E-Liquid Artists are the Flavorists!
I know, I know, the definition of “flavorists” is someone that is trained to isolate and blend natural and artificial ingredients so as to create certain smells and tastes of specific foods. But, because the magical mixing of Propylene Glycol, Vegetable Glycerin, and natural or artificial concentrates creates a liquid that can be vaporized in the amazing little machines is so new there hasn’t been enough time to come up with an official name for all the Ginger’s, Steve’s, Brandy’s, Andrea’s, Victoria’s, Chris’s and Jennifer’s, Jah & Nicole, and countless others, who work day and night doing what they do best. Creating eJuice, smoke juice, vapor juice, eLiquid, or whatever you want to call it, in order that we can savor the delicious vapor these liquids produce. “Flavorists” just sound right, ya know?
This piece is about the men and women that we take for granted. It’s about the Flavorists. It’s a tribute to their genius, their hard work, their American Exceptionalism.
When I began my career in professional photography I was told, time after time, that the only way I would make it as an ‘artist’ and not a craftsman, was to develop my own unique style. People who viewed my work needed to recognize it as mine. No matter what the subject, or setting, or even the equipment used, I had to dig into my soul and discover just what it was that pushed me toward becoming an artist. Whatever it was I had to nurture it, develop it, bring it into the physical world and apply it to every photograph I made. Trust me, it took a long time to develop my style (and yet only minutes to discover that the only subject I was passionate enough to photograph was beautiful women. Go figure.)
After sampling my, oh I don’t know, 10th eJuice brand I guess, I noticed, or at least ‘took note of’, the uniqueness of each brand of eLiquid I vaped. Each brand was different from the other. For example, every “RY4” I vaped had its own signature. “How could that be?” I thought, “There are only a few different ingredients in these liquids, how can every RY4 taste different?” It took me a while, but it came to me that, just as a writer, photographer, painter, sculptor, and so forth, created the same ‘things’, only differently, the people behind the eLiquids were doing the very same thing. They had each created their own ‘style’.
This ‘style’ accounts for the fact that you or me prefer brand X’s version of a certain flavor over another brand version of the same flavor. Yet it goes deeper than that. This style can reach out to all the flavors created by Brand X’s flavorists.
If I liked a certain flavor from a certain ‘brand’ than chances are nearly every flavor (but not all) made by that brand would also become a flavor I liked. It’s not that I know what to expect from Brand X when I decide to try another flavor though. While each flavor is unique and stands on its own there is a subtle style at play that tells me that it comes from the same company.
Allow me to illustrate what I mean by using two specific brands. I ask that the other companies that do not get mentioned here not to be offended, you may not get a personal nod from me in this piece, but you get my orders when I run low. These two companies, or brands, are being called out by name because they are vastly different in style but equally loved by me.
Ginger’s eJuice – You’ve undoubtedly read something by me, whether its here in these pages or on Twitter or Facebook, where I have mentioned Ginger’s eJuice. There’s a reason for that; I vape her liquids just about every single day.
I fell in lust for Ginger’s Vanilla Iced Cupcake some weeks back. I’ve had other cupcake flavors, even vanilla cupcake flavors, but there is something about Ginger’s that just grabs me. I can’t get enough of the stuff at times. It’s like she’s added heroin to the mix or something. I go through that flavor like crazy.
A couple weeks after I discovered Ginger’s Vanilla Iced Cupcake I found a nearly empty bottle of Ginger’s “Old fashioned Sugar Cookie” in the bottom drawer of my desk. I have no idea where it came from or how it came to be there, but there it was. I filled an empty cartomizer with the remaining juice and vaped it. Bam! I loved it! Ginger’s eJuice Old-Fashioned Sugar Cookie is just phenomenal! I had to have more and I promptly ordered more (and no, I don’t get it free).
I knew, or I could tell, that this Old Fashioned Sugar Cookie was a Ginger’s eJuice flavor by the very first drag from my eCigarette. I just could. It tasted nothing like the Vanilla Iced Cupcake, but it did taste like a Ginger’s eJuice. From then on whatever Ginger makes chances are I’m going to like it. Now, I admit that I don’t like every single flavor from Ginger’s Genius, but if I didn’t like it I could identify it as hers.
Mountain Oak Vapors
A company that creates eJuice that is 180 degrees different than Ginger’s eJuice is Mountain Oak Vapors. The first flavor from MOV I tried was their “Heavenly 7”. A deep and rich cacophony of flavors that touch every synapse in my brain. After Heavenly 7 came the MOV Legendary, then the Classic CountRY4, then more and more. Every one was easily identifiable as an MOV flavor, yet each one was distinctly different. Unique. Delicious. If I received an anonymous bottle filled with an MOV flavor I would be able to tell it was MOV in an instant. Like Ginger’s eJuice, Mountain Oak Vapors have their own style. It is a style, a ‘stamp’ on the DNA that I recognize, and for some reason they resonate with me every bit as much as Ginger’s eJuice.
This is what I mean by “style”. Each flavor in the lineup different, yet unmistakably theirs.
I developed a relationship with several brands and I began to explore all the flavors for each brand, building up an arsenal of 30ML bottles of liquids I wouldn’t want to live without. And I look forward to whatever these brands come up with next. Consider; like nearly every Baby Boomer, A song by the Beatles could very well be completely different yet you know in an instant it’s the Beatles. Or The Rolling Stones. Or Pink Floyd. Or Led Zeppelin. You just know.
The Art of eLiquid is very real. And it is an art form that not many can achieve. There are countless eJuice companies in the US, and there are many that the staff of Spinfuel has discovered, embraced, and adored in Spinfuel. There are countless many yet to be discovered I’m sure.
Creating liquids for vaping is also a very personal art. So much so that it is extremely difficult to criticize. “Who are we to pass negative judgment on someone’s art?” I would say. You now the old adage; I may not know art, but I know what I like. Or better yet, “Art is in the eye of beholder.” No wait, that’s beauty.
In any case, it is very hard to slam someone’s personal artistic efforts. So, as an online magazine that was created to introduce the reader to ‘all things vaping’, what can we do when we discover a brand that we don’t particularly like? The answer is easier than you might think. It is here, in this one area, where we change the mission statement. We will vape the product and if it is a unanimous opinion that the brand just doesn’t cut it, as a whole, we don’t write about them. And that has happened here more than once. A few times. And I believe that we do right thing by not writing about.
The Subjective Meets The Art
This one area, American Made, Custom eLiquids, is just different than any other aspect of vaping. When we decided to review American Made eJuice we did so in hopes that more and more people would discover the great Art that is being created here in America. No brand that we have reviewed mixes eLiquids by the gallon, well, except Johnson Creek and I’m not even sure of that. There are no large machines cranking out vats of liquids and a factory line that fills bottle after bottle. American made eJuice, even as large as Johnson Creek is a more personal endeavor than the large Chinese Corporations that produce thousands of gallons every day. To the Chinese, eLiquid is just another commodity.
Try comparing the American Made eJuice cottage industry to the Chinese eJuice industry like this; one artist paints an original painting, one stroke at a time, each stroke with purpose, meaning, and inspiration. Then there are the assembly line paintings that you see on furniture store walls. Thousands of copies, and all the same sunset, waterfall, foliage, and so on. Meaningless. Empty. Vapid. All painted by craftsman, not artists, and one by one they move through the assembly line and onto the showroom walls. The American Flavorists create original works of art; they don’t work the assembly line.
So, on those occasions when the particular work of art doesn’t strike a cord with the review team we move on. Sounds hypocritical, and maybe it is. It’s a judgment call. We just can’t crush the dream when it is only our opinion. Then again, when we choose to celebrate the art of a particular eJuice artist at least you know that we love the brand. I admit this is a very tough call, and I admit that we almost never like every flavor of every artist/brand, but the overall style, the ‘art’ of the brand is there and it is incredible.
From where I’m standing, the hard working people that spend most of their day, ever day, dedicated to the art of creating eLiquids deserve a ‘Standing O’. They should be celebrated as examples of American Exceptionalism. Every day they show us a better way. Pure ingredients, strict safety protocols, and a passion, blended together by people that want to create, who use this ‘medium’ to express that creativity. They are an American Resource that deserves your business.
As more and more Flavorists are reviewed in Spinfuel you’ll get to know these people. Each artist/flavorists that you’ve seen in Spinfuel deserve to be here, deserve to be celebrated for bringing something of value to our enjoyment of vaping. From Alice in Vapeland to Vape Dudes, they are all masters of the art of eLiquids.
You should embrace them. And most of all, you should support their ‘calling’ by filling your cartomizers, cartridges, clearomizers and tanks with their liquids.
It’s an easy choice; Vape the love for great eLiquids created by our own American Flavorists, or vape the cheap factory line vat-produced Chinese crap. We’ve made our choice. Have you made yours? Share with us your favorite artists, tell us how you feel about their creations, and if we haven’t reviewed yet, tell us who they are and we will.