Vaping Diaries #226: Beyond Vape Neptune Review

Vapers looking for a relatively inexpensive all-in-one solution should take a look at the Beyond Vape Neptune. This hybrid dripper offers sharp looks and strong performance at a relatively low price (for an original product that’s not a clone). Available in a variety of colors, there’s bound to be a shade that’s right for you. While this hybrid dripper brings a lot to the table, there’s one aspect of the device that could make it a poor choice for certain types of vapers. Read on for more details on the Beyond Vape Neptune.

Design and Ergonomics: The Beyond Vape Neptune’s body features a modular design. Pieces of the main body can be mixed and matched, allowing the device to accept batteries as small as 18350 and as large as 18650.

Since it uses a hybrid setup, the device is relatively short no matter what type of battery you use. It’s made primarily from 6061 T6 aircraft-grade aluminum, which is lighter than the brass, copper, and stainless steel used in most mods. Fans of short and light vaping devices will definitely enjoy the way the Beyond Vape Neptune feels in hand.

The atomizer portion of the Beyond Vape Neptune is fairly basic. It features three posts, for easy dual-coil setup, and a decent juice well. Airflow is totally basic, with two fixed holes on the top cap. Vapers that prefer adjustable airflow for different builds or different juices will find the atomizer rather spartan.

Lastly, the button on the Beyond Vape Neptune uses a medium-to-stiff spring with a relatively short throw. While I enjoyed the device’s throw, I wish it had a lighter spring. My preference is for feather-light buttons with extremely short throws. While I wasn’t unhappy with the device’s button, it didn’t impress me either. Button feel is, of course, totally subjective and I’m sure that many vapers will be pleased with firing mechanism on this device.

Build Quality and Construction: For the most part, I was pleased with the Beyond Vape Neptune’s build quality, but there’s one major caveat, which I’ll get to at the end of this section. Out of the box, the threads on the device are heavily lubricated. After a thorough washing, I was happy to see that the threads are fairly smooth.

The atomizer portion of the device is also well made. I’ve heard second-hand that some Beyond Vape Neptune units have inconsistent post holes, but I didn’t encounter that issue. The post holes on the device I’ve been using were accurately placed.

One possible issue with the Beyond Vape Neptune is its use of aluminum. While it’s a strong and light metal, it’s also relatively soft. The device uses a thin cut of aluminum tubing. This makes it a poor choice for clumsy vapers or those that tend to beat up their gear. If you drop it on concrete then you’ll have a nasty dent on your mod. If you’re not mindful when screwing and unscrewing the mod then there’s a good chance that you’ll wear out the threads. While there certainly are some advantages to its light and thin aluminum body, the Beyond Vape Neptune requires a little more care than a brass, copper, or stainless steel mod.

Performance: Thanks to its hybrid design and aluminum construction, the Beyond Vape Neptune is a very strong performer. Going off of raw materials, aluminum is more conductive than brass and stainless steel, though not as conductive as copper. The device uses silver-plated brass contacts for additional performance gains (and easy care). Of course design and workmanship also factor into performance, and the device does well in those departments. Vapers looking for a high-performance setup at a relatively low price will be happy with what the Beyond Vape Neptune offers.

Beyond Vape Neptune Review

Verdict: The Beyond Vape Neptune brings a lot to the table for only $150. It’s an original product that offers quality construction and great performance. It comes in a variety of colors, making it a nice choice for vapers that want a device that stands out. While it’s possible to buy a clone mod and clone atomizer for less money, there aren’t many combinations out there that offer this level of performance and construction. One mistake I often see with the Beyond Vape Neptune is vapers dismissing the device because they forget that it’s a hybrid. For $150, you get a very good mod and a decent dripper. As long as you can adequately care for its thin aluminum body, the Beyond Vape Neptune is a great choice for a first mechanical device and for vapers that want to add a splash of color to their collection.

Vaping Diaries #225: Ahlusion Review X

For my tenth Ahlusion review, I’ve chosen a trio of coffee and tea e-liquids. These aren’t straight-up, run-of-the-mill coffee and tea juices. Two of them add complementary flavors to coffee, making for unique and complex vapes. The other is the most striking tea e-liquid I’ve ever tried. All three are high-quality juices that you should take a look at if you’re into coffee or tea flavors. Read on for more details on Ahlusion’s JG Blend, Masala Chai, and Boba Tea with Coffee.

JG Blend: Ahlusion makes some of the best tobacco e-liquids on the market. It also makes some great coffee e-liquids. With that in mind, I had high expectations for this coffee-tobacco blend…and my expectations were absolutely met. Like Ahlusion’s other non-aromatic juices, the tobacco in JG Blend is light, but flavorful. The coffee flavor is one of the best I’ve tried (keep in mind that I’m a huge coffee nerd). There are a lot of coffee-tobacco juices on the market and if you’re looking for one in the light to medium range, JG Blend is one of the best you can buy. Like many of my favorite Ahlusion e-liquids, it’s a flavorful mix that’s not overpowering and something I’ll definitely order again.

Juice Specs: 6mg nicotine, 50/50 PG/VG

Masala Chai: “Adult” is a great word for this Ahlusion e-liquid. It doesn’t taste like an overly sweet chai latte that you’d order at Starbucks or Coffee Bean. This is an authentic and complex chai tea. I can’t stress that enough; the popularity of chai lattes at places like Starbucks has given people a “dessert” image of chai. Ahlusion’s Masala Chai is absolutely not a dessert vape.

Having said that, the flavor is remarkable, but divisive. I very much enjoyed its combination of earthiness, spiciness, and sweetness, but if you’re used to artificial or candied juices then Masala Chai might be too much for you. It’s definitely one of the most unique e-liquids I’ve tried, but it’s certainly not for everyone. It’s rich and complex, but doesn’t assault your tastebuds. Depending on your palette, you’ll either find this juice to be delicious or you’ll find it too foreign. At the very least, Masala Chai stands out from other tea e-liquids with a truly distinct flavor.

Juice Specs: 6mg nicotine, 50/50 PG/VG

Boba Tea with Coffee: Raina and I reviewed Ahlusion’s plain Boba Tea early last year. Both of us enjoyed the e-liquid, but felt there was something missing. To my tastebuds, Boba Tea with Coffee is tastier than the plain version. The different flavors come together for a delicious dessert vape. You get the sweet and creamy milk tea complemented by a tasty and pleasantly bitter (slightly) coffee. I order milk tea with coffee at boba shops and this e-liquid does a good job of approximating that flavor, but is really delicious if you think of it as its own thing. While I enjoyed Ahlusion’s plain Boba Tea, adding coffee to the mix cuts down on the sweetness of boba (a bit much for what I enjoy) with some earthiness and bitterness. The complex combination of flavors totally worked for me and this is a juice that I will order again in the future.

Juice Specs: 6mg nicotine, 50/50 PG/VG\

Ahlusion JG Blend, Masala Chai, Boba Tea Coffee

Steeping and Review Notes (Updated December 29, 2013)
On the advice of Wlad from Ahlusion, I’ve been trying a new steeping method as of December 27, 2012. When the e-liquids arrive, I leave them uncapped for five minutes. Previously, I left them uncapped for about two days. After the liquids are given a few minutes to oxidize, the caps are put back on.

RPad.TV e-liquid reviews focus on the flavor of the e-liquids, since throat hit and vapor production can be altered by the PG/VG ratio and nicotine level selected. Each juice is vaped over a period of days in a bottom-coil silica atomizer (The Russian and Aqua), various rebuildable dripping atomizers, and a clearomizer.

Random Thoughts on Sin City: A Dame to Kill For

I’m a big fan of the Sin City comics and a huge fan of the first Sin City movie. With that in mind, I had fairly big expectations going into Sin City: A Dame to Kill For. That said, I wasn’t expecting it to outdo its predecessor — the first movie’s source material is just superior. Sin City: A Dame to Kill For uses two of Frank Miller’s existing stories (one of which is only okay) and two new ones. While it’s certainly not as good as the first film, it’s my favorite movie of 2014 thus far. Let’s take a look at Sin City: A Dame to Kill For using the tried and true RPadTV binary system. [Light spoiler shields, activated!]

Sin City A Dame to Kill For Marv

3D or Not 3D (Good): Sin City: A Dame to Kill For starts off with a fast-paced story called “Just Another Saturday Night” featuring the inimitable Marv. There’s not a lot going on as far a depth and character development, but the opening plot quickly pulls you back into the world of Sin City and shows off some phenomenal 3D special effects. Robert Rodriguez uses 3D similarly to how he uses color in the mostly black-and-white Sin City movies. 3D enhances the visuals and is part of the storytelling, not a tacked on afterthought like 3D used in most movies. That said, after “Just Another Saturday Night,” the 3D isn’t used as frequently or effectively, but for the first 10 minutes of the movie, it’s spectacular.

Not as Deadly Little Miho (Bad): While Jamie Chung did a decent job of replacing Devon Aoki as the wicked, katana-wielding Miho, she doesn’t quite measure up. Aoki was great in the role; her facial expressions were creepier and it helped that she looked so young. There’s something f#cked up about a baby-faced prostitute assassin that slices off heads as frequently and easily as most people open soda cans. Plus, I always got a kick out of Devon Aoki dispensing decapitations; in my head her inner voice says, “There’s your volcano, bitch!” (Aoki is the daughter of Rocky Aoki, founder of the Benihana chain of restaurants, home of the volcano onion.) Anyway, Chung did a passable job as Miho, but she wasn’t as nasty or as menacing as her predecessor.

Sin City A Dame to Kill For Eva Green

Eva Green Owns (Good): Eva Green was — by far — the MVP of Sin City: A Dame to Kill For. Her character, Ava, was incredibly captivating. Visually, she stood out with her bright green eyes and deep red lips. Green’s performance was even more extraordinary. She made Eva beautiful, manipulative, seductive, alluring, deadly, cunning, and unbalanced. Ava is the type of woman that you find immensely attractive and scary as hell. She’s like a dazzling light that attracts moths. Men can see that it will end poorly for them, but her presence is irresistible. While the movie had several good performances, Eva Green’s was the most outstanding.

Odd Pacing (Bad): Although the movie clocks in at a relatively short 102 minutes, it feels longer. My good buddy Paul said that Sin City: A Dame to Kill For felt like it had one too many plot lines and was surprised when I told him the movie’s runtime. While I didn’t feel that the movie was too long, I understand people that feel otherwise. Perhaps because there’s so much packed into the 102 minutes, some moviegoers got viewer fatigue. There aren’t many slow moments in the film, but maybe it could have used some to give the viewer a break.

Beautiful Women (Good): If you’re a guy or gal that’s into beautiful women then there’s a lot to enjoy in Sin City: A Dame to Kill For. The movie is full of gorgeous, gorgeous ladies. Eva Green spends a good chunk of the movie naked. Jessica Alba spends a lot of time sexily dancing at Kadie’s Saloon. Rosario Dawson, Juno Temple, Jamie Chung, and Jaime King are just some of the other beautiful women in the film. It’s babetacular.

Sin City A Dame to Kill For Nancy Jessica Alba

Manute II (Bad): As a huge fan of Dennis Haysbert (Cerrano 4 Life!!!), I felt bad that he was pegged to replace Michael Clarke Duncan as Manute. The late giant had a physical presence and booming voice that are impossible to duplicate. It was a no-win situation for Haysbert, but he did well — certainly better than Jamie Chung did replacing Devon Aoki. That said, Michael Clarke Duncan was a perfect role for Manute and Haysbert’s performance was certainly a step down.

The New Stuff (Good): As I mentioned in the intro, two of Sin City: A Dame to Kill For’s storylines were written by Frank Miller just for the movie — “The Long Bad Night” and “Nancy’s Last Dance.” For the most part, they measure up well to Frank Miller’s other tales. I was pleasantly surprise by Joseph Gordon-Levitt in “The Long Bad Night.” His performance was charming, though towards the end of the story it felt like he was channeling Bruce Willis’ character from the first Sin City film (too whiney). “Nancy’s Last Dance” was more enjoyable for me, though I fully admit that I’m completely smitten by Jessica Alba. I believe she’s the most beautiful MILF in the world and should be referred to as Milfimus Prime. What I enjoyed about both stories is that they both end with Pyrrhic victory. Both protagonists get what they want, but both pay a horrible price. These stories reminded me of why Dante from Clerks enjoyed Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, “It ends on such a down note. I mean, that’s what life is — a series of down endings.”

Sin City A Dame to Kill For Nancy 2

Bottom Line: While Sin City: A Dame to Kill For isn’t as good as the original, I very much enjoyed it. As expected, the visuals were striking and phenomenal, with the 3D being unexpectedly fantastic. There are several strong performances in the movie and most of the storytelling is strong. I got exactly what I wanted from Sin City: A Dame to Kill For and then some. To my surprise, I enjoyed it more than Godzilla and Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

Checking out some other reviews, the movie is getting panned by people that feel that Frank Miller has become a misogynistic fascist. Fairly or unfairly, his political transformation has netted some negative reviews. For my part, I was ignorant of Miller’s political rantings going into the film and only learned about them yesterday. I haven’t had enough time to process them yet, but what I can say for sure is that I enjoyed Sin City: A Dame to Kill For more than any other movie I’ve seen this year.

Random Thoughts on Guardians of the Galaxy

Following successful runs with Captain America, Spider-Man, and the X-Men, Marvel’s fourth comic-book movie of 2014 features the lesser-known Guardians of the Galaxy. While the film’s characters aren’t iconic like the other heroes featured this year, their relative (un)popularity and distinct setting (outer space!) were assets to the director and writers of the Guardians of the Galaxy film. They weren’t trapped by decades of history and millions of fanboys, weren’t limited by the quaint setting of Earth, and were free to create a movie that’s much more fun than its sister titles. While it’s certainly not the best Marvel movie of 2014, Guardians of the Galaxy is arguably the most entertaining.

To maximize your enjoyment of Guardians of the Galaxy, there are a few things you need to realize going into it. First and foremost, it’s much more of a sci-fi space-opera than a superhero flick. It has more in common with Star Wars and Star Trek than it does The Avengers and Iron Man. If you’re a fan of the source material (this iteration of the Guardians was made popular by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning, and currently penned by Brian Michael Bendis) then you’ll notice a lot of changes. Some of them are small (and seemingly unnecessary), while others are a huge departure from the comics. If you’re unfamiliar with the source material then you’ll like enjoy the movie on its own, but if you love the comics then some of the changes will bother you.

While there were many things I loved about Guardians of the Galaxy, there were a few things that bugged me. Here are some binary thoughts on Marvel’s summer space opera. [Turn your spoiler shields on, please!]

Guardians of the Galaxy movie review Gamora Quill

Fantastic Pacing (Good): Guardians of the Galaxy has a runtime of 122 minutes, but it doesn’t feel like a two hour movie. Director James Gunn did a superior job of mixing action, comedy, and characterization, while maintaining a zippy flow. The pace is brisk and unlike some fast-paced movies, doesn’t cause viewer fatigue.

Non-Threatening Gamora (Bad): In the comics, Gamora is often referred to as “the most dangerous woman in the universe.” While she’s certainly fierce in the movie, she doesn’t quite live up to that lofty title. The movie version of Gamora is too vulnerable and pigeonholed as a “damsel in distress” in a few scenes. Her sister, Nebula, comes off as more of a bad-ass.

Guardians of the Galaxy movie review Rocket

Incredible Special Effects (Good): While the spaceship and alien locations were expectedly dazzling, I was floored by the CG used for Groot and Rocket. They looked appropriately otherworldly, while still being believable in the context of the movie. Physically, the characters never felt forced. Oddly enough, some of Glenn Close’s scenes felt jarring because her character looked out of place.

(On a side note, I was half-expecting a cameo by Mike Myers. In my head, Austin Powers comes out, grabs Glenn Close’s hair, and exclaims, “It’s a man, baby!”)

Redneck Yondu (Bad): Man, I hated this version of Yondu. I’ve always been a fan of the character ever since I encountered the original Guardians of the Galaxy in “The Korvac Saga” storyline of The Avengers. For those of you unfamiliar with the character, Yondu is kind of like an outer-space Native American. He’s spiritual and mystic (and yes, he wears a loin cloth and shoots arrows in deep space). Save for controlling a magical arrow, movie Yondu is nothing like comics Yondu. Movie Yondu is an outer-space redneck scavenger. I would totally hate the movie version of the character, but the awesome Michael Rooker plays him. You gotta give it up for anyone that was part of Mallrats.

Excellent Soundtrack (Good): Guardians of the Galaxy makes stellar use of ’70s pop songs. Blue Swede, David Bowie, The Runaways, The Five Stairsteps, and more are heard throughout the film. The songs add to the movie’s fun vibe. More than any other Marvel movie, the soundtrack for Guardians of the Galaxy will sell.

Guardians of the Galaxy movie review Groot

Rewritten Origin (Bad): I didn’t care for Peter Quill’s origin story in the movie. Having his mother die in a hospital (movie) isn’t nearly as powerful as having her slaughtered by aliens (comics). While the hospital death sets up a sappy scene towards the end of the film, it detracts from Quill’s tragedy. In the comics, his mother is killed by aliens that want revenge on Peter’s dad, J’Son of Spartax. It sets the tone for what a bastard J’Son is and gives the comics a recurring theme (Quill’s daddy-abandonment issues). While Quill’s dad is mentioned in passing, it looks like the sequels won’t have this important launching point to play off of (unless they write that J’Son infected Meredith Quill with space cancer or something stupid like that).

Wrong About Quill (Good): One of my fears going into the movie was that Chris Pratt would be too goofy to play Peter Quill. In the trailers, he seems more comedic than anything else — kind of like Han Solo’s far less competent younger brother. I was relieved that Pratt didn’t go too far with the comedy in the movie. Yes, he has his funny moments, but he also kicks ass, gets the ladies, and is cool. He definitely fits into that “scoundrel” mold established by Harrison Ford.

Ronan the Dickhead (Bad): Sometimes a hero and sometimes a villain (depending on your point of view), Ronan the Accuser is a complex and layered character in the comics. He can be unrelentingly brutal, but he has a nobility about him and an undeniable love for the Kree people. Movie Ronan is just a dick. He’s a radical extremist that’s 100-percent villain. His characterization in the movie was lazy and shallow.

Batista Didn’t Suck! (Shockingly Good): As many of you know, I loathe WWE Batista. He’s mediocre in the ring and terrible on the mic. To my surprise, Dave Bautista the actor was entertaining in Guardians of the Galaxy. His portrayal of Drax the Destroyer was shockingly good. Obviously, he excelled in the physical scenes, but his deadpan humor was fantastic. While I didn’t like the rewritten origin of movie Drax, Dave Bautista’s performance was surprisingly strong — so much so that I’m going to have to think of him as two different people. I will always hate WWE Batista, but I wouldn’t mind seeing Dave Bautista in more roles that combine physicality and comedy.

Bottom Line: I was very much entertained by Guardians of the Galaxy. Objectively comparing it to the other Marvel 2014 movies, Captain America: The Winter Soldier was a much better film. Subjectively, Guardians of the Galaxy was way more fun. Even though some of the changes from the source material bothered me, I know that I’ll watch this movie again and again in the future. When it comes down to the cable TV test, I can see myself watching Captain America: The Winter Soldier a handful of times over the next five years. In that same five-year period, I’m certain that I’ll watch Guardians of the Galaxy dozens of times.

Vaping Diaries #220: VLS Vulcan Rebuildable Atomizer Review

Here’s the short version of my VLS Vulcan review — the atomizer is one of best values in vaping today. I’ve been using a pair of pre-production VLS Vulcan atomizers for the last month and I was quite impressed by what this atomizer brings to the table. The VLS Vulcan is well made, looks great, has excellent features, and offers sweet performance. While there are some minor issues that prevent it from being perfect for everyone, I believe that the majority of vapers will be happy with what the VLS Vulcan offers — especially when they see the price. Let’s take a closer look.

Design: The VLS Vulcan is packed full of fantastic features. The two sets of heat fins are the most striking. Like the popular Tobh atomizer, the VLS Vulcan’s top cap has rows of deep fins that help dissipate heat. The bottom of the atomizer also has rows of heat fins, to help dissipate heat coming from your mod and atomizer. The usefulness of the bottom heat fins depends on how low you build your coils and what batteries you use; some vapers will find it useful, while it’s overkill for others. The bottom layer of heat fins makes the VLS Vulcan longer than most rebuildable dripping atomizers, which might be an issue for some vapers.

Similar to the Tobh, the base of the VLS Vulcan is made from one piece of stainless steel. The negative posts and base are cut from one piece of metal. What very cool and practical about the base is that the metal underneath the negative posts is also carved out, allowing the atomizer to hold more juice. This makes the VLS Vulcan an excellent choice for vapers that want the full flavor of dripping and minimal refilling.

The VLS Vulcan handles airflow in a unique manner. Instead of traditional air holes, this atomizer has stylized “Vulcan” text on each side of the main cap. The “V” in Vulcan is laser engraved, allowing air to enter the atomizer. It’s certainly unique, but it does present some potential issues. For my builds, I positioned the coils close to the side walls instead of centered; it wasn’t difficult, but it wasn’t as brainless as building coils for a standard atomizer. For certain types of vapers (I’m looking at you cloud chasers!), the “V” is somewhat liming, which I’ll talk about more in the performance section of this review.

All told, the VLS Vulcan uses a great three-piece design that’s an outstanding blend of handsome aesthetics and useful features.

Build Quality: According to Vapour Lifestyle, the VLS Vulcan is made by “a Japanese CNC perfectionist producer.” While the company isn’t mentioned by name, its work is exemplary. This is a very well-made atomizer. Out of the box, the machining is impressive and stands up to competing atomizers that cost $20 to $50 more. I was quite happy with both of the VLS Vulcan atomizers I’ve been using for the last month and I’m confident that most vapers will be pleased by how well the product is made.

Out of the box, the VLS Vulcan has brass thumb screws. Also included are stainless steel thumb screws and extra O-rings.

Performance: The VLS Vulcan uses a copper contact for high conductivity. As many of you know, copper is one of the most conductive metals used in vaping — more conductive than brass or stainless steel, but not as conductive as silver. If performance is priority for you then the VLS Vulcan should keep you happy. Naturally, there are many other factors that contribute to overall performance (mod, battery, coil, etc.), but this atomizer provides a strong link in the chain.

For many vapers, the VLS Vulcan’s airflow is more than adequate. One possible exception is extreme cloud chasers. Vapers that drill out their atomizer holes to bullet-sized proportions will want more airflow. A potential issue with the VLS Vulcan is that its air holes are laser-engraved and stylized. Drilling it out can be tricky and vapers that do will be left with an “ulcan” instead of a “Vulcan,” ruining the aesthetics of the atomizer.

VLS Vulcan Review

Verdict: On its own, the VLS Vulcan is a fantastic rebuildable dripping atomizer. The build quality is great, it performs nicely, and it has lots of versatility. The only issues with the VLS Vulcan are for people that prefer relatively short atomizers and those that like extreme airflow. If you don’t fall into either category then I’m certain that you’ll be happy with the VLS Vulcan.

When you consider that the VLS Vulcan has an MSRP of $60, this atomizer is a brilliant deal. It’s as good for better than most rebuildable atomizers in the $80-$100 range. After using the VLS Vulcan for roughly one month, it has become one of my favorite atomizers in my collection. I love the way it looks, the amount of juice it holds, and the way it performs. If you’re cool with the atomizer’s atypical height and the airflow that it offers, you’ll be thrilled by what the VLS Vulcan offers for a very fair price of $60.

Vaping Diaries #218: Wu Tang House of Mods El Sigilo Review

One of the latest offerings from Wu Tang House of Mods — one of my favorite Filipino modders — is the El Sigilo. This mechanical mod features a unique design and fantastic aesthetics. The standard model available in brass and stainless steel, as well as a torched steel “special edition” covered in this review. It’s also available in copper, but with zodiac sign aesthetics rather than Filipino-style engravings. All models come with 18650 and 18350 tubes. The El Sigilio ships in a treasure chest that contains the mod, as well as tools for unscrewing the caps.

While I was enamored by the El Sigilo’s aesthetics and admired the minimalistic design, there were a few aspects of the mod that could have been a little bit better. Here’s the breakdown.

Design and Ergonomics: The most unique aspect of the El Sigilo is its physical design. Instead of using end caps that screw onto the main tube, this mod uses end caps that screw into the main tube. This gives the El Sigilo a wonderfully minimalistic look and makes it shorter than most competing mods. While I found it easy to manage the caps with my fingernails, Wu Tang House of Mods includes two sets of clips for unscrewing the caps.

The main tube features Baybayin engravings, while the special edition has an additional set of engravings on the opposite side (check the video for details). For those of you not familiar with Baybayin, it was the primary script used in the Philippines prior to Spanish colonization.

The El Sigilo’s button has a medium feel and throw. As someone that likes a short throw and light feel, I liked this mod’s button action, but didn’t love it. That said, I think that most vapers will be satisfied with the button feel.

With its uniquely Filipino aesthetics and minimalist, I love the way this mod looks. The physical design also keeps the mod shorter than most, whether you’re rocking 18650 or 18350. Wu Tang House of Modz knocked it out of the park with the El Sigilo, as far as design goes.

Build Quality and Construction: The build quality of the El Sigilo is very good, but a tad shy of great. On the outside, everything looks wonderful, with smooth lines and excellent engravings. On the inside, things could have been a little bit better. The threads on the caps and tubes feel smooth, but there are some visible burrs. Some vapers won’t mind that at all, but those that place a premium on impeccable build quality and top-notch performance might have an issue with the machining.

Performance: For a stainless steel mod, the El Sigilo is a strong performer. The silver-plated contacts and brass caps help conductivity. However, there are a few factors that prevent this mod from being an outstanding performer. Obviously stainless steel isn’t as conductive as brass or copper, but the (slight) performance issues go beyond that. As I mentioned before, the threads are good, but not great. Finely machined threads with high tolerances are an important aspect of maximizing conductivity.

If you like the El Sigilo’s design and want top performance then you should go with the brass or copper models over the stainless steel or torched steel models. Even then, there are a number of mods out there with better machining that translates to better performance.

Wu Tang House of Mods El Sigilo Review

Verdict: The El Sigilo is another hit from Wu Tang House of Modz. As a Filipino-American, I absolutely love the way the mod looks. I’m a fan of minimalistic mods and the El Sigilo can certainly be classified as such. The baybayin engraving is awesome and looks especially sweet on torched steel. As far as aesthetics go, this is easily my favorite-looking mod in my collection.

Having said that, there are a few things that prevent it from being my favorite overall mod. The performance is very good for a stainless steel mod, but the El Sigilo doesn’t hit as hard as various brass and copper mods I’ve used. The workmanship is also very good, but not quite great. Certainly Wu Tang is competitive with the majority of mod makers out there, but companies like Vapour Art, Super-T Manufacturing, and others are in another league.

I’m happy to own the El Sigilo from Wu Tang House of Modz. Looking at it always makes me happy and it always gets a fair amount of attention when I bring it to vape shops. Aesthetically, I adore it, but I just wish that the threads were perfectly smooth and that it hit a bit harder.

Vaping Diaries #216: River Bottom Fog Sauce Review I

Vapers that love authentic tobacco are in for a real treat with River Bottom Fog Sauce. This relatively new e-liquid company specializes in juices made with naturally-extracted tobaccos (NETs). While River Bottom Fog Sauce is one of the newest NET e-liquid companies in the business, it has already established itself as a top-tier juice maker, as far as NETs go. I’ve been vaping three of the company’s juices for the last few months: Fabulous & Burley, St. James Parish, and Poet & Scholar. I was very, very impressed by these juices and surprised by the quality.

River Bottom Fog Sauce juices are available through VapingWatch for $22 for a 30ml bottle. While the price is more expensive than competing online NET vendors, the prices are inline with retail offerings. The juices come in glass bottles, but don’t have a dripper. If you’re into NET juices or are looking for an authentic tobacco taste then I highly recommend checking out River Bottom Fog Sauce’s offerings and giving the company a shot. As for the three flavors I’ve vaped, here are my tasting notes.

Fabulous & Burley: This is a mix of burley tobacco and a light vanilla flavor. Burley is one of my favorite tobaccos for vaping e-liquids and I really enjoyed River Bottom Fog Sauce’s burley extraction. It’s flavorful and smooth — a great tobacco choice for an all-day vape. The vanilla was good for me too, but not great. There are some fantastic burley and vanilla blends on the market, such as Vurley from Ahlusion and Vita Bella from Goodejuice. While I really enjoyed Fabulous & Burley, I like the two aforementioned juices a bit more. That said, this juice is certainly in the same league and I would totally understand someone that prefers Fabulous & Burley over Vurley and Vita Bella.

Juice Specs: 6mg nicotine, Custom PG/VG

St. James Parish: This is River Bottom Fog Sauce’s perique offering and my favorite juice covered in this review. I love perique tobacco, but juices made with it can have a certain “funk” that turns off some vapers. (Some equate the funk to a wet sock…but in a good way.) Even as a perique lover, most perique e-liquids aren’t something I can enjoy as an all-day vape. St. James Parish surprised me with its approachability. It has the rich, strong, and distinct flavor of perique, without the funk. That’s pretty remarkable. If I met someone that was interested in the type of flavor that perique offers, St. James Parish would be my first recommendation. It’s wonderfully flavorful, but much more approachable than other perique e-liquids on the market and, unlike many of its competitors, it’s a juice I can vape all day.

Juice Specs: 6mg nicotine, Custom PG/VG

Poet & Scholar: Out of the three juices in this review, this is the one that needed the most steeping. Initially, I wasn’t high on this honey-cigar blend; out of the mail, it had a floral quality about it that I didn’t enjoy. After a month of steeping, the floral taste backs off and the earthy cigar comes to the forefront. From that point on, the juice was much tastier to me and became something I enjoyed quite a bit. It’s a nice blend of earthiness and light sweetness. While I didn’t enjoy it as much as the other two juices in this review (I prefer pipe tobaccos over cigar tobaccos), it’s very well done and certainly a juice I’d recommend to vapers looking for an authentic, high-quality cigar e-liquid.

Juice Specs: 6mg nicotine, Custom PG/VG

River Bottom Fog Sauce Review

Steeping and Review Notes (Updated December 29, 2013)
On the advice of Wlad from Ahlusion, I’ve been trying a new steeping method as of December 27, 2012. When the e-liquids arrive, I leave them uncapped for five minutes. Previously, I left them uncapped for about two days. After the liquids are given a few minutes to oxidize, the caps are put back on.

RPad.TV e-liquid reviews focus on the flavor of the e-liquids, since throat hit and vapor production can be altered by the PG/VG ratio and nicotine level selected. Each juice is vaped over a period of days in a bottom-coil silica atomizer (The Russian and Aqua), various rebuildable dripping atomizers, and a clearomizer.