A Journey Becomes Focus
Fun With Concentrates – Spinfuel’s Caramel Coconut Blend
Because photography has been one of my professions since the seventies one of the first things I did for years was to set up a darkroom wherever I lived. I stopped that practice a few years ago, but no matter where I hang my hat it must have a “space” that can convert into a darkroom should I so desire one. I tell my wife that even if I’m not planning on creating a darkroom, well, you just never know. When we moved here, like the other places, an area large enough, clean enough, and with enough access to power (and air conditioning) had to be available. And it was. And it has just sat there, unattended, for months. That’s about to change.
A Happy Accident
About a month ago I down to practically zero supplies for my “Fun with Concentrates” column.
I had on hand a half bottle each of PG-Based 54mg unflavored nicotine solution, and 72mg unflavored nicotine solution. I also had a large bottle of AVG, one 10ML bottle of Gold Standard Chocolate and one 10ML bottle of Coconut. Oh, and 4x 20ML plastic bottles. There was enough to do some experimenting, but not enough to do ‘much’ experimenting. Still, it was something and I am thankful I had it.
Creating – Sometimes you just have to create, you know? Sometimes a photographer has to grab the camera and create some images, a painter has to grab paintbrushes and paint something, and an eLiquid “artist” must create eJuice. Now, I’m no eJuice artist, far from it, but I do love to create. So rather than see the remaining bottles from Totally Wicked as ‘separate bottles of the disparate kind’ I saw an eLiquid flavor staring back at me.
The two remaining concentrates, chocolate and coconut are by themselves a pretty nice vape. Together? Well, together they can be something special. Well, I think so anyway. I hope so. In any case, I decided to find out.
I had no plans to whip of a batch of 50/50 chocolate/coconut with a 12MG nicotine base and call it a day. I wanted to create something memorable. Something special. I wanted to create something that would blow me away. And, because of the limited amount of product on hand there was no need to consider anyone else but me. The only person that would even know about this experiment would be my wife and that’s because I would do the mixing at home. At the dining room table no less!
Diving In – I washed down the table, scrubbed my hands, sterilized the bottles, grabbed my iPad and started writing some recipes down. From what I had learned by reading everything I could on Totally Wicked’s Forum on DIY eJuice, from my own previous experimenting, and a good amount of passion to make this happen, I came up with some recipes that I hoped would do the following;
(My Want List)
1. Allow me to taste both flavors, but with chocolate first and a coconut finish.
2. It would create ample vapor, meaning I would have to work with my ratios quite a bit.
3. The flavor had to be intense, so that there would be no mistaking a flavor of chocolate and a flavor of coconut., as well as something nicely blended So, flavor percentages had to be on the upper scales.
4. I would settle for a lesser throat hit in exchange for more vapor. Most juice will give you somewhat of a throat hit if you lend yourself to a style of vaping that includes long, deep drags and a slow steady exhale. Vapor was/is more important to me than throat hit.
5. This blend would have to be thin enough for long-wick clearomizers. I like bottom coil Kanger’s almost as much as the next guy, but I enjoyed long-wick clearomizers more.
6. Finally, it would naturally have to taste great, but more than that, it had to taste “original”. It could not taste like “X” or “Y”; it had to taste like MY eLiquid, a flavor that could become a Spinfuel flavor.
With only 4 bottles in hand, and being too impatient to order more and wait till they arrive, I worked up 4 distinct recipes, each with enough ‘difference’ but each with the aim of accomplishing the greatest amount of the Want List. Each recipe had to tell me something of importance, they had to serve as a guide as to what comes next. They couldn’t be hit-n-miss, they had to serve the greater good.
With the recipes worked out I sat there at the table and carefully mixed each bottle exactly as I had written them. There was no room for mistakes, no second-guessing, no sudden ‘eureka’ moments. I had to be disciplined. And I was. At the end of mixing stage I had 4 bottles of 4 very different recipes of Chocolate/Coconut at 11MG nicotine.
One of the biggest mistakes I made at the beginning of my “Fun with Concentrates” project was that I had to vape something as soon as I mixed it. Naturally it tasted like crap.
During the weeks I was actively learning to mix I had bottles of prepared juice scattered everywhere. Probably 40 or 50 in all, in every dark corner of my house. Mostly, I forgot they were there and weeks later when I would stumble across one I excitedly loaded up a cartomizer and gave it a try. Flavors were intense, vapor was much better…but none of them were nearly as good as what I could buy from the pros. Nevertheless, I did learn to never vape a newly mixed recipe. More importantly, I was learning.
30 Days Ago – I took my 4 bottles and stored them in my closet, in a spare armoire, and I walked away. Using my iPhone I set up a reminder to come back in 30 days and vape them. That alarm went off yesterday afternoon. Last night I set aside some time to see what I had created.
With 4 brand new clearomizers I gathered up the 4 bottles and proceed to fill each clearomizer with my properly steeped creations.
Man, you have no idea how awesome it would have been to tell you that I had blended a recipe that produced the next great eLiquid. How great would that have been? But I didn’t so I won’t.
Recipe #1 – This one was the one that I concentrated on for vapor production. This recipe would have been better had I blended it with AG nicotine base instead of the PG-based nicotine. The flavor wasn’t terrible but it wasn’t what this recipe was about. I wanted to know if I was on the right track with vapor production. Result? I’m close. Now I need to switch to VG based nicotine for the next round. A pure, high quality TW AG.
Recipe #2 – This was a high PG. By using the 54MG PG solution I was able to achieve the 11MG nicotine and maintain a higher percentage of PG in the recipe. If I understand this correctly, and how embarrassing will it be if I got it wrong, is that by using the 54MG PG solution I would get to 11MG with more PG over using the 72MG because I would have to cut the 72MG PG more to achieve the 11MG. Am I right? I hope so because that is what I did. Result? A better TH, a flavor that hit a little harder, but nothing spectacular.
Recipe #3 – This recipe was about flavor. I doubled the amount of flavor in this recipe over what I used in the first two. I tried for as close as I could get to a 70/30 PG/AVG with double flavor. Result? Not bad, but the chocolate hit too harshly. If you’ve ever vaped a harsh chocolate juice you know what I mean. It tingled the inside of my mouth. Chocolate will do that if it’s too much. Or if it’s cheap concentrate, which Totally Wicked e-Liquid is not. Their DIY juice is incredibly pure and I enjoy working with it.
Recipe #4 – This recipe was about as close to what an academic lesson in mixing would instruct you to do. Calculations called for X, Y, Z and that’s what I did. Result? Absolutely nothing special. A very average, but vapeable eJuice. This recipe will have a quiet death and stand as a reminder that the calculations will prevent something special from happening.
Recipe #3, with the double shot of flavors, is the one that I will use from here on out to work with. My plans are to print this recipe out on a sheet of paper, in large type. Arrange a wall in my new “mixing room” (more on that in my next installment) and call it the “Godfather”. Each variation on that theme will go underneath it. PG recipes on the right, VG on the left. Under those will be other variances, flavors individually, and collectively…
Record keeping for this project is going to be a massive undertaking. I will mix 3 days a week and in each mixing session I will mix 4 recipes, all altered based on the finding of the previous batch… until one day, soon I hope, I will hit upon the magic recipe that will result in Spinfuel’s first, real, sellable eLiquid.
Spinfuel Limited Editions – “Heaven In The Dark”
My final recipe, if I am successful, will become the first, and maybe the last, eLiquid that Spinfuel will sell in a Limited Edition series. This eLiquid will be called “Heaven In The Dark”. It will be offered in two sizes, 5ML and 30ML. The 5ML will be for testing it out, and we will keep the cost at a break-even price. If you like it and want to order it we’ll offer it in a 30ML size. Price to be determined.
Packaging will be awesome. Not sure exactly how at this point, but we are committed to making it a very special package. And because we won’t be offering this juice on a large scale, they will come in limited numbers and each bottle will be numbered and signed by me. Right now, Julia, Tom and I are thinking that batches of 50 bottles will do. 50 bottles every 3 months.
But, one step at a time. Before anything else can happen I must resupply my stock. That will not be cheap. I’m done to nothing. This morning I called our local handyman about building my “darkroom” space into a sterile environment with sinks, refrigerator, shelves, closets, everything I would normally put in a darkroom, and building darkrooms is something I know a lot about. That begins on Saturday.
This is kind of an historic day for me and for Spinfuel. If I do this right, Spinfuel could be offering our readers a very special chocolate and coconut all-day vape eLiquid. I would be very proud of that. Very proud indeed.