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Ripe Vapes eLiquid Goes Before The Spinfuel eLiquid Review Team
Out of Oxnard California comes an eLiquid brand that not only presents itself as a premium bouquet brand, complete with a fine elegant logo, richly appointed labels, and a 3-step packaging process that I hope catches on worldwide, they are also makers of excellent eJuice. So much so that the entire team was a little bummed out having “just enough” on hand to complete the review. Sometimes a bouquet brand is all fluff and no stuff, and sometimes they are the real deal. Ripe Vapes is the real deal.
Ripe Vapes offers their wares in an excellently designed website, as well as couple of dozen vape shops throughout the state of California. If you live too far from the nearest shop that carries Ripe Vapes you’ll need to buy it online, which is something we prefer to do anyway.
Before we get lost in the eLiquids themselves I want to spend a few minutes on the deluxe packaging used by Ripe Vapes. The company is ahead of the curve in packaging techniques and I can’t imagine that the FDA regulators wouldn’t appreciate the incredible care Ripe Vapes has taken to make sure that their product ships well, stores well, and is very difficult to tamper with… and definitely child proof.
This 3-step process includes; childproof caps, shrink-wrapped neckbands, and having the entire bottle slipped into a thin plastic (cellophane?) bag that is then heat sealed along the top. Three very effective ways to prevent tampering, keep fresh, and to keep young children from getting to the eLiquid inside should they happen to find a bottle lying around. Spinfuel eMagazine applauds Ripe Vapes for taking the time and expense to secure their product.
In a market with more than 500 brands in the United States alone, presentation plays a vital role in gaining a foothold in the eLiquid market. To be honest, you can have the worst tasting juice in the world but if you package it like you’re packaging a Rolex watch or diamond necklace your juice will find an audience. Not for long, but it will be noticed and it will be tried.
The same can be said for having the best eLiquid in the world; package it in a plain plastic bottle with a hand-written post-it note as a label and I doubt you’ll get many customers…Product presentation is an art-form, and there are talented people that are paid handsomely to design a presentation that will get the product into customer’s hands whether its worth it or not. In the case of Ripe Vapes, it’s very much worth it.
Discovering Ripe Vapes
The presentation of Ripe Vapes bottles is actually responsible for today’s review. While I was on Twitter one night several weeks back I caught a tweet that contained a photo of the Ripe Vapes bottles. The rustic label, the fine pen and ink drawing of the mighty oak, the elegant fonts, and even the golden color of the eLiquid itself flipped that switch in my brain that said “I must try this”. So, off went an email, or a tweet, I can’t remember now, and here we are.
Luckily for Ripe Vapes and their customers, the eLiquid inside is equal to the beautiful presentation of the bottles.
In addition to the fine pen and ink logo, the elegant fonts, and all the rest, Ripe Vapes includes all the information you could ask for right on the labels.
o eLiquid Name
o The URL for Ripe Vapes
o The Warning
o Batch Number
o Lot Number
o Date it was bottled
o Date it Expires
o Nicotine Strength (large watermark on the back of the label)
Size: Ripe Vapes currently offers one size, 30ML glass bottles with glass dropper.
PG/VG – the ratios used in these formulas are kept secret, or at least I can’t find any information on them. The eLiquid is thick, smells great, and it sort of glistens.
We took a vote and decided that because there is plenty of flavor, lots of vapor production, and a decent throat hit in all four, that we’re probably looking at somewhere in the neighborhood of 30/70 blends, 30% PG, 70% VG. We could be wrong, but if we had to guess, that would be it. Of course, the PG/VG ratios could also be flexible, in that whatever works best for that particular flavor is what the ratio will be.
Nicotine: 3mg, 6mg, 12mg, 18mg and a zero-nic option
Retail Dealers where Ripe Vapes can be purchased are limited to California. For a list of retail vape shops that carry their line visit the dealers page on the Ripe Vapes website. http://ripevapes.com/dealers/
How We Conducted This Review
This time out we made the decision to vape each eLiquid at the same time. For example, when it was time for VCT to be presented we all vaped VCT, and so on. After we had spent 72-hours vaping these four eLiquids were would meet to discuss our impressions, hand in our notes, and (usually) argue over our findings.
Hardware was the usual suspects, our own personal vape gear. That gear included the JoyeTech eVic Supreme, ZMAX, 777 M-1, Sigelei 20W, ProVari, and a few Vision Spinners. Clearomizers and tanks were the usual AeroTank, AeroTank mini, X.Jet Spider, Aspire BDC Vivi Nova’s and a few Aspire Nautiluses.
Spinfuel Choice Award – When all members of the team award an eLiquid with 5 Stars that eLiquid earns a Spinfuel Choice Award. No one is aware of any awards being issued until the last day, when we meet to discuss our impressions and turn our notes over to the lead writer, in this case, me. (Julia). I was not surprised in the least to see how many Choice Awards were earned in this review.
Criteria for the Star System is based on; flavor, vapor, complexity, satisfaction, and personal enjoyment (new!).
Important note* The DOB for these four flavors is April 14 2014. Our review began on May 13th, a month later. So please note that the eLiquids in this review steeped for a month before the review began and the flavor profile should be fully formed by then.
The Ripe Vapes Lineup
Monkey Snack 30ML – $25 – Spinfuel Choice Award – “A delicious pairing of rich, creamy peanut butter and sweet, velvety banana. This Joose is sure to invoke wonderful memories and dance on your taste buds.”
The description fits perfectly, the banana flavor is velvety, the peanut butter is creamy, delicious, smooth, and authentic.
This was our first eLiquid in this review and when I experienced the enormous amount of vapor that came from it I was taken aback. Monkey Snack gives a much better than expected throat hit as well.
At 83 cents per ML it’s expensive for me to make this an everyday vape, but when I do vape it, we’re talking a very good all-day-vape.
Tom: 5 Stars This isn’t the first peanut butter and banana vape I’ve had, and I’m sure it won’t be the last, but damn was it ever good! I can’t tell you how satisfying it was to get a mouthful of flavor and a lung full of thick aromatic vapor. And the satisfaction of Monkey Snack is so complete it’s not funny.
Peanut butter can make a great flavor if done correctly, and here it is done to perfection. The exact amount of banana in Monkey Snack gives it just the right kick. If PB and banana even sound appealing to you, this is one you do not want to miss.
Keira: 5 Stars The flavor of peanuts is so prevalent that people with peanut allergies will break out by just smelling this wonderful juice. Monkey Snack is a great all day vape, and with this rich, full bodied flavor you won’t tire of it easily. There isn’t anything Ripe Vapes could do to make this a better peanut butter and banana eLiquid. A must buy, without question.
Jason: 5 Stars It’s getting the full 5 stars from me as well, despite not being such a fan of peanut butter and banana. The reason is simple; this is a very authentic flavor, with exacting flavor combinations, and executed perfectly. Tons of vapor, a good throat hit, and rich and thick enough to be satisfying without being harsh later on in the day. If I liked peanut butter and banana, this would be in my rotation now.
John: 5 Stars – I haven’t done a team review in a while, but I chose to do this one when I overheard Julia talking on the phone about Monkey Snack. I’m glad I did too, because these really are four very fine eLiquids.
I enjoy a good peanut butter vape, and with the right amount of banana flavoring it can go from good to excellent. Monkey Snack is pure excellence. A must buy.
Pear-Almond 30ML – $25 – Spinfuel Choice Award – “Envoking [sic] the polished pastries of Europe. This joose has the bold, rich flavor of marzipan with notes of ripe/aromatic summer pear. If you closed your eyes and imagined, one might easily find themselves strolling the old cobblestone streets of Paris….. Happy Travels.”
Julia: 5 Stars – I was surprised that Pear-Almond also won a Spinfuel Choice Award. I absolutely loved it, but I thought Jason, and maybe even Tom, wouldn’t be able to appreciate it. (Sorry guys) Pear-Almond has a very sophisticated flavor, the pear and marzipan characteristics are delicate, semi-sweet, deliciously fresh. The almond flavor brings it up to the level of a very expensive, 5-star pastry from a 5-star hotel or the finest pastry chefs.
This all-day vape is so original, so European, and so completely satisfying. I will add this to my rotation immediately.
Tom: 5 Stars – What I really like about this Pear-Almond is that there is no mistaking the delectable flavors of each ingredient. The pear component is not an ordinary, sweet pear, it’s less sweet than I usually taste in a pear eLiquid, and that special added flavor of marzipan brings it just the right amount of ‘body’, with a touch of sweetness that blends together nicely.
On the inhale you get this marvelous flavor of pear, with a nice exhale of almonds. An all-day-vape and one that is going into my rotation. A brilliant job!
Keira: 5 Stars – All I can say about Pear and Almond is that if your tastes run toward the sophisticated, the delicate, and you delight in the flavors of pear and marzipan, this is your next heavenly vape.
I could not get enough of it. I nearly stopped the review just so I could continue to vape it. With incredible clouds of vapor, and a terrific throat hit, Pear-Almond is a brilliant eLiquid.
One warning however; if you’re the type of vaper that wants good, wholesome, down to earth flavors, you need to be aware that this is not that. Pear-Almond has a European flair to it, a very unique (for me) flavor profile. Pear-Almond had to take months to perfect, there is no way they just whipped it up. If you only try one eLiquid of the four, make it this one.
Jason: 5 Stars – I could not vape Pear-Almond every day, I just couldn’t. Most of the time I have my clearomizers and tanks filled with really strong tobacco, coffee, and even strong vanilla, chocolate, or strawberry type eLiquids. This Pear-Almond is very different for me.
However, it is also one of the most exquisite flavors I’ve ever tasted. I know it’s an award winner because it is one of those eLiquids that shouts excellence from the rooftops. My only concern is that there are vapers like me that will try it and think; “good…but weird”. Trust me on this; you will want to vape this one.
John: 5 Stars – I enjoyed all four of these great eLiquids, but Pear-Almond is my favorite. If I dined at a French restaurant this would be the eJuice I would insist on afterwards. Pear and marzipan have a very unique and very delicious character to them. On the inhale you’ll experience that uniqueness full on. In the exhale you get this real, authentic almond flavor, tons of vapor, and a very solid throat hit. Easily one of the best I’ve had. I am adding this to my own rotation.
Key Lime Cookie 30ML – $25 – “ This inspired Joose has wonderful sweet/tart notes of key lime, commingled with the flavor of warm baked cookies. Delicious and uniquely crafted for everyone to enjoy.
Julia: 4 Stars – Key Lime Cookie is my biggest disappointment of the four. Yet, you can see by my score that I still enjoyed it. The problem with Key Lime Cookie is the lack of Key Lime flavor, and the lack of any sort of cookie flavor. I’m not saying you can’t taste the lime or the cookie, you can, but it is so frustratingly light that it just doesn’t do it for me.
I gave this one a couple of chances too, hoping that the flavors would enhance with a little time…but it never happened. Ripe Vapes is on to something here, but they need to jack up the flavors. Excellent vapor, a good throat hit, and a very light flavor make for an okay vape, but it has to “wow” me, and it didn’t.
Tom: 4 Stars – I’ve been getting into some really good lime flavored eLiquids lately, and I’ve been enjoying them more and more. So when I saw this one, and had already experienced the excellence of Monkey Snack and Pear-Almond I was ready for another great vape experience. Then I began to hear Julia and Keira complain about the lack of flavor, the “missing lime”, caper, and I was a little worried.
The truth is that the key lime is very light, but it is there. Not much a cookie flavor though, so I agree with them on that. Too bad too, I think that if they can adjust the recipe a bit, add a little more lime, maybe more of whatever they’re using for the cookie flavor, it could be every bit as good as their Pear-Almond. A good vape, but a little light on flavor.
Keira: 3.75 Stars – Oh I am so disappointed with Key Lime Cookie. I guess 3 out of 4 ain’t bad, as Meat Loaf would say, but still, after vaping some incredible flavors I was really expecting this one to be another home run.
The problem, as Julia will surely say, is that the key lime flavor is so very light you can hardly taste it, and the cookie flavor isn’t there at all. I would describe Key Lime Cookie as sparkling water with a twist of lime. In other words, basically flavorless except for a tiny hint of lime. But, because it is so light and the vapor clouds are huge, it would make a good all day vape if you didn’t want or care about strong flavor. I am willing to concede that my ability to appreciate such a delicate flavor may influence my impression of Key Lime Cookie.
Jason: 4.5 Stars – Key Lime Cookie is a very light, very delicate lime vape. I think it could use a bit more lime, and more cookie flavoring, but as it stands now, it’s just enough lime to make a good all day vape. I love strong flavors, that’s a given these days, but I liked this one despite being so light on the lime.
Key Lime Cookie could have easily earned a Choice Award had it delivered as much flavor as Pear-Almond, but I urge my fellow vapers to consider that sometimes a light vape can make a great all day vape because there isn’t so much flavor that you begin to get vapers tongue after a few hours. Maybe Ripe Vapes can do a Light and Not-So-Light version of this. I think I would buy both.
John: 4 Stars Stars – I don’t know, maybe it’s me, but I think the light key lime flavor in this is on purpose. I heard Keira mention that sometimes a lightly flavored eLiquid would make a good all day vape because there isn’t a lot of flavor to get tired of, and in a way that’s a good point. Yes, it would be nice to be knocked senseless with a huge key lime flavor, but I’m betting you wouldn’t be able to vape it all day.
I’ll agree with the others that the lime is very light, but with the fantastic vapor production it’s a pretty good ADV. I liked it, but I would also like a stronger version of it.
VCT (Vanilla Custard Tobacco) 30ml – $25 –“ This sophisticated joose is sure to leave you desiring more. Sweet and sexy vanilla custard up front, with a rich finish tasting of fine tobacco and a hint of toasted almond. Aimed to please the novice, or the distinguished smoker.”
Julia: 4 Stars –This is the one I was most worried about. Our last flavor in the review and the only tobacco flavor among the four, this one had a lot to live up to. Could Ripe Vapes maintain the excellence they’ve shown with the other three, in a tobacco-flavored juice? Yes, and no…
First, let me say that this is a remarkable tobacco flavor. A smooth, semi-rich tobacco bottom layer with hints of vanilla custard on top. The tobacco hits you right in the inhale, with no sign of vanilla custard until you reach the exhale. And amazingly, on the exhale you only lightly taste the tobacco component. Very unique, and very good. Maybe a little too nuanced for some people that want a stronger overall secondary flavor (vanilla custard in this case), but the way it is now it would make a good all day vape.
Tom: 5 Stars – As much as I love a good tobacco vape I’m going to have to say that my favorite of the four is Pear-Almond, with this complex tobacco and vanilla custard taking second place.. a close second place.
VCT is a major cloud maker, though the throat hit is less than I expected. The tobacco flavor is mature, rich, yet very smooth. The vanilla custard flavor makes an appearance at the end, in the exhale, and that works out just fine. I’m adding VCT to my rotation, there’s always room for one more good tobacco.
Keira: – 4 Stars – I can recognize VCT as a good tobacco vape, even though it may not be something I would want to add to my collection. That said, I do like the particular tobacco flavor they’ve created. It’s smooth, rich tasting, with just the right amount of vanilla custard to give the tobacco a wider range.
I get a full on tobacco flavor on the inhale, with just hints of vanilla, but on the exhale the I get a solid bit of vanilla custard and well as tobacco. This might be hard to put into words, but with an inhale dominated with a tobacco flavor with vanilla notes, and the exhale predominantly vanilla custard with light tobacco notes, this is a really complex eLiquid. I like it a lot.
Jason: – 5 Stars – Now there can be no doubt that Ripe Vapes is a master eLiquid creator. All four of their eLiquids are expertly blended and artfully crafted to create a lineup worthy of the word “excellence”. VCT delivers a smooth, slightly sweet tobacco on the inhale, with just a bit of vanilla custard, and on the exhale delivers less tobacco and more vanilla, I wonder how long this one took to master.
As for vapor production goes; it’s excellent. The throat hit is also excellent. All in all, VCT is one fine, unique, tobacco eLiquid.
John: – 4.5 Stars – I had the opportunity to enjoy this smooth tobacco blend under a couple of very unique circumstances. The first time I vaped VCT was late in the afternoon, after a day of vaping Key Lime Cookie.
I found the flavor, at that time, to be less tobacco and more vanilla custard. It was good, but I had hoped for more tobacco components. The second occasion was the next morning. I had filled a Nautilus the day before so the eLiquid had sat all night in the tank.
I never start vaping when I wake up, I wait about an hour after I’ve had a chance to start the morning rituals. Finally, with a good cup of coffee I picked up my ProVari with VCT in the Nautilus and began vaping. The difference in flavor from the day before was astonishing. Now this was a brilliant tobacco vape with excellent vanilla notes. I spent the next several hours enjoying VCT, until my tank ran dry. I suppose the lesson learned, a lesson the team had already learned 2 years before, was to, well, “cleanse the palate” before switching to a different flavor during a review period. It makes a big difference.
Vapor production was excellent, and the throat hit as well. VCT is a must try for tobacco vapers that also enjoy a vanilla component to their tobacco.
Ripe Vapes is, without a doubt, a premium label. The physical presentation is premium, and the eLiquid itself is premium. But something we must address is the price. Ripe Vapes eLiquid is definitely on the high end of the price scale. So let’s talk about that.
There are some things that have an effect on the pricing that can’t be helped without sacrificing presentation, and as I mentioned above, in this business presentation is very important. Expensive labels, bottles, drippers, and even in the shipping, these things add to the cost of production, and whether its worth it to the vaper that’s paying for it is something they have to address.
We received the four bottles in a large box (increasing postage costs), padded with long strings of straw. And as I stated above, each bottle has child safety caps, neckband shrink-wrap, and each bottle is placed in a cellophane bag and heat-sealed. These things alone will cause the price to increase quite a bit.
As a vaper you have to ask yourself, are these extra expenses worth it. I believe it is, but I wanted the input of the rest of the team so I put the question to them.
Tom: Yes and no. I would never vape eLiquids from a single company full time anyway. I need, and want, variety. Not only in flavor or PG/VG ratios, but also brands. Every brand has a unique signature, a base flavor characteristic that is unique to that brand. Ripe Vapes is certainly a brand I will integrate into my eLiquid collection, but that will be balanced with less expensive, but just as premium brands that I know and love.
That’s not to say that I disagree with the need for good presentation. With more and more eLiquid brands popping up every day the only tool at their disposal is how to set themselves apart in an industry with so much competition. I don’t fault them for that, and in fact I appreciate it. Consider this; if Julia hadn’t been intrigued by the “look” of Ripe Vapes we would never have reviewed them, and that would have been a shame. It makes me wonder how many other great brands there are that we haven’t had the opportunity (yet) to review.
Keira: I think the price of eLiquid is less important than you might think it is. In a couple of years I think we will look back at 30ML prices of $16 to $28 and wish those days were still here. There’s no doubt in my mind that taxes and regulation will not only drive hundreds of brands into bankruptcy, and the remaining brands will cost 2 to 4 times what it costs now. $25 for 30ML is still under a $1 a ML, which isn’t bad. Ask me again when we are paying $75 for a 30ML bottle.
Jason: $25 for a 30ML bottle is fine with me. Like Tom, I like to vary my brands, some are less and some are about the same, and some are even more expensive. Anything under $1 per ML is fine with me, but once it gets beyond a $1 per ML than I just won’t bite.
John: I think prices of eLiquids are going to go up regardless, but if we are talking about the ‘right now’, no, I don’t have an issue with paying $25 for a 30ML bottle of eLiquid as good as Ripe Vapes, or for that matter several other brands I love to vape, which by the way are far less than $25. Sometimes I think I’m paying too little, seriously, especially if it’s a flavor I’m crazy about.
The only time money is an issue, today, is when you spend $100 for 4 bottles of eLiquid and you don’t like them. That’s the terrible part of exploring the various brands and flavors, and it’s understandable that some people stick with the brand they know for all their eLiquids.
All four eLiquids offered by Ripe Vapes are excellent. From the initial presentation to the flavor, vapor, and satisfaction of the vape, we have only good things to say about this brand.
If you have any prior experience with Ripe Vapes sound off below in the comments. How did you like their eLiquid? Would you recommend them?
Till next time…
Julia Hartley-Barnes, Tom McBride, Keira Hartley-Barnes, and Jason Little, special appearance by John Manzione