Update: the following review was written by a former employee, it is not an official Spinfuel eLiquid Team review. The official review team is conducting an new review of these, and additional, flavors from Rasta Vapors. The review will be published near the end of May, 2014. Please keep in mind that taste is always subjective and the Spinfuel team are true connoisseurs trained in the Art of eJuice preparation, with trained palates for flavor distinction. A new review is here
Today I am going to review a dozen e liquids from Rasta Vapors. These liquids are subtly themed along the lines of Rastafarian culture, including tropical, musical and, eh… recreational themes.
My initial impression of these liquids, from their presentation to their pricing to their flavor profiles, leads me to the opinion that these are not premium liquids — and that they’re not intended to be seen as such.
Instead, these are playful and fun liquids, intended to be taken as satisfying but lighthearted and, again, fun. And there is more than enough room for that in the vaping scene. Not everybody is aiming to be a Vapor Chef, a Plume Room, or a Vaporetti. And that is just fine with me.
However. I need to be right up front with you, because I cannot in all good conscience portray some of these liquids as good or even middle-of-the-road. My experience with this lineup tells me that some (many) of them are just downright poor. Not even ‘mediocre’ — just poor.
Of course, what I turn my nose up at just might be something you would think is okay, good, or even possibly great. But I gotta tell ya… for me, some of these liquids are not even in the same area code as ‘good.’
Let’s get into it and I’ll try to explain why. But first, the formalities:
Each of these liquids was tested in a Kangertech cartomizer touting 1.8 ohm resistance, as well as in a Kidney Puncher Long-Barrel dripping atomizer of 1.5 ohms, run first at 7 watts, then at 8.5 watts, and finally at 10 watts on the Innokin iTaste SVD. The liquids were given over a week of steep time — I would have liked to have given them a little more, just to be sure that the issues I encountered weren’t due to prematurity — but they were mixed and bottled in January, here we are in the second week of February and I’ve noticed no real change.
A Personal Note and A Reminder
Before I get into this particular review, I want to remind you, Gentle Reader, of something; and after that, I want to follow up that reminder with just a personal note.
First, the reminder: Everyone’s taste is subjective. What I experienced in the course of this review is by no means universal. But if I were you, I would test very carefully; meaning that, if after this review, you still want to find out for yourself if these flavors might be for you, please invest prudently and start off with samples.
Now for the personal note: However unlikely, it is entirely possible that I may have gotten a bad batch. Maybe something bad happened to the liquids I received. Maybe they’re not supposed to smell and taste the way they did. Maybe they usually don’t smell and taste the way they did.
Another possibility is that these liquids simply require an inordinate amount of time for steeping, possibly on the order of months rather than weeks. I find this scenario unlikely since no one from Rasta informed me of any need for steeping.
What you’re about to read are my personal and subjective experiences with each of the following liquids over the nearly two weeks that I’ve had them. When I have enjoy a e liquid I believe sincere praise is in order, but when I have found an e liquid to be poor, I believe in pointing that out as well. In some cases my impressions are going to sound hypercritical. But it is my job to inform you of my impressions, not to promote every e liquid that comes through our doors regardless of whether we liked them or not, or whether or not they choose to advertise in our pages. Are my impressions the only impressions you should listen to? Absolutely not. I’m just one voice, out of many, though at least I have had some training in the art of discerning e liquid flavoring and performance. I do not present the final word on Rasta Vapors, or any other brand for that matter.
Pricing and Options
Rasta Vapors offers their 26-eliquid flavors in the following sizes:
- 10ml: $7.00
- 15ml: $10.00
- 30ml: $16.00
- 60ml: $28.00
Each liquid is also available in nicotine strengths of 0mg, 6mg, 12mg, 18mg, and 24mg; additionally, each liquid can be enhanced with a flavor “Boost”, selected along with the other options, and the tobacco flavors can be infused with menthol if the user requests it at checkout.
Presentation and Common Characteristics
Many of the Rasta Vapors liquids I tested are nowhere near being within striking distance of the majority of e liquids I have vaped over the past couple of years. What nearly half of these liquids bear in common, besides a poor presentation, is an overwhelmingly artificial quality on the nose and flavor.
What I mean by “poor presentation”: I don’t mean that the bottle is plastic — it is that, of course — and I don’t mean that the labeling is simple — it is that, too. I mean that the bottling lends itself to the perception that not a whole lot of care went into selecting it. For example: the droppers on these bottles are of the blunt, round type that aren’t really well suited to filling much of… anything, really. Filling cartomizers and clearomizers for each of these liquids was an exercise in frustration and wet fingers. Only dripping into the Kidney Puncher Long Barrel was mess free.
The very best of these liquids smell like candy renditions of their respective flavors, though some of them don’t even come that close. Some of them, to me, smell like scented car air freshener versions of some distant cousin to what the described flavor is supposed to be.
On the other hand, where these liquids wander so deep into artificial territory, they make up for that in spades when it comes to visual vapor output, throat hit, and nicotine satisfaction. So, yeah — if I were jonesing hard for nicotine, and I found a stash of Rasta Vapors somehow, I’d absolutely vape the stuff — but I’d be pullin’ a stinkface after every single accursed puff of this liquid.
Rasta Vapor says: “You can trust the flavors and taste of Blueberry Haze eliquid to stimulate your mind, body, and soul. Dancing to a different beat with a tart infused citrus blend of blueberry, orange and cotton candy this is sure to spike your inner roots. Live consciously and indulge lusciously. Keep this one all to yourself and don’t let a drop go to waste.”
Let’s do this first one the way I always like to do an analysis of any eliquid — the good ol’ ANVTF style. Further entries will leave out visual vapor output and throat hit notes, because — as I stated just a bit ago — those particular attributes are all perfectly consistent, and consistently good, in all these liquids.
Appearance-wise, Blueberry Haze is a deep, deep amber-rust color, ever so faintly cloudy. This isn’t simply a matter of cloudiness in the bottles; the bottles themselves are of a rather thick and only translucent, not transparent, plastic. No, the cloudiness is present in the liquid itself, and shows in clearomizers, as well.
The nose on this liquid is pure chemical. I don’t get even a hint of anything organic happening here. While I do detect the blueberry and particularly the citrus notes, they come across as more of an odd, “Blueberry Lemon Pledge” than anything else.
Visual vapor output, as noted above, is where these liquids shine, and Blueberry Haze was my first introduction to that. The visual output is thick and fulsome; the problem is that it carries that same “Lemon Pledge” scent. You probably won’t hear anybody complain about smelling it, but they may ask you to “do the bookshelves”, if you get what I mean.
Throat hit is another winning area for these liquids, including Blueberry Haze. The throat hit is rapid, firm, and satisfying. That really is the only winning feature here.
The flavor is more of that slightly blueberry-tinted Lemon Pledge. If you can handle that, wonderful — I couldn’t. And although I gave it an extra week to steep — it just didn’t get any better.
Rasta Vapors Says: “Let the wild horses run free. There are no sissy fruit flavors in this eliquid. Cheebs identifies with the deep, rich, bold tobacco taste for the hardworking cowboy. Settle into the ranch life carcinogen free. Soak in the flavors of this authentic eliquid tobacco savor that will stimulate a ride off into the open range.”
The nose on Cheebs is not tobacco. I don’t smell tobacco at all with this liquid. What I get from the nose of this liquid is fake leather. Seriously. I get fake leather when I take a whiff of this stuff. I don’t even know how Rasta Vapors made an allegedly tobacco-flavored eliquid smell like fake leather, but somehow, they pulled it off.
The flavor, I’m sad to report, was more of the same. Just not a flavor I recognize as tobacco, at any rate. Beyond that, it isn’t even a pleasant flavor. I could forgive it — not praise it, of course, but at least forgive it — despite not matching its description if it at least tasted okay. It just doesn’t.
Rasta Vapors Says: “Indulge in the unthinkable with Chocoberry eliquid. Double dipping never looked or sounded more inviting. With a little berry beginning, Chocoberry leaves a smooth flavorful chocolaty taste dancing on your taste buds. This eliquid is made for the rich and not so rich and famous. Escape reality and soak your palette in a delectable treat that will have you coming back for more.”
I think that, at this point, we can dispense with the vapor and throat hit; by now, you have probably noticed that Rasta Vapors’ lineup does these two things right. Additionally, the performance of the visual vapor output and the throat hit are consistently good across the entire lineup.
Let’s instead look, with each individual eliquid, to the appearance, the nose, and the flavor.
On the appearance front: Chocoberry, interesting, doesn’t display the same flecks as the other up to this point, though it does display the same cloudiness, both in the bottle — which could very well have been imparting the “cloudy” look, and in a clearomizer, where that shouldn’t have been happening.
On the nose, what should have been — what might have been — a sweet and tart fusion of sweet chocolate and tart berry is instead simply noxious. I took so many inhales of the nose on this liquid, trying to find something nice to say about the nose, but nothing nice arose from the ether. I can’t even describe what it does smell like, because it honestly doesn’t smell like anything. This stuff just smells gross.
The flavor, surprisingly, is actually a little bit better than the nose would lead one to believe. Don’t misunderstand me — it’s still not good. It’s simply not as bad. The flavor is, like a few of the others in the lineup, a weird, muddled mishmash that adds up to a dominant note of sweetened detergent with mere hints of the description’s particular flavor — in this case, the sweetness is of chocolate while there is a faint note of berries thickly saturated behind a dominant artificiality. Are the berries strawberries? Blackberries? I just can’t tell.
Still, points for the throat hit, the vapor output, and the nicotine satisfaction.
Rasta Vapors Says: “Lace up the running shoes and get ready to sprint. This eliquid will have you energized and ready to tackle any marathon, triathlon, or physical challenge. Orange flavor with a zest of lemon lime will have your shoes taking off without you unless you tie them tight. Set your mind to achieve a victory. For a speedy finish, infuse with this cool eliquid flavor.”
Have you ever used the cold and flu medicine called Theraflu? Ever wanted to vape it? Well, if that’s been a dream of yours, your dream has come true with “Cool Runnings” from Rasta Vapor.
I’m not even trying to be mean. I’m not trying to be harsh. Trust me, if I had wanted to be mean, if I had wanted to be cruel, I could have been — I’ve been good. I’ve been polite. I’ve been kind-hearted.
But it’s just really hard to do that with this lineup, and every time I think to myself, “Well, maybe the next one will be okay…” I try the next one, and nope.
So enough pussyfooting around, let me give you the skinny — rather, the scrawny — on this liquid.
As hinted at above, this stuff smells like cold medicine. The flavor, though, at least, is okay. I get a ton of lemon, a ton of lemon, on this one, flavor wise, and a hint of menthol. I don’t get orange at all. It’s still not organic, but at least it’s okay. It’s like those sour lemon candies in flavor. So, if you’re a big fan of lemon sours, this flavor, at least, will be all right.
Rasta Vapor Says: “Ohhh Mr. Caramel Apple how we have missed you, that sweet sugary stickiness that overpowers all of our senses and makes us jump up and down like little school girls. You’re eliquid is just the perfect combination that makes us go insane don’t ever leave us we will love you forever. Ohhh Mr. Caramel Apple how we have missed you, that sweet sugary stickiness that overpowers all of our senses and makes us jump up and down like little school girls. You’re eliquid is just the perfect combination that makes us go insane don’t ever leave us we will love you forever.”
Here’s the thing with “Dazed” — I get hints of caramel apple on the nose — but what it strong on the nose, what just really overpowers on the nose, is soap. Although I should mention that, on the flavor, this mellows out quite a bit, to bring out the apple… the problem is that, while the soapy note does mellow, it does not disappear. It’s still there.
Rasta Vapors Says: “This eliquid is great for just kicking back and chilling out. The sweetness of it has a satisfying intense grape smell and flavor you will fall in love with. It has a strong throat hit and a punch to your taste buds. Whether you’re couch surfing, playing video games or relaxing by the pool on a hot summer day you will want some of this in your tank.”
The nose on Grape Ape… if the word ‘Grape’ wasn’t on the bottle, I would never have guessed that this liquid is supposed to have anything to do with that flavor.
Once again, I find myself treated to a chemical scent on the nose here — but in this case, at least, the scent is pleasant if still loudly and clearly artificial. With the nose on this liquid, I get Cherry Pez. Now, that’s not bad — but it’s not what I’m expecting to smell from what I’m told is going to be a dominantly grape liquid.
“The flavor is more Cherry Pez”. There’s just not a great deal I can add without padding or stalling. If you like Cherry Pez, this flavor might be your cup of tea. If you want grape, though, don’t look to find it here unless you’re willing to really stretch your imagination.
Rasta Vapors Says: “Don’t let your summer festivities go by without the tangy clean indulgence of Kiwi Kush eliquid. With a blend of strawberry, kiwi, and Champagne, this mix kicks any celebration up a notch. Barbecues, pool parties, weddings, and keggers rejoice when the Kiwi Kush eliquid arrives. It is the perfect complement to toast all your great achievements and victories. Cheers to the weekend and celebrating in style with sweet bubbly Kiwi Kush.”
Kiwi Kush presents one of the few liquids in this lineup which actually — and this knocked me on my butt — delivered a nice nose and flavor. It gave me cause to wonder if something, y’know, happened to the other liquids in the lineup, either during their creation or during shipping.
In any case, let’s get down with this one. The nose on this delivers beautifully on the tang of Kiwi, the sweetness of ripe strawberry, and… then there’s that artificiality again. But not as bad, this time.
The flavor is true to the nose on this liquid, as well. And, interestingly, though the flavor components are still candy-like, the overall flavor doesn’t carry even the faint ‘artificiality’ of the nose. This one is moderately good.
Rasta Vapors Says: “No rocket scientist, brain surgeon, or zillionaire here. Nope this is the down to earth Matanuska eliquid tobacco flavor only the strong can handle. It’s the brazen flavor you crave when you search for that smooth tobacco taste. Enjoy this morning, noon, night, weekends and holidays. Matanuska represents resilience. The sun will always set, and the moon will always rise with Matanuska by your side.”
Matanuska is a deep, dark brownish-red in appearance. The nose is where we start to get an inkling, here, of what’s to come in the flavor, and despite the warning in the web site’s description, I really wasn’t prepared for what I was going to encounter here.
To be fair, the nose and flavor are of a distinctly tobacco nature, and yes indeed, it is a seriously strong tobacco.
The problem is that it’s not of a smoking tobacco. The nose at least eschews any notes of artificiality. What the nose does produce is a powerful scent of… chewing tobacco. Granted, it’s deep and rich, dark and earthy, but it carries the unmistakable bitter tone of a Copenhagen or a Red Man.
The flavor follows suit down to the last jot. While the strength is good, the bitterness isn’t. Overall, this is a flavor I can’t recommend to anyone other than that rare vaper who switched to vaping, not from smoking but from chew.
Rasta Vapors Says: “The real world is wide and full of fears, sensations, and excitement, but with Snake Bite eliquid you can face any challenge with courage. The difficulties you face will become obsolete with this incredible mix of strawberries and peaches. Leave your fears behind, embrace the sensations and excitement with Snake Bite eliquid, and live your best life!”
With this one, we’re back to a nose that drowns the intended flavor in a soapy character — but this time, what lies underneath that is very definitely accurate to the description. Strawberry and peach in equal measure, and if only that soapy note would get out of the way, I am frustratingly convinced that the scents underneath would be really good.
Sadly, it is there, and in the flavor as well. I would have loved this flavor were it not for that, and the strongly artificial note wasn’t as strong on this one, which was really all the more aggravating, because even in spite of that, this liquid is almost good.
Rasta Vapors Says: “This fruit infused eliquid will have you singing the swagger jagger lyrics. Singing leads to dancing so put on your dance shoes. People will be staring and wishing they could be like you. A perfect combination of succulent mango and peach combined with mouthwatering watermelon. Not only will you move like swagger jagger, you will feel like him to. Just in time for the weekend, indulge in this eliquid blend and feel swaggerific.”
The nose on this one is pleasant. It’s not any more organic than any of the other flavors in the lineup, and I don’t really find myself able to pick up the specific flavor components the description lays out — although I find it easy to believe that they would certainly all add up to what I am picking up — but it really is a pleasant scent.
The flavor is similarly good. This, again, is another entry in the line that makes me wonder what’s gone wrong with the majority of them. I still don’t get the watermelon the description sets down, but I do get a strong, tasty combination of mango and peach.
Rasta Vapors Says: “Lighten the load of the burdens of the day with eliquid Tropwen. An intense mixture of peppermint and menthol, it will take your breath away. The moment you ingest this seasoned mix all your cares and worries will subside. Tropwen eliquid embraces clarity of mind. Light and carefree never sounded so intoxicating.”
There’s nothing at all complicated going on here. The nose on this liquid gets right in your face with menthol and peppermint, just as it says on the tin. This was actually the one I found to be the most enjoyable simply because — if that noted artificiality is in this one, the menthol and peppermint are simply so overpowering that I couldn’t detect it.
If you’re a fan of menthols, you certainly won’t be disappointed here. The flavor is so ragingly intense that you’ll actually feel the menthol effect on the inhale. The peppermint component comes through nicely on the exhale. Although I’m personally not a fan of menthol flavors, I think that if you are, you’ll like this one.
Rasta Vapors Says: “Do you have an urge to chase storms or do tornados have you feeling scared? Indulge in this e liquid twister and be ready to tackle those storms as they roll through in a spiral, gust, or sweep. Sweet strawberries with a tangy lemon lime twist give a bodily tornado sensation like no other experience. Twist up your life but stay on the ground with e liquid twisted.”
The final entry in this review lineup is another of the good ones. The nose here strikes me as strawberry lemonade — I’m not picking up lime. However, the components I am picking up are very nice. As with most of the other liquids under review today, this one brings that same artificiality — but in the case of Twisted, it’s “candy” rather than “chemical.”
The same holds true on the flavor — sweet strawberry candy with sour lemon candy. Interestingly, where this didn’t really work in Cool Runnings, it does work out pretty well with Twisted.
Recommendation and Conclusion
You might have noticed that while some of the flavors in this lineup presented a note that was markedly artificial on the nose and in the flavor, that note varied in intensity. In some of the liquids it came across merely as being pleasantly candy-like, while at the other end of the intensity spectrum I found it to be ‘soapy’ or ‘detergent-like.’
It is unusual to confront this number of poor e liquids from a single brand. For the first time as a vaper I found myself wondering if there might be something wrong with an entire batch, but more likely is the fact that the e liquid simply has a flavor profile that strikes me all wrong. Clearly some people love these e liquids, and perhaps you might too, but the amount of artificiality, the soapiness characteristics, and the lack of presentation, well, these are all factors that go into my decision to recommend them to others or to tell fellow vapers to avoid them. Rasta Vapors is one brand of e liquid that I cannot, in good conscious, recommend to anyone.
If you do decide to order from Rasta Vapors then I urge you to “thread lightly” and buy samplers whenever possible. This advice goes for many other e liquid brands as well, but today we’re talking about Rasta Vapors, and as far as I am concerned, there are e liquids out there that are far more worthy for your hard earned money.
As always, your comments are welcome.