Last Updated on February 2, 2018 by Team Spinfuel

Fun with Concentrates

Whenever we learn anything there comes a moment when it all clicks. Before that moment everything is a blur, too much information, too many things to know, so many things to forget. Then, after we keep plugging away it dawns on us. EUREKA! We GET it! For me, finally, the ‘eureka’ moment hit on Sunday.

The moment came about 10 hours after talking with someone who owns a very successful eJuice company and I was given some very basic tips, and truths, about mixing and making eLiquids. So I applied them, not really understanding them, but applying them anyway. Several hours later it was like my brain was working on solving a Rubik’s cube and all the sides came together correctly and I knew why. Boom!

Knowing that I would not know immediately after mixing the ingredients whether or not the eJuice I made was any good I took the opportunity that Totally Wicked has given me and I went all out on creating many basic eJuice flavors. I got the practice in, and I understood my own hubris from last week where I declared that I was going to create an original flavor good enough to have friends and family vape it, without paying my dues. In order to understand how to mix eJuice and why you do what you do when you do it, I had to pay my dues. I had to mix. Like a mad possessed, I had to mix.

From Apples to Oranges

I lined up all the flavors I had collected these past weeks and took inventory. I adjusted my basic recipes based on the input of my dear friend, and some emails I received from readers, and a couple of comments from those with experience.

(Why people don’t comment more, I don’t understand. You guys send email, but you’re reticent to use the commenting system. Why?)

And I began to mix simple recipes. At least 20 by my last count. Apple, Blueberry, Butterscotch, Chocolate, and so on… the more I mixed the easier it became. Bottle after bottle I mixed and I mixed. Then I put them all neatly in a pot and headed for the stockroom. On the box were the words “Do not open. Private.”

To Steep or Not to Steep

Fun with Concentrates - Spinfuel eMagazineSteeping – transitive and intransitive verb to soak something in a liquid, or be soaked in a liquid, especially for cleaning or softening or in order to extract something…

Steeping your e liquid, is it necessary for the best flavor?

Taking the advice from my dear friend, and advice from an article published by Totally Wicked, I learned that ‘steeping’, as it is described in the eLiquid universe, was something that was indeed critical to mixing DIY eJuice. Which, by the way, I truly believed beforehand that steeping made very little difference.

The team of Reviewers for Spinfuel steep every eLiquid that comes in the door for review purposes, on principle. But, because the bottles of eJuice that come in are made by the pros Julia (often the team leader) knows or suspects that the eJuice has already been steeped by the company that sent the juice. So, rather than simply shake the juice up to cause the heavier particles to come back up and swirl together with the lighter parts, Julia will sometimes open, close, shake vigorously, and immediately place them in the dark, cool storeroom. She might also prepare cartomizers, tanks, and what have you, and then store them overnight. I thought this would be enough for DIY eLiquid. Really.

The 7-Day Spinfuel Way

Adopting the methods I’ve read, watched, and talked about, I decided that “more was better” when it came to steeping. My method, which I can’t really speak to yet, but will next Thursday, is this

  1. Mix ingredients
  2. Shake vigorously
  3. Close tightly
  4. Place in large pot
  5. Boil water
  6. Pour cooled-down-slightly boiling water over the bottles
  7. Allow the water to reach room temperature.
  8. Cover the pot
  9. Store in Stockroom (dark)
  10. Keep undisturbed for 7 days – Hold down the iPhone Home button, Ask Siri to create a countdown for 7 days exactly, label it “Batch #1”… then go about my business.

My first batch contains 20 5ML bottles of ejuice. As I write this, it has been 3 Days, 11 hours, 23 minutes and …. 45 seconds NOW.

What to expect

I have learned that steeping, as the term in used in mixing eJuice, will bring out the flavors in a deeper, more fully developed way. During the time that the eLiquid is in seclusion the magic of chemistry goes to work. Ingredients are changed, married to each other. Like marriages that work, they bring the best of each other out and into the open. Blueberry eJuice is more blueberry-y, pineapple is more pineapple-ly, and tobacco flavors go much darker and richer…

Arthur C Clarke Three Laws – Law #3 “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic

Creating eLiquids isn’t magic, and it isn’t brain surgery. Creating eLiquids is something anyone with properly working eyes, hands, and fingers, can do. But to do it right? That’s something else. To do it right requires dedication, passion, and belief in science. Belief that applying sound laws of science and chemistry, plus hard work, will result is “good, basic, eJuice”. The key word here is “Basic”.

But what about Great eJuice? The eJuice we buy from our favorite vendors?

Advanced Flavors

Here’s a bit of hard truth I’ve learned from the Spinfuel Review Team and their kindness to share with me the “best of the best” when they experience them.

When Julia, Tom, Jason, Chelsey, and Lisa experience an eLiquid that they believe is just unimaginably great they will always get me involved to the point where I can spend a few minutes with them and vape the flavors for a while. For the most part I too love the choices they make. But, ever since diving into this column I’ve developed keener taste and an analytical approach to “Why is this juice so good?”…

Fun with Concentrates Spinfuel
Totally Wicked eLiquid’s Magical PG or VG based Nicotine Solution

Here’s the Why:

My Eureka moment is only the first of many such moments in my future (thanks to Totally Wicked of course), and they will come to me as I learn more and more about the ingredients I use.

It is one thing to know, on an intellectual level, that pharmaceutical grade Propylene Glycol and Vegetable Glycerin is better. But when you understand why, on a chemical level, this is so; you’re going to have a Eureka moment. The same goes for each ingredient down the line… especially one:


This is where it really counts. Understanding the particulars of the flavorings you use means the difference between basic eJuice and good eJuice. Whether your flavor concentrates come from Totally Wicked (as mine do) or other companies, you must know each flavor intimately before you can create a good, custom eJuice.

Note* by custom eJuice I mean an eLiquid that contains more than one flavor. There are different levels of custom, from simple to extremely complex.

Great eJuice – (Where we all want to be) Creating a Great eLiquid Flavor the mixer must understand the limits, and the nuances of the flavors he or she uses. I mean really understand them.

“Will THIS orange flavor work well with THIS chocolate flavor”, “Are both flavors equally flavorful or will one require more or less presence in my juice?” and “If I want to create an eJuice that reminds people of Pineapple upside down cake what flavors will get me there, and in what percentages?”

Until you know these things you will never, other than by accident, create a great ejuice that can catapult you toward a career in eJuice creation or at the level where you can be assured that your friends and family are going to really enjoy your efforts.

As it stands today, I am nowhere near that level yet, not by a long shot. On a scale of 1 to 10, I have moved the needle to #2, and I’ve been at it for a month. (Though, really, only part time) At this time next year, late-October 2013 (should the Mayan calendar be wrong), I hope to have a Spinfuel “Fall” line of 3 eJuice flavors; one for Octobera sweet candy flavor, for Novembera Pumpkin spice, and December, perhaps a rich, smooth, tobacco flavor with hints of holiday cheer. Until then, I figure I have hundreds of hours of reading and watching videos, hundreds of bottles of eLiquids to make, and a thorough understanding of every concentrate Totally Wicked makes.

Getting There

Next week I will have the results of my first batch of “basic” flavors to discuss. I will also bring you up to date on what I’ve learned about my ingredients. Also on tap for the rest of the year;

  1. One completed custom eJuice suitable for friends and family. 2-flavor, basic, nothing fancy. Milk Chocolate and Orange? Maybe.
  2. All about Propylene Glycol and Vegetable Glycerin, including AVG.
  3. The selection of flavors I will concentrate on for November and December, and probably January of 2012.
  4. 4.     A Totally Wicked DIY eJuice Giveaway
  5. The formation of a beta testing team comprised of Spinfuel readers that will help me test my eLiquids through vaping them. Any takers?
  6. My first beta tested recipe and subsequent refinements.

In Conclusion

If you have dreams of becoming an eJuice mixer get to understand the ingredients you use, intimately. Don’t be satisfied to know that PG means Propylene Glycol, instead understand why its used and what it does, and why it pays to use the best you can buy.

Understand the limits of your flavorings, and their characteristics. How are concentrates made, and why. Understand your Nicotine and why getting the precise strength is vital to success eJuice and of course, safety of your vapers.

And remember, if you want to get to Carnegie Hall, practice practice practice.

Until next week,

John Manzione