Vaping With Julia – Video eLiquid Reviews
You’ve seen them on YouTube, no doubt, and you’ve probably watched a few, perhaps a few hundred. Video eLiquid Reviews… Do you like them? Are they informative? Have you purchased an eliquid because of a video review? What was the result?
Me? I don’t watch many eliquid video reviews anymore. I still enjoy watching eliquid subscription unboxing videos though, because they show us what we can expect if we subscribe to one of them. But a review? No.
I don’t particularly like self-promoting, although in this business I know I’m supposed to promote myself like crazy, but it just seems, I don’t know, arrogant. Having said that, I am proud of our Spinfuel eLiquid Review Team, and I think we get right. Video eliquid reviews just can’t compare.
When our team commits to an eliquid review we commit. At least 72 hours are spent vaping nothing but the eliquids being reviewed. We vape them all day, all night, for at least 3 days so that we can experience the flavors, vapor production, and most of all, satisfaction, in numerous situations. And that right there is where video reviews get it so wrong.
It Takes More
I can’t begin to quantify the number of times I, or any member of the team, first vaped an eliquid and hated it, or loved it, or felt ‘eh’ about it, and then discover that our real impressions are the opposite of our first impression. That first vape decision can sometimes carry on through the whole review process or completely miss the mark. It depends on several factors. Here are just a few:
- Time of Day
- What was vaped prior.
- Hungry? Stuffed? Italian food? (no, really)
- Vape Gear
- Steeping and aging
- And many more…
I remember the first time I vaped Mountain Oak Vapors ‘Chai Tea Latte’, because John was so hot for it, and my immediate reaction was disgust. I couldn’t believe John loved the stuff. Almost two years later it is still an eliquid I vape at least once a week. So what happened?
Right before taking John’s Provari and Texas Tuff Tank (that was his only personal vape gear back then) I had been vaping a delicious strawberry shortcake from Ginger’s eJuice for several hours. I had also just got back from dinner with friends, where the entre was swordfish. Lastly, just a couple of days before I was suffering through the end of a 10-day cold. In other words, there were many outside forces at play that did a number on my taste buds and even attitude about being “talked into trying it” that altered my perception of this incredible juice.
After handing the vape gear back to John with a polite “No thanks”, he slipped me a full Tuff Tank and asked me to try it again, “at your leisure”. I promised that I would, but I wasn’t looking forward to it.
The next morning I woke up, got out of bed, dragged a comb across my head (no wait…)… I got out of bed, showered, had breakfast, and kicked back to watch TV (It was Sunday after all). I left the Tuff Tank of Chai Tea Latte on my end table the night before and as I watching TV I noticed it. So I picked it up and screwed it onto my battery (my first ZMAX), and started vaping. And there it was, exactly like John had described, and it was marvelous.
This scenario has played out numerous times under numerous circumstances by me, Keira, Tom, Jason, and even Dave, John, and Lisa. More than likely you too have experienced this phenomenon. What was once something you disliked is now something you love…and vice versa.
That being the case, how do we really know if we are going to like an eliquid, or dislike an eliquid, by watching one person vape an eliquid in a video that he or she has never tried before, and only taking 2 or 3 drags from it, using any number of vape gear combinations? It’s impossible. It’s also unfair to everyone involved.
Eliquid Reviews Should Be Complicated
I’ve heard from many vapers that have told me that they have discovered many great eliquids by reading our reviews. I’ve also had a few emails telling me the team got it wrong, but the majority of people enjoy the methods we’ve developed for reviewing an eliquid brand.
Vaporescent, a vape shop in the mid-west stocks only brands that our team has given Spinfuel Choice Awards to. How about that?! I “think” the reason they do is because of the amount of detail we get into when we review.
An interesting aspect to the Spinfuel eLiquid Review Team reviews is that we’ve received so much email from people who have chosen to pay more attention to a particular member of the team, to trust their impression over other team members. Tobacco vapers have learned to depend on Tom for tobacco eliquids for example, or Keira for dessert vapes, and so on. But, even if Keira likes dessert vapes more than tobacco, or Tom likes tobacco flavors more than dessert vapes, the entire team vapes every flavor in the review. We don’t pick and choose which flavors we’re going to review, that just wouldn’t work.
That is exactly what we wanted to build, a team of disparate vapers that our readers could learn to trust. And when the whole team gives the top score to an eliquid then readers can trust that more likely than not, that eliquid will be a good one, or even a great one, and it deserves to be recognized with the Choice Award.
We hoped that when readers have invested time into reading several team reviews that they begin to recognize that one or more of us have similar likes and dislikes of that reader. That has seemed to become a reality, and we respect that responsibility, which is why we will never tell you anything but the truth…but that truth is unknowable in an instant.
Sugar Coating or Respect?
One important thing that seems to be missing in every eliquid video review I’ve seen is any mention of the quality of an eliquid brand. I believe it’s important for one very good reason, and it is this:
Let’s say that the team is reviewing a brand of eliquid that consists of very high quality ingredients, that the eliquid is mixed and bottled in clean room conditions, and that the bottles themselves are equipped with child safety caps, shrink wrap, and the label has all the information you could every want on it… but, for whatever reason, one of us, or all of us, dislike the flavor, yet the eliquid still scores a high mark of 4 Stars or more. You’ll never believe how often the team is criticized for that. But is that criticism valid? I don’t think it is.
We hear it a thousand times a day, and we even repeat it everyday… Taste is subjective. Exactly right, it is subjective. That’s why there are four team members, not one, and even more important, if a brand goes to great lengths to provide a quality product in every way, then it is critically vital to inform our readers that “I” or “we” may not like the flavor, but man, if you DO like, oh, I don’t know, “Guava”, then this quality brand probably delivers a great Guava eliquid. Do I make sense?
This reminds me of last years “The Vapor Girl” review where a few of the eliquids submitted for review were… well, experimental in nature. Mushroom soup, mashed potatoes, and other weird flavors were eliquids we reviewed from The Vapor Girl in that review. The review caused a mini-storm of emails from readers… some that loved the mushroom soup, others that thought it was just plain dumb. Still, we may not have liked those strange flavors, but we were not about to slam The Vapor Girl as a bad brand because this company uses the best ingredients out there and they practice the utmost professional methods in mixing, bottling, and shipping, like many others. So, that being the case, some eliquids score well even if we don’t like the flavor.
One other point I want to bring up before getting back to video eliquid reviews… and that’s our requirement that if we review a brand of eliquid we won’t review 1 or 2 flavors as the “first” review of the brand. We have a requirement of a minimum of 10 flavors, if the brand makes 10 or more flavors that is. If they only have 5 eliquid flavors then we must review all 5, or we simply won’t review them.
The reason is simple; any brand that offers 10, 20, 30, or 50 or more flavors is bound to create a couple that taste pretty damn good. But one of two good eliquids does not a good brand make. For us, it takes ten flavors to get a real feel for the brand. Of course, if a brand only has five flavors then we review the five and we get a complete sense of the brand.
When I watch a video review of a couple of eliquid flavors and the host of the video admits it’s the first time he or she has tasted or vaped anything from that ‘brand’ it irks me. There is just no way the host can possibly tell us anything of importance if that host is vaping a “new to them” brand for 30 seconds or less, no matter what. Where’s the value in that?
Lastly, there is the eliquid video review that contains two or three eliquids out of several possible eliquids but the host chose not to review the others because he or she “wouldn’t like them anyway”. Excuse me, but if you’re only interested in reviewing eliquid that “you” like, why do it at all?
Each time we publish a team review we receive a bunch of email for days. The email runs the gamut from “How much were you paid to say you liked X, Y, Z” to “I totally agree with you.” A big part of the emails we receive are really good questions that we sometimes wish we would have addressed in the review. If we covered every little thing though we would be publishing 10,000 word reviews every time.
Below are some of the interesting emails we receive that show us that we are accomplishing at least some of the goals we’ve set out to accomplish. (and no, we’re never paid to review any product)
From Andrea, back in August: “Seems to me that Keira and I share the same likes and dislikes when it comes to dessert vapes. I just want to let you know that if Keira likes it, there is a good chance I’ll like it too!”
From Ed in Texas: “I’m a big tobacco vaper and I refuse to buy a new tobacco ejuice flavor until I hear from Tom, or maybe Jason. Every tobacco flavor Tom likes, I like. Long live Vanilla Sky!” (A Hurricane Vapor classic)
And then, on occasion, we get something like this:
“John’s obsession with MeeseTracks, and now Angel Sauce, cost me a lot of money! After the umpteenth time of reading how much JM love MeeseTracks I decided to buy some. Now I’m addicted! I don’t know if I want to try Angel Sauce now. I’m terrified that I’ll wind up stocking up on that one too.” – Roger in Jacksonville
Again, watching someone take two or three drags and condemning or celebrating an eliquid really tells you nothing about whether YOU will like it or not. The sample emails above tells us that readers are getting value from our hard work, what more could we ask for?
One complaint we hear about, at least one email for every team review, is that our eliquid reviews are way too long. That’s a valid complaint. We’ve had team reviews exceed 7000 words. We’re working on a couple of solutions, one of which has already seen a reduction of some 1000 words in each review.
Protocols – Last month I asked Dave to create a page that explained our process of doing the reviews. Tom and I wrote the content and gave it to Dave and he did a fine job laying it out. By linking this page in each new review we reduce the number of words for readers that have read many of our team reviews, and for new readers we’ve isolated the process so they can read it before tackling the review. Dave told me the other day that the Protocol page is one of our most popular pages. It must be working.
Table of Contents – As soon as Dave finishes up his work for this little gem we will introduce a table of contents for every team review. This TOC will give our readers the ability to access every individual eliquid whenever they want, or to skip around, to zero in, or to note where they left off if the review is too long to read in a single sitting. I can’t wait for this feature to be implemented.
I sincerely hope that my words have not offended any of the video reviewers on YouTube that review eliquids. If I have, I apologize. Our team reviews have evolved tremendously over the past 2.5 years, and will continue to do so. I think video hosts should evolve as well.
I would like to suggest that if you review eliquids in your videos then take more time with them, vape them at various times of the day, under different circumstances, and explain to your viewers the process you use. Spend more time talking about the eliquids, and the brand. Inform your viewers about the bottles, safety caps, shrink wrap, and so on. Talk to the eliquid brand owner or product manage, find out where the juice is made, how it’s made, and more…then tell your viewers. They want to know.
More Than One
I would never expect our readers to depend solely on our team reviews when looking for new eliquids to try. There are many sources out there, and we’re just one of them. But, really now, reviewing an eliquid by filling up a clearomizer and taking a couple of drags from it, then declaring it great or awful is the least effective way to discover a new eliquid.
So tell me, my dear readers, which eliquid video reviewers do you like? Do you know any reviewers on YouTube that are taking their time, telling you what you really want to know, and are they paying attention to the eliquid in order to properly judge it? I can’t possibly know every video reviewer out there, so comment below and let’s give the good ones some a nice shout out.
That’s it for me today. Play nice!