I’m going to begin this review the way I begin most eLiquid reviews: by telling you my experience with past offerings from the same line, and then letting you know which hardware I tested this liquid in and at which wattages. I feel these notes are important simply because, just as individual tastes vary, individual atomization devices (ADs) vary, and eLiquids can vary in their crucial attributes depending on which voltage or wattage they’re vaped at.
To the experience part: While there was a predecessor to Kiln House Silverthorn, I was never able to lay my hands on that version; for that reason, I’m not going to be able to tell you how the Kiln House version differs. The last eLiquid I tried from Johnson Creek, Makana, is a fruit flavor which, I have to admit, I really enjoy; however, the last tobacco eLiquid made by Johnson Creek to pass my lips was the “Classic Tobacco” flavor found in Blu cartomizers. That was not only years ago but presented in — just my opinion, yours may differ — mediocre hardware.
Now for the testing specs: I received Kiln House Silverthorn in 1.8% (18mg) strength and allowed 24 hours of steeping before testing began. The hardware I used involved two APVs running a variety of ADs — One brand new Vision X.Jet 1.8 ohm clearomizer; one brand new 2.1ohm Innokin iClear 30B; one 2.4ohm Kanger 510 XL cartomizer.
Now, with that all laid down and out of the way… let’s begin.
Kiln House Silverthorn is presented in a no-nonsense but visually attractive style that I think is going to really speak to its target audience of tobacco flavor enthusiasts. My 30ml amber glass bottle arrived with a shrink-wrapped flat cap, but also included an optional glass dripper cap, which I installed promptly.
The label on the bottle is bedecked in the colors of cream, red, and black. The branding for the lineup is more prominent than the branding of the maker, which is displayed beneath. Rotate the bottle counterclockwise in your hand and you’ll see a prominently displayed consumer warning regarding nicotine contact with children and pets; displayed immediately beneath the warning is the ingredients list.
Johnson Creek appears to know full well that FDA regulation of eLiquids is inevitable, and they’ve done a masterful job of predicting and pre-conforming to those potential regulations. The presentation of the Kiln House line in combination with its quality and performance, in my opinion, places the Kiln House line at a premium level — while, surprisingly, its price point keeps it solidly in the “everyday workhorse” spectrum.
Let me briefly describe how I test eLiquids’ visual qualities, so that you can do them at home with the eLiquid of your choice:
The look-through test is quick and simple, really just what it sounds like. Fill a clearomizer with eLiquid. Then, with a bright white light behind the clearomizer (I use my computer display with a blank white page displayed on it) look through the eLiquid in the clearomizer. If there are impurities in the liquid, the bright backlighting will allow you to spot them fairly easily.
The horizontal rotation test is similarly quick and easy, and you perform it immediately after the look-through test with no trouble at all. Simply turn the clearomizer so that it’s oriented horizontally. Take one end in the thumb and fingers of one hand, the opposite end in the other, and rotate the clearomizer so that the top is rolling away from you.
Watch the line where the eLiquid stops and the air begins. If that line remains relatively even, you have clean, pure liquid. If it becomes notably uneven, your eLiquid has poor consistency. The quality I refer to as “layering” when I judge appearance is the “water ripple” pattern of residual eLiquid on the clearomizer’s interior tank surface left by the motion of rotating the clearomizer.
The appearance of Kiln House Silverthorn really took me by surprise; this is by far the darkest eLiquid I’ve ever seen. Deep, dark copper in hue under bright, directed lighting, it tends more toward dark brown under normal lighting conditions. It’s not opaque, though; it’s just richly, deeply dark.
Because of my moment of surprise at that, I paid special attention to the liquid both in the dropper and in the clearomizers, giving it the look-through and horizontal rotation tests to check for cloudiness, particulates, or patching.
The look-through test came up wonderfully clean and clear. The rotation test showed this eLiquid to possess excellent consistency with nimble motion that did leave a good, strong ripple effect, but no trails. Visually, this is a clean, pleasing liquid that is dark enough to take all the guesswork out of filling clearomizers or tanks.
From Johnson Creek Enterprises, here’s their verbiage for Kiln House Silverthorn:
“Silverthorn® has been a staple of Johnson Creek for over a year, but we have recently improved the recipe to make it better than ever! We’ve made sure to maintain the original flavor profile while making the product even easier to use. This amazing true tobacco flavor meets the standard of the Kiln House™ name. Experience the Turkish tobacco accents and bright Virginia undertones in this newly improved aromatic flavor.”Contains PG and VG Made in America Made from all US-Sourced Ingredients Usually ships same day if ordered before 9AM CT 60-day Return/Exchange Policy (15mL and 30mL bottles only)
The nose didn’t exactly blow me away right out of the mail. A year and a half ago, when I was just getting into refilling my little Halo G6 clearomizers, I would have taken that as an ill omen. But a year and a half after that, all it told me was that the liquid needed time for steeping.
24 hours of steep time later, and oh, yes, there it is. Bright, bold, and wonderfully dry, I get the scent of a freshly opened pouch of high-end tobacco, a potpourri of Turkish and what strikes me as a mixture of Virginia brightleaf varieties.
The only sweetness I detect in the nose — and it’s so far-off and so faint that I hesitate even to mention it, because I don’t know that it was intended to be there — is just the shadow of a whisper of new-mown hay.
Other than that, what you’re going to smell here is a light but robust cigarette-like nose — but without the sour smell that attends traditional cigarette combustion.
The visual vapor output on this eLiquid is top-notch. Although I was unable to locate information regarding the exact PG/VG ratio of the Kiln House line, I would estimate that it’s at least 70/30, and possibly 50/50. This would explain the wonderfully thick, voluminous vapor output, as well as the strong ripple pattern left by the eLiquid in the clearomizer rotation test.
Flavor carriage in the vapor is also particularly potent, and does linger. For this reason, I recommend that you vape this eLiquid only in places where vaping is explicitly permitted, because there is no way you’re going to stealth vape Kiln House Silverthorn. After about 5 minutes, it’s merely detectable and recognizable. Before those five minutes is up, though, it’s unmistakable as a tobacco, even if it is an extremely pleasant one.
The throat hit on this eLiquid is really something special. I actually found myself dialing down the wattage on the two APVs I tested the liquid with — not because the throat hit was harsh or overkill at high wattages, but simply because it was so satisfactory at the lower range of 8 to 9 watts that I just didn’t see any need for higher power.
At 8.5 watts, my personal sweet spot for this liquid in the ADs I used for testing, throat hit is quick and forceful. A good, firm inhale gives me all the throat hit I need in just shy of a full second at that wattage setting, averaged out between the ADs I named in the preface.
The flavor is my top priority, personally, in deciding the worth of any eLiquid. And like Tom McBride, I’m just nuts for a good tobacco vape. Nevertheless, this being my first formal foray into Johnson Creek’s tobaccos, I wasn’t sure what to expect.
Oh, I certainly had high hopes based on John M.’s review of the Kiln House Gold Reserve — but when that first puff happened, I was still blown away.
If you had told me that Kiln House Silverthorn was a Naturally Extracted Tobacco (NET) eLiquid and then had me try it, I’d have believed you. Dry, smooth, and light spice on the inhale tells me about that Turkish component. On the exhale, the Turkish is joined by the earthy, ever-so-slightly vegetal and, surprisingly, smoky character of the Virginia blend.
When I reviewed the Kanger Aero Tank recently, (SmokenJoey Video Review), I mentioned that its performance was so extreme that 18mg eLiquids tested in it were knocking me on my butt. When I tested Kiln House Silverthorn in the Aero Tank, I actually found myself turning the wattage on the iTaste way down so that that wouldn’t happen.
Where am I going with that digression? I’m going here with it: The flavor of Kiln House Silverthorn is so good that I didn’t want too much of a good thing to force me to take a break from it. It’s that good: if you love a dry, non-sweet tobacco, you’re not going to want to put Kiln House Silverthorn down.
Who is Johnson Creek Kiln House Silverthorn for? It’s for anybody and everybody who loves a bold, smooth, dry, entirely non-sweet tobacco. It’s for the vape-curious smoker who would switch if only there was a vape flavor that could make the transition as shock-free as possible. It’s for the experienced Vaper who has spent their whole tenure in the lifestyle searching high and low for — and maybe by now even given up on finding — that perfect analog cigarette flavor replacement.
Johnson Creek’s Kiln House line won’t appeal to everybody — seems to me that it isn’t meant to. But for those people to whom it is dedicated, us tobacco aficionados, it’s not only on the right track with Kiln House Silverthorn, it’s gaining steam.