equipment and ‘sweet spots’ found by each member of the team during the individual comments below.
Spinfuel Choice Award and Scoring
The Spinfuel Choice Award is awarded to an eLiquid if all members of the team find a specific eLiquid to be ‘excellent’ in all the areas we look at. Flavor, flavor complexity, vapor production, satisfaction, and accuracy of the description given by Carpe Diem. We no longer use ‘throat hit’ as a factor in our scoring since PG/VG ratios, nicotine levels, and even the hardware used can make or break a good throat hit. We’ll mention it, but that’s about it.
Scoring – Below is the scoring method used by our team.
5 Stars – Beautifully executed flavor and vapor. Authentic and plentiful flavor profile, accurate description by the vendor. Satisfying vape experience, would definitely buy again. Excellent juice.
4 Stars– Nicely done. Good to excellent flavor and vapor. Authentic flavor profile, close to or ‘spot on’ accurate description by the vendor, satisfying vape. Could certainly see ourselves buying it again. A Really good juice!
3 Stars – Nicely done, but not very special. Average flavor and vapor. Could have easily switched to another flavor without missing a beat. It was okay, but not something we would necessarily buy, and we won’t add it to our collection or rotation. Average juice.
2 Stars – Not a very good execution. Poor to average flavor profile. Vapor and flavor muted or hidden under artificial or chemical taste. Low to average vapor. Couldn’t wait to change out to something else. Not buying it, won’t add it, wouldn’t give it away. “Can we throw this away now?” Poor.
1 Star – Unvapeable. A really poor experience. Chemical or artificial taste and/or aftertaste. 3 drags and we’re out. Tossed it in the trash. Wouldn’t give it away. Horrible.
All eLiquids in this review are 50/50 PG/VG. This is the only ratio available by Carpe Diem Vapor. This 50/50 split provides plenty of vapor production and because all eLiquids are formulated to work as all day vapes, flavors are mild throughout.
Sometimes that mild flavor works completely in their favor, other times team members wanted ‘more’. In any case, the eLiquids are not overly thick, but certainly not thin. We were able to use the eyedropper to fill a simple cartomizer and the atomizers in each device never failed to deliver. Even ‘hidden coil’ coils found in X.Jet and Aspire worked well.
If we could drive home one specific characteristic about Carpe Diem Vapor’s eLiquids it would be that none of the eLiquids in our review were overpowered with flavor, in fact, most were the opposite.
The Carpe Diem 10
The Following eLiquids were reviewed: Whispering Eye, Caramel My Apple, Banana Ride, Slevin, Lemon My Cupcake, Mango Me, NomNom, Puffy Clouds, Strawberry NomNom and The Shocker.
Nicotine strengths were 18mg for each eLiquid in the review. All eLiquids in our review were mixed on March 19th, 2014. They were ‘vaped’ by the team between April 8th and the 11th.
The eLiquids Reviewed
#1 – The Shocker – “This premium e juice will knock your socks off. Give it a try. Hints of sherbet and more.” (This flavor was tweaked by Carpe Diem after March 20th, 2014)
Julia: Wow, these eLiquids were not easy to score. I liked most of them, including this one, The Shocker, but according to our own criteria they are very difficult to pigeonhole.
The Shocker, by name alone, indicates a powerful flavor, but the reality is that it is a very tame flavor. There are definitely sherbet notes in the flavor profile, lots of vapor and a mild throat hit. But it did not blow my socks off.
Bottom line? A mild, all day vape, with sweet fruity sherbet notes. A workhorse eLiquid. Not a lot of play with voltage, best vaped with a standard resistance atomizer at 3.7v. – 4.0 Stars
Tom: Sometimes a mild flavored vape is exactly what you want, though for me, not so much. I liked the excellent sherbet touches, and it’s definitely something that a lot of people could and would vape all day long, but for me I like my ‘flavors’ somewhat stronger. Still, a nice mild vape for relaxing. Vaped with my own Vision Spinner and an iClear 16D at 3.8v. – 4 Stars
Keira: I really liked this one. Light, slightly sweet sherbet flavors like raspberry and orange sherbet, good vapor, but a light throat hit. A light flavored all day vape, sweet, and something that won’t have you running for something new after a couple of hours. 4.25 Stars
Jason: I’m not sure about The Shocker. First, I don’t get the name, it isn’t shocking to me. Not sure why this would knock my socks off. But, having said that, it was a nice, all around flavor, sweet and slightly fruity. Definitely taste the sherbet, but its mild. For people looking for a mild all day vape, this is a good choice. 4.25 Stars
# 2 –Whispering Eye – “What can we say? It has a funny name but an even more awesome flavor! Hints of strawberry and cream and more. A subtle vape that is not overpowering at all.”
Julia: Not overpowering. That’s the theme of the day here, none of them are over powering, though some are a little heavier with ‘flavor’ than others are. Whispering Eye is one of the milder ones, with very light strawberry notes. I couldn’t detect any ‘creamy’ notes to it though. Not bad, not great, just ‘good’. 4.0 Stars
Tom: Again we’re faced with a lightly flavored juice that some people would love to vape all day and others would find boring. The strawberry is light, much lighter than in Strawberry NomNom, but still not a bad vape. Spending 3 days with eLiquids like this drove me a little crazy to be honest. I wanted to vape something very strong, very heavy when the review was over. On of my least liked juices in this review. 3.75 Stars
Keira: Sometimes I think I’m the opposite of Tom when it comes to what I like in certain eLiquids. Whispering Eye is a lightly flavored juice but there is something about it that makes me want to keep vaping it. Lots of vapor, just the right amount of strawberry notes to make it an all day pleasure. This was excellent. 4.5 Stars
Jason: I don’t know, I could hardly taste any strawberry or cream in Whispering Eye. This was a neutral flavor, slightly sweet, lots of vapor, but nothing exciting or enticing. 3.5 Stars
#3 – Banana Ride – “Love banana pudding? This is the vape for you. All of our e juices are subtle making them suitable as an all day vape. We have found that juices with too much flavor just don’t create a good all day vape because they become overbearing. The flavor is definitely there but it’s not overpowering.”
Julia: This juice was much stronger in flavor, banana flavor, then most of the others. However, it is still a lighter flavor then most banana vapes I’ve had. The description is right, juice with heavy flavor are hard to vape all day long, but while vaping Banana Ride I got a constant flavor of banana but it wasn’t enough to put me off it. 4.5 Stars
Tom: This was the second flavor I vaped in this review. This was the point that forced me to change gears and not review these eLiquids like the others we’ve reviewed. All of these eLiquids are much lighter in flavor then any others I’ve had, so I have to rate them according to what Carpe Diem set out to do, and in that vein they did exactly what they wanted. This is an example of a banana flavored juice that doesn’t overwhelm you with banana so that you can vape it much longer than usual rather than wanting to switch out the flavor an hour or so later. Good job! 4.25 Stars
Keira: Well, the banana flavor was authentic, but mild, and something vapers could easily vape for hours. Loved the vapor production with this one, and a stronger than average throat hit. If I were looking to vape a banana flavor all day this would be it. 4.0 Stars
Jason: A ripe banana flavor permeates this eLiquid, and it is just the right amount for an all day vape. I’m not so sure this is a banana pudding flavor though, I can’t really taste the vanilla or vanilla wafer flavors. Good vapor, a better throat hit, and a pleasant vape. These mild, or light, flavored juices are different than most, and seen in the light of all day vapes they hit that mark most of the time. 4.25 Stars
#4 – Slevin – A Spinfuel Choice Award Winner – “This flavor is full of depth and has hints of cinnamon apples, ice cream and more. Imagine a nice warm piece of apple cobbler with a scoop of ice cream.”
Julia: The first time I vaped Slevin I had no idea what the description was going to say, so I studied it, tried to take apart each complex element of the flavor. Man, it was hard to do, and after a while I gave up and just had to admit that this was a completely new flavor combination. A magical one at that. I could get the cinnamon apple flavor, just barely, but there were other aspects I couldn’t nail down…until I finally read the description and then all the flavors lit up like a Christmas tree. This is a unique, strange, delicious flavor and one heck of a great vape. 5 Stars
Tom: I knew there had to be at least one ‘star’ flavor in this review. All of the eLiquids are blended to be all day vapes, so the flavors are lighter in order to stay with you, but Slevin, while also mild, is completely unique and undeniably awesome. I would bet though that some people won’t like it because of the unidentifiable components of this complex flavor. Lots of vapor rounds out this marvelous eLiquid. 5 Stars
Keira: Slevin was somewhere in the middle of the ten flavors I vaped, so I was used to these mild, long lasting flavors and I expected them to go on through the whole lineup. Then I fill a clearomizer with Slevin and freaked out. Slevin is 100% different than the rest, totally and utterly unique flavor combination. Wow, just awesome stuff! 5 Stars
Jason: Slevin is one of the strangest, yet delicious vapes I’ve had in a long time. I get the cinnamon part of the vape, but the other parts are both weird and unbelievable. Very creative use of some common flavors that produce something so delicious and so different. I want more. 5 Stars
#5 – Lemon My Cupcake – “This is a truly delicious vape. It incorporates cream, lemons and more to satisfy your vappetite!”
Julia: The lemon in this is very apparent without being very strong. The lemon works, really works, in an all day blend. However, the part I didn’t understand was when I vaped this one in a clearomizer every flavor component popped well, the lemon and the cupcake flavors I mean, but when I tried it in a cartomizer the cupcake flavor was gone and all I got was a mild lemon flavor.
A terrific all day vape if you plan to vape in a clearomizer, but be careful with cartomizers, this one changes on you. Best as a warm vapor vape, so bump the voltage or wattage or go with low resistance coils. 4.25 Stars
Tom: I’m not overly fond of eLiquids with this kind of flavor profile, but because it was far from overpowering I was able to vape it much longer than I would otherwise. The lemon is a sweet, less tangy lemon, which I liked, and the cupcake/cake flavor added the perfect amount to fool the senses that this was a lemon cake flavor. 4.5 Stars
Keira: Seriously, for my personal vaping this one is my favorite of the ten. I liked it better than Slevin, which is a darker flavor than Lemon My Cupcake. I could, and did, vape this all day long. Just the right amount of flavors, excellent vapor, and very satisfying. I vaped this at 3.9v with my ZMAX and an Aspire Vivi Nova. 5 Stars
Jason: Not the kind of eLiquids I usually go for, but it was still a surprisingly pleasant vape. Light lemon and cupcake flavors made up this simple, all day vape. A nice surprise! 4.75 Star
#6 – Mango Me – “This is a mango flavor vape. It also incorporates some other fruity flavors but the dominant flavor is mango.”
Julia: I’ve had several Mango flavors in the past year or two, and I think I know what to expect. I get that all the eLiquids are flavored less so you can vape them longer, but truthfully I couldn’t taste the mango. I tasted a sweet, unknown fruity mix that was pleasant enough to vape, but unexciting. Average. 3.25 Stars
Tom: Where is the mango? – 3 Stars
Keira: I for one really enjoyed Mango Me. I think its because the mango flavor was very light, slightly sweet, and it didn’t clobber me over the head like some other mango flavors I’ve had.
If you see the name Mango Me you’re going to want to taste mango, and you do, but only lightly. Some people will still expect more. I liked this one a lot, but I knew it was going to go light on the mango flavor, if our readers know this they won’t expect a heavy mango punch. 4.25 Stars
Jason: Mango Me was the last eLiquid in this review for me, and I have to admit that by the time it came around to me I was ready to go back to heavier flavors. All day vapes are great, and Carpe Diem are the Kings of all day vapes if you ask me, but 72 hours of lightly flavored juice was just too long for me.
Mango Me was very, very light on the Mango. To me it was barely noticeable, a little sweet, lots of vapor, and probably a lot of vapers idea of the perfect all day vape. I wanted more by this time, and Mango Me didn’t do it for me. 3.5 Star
#7 – NomNom – “Tons of subtle flavor will leave you wanting more NOMNOM! Hints of brown sugar cinnamon, cream and more!”
Julia: Okay, I don’t understand how you can have a “ton” of subtle. Subtle is light, not heavy, or am I going crazy? (Don’t answer that). NomNom is a delicious eLiquid though, with a definite brown sugar flavor and a touch of cinnamon. I don’t get much of a cream flavor though. I enjoyed it, but not nearly as much as Strawberry NomNom. 3.75 Stars
Tom: NomNom is a dark brown sugar and cinnamon vape, heavier than most of the other flavors, and definitely a sweet vape. But, the flavor falls into that small spot I have for eLiquids I enjoy vaping in a review but would never buy for myself. Like being at a friends house where you get something to drink, and you like it, but its not something you’re going to buy for your refrigerator. Decent vapor, a light throat hit, and okay flavor. 3.75 Stars
Keira: I’m so surprised by NomNom. I vaped Strawberry NomNom first and found it award winning, but this one, which I’m led to believe is strawberry nomnom without the strawberry isn’t very good at all. To me it tastes like burnt brown sugar. 2.75 Stars
Jason: I’m not crazy about brown sugar vapes, and that is exactly what NomNom is. Kind of strange, dark, sickly sweet. I cannot recommend it though I know people that absolutely love it. 2.75 Stars
#8 – Puffy Clouds – “Have you ever wondered what puffy clouds might taste like? Give this E Liquid a try and you can find out for yourself! It incorporates a very refreshing cool inhale with a slight fruity exhale.”
Julia: If you ever wanted a cool vape that you could vape all day then you’ll find it here in Puffy Clouds. The coolness comes from a mint, not menthol, and it’s just light enough to not get tiring or harsh, and sweet enough to keep you coming back. I was surprised I liked it as much as I did. Great vapor too! 4.5 Stars
Tom: Maybe it was the timing, I don’t know, but Puffy Clouds was a really good cool vape. I like an eLiquid that had an element of coolness to it without being overbearing. It felt like a natural vape, with plenty of vapor, and plenty of flavor. One of the best of the ten. 4.5 Stars
Keira: After the disappointing NomNom I picked up Puffy Clouds and man was I ever relieved. This is a very good juice, with just the right amount of cool freshness and just enough sweetness to it that it really put me in a good mood. Lots of vapor, and fun to vape, makes Puffy Clouds one of my favorites of the bunch. 5 Stars
Jason: One of the last eLiquids in this review and I was half expecting a cool vape with zero flavor. Seriously, I thought it would be tasteless. Instead it was a minty kind of flavor that produced huge clouds of vapor. I enjoyed it a lot. 4.25 Stars
#9 – Strawberry NomNom – “NomNom but with hints of strawberry and more.”
Julia: How can the addition of a strawberry jam flavor make such a huge difference? This eLiquid has an excellent flavor profile consisting of a sweet full-bodied strawberry with a little extra sweetness. I cannot detect any of the NomNom flavors in this, other than a candy-like sweetness. 4.5 Stars
Tom: Another light flavored juice only this time it’s a sweet strawberry flavor. Strawberry NomNom is okay, it produces good vapor, a light throat hit, and definitely something strawberry lovers would be able to vape as an all day vape. 3.75 Stars
Keira: I loved this one for what it was, a sweet strawberry vape that could stay with you for hours because it doesn’t hit you over the head with something heavy. A mild strawberry vape with a touch of extra sweetness. Good vapor too. 5 Stars
Jason: This one makes me think that Carpe Diem is putting too much into this whole niche area of light, subtle flavors. I think Strawberry NomNom could have been so much better had they upped the strawberry flavor instead of keeping a lid on it. This particular strawberry flavoring is very good, there just wasn’t enough of it. 3.5 Stars
#10 – Caramel My Apple – “This juice incorporates caramel, apples and more to create a unique blend that will bring back memories of your childhood.”
Julia: This eLiquid was loaded with caramel, a dark caramel, but hardly any Apple flavoring. The caramel tasted sort of burnt, and without apple to balance it, I’m afraid it was a big miss. 2 Stars
Tom: Unfortunately I think Carpe Diem needs to redo this flavor from top to bottom. I didn’t like the caramel flavoring used here, and there was no apple flavor to be found. A swing and a miss. 2 Stars
Keira: I’ve had many caramel apple eLiquids so I know what to expect. This one had plenty of caramel, but it wasn’t a very good caramel, it tasted “old”. As for apple, there just wasn’t any, at least I couldn’t taste any. 2.5 Stars
Jason: A caramel apple eLiquid has to balance itself in order to deliver a good vape and I’m afraid this one is unbalanced to the extreme. I didn’t like the caramel flavoring at all and the apple flavor was something I may have imagined, it was that light. I was hoping for much more, sadly I didn’t get it. 2.25 Stars
I think that for us we needed more flavor in almost every instance, despite our understanding that Carpe Diem Vapor is all about subtleness. For this team many flavors were too subtle, and they got lost many times.
All of us know other vapers that adore Carpe Diem eLiquids, so it’s not as though Carpe Diem doesn’t know how to produce a good eLiquid. We’re sure they do, but it was obvious by our discussions that after two years of this we cannot vape ten eLiquids all designed to deliver a subtle flavor experience without missing the heavier flavored eLiquids.
We hope that many of you who happen to seek out subtle flavors, who might think that too many eLiquid vendors go too far with flavor overload, will try Carpe Diem and report back on what you think. And for our readers that are steady customers of Carpe Diem, let us know what you think as well. What were we missing with some of these flavors? Did we take on this type of eLiquid longer than we should have?
Buying Advice is easy for Carpe Diem Vapor. They are certainly affordable, and the packaging is terrific. You can trust that the product and the vendor.
If you require an eLiquid with a lot of flavor then this is not your brand. Having said that, if, on the other hand, you like subtlety, and look for eLiquids that provide just enough flavor to make it a good all day vape, then any of the above will do. Pick the “flavors” you like already and try the Care Diem version. Other than that, Slevin is that rare eLiquid that hits a homeroom every time. It was the only eLiquid we could all agree was a Spinfuel Choice Award winner. Slevin is spectacular.
As always, your comments mean a lot to us, so spill it. Tell us what you think. Oh, and check out the Interview with Carpe Diem Vapor here.
Julia Hartley-Barnes, Keira Hartley-Barnes, Tom McBride, Jason Little