Table of Contents
Spinfuel eLiquid Team Review – Friend or Faux
On May 4th, 2014, Dave exchanged emails with Ben Denny, a founder of Friend or Faux. An eLiquid review was arranged at that time. The last email between them was on May 7th. Nearly a month went by before the eLiquids were received. What I thought at the time was that the delivery of juice was somewhat of a mystery. It wasn’t. Dave had simply forgotten about it, which is why there is no interview accompanying this review. We hope to be able to reach out to Friend of Faux and bring you an interview in the next couple of weeks. – Julia
This review of Friend or Faux eLiquids contains five (5) bottles of eLiquid, each 30ML in size, all 18mg nicotine, with names like Strawberries & Cream, Dr. Hood’s Toffee Delight, and Old Tyme Sarsaparilla. The bottles look like medicine bottles of the mid-19th century, as did the fonts and colored used on the labels. We were intrigued.
Friend or Faux Quality eLiquids is a new company out of Glendale Arizona.
Labels – We like the old west look of the labels, and there is plenty of information for the consumer on each of them. In addition to the company name and the name of the eLiquid “flavor” the label includes a warning about nicotine, a full ingredient list, PG/VG ratio, nicotine strength, batch number, “made in the USA” statement, and the company URL (web
site address). The only things missing are an expiration date and date the juice was mixed but since they mix in batches that might not be so easy. As for expiration, more and more companies are adopting this, but it is hardly prevalent right now. Soon maybe.
The Team – Hardware – Scoring – Methods
The team is our all-star team, made up of myself, Julia Hartley-Barnes, the lovely Keira Hartley-Barnes, Tom McBride, and Jason Little.
We used a variety of hardware, including my trusty ZMAX, the new eVic Supreme, iTaste 134 and 134 Mini, Spinner II’s, Sigelei 20W, and a Provari. Tanks and clearomizers included the ever-faithful X.Jet Spider, Aspire BDC Vivi Nova, Aspire Nautilus, and a few AeroTanks.
Scoring is the usual 1-5 Star method. A 1-Star eLiquid is basically unvapeable, 2-Stars is below average, or “Thank you but I’d rather not”, 3-Stars means completely and utterly average, 4-Stars is above average, or a good solid eLiquid with good vapor, flavor, and quality, and finally, a 5-Star juice is deemed excellent in all respects and completely satisfying.
If a particular eLiquid receives 5 Stars from all the team members it is automatically awarded the Spinfuel Choice Award. The team does not know which flavors, if any, will receive a Choice Award until the lead writer completes the written review. Team members share their impressions of the eLiquids during our group talk but do not reveal their ultimate “Star” score. That, and other notes, are turned into the lead writer and are then incorporated into the final review.
Friend or Faux eLiquid Options
Nicotine strengths – 0mg/ml 3mg/ml 6mg/ml 12mg/ml 18mg/ml 24mg/ml
Bottle Size is 30ML; no other sizes are available at this time. The cost runs $23 per bottle. Definitely priced on the high side of a premium label. Bottles do not include a plastic tip or dropper for filling tanks, clearomizers, or cartomizers.
VG/PG: All five eLiquids are 60/40 blends. However, despite a moderately high level of PG (40%) the eLiquids themselves remain on the thick side. The aroma of each “flavor” was pleasant, with just a hint of artificial flavors.
Purchasing – Friends or Faux eLiquid can be purchased through third-party online vendors and retail stores. For this review we are relying on Butt Out for pricing and availability. At the time of this review all 5 eLiquids were in stock at Butt Out.
Quality – Our impression of the flavor, vapor, and all other aspects of the eLiquids we review are determined by each of us. As for information about the extent of the facility used to create the eJuice, the quality of the actual ingredients, and other methodology must come from the brand. Here’s what Friend or Faux says about their eLiquids:
“Every batch of Friend or Faux E-Liquid is made to the highest specifications with the best quality ingredients available. We source USP grade PG and VG and high-purity, great tasting nicotine from trusted vendors for each batch. We spent countless hours over a mixing bench perfecting our flavor blends, producing complex, rich flavors to satisfy the most demanding palates. We carefully balanced our base ratios to produce the richest vapor and most satisfying experience possible. This is the juice we’ve always wanted to vape, and it shows in every single bottle…
…We love our liquids. Because we care so much about them, we produce them in a clean, professional mixing lab with precision equipment and absurdly high quality control standards. We care about our vendors, so we have keep our production costs low and our quality of product high. We value those who vape our liquid most of all, so we make sure that every order of our liquid produced and shipped as quickly as possible, so our vendor’s shelves are never without it and the customers are never left wanting. We work hard every day to make sure every step of our process is as safe, efficient and hassle free for our customers as is humanly possible, and we have no plans of ever stopping.”
At this point in time we have no reason to doubt the honesty and sincerity of the people behind the eLiquids, nor can we say with absolute certainty that the above is true.
Vaping Advice: After spending time with Friend or Faux we can say with high confidence that you should keep some things in mind in order to achieve the most pleasant vape experience these eLiquids can offer.
- Don’t rush your atomizers. These eLiquids are thick, they drip as slow as molasses, and they will not saturate your coils easily. Let the eJuice soak in the coils for as long as you can. Up to half an hour is not uncalled for.
- Vape slowly at first. Even if you’ve allowed your coils to soak for hours approach your first vape with a new clearomizer slowly. Take a short drag first, then another and another. Slowly increase the pulls of the drag for the first 30 minutes of vaping. Allow the atomizer coils to burn in first; it will make a world of difference.
- Be careful with the voltage. At least two of the five cannot handle high voltage as well as you might like. If you are going to experiment, do it slowly, with short puffs at each new voltage level. Look for your sweet spot slowly, deliberately.
After spending 72-hours vaping Friend or Faux exclusively, our team offers their impressions below.
#1 – Dr. Hood’s Toffee Delight – A Spinfuel Choice Award Winner
“Do we have a toffee, you ask? Lad, we trained our whole lives to face that very question. The multi-faceted graham cracker-infused flavor we developed as an answer is considered in rarified circles to be the history’s finest toffee, breathable or otherwise.”
JULIA: A solid mix of deep, satisfying flavors. A bottom layer of graham crackers and a slight toffee flavor on the exhale, Dr. Hood’s Toffee Delight is a moderately heavy flavor with plenty of vapor and a good throat hit.
The longer I vaped it the more I fell in love with it. Each draw worked cumulatively, providing more and more toffee flavor as I went along. The secret to a good vape here is to allow several extra minutes of saturating your atomizer coils with the liquid; otherwise you’re not going to get the full flavor. In addition, this performed very well at higher voltages/wattages, and a warm vape was a flavorful vape. 5 Stars
KEIRA: There is a bit of artificiality in the beginning to the toffee and graham cracker flavor, but it soon gives way to a real rich toffee and graham cracker experience the likes of which I’ve never experienced before now. Thick warm vapor, a good throat hit, and a level of satisfaction I did not expect.
I’m adding it to my rotation as an all-day vape. In my experience I’ve never tasted anything even close to this before, and I have to wonder why. 5 Stars
TOM: This is an eLiquid I can get behind. While I thought it was remarkable with a dual coil at 3.8v, pushing it to 4.4v on the same dual coil provided a warmer, and richer vape experience. I could taste both the graham cracker crust and toffee, but they blended so well that it took some effort to pull them apart. I would definitely add it to my rotation, and like Keira, I would say this was a superb all-day vape. 5 Stars
JASON: Dr. Hood’s Toffee Delight caused me to want to take the biggest, deepest drags I could from my iTaste 134 Mini with an AeroTank on top. Setting the draw to “tight” I got real thick clouds of vapor filled with the flavor of toffee and graham cracker. If you have the urge to give this a go I would strongly recommend vaping it the same way; tight draw for thick vapor, pushing the voltage to the highest point without getting a burnt flavor, and taking huge drags. Allowing your coils to soak up the juice longer than most other eLiquids will give you the added bonus of wall-to-wall flavor. An honest surprise for this 5 Star eLiquid.
#2 – Old Tyme Sarsaparilla
“Back when men were men and women were women, we drank real soft drinks. This balanced, deep flavor will scratch your thirst for old-school root beer flavor so thoroughly you just might find yourself shaving with a straight-razor tomorrow morning.”
JULIA: Of all the eLiquids in this review, Sarsaparilla is the one that gives off the aroma truest to its name. This is a genuine sarsaparilla flavor that will knock you over. If you like the taste of sarsaparilla this is an eLiquid you’ll never want to be without, and if you don’t happen to like sarsaparilla you’ll need to avoid it like the plague.
I loved it. I loved everything about it. The flavor is strong from start to finish, the vapor is amazingly thick and aromatic, and the throat hit is a solid thump I enjoy over and over again. I really don’t think they could do anything more to improve this remarkable Sarsaparilla blend. 5 Stars
KEIRA: Root beer and Sarsaparilla are kind of similar when comparing soft drinks of the same name, but here in an eLiquid they are only, at best, distant cousins. Sarsaparilla has an edgy, sharp/sweet flavor that is undeniably sarsaparilla. You will either love it or hate it; there is no in-between.
Vapor is thick and aromatic, throat hit is excellent, and the vape experience is very satisfying. Do not over cook this one with high voltage; it is much better in lower range where the full flavor can blossom on its own. 4.75 Stars
TOM: I get this feeling that Old Tyme Sarsaparilla is going to score exceedingly well with this team. Unlike a root beer flavor, a true sarsaparilla is markedly sharper and sweeter at the same time. It also has many faces; by running up and down the voltage/wattage dial you can alter the flavor more than you might think. I’m not sure that its worth risking $23 to find out if you like Sarsaparilla, but if you already know you do, or suspect you do, you’ll probably love it. I do. 5 Stars
JASON: I’m going to score Sarsaparilla high because of the authenticity of the flavor, the aromatic and thick vapor, and the satisfaction the other team members seem to get from it. But, I personally don’t like Sarsaparilla, never have and I’m sure I never will.
When you dislike a flavor you can taste it in anything that contains it, and I certainly tasted it in this eLiquid, so I know it’s authentic. Combine the flavor with the amount of Vapor and the way the other team members talked about it in “group”, I am left with only one conclusion. This is a 4.75 Star flavor.
#3 – Orange Glaze Sticky Roll
“Gone are the days of unsophisticated pedestrian pastries, friend. Wrap your lungs around a deep, complex confectionery delight with pleasant hints of citrus and coconut. It’s as our grandfathers said – A sticky roll is a gentleman’s cinnamon roll.”
JULIA: This was the eLiquid I was eagerly awaiting to vape. Orange Glaze Sticky Roll. Just think about it. Can you see it in your mind’s eye? Can you smell that sweet glaze with that slightly tangy orange flavor, with the sticky roll pastry flavor enveloping the glaze in a sweet, rich, delectable and satisfying experience? Ah, me too, and now I want one more than ever. But, sadly, I’ll need to make due with this eLiquid from Friend or Faux.
Does this eLiquid live up to a real orange glaze sticky roll? Almost. As we’ve said many times before, working with “orange” flavorings is difficult at best, but here Friend or Faux do an excellent job. What I think is missing is a slightly more pastry flavor and a hint of molasses, a key ingredient in a sticky bun. I know, I know, this is a sticky roll, not bun, and there is a difference, but I just needed a slightly richer flavor. That said, I still enjoyed it a lot, and I happily give it 4.5 Stars
KEIRA: Unlike Julia I got everything I was looking for in this eLiquid. A sweet orange glaze, a real pastry roll flavor, lots of vapor and a good sense of satisfaction. I enjoyed vaping every drop, but I do not have plans to add this to my rotation because as far as orange goes as a flavor to vape, it’s not that high on my list. Regardless, Friend or Faux did a good job. 4.75 Stars
TOM: You have to enjoy orange in an eLiquid in order to enjoy this delicious blend. Orange Glaze Sticky Roll hits the right mark with a sweet orange flavor that actually does remind me of a orange glaze drizzle. The pastry aspect of the eLiquid is not very heavy, and that was a slight disappointment because I wanted to be consumed by a rich, deep warm pastry drizzled in a melted sugar glaze with orange rind bits mixed in. That is what the name and description led me to believe, yet the actual vape was admittedly less than that, but still enjoyable.
Vapor is very good, throat hit was medium, and my satisfaction was almost enough. A good 4 Star juice.
JASON: The more time I spent with Orange Glaze Sticky Roll the more I liked it. At first I detected an almost medicinal flavor to the orange component, but after a while, say an hour of off an on vaping, the deeper and sweeter the orange flavor snuck through. I wanted the sticky roll flavor to go deeper, stronger, but that was not the case. The description tells of a coconut flavor, and I had hopes for that as well, but so far I have not been able to taste any coconut.
Bottom line for me though is that I am adding it to my rotation because it is a flavor blend that I do not have in my collection, and it is enjoyable enough to provide a very good vape when I long for something with an orange vibe. 4.75 Stars
#4 – Strawberries & Cream Milkshake
“Take my advice, friend, and grab the ear of your favorite ethereal soda-jerk. Don’t let go until he rewards you by pouring a delicious glass of this marvelously refreshing blend of the ripest, sweetest strawberries and the smoothest cream. You will find his reddened ear and your perseverance well rewarded indeed.”
JULIA: This is a very good blend of strawberries and a creamy milkshake. However, the flavor is different from other strawberry and cream eLiquids I’ve had. The taste of strawberry is there, in a light, sweet way. The creamy milkshake flavor however, was abundant.
After vaping 1.6ML straight through with an X.Jet Spider I immediately refilled it and continued vaping. I don’t usually do that; I usually start a new flavor and come back to it at a different time and setting. This time, I just didn’t feel like changing it up.
You won’t be overpowered by the taste of strawberries; instead you’ll experience the flavor of an actual strawberry shake, heavy on the cream. If you like thick, real cream milkshakes with a sweet strawberry accent you will love this eLiquid. Easily a 4.75 Star flavor.
KEIRA: As far as I could tell no one on the team said anything about this blend having a strong strawberry flavor to it. Like Julia, I too experienced a natural cream flavor with a delicate mix of strawberry flavoring. The amount of vapor clouds this juice put out, and the medium-sized throat hit was spectacular. Definitely not overpowering, but instead it was rather sweet, rich, and thick. For me, this could be an all-day-vape. It is both filling and satisfying. 5 Stars
TOM: Since this was the first eLiquid of the five we tried I expected a heavy strawberry experience. Instead, this is a sweet and rich flavor of a creamy milkshake with good strawberry notes to carry it through. Love the vapor output on this one, though the throat hit was only good at higher voltages. I haven’t decided whether I prefer a warm vapor or a slightly less warm vapor with it. I enjoyed it and it was satisfying. 4 Stars
JASON: The thick vapor produced by Strawberries & Cream Milkshake is filled with a sweet creamy flavor mix of strawberry and heavy cream. It’s not a real milkshake flavor, more of a real cream flavor with sweet strawberry tones. I believe what they did here was to reach back to the days when real cream was used in milkshakes instead of a regular milk and vanilla flavoring. Anytime I see the word milkshake in an eLiquid blend I immediately go for a vanilla flavor, but here any sign of vanilla eluded me. Cream and strawberries, strawberries and cream. Absolutely loved it! 4.75 Stars
#5 – Peachy Keen Ginger Tea – A Spinfuel Choice Award Winner
“When there is a chill in the air, what could be better than a nip of something warm to take the edge from the cold? In the name of improving brisk mornings and cold winter’s nights, Friend or Faux blend the freshest and juiciest of ripe peach flavors with the clean bite of ginger to create a tea that both can’t be forgotten and can – and must – be inhaled.”
JULIA: Remarkable. An incredible blend of peach and ginger that combines to form a semi-sweet mixture that will please every vaper looking for a new presentation of ‘peach tea’. Fluke or genius, I do not know which, but I do know that I enjoyed this marvelous mix more than the other four combined. My favorite, and my latest addition to my eLiquid rotation. 5 Stars If you don’t like peach, or ginger, or iced tea/tea leaves, this one is not for you.
KEIRA: Julia filled an X.Jet Spider with Peachy Keen Ginger Tea and sat it on the nightstand before settling in for the evening with a movie (Robocop 2014). I dosed off after about 30 minutes in. After the movie Julia woke me up with loud, “Oh my God this is good!” and I jumped up, almost in shock. She managed to get me to try it while I was half asleep. Truthfully, I didn’t much care for it at the time.
Morning came and as I stumbled into the kitchen to turn the coffee on I saw an Aerotank and ZMAX on the counter with a note. “Give this one another chance! See you in the office!”
After the coffee was ready I poured a cup, headed back upstairs, and crawled into bed. About halfway through the cup of the coffee I gave the Aerotank a nice long pull and there it was. What Julia had tasted the night before, that incredible mixture of peach and ginger, that somehow produce an authentic taste of sweetened peached iced tea, I knew what she talking about. I couldn’t get enough of it. Loads of vapor, tons of flavor, and a satisfaction reserved only for the best of the best, I was won over. Timing is everything. Peachy Keen Ginger Tea is sublime. 5 Stars
TOM: All I could think about was “ginger tea” and how awful that sounded to me. Seriously? Ginger tea? Oh well, its my job to give a fair shot, so I did just that.
For this eLiquid I used an Aerotank Mini because I didn’t want to fill up more than 1.6ML of juice only to wind up wasting it. As it turned out I vaped several refills of the Aerotank Mini with this great tasting concoction.
Predominately the flavor in this blend is peach. A true-to-form peach flavor that is not too sweet and not too tart. It was an authentic peach flavor. Next up was this sort of loose tea smell and taste combo that didn’t seem to have a ginger taste, but rather a black tea flavor. On the exhale I detected a sort of sweet, almost bubble gum taste, but only briefly.
Vapor production maximizes with slightly higher voltages than the math calls for, along with deep, long drags. Vaping in this way the only score I could give it was 5 Stars.
JASON: Wow, this is a great all-day-vape in the best sense of the words. I love the sweet peachy flavor mixed with an iced tea flavor. It delivers a truly marvelous vape. Plenty of vapor and a good throat hit round out the eLiquid’s characteristics. I enjoyed vaping this fun blend more than I thought I would, and I recommend it to anyone that enjoys the taste of peach. I’m adding it to my own rotation immediately. 5 Stars
Friend or Faux is definitely attempting to capture a niche of the eLiquid market with their unique mid-19th century allure. Presenting their eLiquids in brown medicine bottles as magical elixirs the con men sold from their wagons while making their way across the west. On many levels, it works. I like the marketing, and I like the idea of eLiquids being magical elixirs. Still, if the eLiquid inside the cool little bottles isn’t great stuff, then all the marketing in the world won’t sustain a company for long. Luckily for Friend or Faux, they deliver on both accounts.
Each of the five eLiquids are thick, pleasantly aromatic, and heavy vapor producers. The five flavors are distinct, yet the common thread of richness and old-timey flavors lives in each one.
Dr. Hood’s Toffee Delight and Peachy Keen Ginger Tea were both found to be good enough to earn a Spinfuel Choice Award, while the other three scored very well. None of the five eLiquids were disappointing in any major way, and I would think that the worst thing we could say is that the descriptions were occasionally and slightly exaggerated. With a couple of the eLiquids it was just a matter of wanting more of what was there, not the absence of what should be there.
$23 for a 30ML bottle from a brand new company is a lot to ask for. There are not enough reviews, first hand accounts, or samples out there to establish a firm reputation and I highly recommend that Friend or Faux rectify that with a 5-pack sampler, say 5x 3ML bottles for $8.99, just to allow word of mouth to spread.
We would also like to remind our readers that of right now there is no ordering capabilities on the Friend or Faux website, and that the only place we know of where you can buy it online is Butt Out. We hope that changes, but when a company is just gearing up there are bound to be hiccups along the way.
Let’s pretend that after you’ve read the review you’re intrigued enough to want to try at least one of them. Which one would we suggest? I put that question to the team, and here are the results:
- Tom: Dr. Hood’s Toffee Delight
- Jason: Dr. Hood’s Toffee Delight
- Keira: Strawberries and Cream Milkshake
- Julia: (me): Dr. Hood’s Toffee Delight
When asked why Dr. Hood’s Toffee Delight was both Tom and Jason’s choice they said that this was the one eLiquid with the deepest, most satisfying flavor. Tom’s exact words were “It has meat on its bones”.
And there you have it. Will you add Friend or Faux to your list of vendors? Do any of these eLiquids sound like something you’d like to try? Sound off below, we’d love to hear from you!
Julia, Keira, Tom and Jason – This has been a Spinfuel eLiquid Team Review