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Think You Know Your eLiquid Vendor?
There can be no doubt that Spinfuel has become a ‘go-to’ source for leading reviews on eLiquids, yet we’ve barely scratched the surface when it comes to the sheer number of eLiquid vendors currently selling their wares on the Internet. There are many reasons why we’ve not scratched that surface, some I will get into below. In any case, this piece will touch a nerve with some people. A few may even get red-hot angry, but this needs to be discussed, openly and honestly.
When we search for an eLiquid vendor we do so with the utmost care. There needs to be a few readers that have suggested them to us, or we have to have had personal experience with them. It doesn’t matter what some ignorant forum member might say (yes, I’m talking to you), we do not mass mail eLiquid vendors and we certainly do not give every vendor a glowing review. All you have to do is read a review to know that every vendor offers a flavor or 10 that the Spinfuel eLiquid Review Team doesn’t like. They are an honest bunch, this team of eLiquid connoisseurs, and they wouldn’t lie if they had to. Regardless, if a vendor has been invited to have their product reviewed its because we’ve heard good things or we’ve experienced good things. But that’s only part of the equation. It certainly doesn’t guarantee a “glowing” review.
Quality Is More Than Good Tasting Vapor
When I was writing “Fun With Concentrates”,(here) using PG/AVG, and concentrates from Totally Wicked eLiquid I came up with some flavors, near the end of the run, that were pretty damn good. I wasn’t the only one to think so either. For me the discovery of “steeping” before vaping made all the difference. Anyway, just because they tasted good doesn’t mean I would let a stranger vape them.
Some of the eLiquid mixing I did was done at my desk. A desk with a bath towel over it in case I spilled anything (and I spilled often). The flasks were not sterile, my hands weren’t sterile, and the bottles I put them in, while certainly clean, weren’t sterile either. I am absolutely sure that if a health inspector came by and took samples of the eJuice and ran tests on them they would come back full of things no one in their right mind would want to vape…from a stranger or otherwise.
With the hundreds of eLiquid vendors out there, how many of them mix their eLiquids under similar conditions? How would you know? Who can you trust?
The only reason I know that there are vendors out there in the vaping community mixing their eJuice under less than sterile conditions is because I caught one doing it. I won’t mention any names because that person is no longer mixing eLiquids to sell anymore (he was a PSL local), and when he did it was only for a short while. The thing is though, he did sell some bottles to complete strangers and these Vapers had no clue that the guy didn’t wash his hands, didn’t sterilize his equipment, didn’t store them properly, and never even bothered to check and recheck the nicotine levels.
His “recipes” came from an iPad app and his attempts to get the recipe right didn’t amount to much than following the directions once and a while. It was more like “This looks right”, and “Around 3ML of X should do it”, and other shortcuts I don’t want to mention.
How many people are doing this?
After this unnerving experience I insisted that during our Interview process Julia or Tom or whoever the lead writer was for a particular review ask the owner of the company about their mixing facilities. And I thought for a while that it would be enough. I thought, “They wouldn’t lie”…. Ah uh…
Because we take what we do extremely seriously we’ve decided to go further in our reviews and interviews. Beginning with our next review, Mister E-Liquid, we are going to insist on at least one, preferably several, photographs to show where the eLiquids are mixed, where they are stored, and where the “supplies” are kept. That may sound very invasive, but there is a good reason why we’re doing it.
Safety and the Spinfuel Word
We are hearing from our readers every day now about how they depend on our reviews to lead them through the maze that is our current eLiquid community. We are even hearing that many readers won’t even consider buying sight-unseen eLiquids on the Internet unless we’ve reviewed them and found them to be good vendors. Our readers are looking to us to do the vetting, and other than living with the eLiquids for 72-hours, and asking questions of the owners; we have no idea if they are mixing their eLiquids in the back of a Van or in a hospital-sterile facility. That can’t be allowed to continue.
Imagine how we would feel if we didn’t go further, now that we know so many people are looking to us for guidance, and then someone winds up getting sick, or worse, because despite the eLiquid being flavorful and producing plenty of vapor, they are being mixed by someone with the flu, in a bathroom in an apartment, and all the while their kids are putting the empty bottles in their mouths. I mean, sure, that’s an extreme exaggeration but there is simply no way to know.
What this will mean
Well, for starters, it will probably mean there will be a few less reviews coming down the pike. If I am right, and many of the hundreds of vendors are running less than ideal eLiquid operations they are going to balk when it comes to taking photographs of their mixing room, storerooms, and shipping area and talking openly about the way they create their products.
They (the vendors) might think its stupid to be so paranoid about it. Many are certainly going to think we’ve gone too far. I can understand that, I really can. But as the leading Vaping eMagazine right now we are the ones publishing our results of their eLiquid. We must take that responsibility seriously.
Our More Recent Reviews
Thankfully Julia has been doing an excellent job of vetting the vendors we’ve been working with over the past few months. We know, for a fact, that FanceeJuice, Alice In Vapeland, Ginger’s eJuice, Mountain Oak Vapors, Mt Baker Vapor, The Plume Room, and a handful of others all have professional level facilities. They’ve built “clean rooms”, wear special clothing, sterilize their equipment and their tables, and maintain a level of cleanliness that can go toe-to-toe with drug company facilities and even facilities where computer processors are made. And we aim to show you.
Next week, or soon thereafter, our newest eLiquid Series will start off with Mountain Oak Vapors. We recently talked with Steve and Brandy Nair about their new, state-of –the-art eLiquid mixing facility and we will share with you several photographs of their facility. They are quite proud of it, as well they should be.
Next up is Ginger’s eJuice. Ginger (actually Christin) has just upgraded from an already fantastic facility to one that is even larger and more sophisticated. She’s going to want to show it off.
We will continue down the list and work with these vendors and revisit their reviews, conduct new reviews, and publish photographs of their facilities so that you can know the truth and that there will be no doubt that from these vendors at least, can be trusted to ship you safe, pure, eLiquids to enjoy with confidence.
The FDA is going to be coming down on the eLiquid community like never before. The best of them will survive and flourish, the worst of them will disappear. But EVERYONE is going to have to do what some of the best ones have already done; invest in great equipment, create clean and sterile environments, and practice safety procedures on the level of big Pharma. It’s happening, and the best eLiquid vendors have already gotten on board. Hell, the ones I’ve mentioned practiced high levels of safety and cleanliness from the beginning.
Mixing eLiquids for human consumption is a big deal. It requires investment, commitment, and serious dedication. There is no room for scam artists or people who think they are above the rules, or those that think there’s nothing wrong with mixing up a batch of nicotine infused propylene glycol while the toddlers watch and dinner’s cooking a foot to the right.
We couldn’t be more proud of the vendors we’ve been able to review so far. Our hope is that others will get the message and will want to not only upgrade their facilities and their methods, but will also want to sit down with Spinfuel and have our team review them, talk to them, and publish some photographs to show our readers that there is nothing to fear from them or their product.
The Vaping community is growing up. People want to know the people behind these very sensitive liquids. Spinfuel wants to be the ones to make the introduction. Can you dig it?