Miami Vapors and Hurricane Vapor Interview
Today, Hurricane Vapor, a premium e-Liquid brand out of Miami, introduced a terrific new flavor of Storm Juice, Papaya Milkshake. The Staff of Spinfuel has been secretly vaping it since early last week, and as we indicated in the review (here) it is the most authentic and delicious papaya flavored e-Liquid we’ve ever tasted. It was so good in fact we awarded it with our coveted Spinfuel Choice Award, an award that is never given out lightly.
How did they manage to get the flavor so exactly right? How did the aroma match the taste so incredibly close? We wanted to find, so we contacted Christian Vargas, owner and head mixologist (Flavorist) to see how much information he was willing to reveal.
In addition to a great new flavor from Hurricane Vapor we discovered that Miami Vapors, a local retail store specializing in vaping supplies and accessories and launching on Wednesday, had partnered with Hurricane Vapor and will be offering the complete line of HV’s storm juice in co-branded 15ML and 30ML bottles. This partnership is a brilliant and strategic effort that will bring Miami Vapors the recognition it will need to compete in the Miami area as well as giving Hurricane Vapor a deeper, local ‘community’ profile that further grounds HV in South Florida’s vape community.
While discussing Papaya Milkshake with Christian Vargas, we were granted exclusive access to Miami Vapors. An excerpt of our talk is presented below
Spinfuel: Good morning, it is great to meet with you. Miami Vapors, congratulations on the upcoming launch of your store, you must be pretty anxious and excited right about now? Since you’re just about to open your doors to the public, can you tell our readers why you decided to enter the e-cigarette marketplace and what your goals are for the Miami community? And while I’m asking, why Miami? Is the vaping community as large as we’ve heard?
Miami Vapors: Thank you very much. Yes, we are very excited. And I think you guys know by now, with your advanced knowledge of the eCig landscape that it was quite an undertaking. We have put a lot of heart into this business, and a lot of work, but our drive is still going strong and we are ready to get to that glorious opening at long last. So yes, very exciting times.
We decided to enter the market because in Miami we have slowly but surely been witnessing the strong growth of the (e-cigarette) Market here.
We’ve seen how much it has been helping people, and how much in demand it has been becoming. After getting into Vaping ourselves, and visiting a local shop here, I was surprised to see that the line was out the door and realized that there wasn’t as much availability for this great product than there should be for such a busy city as Miami. The huge opportunity (and we mean huge) and the love for the product just made the decision a no brainer and too good to pass up. Our goal for Miami is to give more opportunities for Vapers to get what they need. Although the market demand here is in fact booming, the supply is not yet there. We want to be the ones to save that Miami customer from having to wait almost a week for a mailer to arrive, or wait an hour in line to get their juice and gear.
Spinfuel: Tell us about this co-branding project. What are you both seeking to accomplish? Who’s idea was it?
Christian: Initially Miami Vapors had requested that their logo be incorporated onto our label once they had decided to carry us. But in doing so I decided to go further than this, and created labeling that matched closer to Miami Vapors image and brand while emphasizing both our brands. Once Miami Vapors saw this they became very excited. We both began to realize that this would be very beneficial to both of us.
The wheels started spinning. We as Hurricane Vapor are able to supply Miami Vapors with our quality e-juice, but at the same time we are allowing their brand to shine. Miami Vapors is selling Hurricane Vapor Storm Juice, but they are also selling a Miami Vapors product. It shows that extra effort, and also establishes for the public that Miami Vapors isn’t simply buying and re-selling a company’s product. Instead our 2 companies are working closer together. This includes even creating custom flavors at Miami Vapors request, something I have not heard an e-liquid vendor provide for their retailers.
We feel that this closer association represents a solid involvement by the retailer on the final product, as opposed to just be a re-seller. At Hurricane Vapor, we always want to put the customer first, and we know all retail locations and local areas will be different, thus, with this model we can offer our top rated Storm Juice, but do so in a way that can adjust and meld with said local market, grow and evolve with it. We will not simply be a static unmovable online presence. Bottom line, all local markets will be different, and we know this. And our arsenal will be in knowing when to marry our brands together, and do so in the right amount.
Miami Vapors:Whoa, that was a mouth full, LOL. This one I am going to have to pass, as Christian has really just explained it very well.
Spinfuel : What will Miami Vapors offer Vapers? What is the range of products you plan to carry? Why did you choose to co-brand with Hurricane Vapor?
Miami Vapors: We carry a wide range of customizable e-cig hardware to fit the needs of an array of potential customers, from Ego Twist type batteries of various voltages, to ZMAX kits, assorted drip tips, Vivi Nova tanks of all sizes, replacements coils, carrying cases, e-cig table top holders, and replacements parts for all the kits we offer. Hurricane Vapor offers a variety of delicious flavors and is a well-known local distributor, thus we really wanted to team up in closer way than just buy and re-sell as Christian mentioned.
We believe that both are brands are, or at least will be, synonymous with the Miami scene as a whole and feel that together we will be able to represent the Miami culture in a stronger way. A clear goal for our companies is to bring something very different to the table, and encompassing the image and the culture that is Miami is a big part of that. We feel that Hurricane Vapor has done just that, and we plan to do the same.
Spinfuel: Christian, we spoke briefly right after our initial vaping began with Papaya Milkshake. I asked you how you were able to get the essence of Papaya so right. Not only does the storm juice have a papaya aroma, the taste is downright uncanny. You mentioned a couple of secrets known only to a handful of flavorists (what we call mixologist). Can you go over some of what you told me? I don’t want you to give away any trade secrets of course, but perhaps there is something you can tell our readers about how Hurricane Vapors is able to do what so many others cannot.
Christian: I’ve been discovering a lot of techniques through my countless hours of “flavor design” and testing. A key component to all of this will always be quality flavor suppliers, but an even more important part is knowing when to think outside the box when trying to get a flavor profile just right.
There will be some vendors that will go straight to the obvious ingredients to create something. Let’s say for example “Strawberry Cheesecake”. Well, maybe they’ll add strawberry, cheesecake, and some cream, maybe some sweetener. Sounds reasonable. Maybe it won’t be an exact match for that target flavor, but it can be pretty dam tasty. But why didn’t it come out exactly as designed? Well, flavor extracts can only take you so far. They may not always match the flavors they are supposed to represent to begin with. What are those extra notes it needed? What about the ones that shouldn’t be there? Well, let me tell you, after as much trial and error that we have had to go through we’ve definitely learned to think outside the box. What if there are flavor profiles that have nothing to do with what your going for that may actually add that extra note, or dare I say it, nullify that note that isn’t supposed to be there.
That’s part of our practice, and we have discovered these “secret” ingredients that do just that. For example, what if I told you that to create a great cola flavor and have it perfectly match a real Cola flavor you would add a dash of Banana Nut Bread, or to round out the smokiness of a tobacco and remove a bitter note you would add a dash of Bacon, and have them cancel each other out. Hmmmm. I am not saying these specific techniques are in place right now, because they aren’t, but what I am saying is that these are examples of the level of mixing techniques we are using to get things tasting exactly right.
Spinfuel : Wow, there is real science happening here. I had no idea. There are an unlimited amount of flavors that Hurricane Vapors could have been working on, and we know you’re working on several now, but why Papaya? What is about Papaya that that lends itself so well to being such a great “vaping” flavor?
Christian: Since starting Hurricane Vapor, our goal has always been to encompass Miami’s Tropical essence. With our launch flavors we felt we did do that, but at the same time we didn’t stray too far from general favorites in the vaping community. Our last release was another Tobacco, but as successful as it was (and considering I have been working very hard on yet another Tobacco blend) I felt it was time to come out with something that was not just a total opposite of our last release, but one that really screamed “Tropical”. So I really did my research, and spoke to people I know in the Hispanic community here in Miami, and something that really jumped out at me was this really interesting drink mentioned to me, not once, twice, but 5 times. Something I would commonly get after asking what the best drink to have on the beach was “if you ever find your self on the beaches of Punta Cana, make sure to try their Papaya Milkshake, and don’t leave until you do”. Now, How could this not be the next Hurricane Vapor flavor?
Spinfuel : It sounds absolutely delicious. Julia really knows her tropical fruits, and she has promised to make some of these Papaya Milkshakes when she returns from yet another trip but home. By the way, how’s business? LOL, I don’t mind actual numbers or anything, but how did the launch go? How are things now? We hear all kinds of great comments about your storm juice; I hope you guys are able to keep up!
Christian: Business is booming. The first 2 weeks was in fact pretty modest. Sales were coming in, and growing slowly. But within that month, something must have happened, because sales have been multiplying exponentially ever since. We are reaching business changes that we had planned for, about a year earlier that we thought. We won’t share numbers just yet, but let’s just say things are going strong. As far as keeping up, we are doing well right now. We make sure all orders are shipped within 24 hours of the order. But I won’t lie; this comes from a lot work and a lot of effort, and making sure to keep on top of things 24/7.
Spinfuel: When did you first hear about Hurricane Vapor and what are your personal favorites storm juice flavors?
Miami Vapors:I heard about Hurricane Vapor while searching on Google for quality e-juice, and quickly discovered them on YouTube, various eCig forums, and other review sites. In fact, it has been become quite difficult not to find Hurricane Vapor when searching online for quality e-juice these days. My personal favorite flavors are Belgian simmered tobacco, Cuban coffee, and chocolate frost bite. I seem to be a “Dark and Rich” fan.
Spinfuel: People will want to know this; what is your favorite vaping hardware? What do you use when you’re at home, relaxing, and is it the same thing you use all day while getting the store ready?
Miami Vapors: My preferred hardware is the Vivi Nova with the ego twist adjustable voltage battery. Although as a store we offer more advanced options, I like to keep it generally simple but not so simple that I don’t get the performance I need, especially since it will be on me all day from stores hours to evenings at home.
Spinfuel : Christian, I almost forgot to ask, we here at Spinfuel loaded up our clearomizers the minute we received your secret package of Papaya Milkshake. Even straight from the postman it was delivering great flavor. Are your juices pre-steeped at HV? If they are, what’s the normal amount of time you let them steep?
Christian: In the beginning, pre-launch, we actually did steep all of our juices, but we have quickly discovered that with our blend you just really do not need to steep. I believe our percentage of flavoring in our mixes is pretty substantial compared to most juices out there, so I can say with confidence that you can pop open a bottle of Storm Juice immediately after receiving it and it’s flavor will shine through exactly as intended; no steeping required. The steeping time the order will have while on it’s journey from HV headquarters to your home is more than enough to enjoy our flavors.
Spinfuel: What’s the “vape” scene like in Miami? Do you see people vaping in clubs, or on South Beach, or is it still rare to see someone with an e-cigarette?
Miami Vapors: The “vape” scene in Miami is (recently) rapidly expanding with a growing amount of choices in hardware and flavored juices. There are a couple of retailers locally, but it is also a young market here and we thought is was a prime opportunity to not only bring more choices to this area, but bring one of the best lineups we feel can be offered. We feel we can really help grow this market here, and see a ton of room for expansion.
Christian: I really agree with this. Vaping in Miami is fairly young, but yes you do see Vaping more and more on the strips of South Beach, in Malls, and other common hangouts. It is really starting to explode, but it is more recently that we are really starting to see it everywhere. It’s kind of an exciting time in Miami for Vaping, and even that much more exciting for us getting into this business at such a time. Is it rare to see? I would say, at this point, it is rare that you go through a day in Miami without seeing one.
Spinfuel: Well, this has been a blast. I can’t thank you guys enough for taking the time to talk to us about the new storm juice flavor and this very cool co-branding effort. I’m sure it’s going to be a very effective project for both companies. Christian, it was a real honor to be the only vaping publication to secretly vape this amazing Papaya Storm Juice. I guarantee you’ll be seeing a lot of orders coming in from the staff.
I hope you’ll keep us in the loop for other flavors, as they get ready to take their place in the Hurricane Vapor Line Up. Miami Vapors, we wish you all the success in the world with the store and we’re going to make a special effort to drive down to see you guys when you’re open for business. We can’t wait to mingle with the customers. Make sure to let us know if you guys start selling Miami Vapors Swag, like T-Shirts. We’d love to wear them around this part of South Florida. Oh, and that goes for you too Christian, we would love to show the Hurricane Vapor “colors” in our neck of the woods.
Christian: Thank you for giving Hurricane Vapor so much support over the past several months. We appreciate what you guys do for the whole vape community.
Miami Vapors: We would love to show you around the store after our launch. We already feel that we’re a part of the vape community and we look forward to helping the community grow here in Miami. Thank you for taking the time to talk to us.
Read the review for Hurricane Vapor’s new Storm Juice flavor; Papaya Milkshake