Whenever we invite an e Liquid brand to be reviewed we will always include an interview so that you, our readers, can get to know a little more about the people behind the e Juice. Cameron Skaggs, contributor to Spinfuel and an avid vaper, recently reviewed several e liquids from Lucky Ruckus, as well conduct the interview below. As always, your comments are welcome. Check out the Lucky Ruckus Review!
SPINFUEL: Welcome to the pages of Spinfuel. Would you like to introduce yourselves to our readers?
Lucky Ruckus: We are Lucky Ruckus Vape Shop. We operate a B&M store in Amarillo Texas and also distribute Liquid via the web at www.luckyruckus.com
SPINFUEL: What position(s) do you hold in the company?
Lucky Ruckus: I am one of the partners. My responsibilities include marketing, sourcing, and product development along with day to day operations.
SPINFUEL: Getting down to business. Who or what inspired you to get into the e-juice business? How long has Lucky Ruckus been in business?
Lucky Ruckus: LRVS has been operating in Amarillo since April 2013. I was a smoker for 20+ years. I discovered vaping in November of 2012 and have never looked back. My last tobacco cigarette was December 6 2012. I found that quitting tobacco was easy with vaping as an alternative. I shared this with friends and immediate family and LRVS was born out of all of this.
SPINFUEL: What is the local and state level situation there in Amarillo with respect to electronic cigarettes? More importantly, what is the “attitude” of the people there about eCigarettes?
Lucky Ruckus: Locally we haven’t seen a huge level of concern from city and state legislators; however we are members of CASAA and I am a regional representative for CASAA. We closely monitor other state rulings and are looking forward to being on the forefront of Texas legislation lobbyist once it is time. Local vapers are a tight knit group and we have built a nice local vape family through the business.
SPINFUEL: When you launched Lucky Ruckus how did you decide on your first “set” of flavors? How many flavors did you launch with?
Lucky Ruckus: We initially sourced our liquid from a wholesaler and we found out quickly that it wasn’t in our best interest to trust someone else with liquids that our customers would be using. We transitioned to house made liquids after benchmarking some other manufacturers and a 3 month test mixing period. Initially we introduced ~10 house flavors in 50/50 blend and we have grown from there.
SPINFUEL: It seems that no matter how many eliquid vendors we review, they all have their own “signature” recipes. How would you describe your signature flavor profile?
Lucky Ruckus: Most all of our liquids are complex flavors that are made up of several different base flavors. We have a signature flavor for every taste.
- 1) Dark and Smoky is a spicy tobacco that came about as a result of mistake with a mix. It is a strong tobacco flavor with a jalapeno spice exhale.
- 2) Blueberry lemonade is a fruity, tart vape that is sweet and tangy and good!
- 3) Granny’s inclination is a fantastic bakery vape that is just like sitting down to a good ole bowl of peach cobbler.
- 4) The struggle is a vanilla liquid that is the result of ~ 1 year of trial and error that we recently got right. The struggle 1.0 is a low cost rival to some recent designer vapers that are twice the price.
All for our flavors are smooth and easy to vape and we have something for everyone
SPINFUEL: Do you steep your eLiquids before they are shipped? Do you suggest that customers ‘home steep’ them before vaping?
Lucky Ruckus: Depending on the liquid – we pre-steep tobacco flavors for 4-5 days before shipping. Bakery and fruity flavors are generally good out of the box and improve with time.
SPINFUEL: What’s the best way, in your opinion, to ‘steep’ eLiquids at home?
Lucky Ruckus: The best way to steep IMO is to set the liquid with the cap off in a cool dark area. Steeping in subjective and we always say that its done steeping when “you” are happy with it.
SPINFUEL: Let’s talk about packaging. How are your eLiquids packaged? Not only their physical appearance, but also how are they sealed? Do you have planned for tamper-proof labeling, and if so, when do you think that will happen?
Lucky Ruckus: We keep our packaging safe and simple. Plastic needle tip bottles and child proof caps. The labels are also simple and serve their purpose by containing all pertinent warnings and ingredients. All liquids are double bagged for shipping. We will comply with any future safety regulations that may be imposed.
SPINFUEL: Can you describe your ‘mixing’ area?
Lucky Ruckus: Our mixing area is dedicated to mixing and meets clean room standards. Although we aren’t currently members of AEMSA we strive to follow their standards and have set up our mix room up accordingly. The new mix facility is at a separate location from the B&M store and is set up with lab protocol for safety gear and all stainless sinks, tables and shelves
SPINFUEL: How do you make sure your mixing tools and containers are kept clean and sterile?
Lucky Ruckus: Mixing tools are hand washed in hot water, rinsed a chemically sanitized similar to the way a restaurant would do dishes
Spinfuel: Do you have an “opening” and “closing” procedure every day?
Lucky Ruckus: Currently there are two of us who handle all the mixing and we have standard start up processes and shut down processes that are being refined and documented so that once employees are brought into mixing and trained the process for everything is documented and clear.
Spinfuel: How do you and your employees find time to relax, get away from the world of eLiquids, and clear your heads, reenergize, etc.?
Lucky Ruckus: Vaping has allowed me to enjoy skiing and running more than I have in years. WE ski several times a year and in the summer enjoy water skiing etc…… WE also strive to make working at LRVS low stress and fun for everyone.
SPINFUEL: What kind of measures do you take to make sure that your e liquid is safe for human consumption? What methods do you use to prevent contamination or other factors that can harm your product?
Lucky Ruckus: We take safety seriously. Standard lab PPE is required when mixing. All of our raw materials are sourced from reputable vendors. Nicotine MSDS are kept onsite and all product is clearly labeled with hi vis markings that differentiate nicotine levels. Mixing is completed a separate location dedicated to mixing and anything not related to mixing is not allowed in the mix area
SPINFUEL: Nicotine. Tell us about the nicotine you use in your juice. What is the most effective way to determine the nicotine level in your individual batch/bottle? Do you test nicotine solution for accuracy? If so, how?
Lucky Ruckus: All of our incoming nicotine is 100mg and tested on arrival at our facility by titration to verify. We log each test result for history. We do not work with any concentration over 100mg. We also do random batch testing of bulk mixed liquid to verify the final ratio
SPINFUEL: Does your crew wear any type of special clothing when they are handling nicotine?
Lucky Ruckus: Hairnets, gloves, safety glasses and lab coats are required at all times during mixing.
SPINFUEL: Do you mix everyday? Bottle by bottle, to order, or in batches?
Lucky Ruckus: Stock for the B&M is mixed in batches as needed and we do mix some special high VG by order.
Spinfuel: Does mixing in batching help with any steeping issues? Is it cost effective?
Lucky Ruckus: Yes and Yes
Spinfuel: Are there occasions when you mix on a per-order basis? What is a typical occasion where that would happen?
Lucky Ruckus: When we mix to order is usually high VG or based on a special request from a customer. Special orders are mixed in graduated cylinders and transferred to the bottle and packaged for shipping
SPINFUEL: What is your demographic? And, when coming up with new flavors, is the demographic data used to determine what flavors would sell to “your base,” or do you come up with flavors that please you, and hope that your audience will want to as well?
Lucky Ruckus: We typically listen to our customers and take suggestions for new flavors. We also hold creation meetings a couple of times a month and do random samples and testing to develop new flavors. Our demographic is “anyone who wants a tobacco alternative” so given that broad range we are comfortable saying that we have something from everyone.
SPINFUEL: What types of hardware (mods, tanks, cartos, etc.) do you use when testing your liquids? Is there any specific hardware that provides the best ‘vape’ for your eLiquids?
Lucky Ruckus: Testing is done with a mech mod and dripper with ~1.5 ohm single coil and cotton. We’ve found that this is a fairly simple method that lets us switch between tests easily and give a good initial flavor representation.
Our high VG mix is ideally suited to drippers and the standard line will vape in anything. SPINFUEL: If you can say, what is your suggested PG/VG ratio for your eJuice? Is there a reason for that ratio? Some people want pure VG mixes today, not many, but it does appear to be growing.
Spinfuel: So your customers can order high VG and if they want to, can the customer order the juice with extra flavoring or higher nicotine content as well?
Lucky Ruckus: We offer our standard line at 50/50 as it gives the most balanced flavor, throat hit and vapor consistency. At this time we don’t offer 100% VG although our high VG is typically in the neighborhood of ~25/75
SPINFUEL: How do you make sure that your flavors are consistent from batch to batch or bottle to bottle? How long will your eJuice last if properly stored? By the way, how should a customer store their eLiquids before they open them and after they’ve been opened?
Lucky Ruckus: All batches are mixed off a recipe list that is stored electronically. Initial nic testing and random batch testing ensures nicotine consistency. Our flavors are all measured and added by hand using graduated cylinders by trained mixers. (we currently have 2) and every batch is sampled to ensure that flavor is consistent and correct and we aren’t having a raw material change affect our batch.
Storage is always ideally in a cool, dark area. We always notify to keep away from extreme temperatures in both directions. Shelf life is relative and we joke that if you are having to worry about shelf life then the flavor probably isn’t right for you, but seriously E-liquid shelf life is typically ~9 months on the conservative side.
SPINFUEL: Something that as always had me wondering; how does a professional eliquid artist, like yourself, make sure that their flavors taste the same no matter what the PG/VG ratio?
Lucky Ruckus: VG doesn’t carry flavor as well so on the high VG mix we typically adjust the flavor up during testing and document the % increase so it can be duplicated.
SPINFUEL: Were you a smoker before you switched to vaping? If so, what made you decide to quit smoking? Was it difficult to quit?
Lucky Ruckus: I was a smoker for 20+ years. I discovered vaping in November of 2012 and have never looked back. My last tobacco cigarette was December 6 2012. I found that quitting tobacco was easy with vaping as an alternative. I have never looked back since December 2012!
SPINFUEL: What type (and/or brand) of eCigarette did you use to break away from analogs?
Lucky Ruckus: I started with a Blu for about two weeks then transitioned to an Ego.
SPINFUEL: How long did it take to completely leave analogs behind?
Lucky Ruckus: After two weeks of vaping a BLU once I got my ego I never smoked again.
SPINFUEL: How often do you vape nowadays?
Lucky Ruckus: I am a chain vaper and my vape is always with me!
SPINFUEL: Do you have a “favorite” flavor? What is your favorite category of eLiquids for your personal vaping? Fruity, tobacco-based, sweet, and so forth?
Lucky Ruckus: The struggle and black tangerine is my all day vape. I do change it up occasionally with some fruits or menthols.
SPINFUEL: Do you have a favorite mod or APV that you use or do you use more than one?
Lucky Ruckus: My current favorite is a spyder DNA 30 with a taifun. I also regularly use a VTR modified to fit a Kayfun lite and my prize is a VV Steampunk mod Serial number 1 from Mike Baker in California
SPINFUEL: Wow. By the way, what makes a good eliquid? In other words, what order of importance are flavor, vapor, and throat hit in a Lucky Ruckus flavor?
Lucky Ruckus: Smooth and great tasting are our requirements! Everyone is different but I have to say that for me Flavor is first then Vapor production followed by throat hit.
SPINFUEL: Where do you think the eCigarette industry is headed? Are eCigs the future of smoking?
Lucky Ruckus: Vaporizers are not going away. They are the only product that “works” to unchain folks from tobacco. Even though we can’t make that claim officially we all know that they do work.
Spinfuel: Are you concerned about the FDA ruling coming soon? Do you have any gut feelings about which way the FDA is leaning; toward more taxation or banning?
Lucky Ruckus: Time will tell. Surely dollars will come into play but our hope is that they will set that aside and make informed decisions to support this great product and ensure its being produced consistently and safely. We support “common sense” regulation that is put in place with informed people making educated recommendations to ensure safety.
SPINFUEL: I’m going to put you on the spot for a moment. Why should our readers buy their e-juice from Lucky Ruckus?
Lucky Ruckus: We make every batch with care —–Made by vapers for vapers! Our product is consistent and made in a clean room environment! We do all the hard work so all you have to do is pick a flavor and enjoy!
SPINFUEL: Before we wrap this up, is there anything else you’d like to say to our readers directly?
Lucky Ruckus: Well, first, thanks for taking the time to review our liquids. We look forward to getting your feedback and we are excited to introduce our Eliquids to more vapers. As for the Spinfuelers who might be reading this; Lucky Ruckus gives you plain bottles and plain labels, And Fantastic liquids inside every bottle.
Cameron Skaggs for Spinfuel eMagazine