Vaping Diaries #285: Jiu Jit Juice Phillip Chu Interview

One of the newest companies in the ultra-competitive world of vaping e-liquids is Jiu Jit Juice. Inspired by mixed martial arts and crafted by a jiu jitsu practitioner, this line of juices has launched with a trio of dessert e-liquids.

The “white belt” line of Jit Jit Juice flavors features a high-VG base and a unique combination of flavors. Armbar is a layered combination of coconut and custard. Triangle is a strawberry, waffle, and cream combination that has one of the best and most distinct strawberry flavors I’ve tried. My personal favorite of Jiu Jit Juice’s launch flavors is Mata Leao, a salted caramel pudding that’s simply delightful. What I enjoy about all of these e-liquids is that they’re flavorful and layered, without being in your face. While these juices aren’t for everyone, they fit nicely into my vaping wheelhouse.

In the interview above, Jiu Jit Juice CEO Phillip Chu talks about his company and launch flavors, as well as upcoming Jiu Jit Juice lines. Future e-liquids will feature different PG/VG ratios and various themes. I’m particularly excited for the “brown belt” series, which will focus on tobacco-based flavors. Be sure to check out the clip above to learn about this exciting, up-and-coming juice company…as well as to hear an open challenge to another jiu jitsu practitioner in the vaping business.

Jiu Jit Juice Phillip Chu Interview

Vaping Diaries #283: Best Atomizers and Accessories of 2014

Best Vaping Mods of 2014RPadTV’s “Best of 2014” vaping coverage continues with a list of excellent atomizers and accessories. Similar to my list of favorite 2014 mods, there’s no such thing as a “best atomizer,” but for SEO purposes this article is titled that way (blame Google). Unlike most of the Southern California vapers I see regularly, I’m more of a flavor guy and not much of a cloud chaser. My top atomizer pick reflects that. Also keep in mind that I only included atomizers that I’ve used extensively. There are a number of great 2014 atties that I tried briefly, but since I didn’t spend significant time with them, I wasn’t comfortable putting them on my list.

As for the accessories, they’re more universal — products that every vaper should consider. Now let’s to this!

Neovapetek Venturi — There were dozens of “cloud chaser” atomizers released in 2014, but not many “flavor fiend” atties. The Neovapetek Venturi was one of the few atomizers made expressly for vapers looking for rich flavor. Its unique design produces a warm, highly-concentrated vape. As an added bonus, the design also makes it highly leak resistant. The Venturi is expertly made from top-notch materials and backed by outstanding customer service. While my cloud chaser friends sometimes make fun of my love for this atomizer, I simply don’t care. For the kind of vape that I enjoy, the Venturi was easily my favorite atomizer of 2014.

NeoVapeTek Venturi Atomizer Jack Dallas Interview

Ivation Ultrasonic Cleaner — Every hardcore vaper should have an ultrasonic cleaner. It’s a tremendously useful tool that’s great for steeping e-liquids and cleaning vape gear. I find ultrasonic cleaners especially useful for washing atomizers and mods; they’re just brilliant at removing gunk from crevices and threads. While there are a number of inexpensive models on the market, I went with the Ivation IVU96S. I like that the unit’s tub is removable, making it easy to wash. Btw, if you’re a vaper that wears glasses then you really need an ultrasonic cleaner. It’s a fantastic way to gently and thoroughly clean your specs.

The Convict — Yeah, I know that The Convict by Convict Vapors is already on my “Best Mods of 2014” list, but one of the reasons I enjoy vaping on it is its atomizer. The genesis-style atty on The Convict features a large 5ml tank, a reduced chamber, and easy-to-work-with posts. For me, it produces a stellar combination of flavor and vapor. When I want a vaping setup with capacity, The Convict is usually my first choice. The excellent genny on this hybrid mod is a big reason why.

Xuron LX Micro — Vapers that build their own coils should invest in a good set of wire cutters. My cutter of choice is the Xuron LX Micro. It’s rated to cut wire as thick as 18-gauge, which is overkill for many vapers, but could come in handy. This is a sharp and sturdy tool that will last a long time.

Cotton LABO Organic Cotton — It pains me when vapers buy organic Japanese cotton at vape shops. They usually pick up five pads for $5, which is ridiculous. For $7, you can get 200 pads of Cotton LABO Organic Cotton. It’s a much, much better deal. While some vapers claim to be able to taste the difference between various brands of organic Japanese cotton, I am not one of them. Cotton LABO pads are as good or better than any of Japanese organic cotton I’ve tried at vape shops.

Aqua v2 by Footoon — Last year, the Aqua by Footoon was one of my favorite atomizers. However, they’re hard to get serviced if something goes wrong, so I swore off UVO Systems products in general. Then the Aqua v2 came along. It’s a great improvement over the original. I love that it’s 22mm, easier to build, and easier to refill. For me, it offers an optimal blend of flavor, vapor, and convenience. The Aqua v2 is easier to work with, holds more juice, and looks better than the original. Footoon knocked it out of the park with this atomizer.

The Vape Kit — If you’re just getting into rebuildable atomizers, The Vape Kit is a great starter toolset. It has everything a new builder needs to get going and comes in a convenient case. Many advanced builders I know have The Vape Kit toolset and swap out some of the tools for ones that they prefer. (Here’s a shot of my kit with some personal additions.) It’s just a smart product that works well for many vapers.

Tobh Atomizer — While it’s not quite as popular as it was during the first half of 2014, the Tobh Atomizer by Tobh Mods was the most influential atty of the year. So many companies mimicked its features (heat fins, negative posts and base cut from one piece of metal, slam caps, etc.). I wish more companies would use techniques like the press-fitted brass and copper caps that Tobh Mods offers; they’re brass or copper on the outside, with stainless steel on the inside for safer vaping. The Tobh Atomizer is a great American vaping product that truly changed the atomizer game in 2014.

Kuro Concepts Coil Winder — I’m convinced that this product is fueled by wizardry. As a merely average builder, I really appreciate how quickly and conveniently the Kuro Concepts Coil Winder works. You can make clean coils in seconds with this product. They’re has to be a small sorcerer inside each one, right?

VLS VulcanThe Vulcan is an inexpensive atomizer with great features and strong build quality. While I try to stay away from clones, I totally understand that some vapers feel that original products are overpriced. Vapour Lifestyle’s mission is to offer original products that are well made and easily attainable. The company did just that with the Vulcan. It also listened to customers that wanted more airflow out of the original by releasing a sleeve made for cloud chasers. While I like the product itself, I love that VLS is serving up original quality vaping products with relatively low prices.

Vaping Diaries #282: Best Vaping Mods of 2014

Best Vaping Mods of 2014Now that 2014 is over, let’s take a look at my favorite vaping mods of the year. While the title of this article is “Best Vaping Mods of 2014,” that’s simply for SEO purposes. Mods are subjective devices, with different people looking for different levels of performance, certain aesthetics, various buttons feels, and more. As for me, I like strong performance, but don’t really need top-of-the-line voltage drop. I prefer aesthetics that are simple and understated. The vast majority of my batteries are 18650, so I gravitate towards mods made for that particular size. I also put a premium on support and service, which is something most vapers I hang out with don’t seem to care about. Lastly, I generally prefer made-in-the-USA products.

Out of all the mods I used extensively in 2014 (there were lots of nice ones I didn’t get to spend much time with), these five were my favorite.

Vapour Art GP Paps X Lux — In 2013, Vapour Art’s GP Paps X was my favorite mod, so it wasn’t a surprise that the GP Paps X Lux ended up as my favorite mod of 2014. It has everything I love about the original — fantastic build quality, elegant looks, and a great button with a light touch. The GP Paps X Lux adds aluminum bronze to the mix, which is more conductive and more luxurious than the 316 stainless steel used in the original model. While there are hundreds of brass mods and several naval brass mods on the market, there aren’t many that use aluminum bronze. The metal helps the GP Paps X Lux stand out with its rarity and superior performance. While its performance isn’t quite as good as the other mechs on my list, this is one of the most beautiful and expertly crafted mods I’ve used. To top it all off, Vapour Art products are backed by outstanding customer service.

Best Mod of 2014 Vapour Art GP Paps X Lux 2

The Convict — For the last half of 2014, The Convict by Convict Vapors has been my workhorse mod. This genesis-style hybrid offers high performance and a huge 5ml tank. I love that it’s made in the USA and backed by an extremely generous warranty. The Convict that I’ve been using is made out of aluminum, which is highly conductive. Brass, copper, and stainless steel models are also available. When I need a vaping setup with capacity, I almost always reach for The Convict. It’s well made, it hits hard, and holds a ton of juice. Pardon the pun, but I think Convict Vapors is one of the most criminally underrated companies in the vaping business. The company makes fantastic vaping devices that are backed by extraordinary warranties.

Best Mod of 2014 The Convict

Brass Knurled King Mod — My other workhorse mod of 2014 was the Brass Knurled King Mod from Surefire Vapor. I used the dusted brass model for most of the year and the nickel-plated brass model in December. Both American mods are well made and backed by strong customer service. The combination of brass, tight construction, and silver-plated copper contacts helps the King Mod deliver strong performance. Aesthetically, I love the way the mod looks — elegant and simple, yet distinct. I wasn’t a fan of the huge “lug nut” caps on the original King Mod, but I really dig the way the Brass Knurled King Mod’s knurled circular caps look. The nickel-plated brass model is probably my favorite mod of the year in terms of looks. While the $230 price tag made sense in early 2014, I do think Surefire Vapor’s prices were slightly high by the end of the year, with a number of great mods available in the $180-$230 price range.

Best Mod of 2014 Nickel Plated Brass King Mod

Tantra Mod — A newcomer to the mechanical mod scene, Chillum Vapor kicked things off with a great product in the Tantra Mod. It features a naval brass body, tight engineering, and a unique disc spring. All of those aforementioned features add up for excellent performance. The construction of this mod is excellent and I love that Chillum Vapor uses naval brass instead of a cheaper alloy. I’m also a fan of the Tantra Mod’s 20 x 1 threading, which allows me to use it in hybrid mode with some of my favorite atomizers for direct-to-battery performance. In terms of looks, the Tantra Mod has about as much flash as I enjoy. It’s certainly the flashiest mod on this list, but relatively understated compared to many mods on the market. While the mod and company name conjure up images of South Asia, the Tantra Mod is an excellent made-in-the-USA mech.

Best Mod of 2014 Chillum Vapor Tantra

Manhattan Mod — Forget all the controversy surrounding AmeraVape. The Manhattan is an excellent mod that offers stellar performance. For many competitors in cloud contests, it’s the mod of choice, which should tell you all you need to know about its performance. It’s made in the USA and backed by great customer service. Originally launched in aluminum, The Manhattan is also available in brass, copper, and a number of limited editions. While the strong magnet took some getting used to (especially as a fan of light springs), after a few weeks I came to enjoy the feel of The Manhattan. (And lets face it, it’s just fun sticking the mod on various metal objects.) I absolutely love its understated looks, with a simple AmeraVape logo engraved on the tube. While AmeraVape’s newer products have slightly better performance, I’m not a fan of the busy design language used on the Apollo and Skyline series of mods. I’ll happily stick with the simple beauty and strong performance of The Manhattan.

Best Mod of 2014 AmeraVape Manhattan

Vaping Diaries #281: Craft Vapes David Alston Interview (Vape Night)

Another person on my list of “people I really want to interview, but haven’t been able to schedule” was Craft Vapes co-owner David Alston. Luckily, we were able to connect at Vape Nights 2014. I first met David at a vape meet in December 2013. I was immediately taken with his flavors, which are very different than what most e-liquid companies in Southern California make. As 2014 rolled on, Craft Vapes gained a reputation as being one of the most unique and inventive juice companies in the region.

In the interview above, David talks about how Craft Vapes got started and his approach to making e-liquids. With an independent spirit and an appreciate for craft beers, the company owners use a simple approach of trying to make juice that they think is good. David discussed three of his recent releases. Creme Anglaise was initially released in Europe and made as a request to a local distributor; the juice made its American debut at Vape Nights 2014. Leprechaun (not made with actual leprechauns — I checked) is a mint-cookie dessert vape. Last is Black Forest, which is a shockingly good e-liquid approximation of black forest cake.

While David couldn’t share specifics on what Craft Vapes is working on in 2015, he did say that there are several juices in the works and that the company will turn its attention back to the American market. Check out my chat with David to learn more about this excellent e-liquid company.

Craft Vapes Creme Anglaise

Vaping Diaries #280: The Great J’s & Bootlegger’s Brew Interview (Vape Nights)

My favorite part of Vape Nights 2014 was that it afforded me the opportunity to catch up with people that I’ve been wanting to get on camera for a long time, but for various reasons wasn’t able to. At the top of my list was Joshua Tongco, owner of The Great J’s and Bootlegger’s Brew. Launched in October 2013, The Great J’s has quickly become a very popular e-liquid company in the Southern California region. Many vapers I know rave about the Atta Boy and Bees Knees flavors. Joshua’s newest line is Bootlegger’s Brew, which focuses on creamy dessert blends.

Although The Great J’s is fairly well known in SoCal, its national exposure is still growing. Joshua leans on Instagram and word of mouth for marketing. While his juice might not have the reach that several SoCal e-liquid companies enjoy, vapers that I’ve met that have tried The Great J’s love it. Hopefully this interview helps connect The Great J’s with vapers around the country that enjoy the flavor profiles the line offers.

In the interview above, Joshua talks about starting The Great J’s and launching at Vapetoberfest 2013. He also talks about a few flavors in The Great J’s and Bootlegger’s Brew lines. Check out my chat with Joshua to learn about his juices and to watch me bust out a Chris Kattan joke.

The Great J's

Bootlegger's Brew

Vaping Diaries #279: Chillum Vapor Tantra Mod Interview (Vape Nights)

I randomly met Chillum Vapor co-founder Abhi Chatterjee when I was hanging out at The Vape Source in Koreatown. He mentioned that he was working on a mechanical mod and a few months later the Tantra Mod has arrived. At Vape Nights 2014, I caught up with Abhi to learn more about his high-performance made-in-the-USA mech. Objectively, the Tantra Mod is impressive with its unique features and fantastic performance (Abhi claims a 0.19 voltage drop on a 0.2-ohm coil). Subjectively, it hits nearly everything I look for in a mechanical mod; I’m partial to vaping products that are made in America, I’m a big fan of naval brass as a mod material, and I like designs that manage to be elegant yet distinct.

In the Vape Nights 2014 interview above, Abhi talks about Chillum Vapor’s background, designing the Tantra Mod, the unique wafer spring that helps give it great performance, and the new stainless steel model. It was neat to learn the meanings behind the words chillum and tantra in relation to the company. While many people think of tantra in sexual terms, the word has a definition that absolutely fits a vaping company. Abhi also talks about the Volcanic Tip, a novel drip tip that borrows from ridged swords for better vaping.

On a note that has nothing to do with anything, I was particularly proud to have slipped a Taylor Swift joke into the interview. That’s one less thing on my 2014 checklist.

Anyway, check out the clip above to learn more about this excellent and distinct American mod from Chillum Vapor.

Chillum Vapor Tantra Mod Abhi Chatterjee

Vaping Diaries #278: Baker White CEO Talks Odin Juice & E-Liquid Safety (Vape Nights)

My Vape Nights 2014 interview with Baker White CEO Danny Baker is one of the more informative vaping interviews I’ve filmed. Danny covered a wide range of topics, including the company’s extremely unique Odin by Baker White high VG line, e-liquid manufacturing safety, and the controversial diacetyl ingredient found in many vaping juices.

Baker White stresses safety; it was one of the first e-liquid companies to use a forced-air clean-room and one of the few with a facility that meets the pharmaceutical-grade ISO-6 standard. E-liquid safety is a big issue for me, as I’ve encountered many vapers (and even several juice makers) that don’t understand the importance of having something you inhale made in a clean environment. I was shocked to learn that some popular SoCal juices are made in stores, homes, and back rooms — places where contaminants can easily enter e-liquid. It was great hearing Danny address the issue of e-liquid manufacturing safety and I hope it helps educate some vapers.

As for the Odin line, it’s one of the most fascinating group of juices I’ve encountered. Odin by Baker White is a series of high-VG e-liquids made with advanced vapers in mind. While many high-VG juices are geared towards cloud chasers, Odin is a compelling choice for flavor fiends as well. These juices were made so that you get distinctly different flavors depending on the wattage you vape them. The same Odin juice at 10 watts will taste quite different at 30 watts. While it’s true that all juices change flavor depending on temperature, Odin was designed to push this property to new levels.

Lastly, Danny touched on diacetyl. Found in many custard flavors, this ingredient is known to cause popcorn lung. Unfortunately for vapers, there has been some dishonesty about the ingredient and Danny talks about that in the interview.

As a longtime verbal entertainer, it’s always my goal to inform and entertain. As far as the vaping section of RPadTV goes, I believe this is the most informative piece I’ve put together and I’m really happy with it. Please, please, please check it out when you have a chance.

Vaping Diaries #277: Joe Blow’s Incredible Juice Interview (Vapecon USA)

Capping off my Vapecon USA 2014 coverage is a chat with Joseph Upton, the owner of Joe Blow’s Incredible Juice. This was a fun piece for me to put together, as it was the most personal interview of the show. Joseph spoke about his daughter inspiring him to quit smoking tobacco cigarettes and start Joe Blow’s Incredible Juice. One of his flavors — Red Eye No. 36 — is a special blend that’s named after his late brother.

I was impressed by the inventiveness of Joe Blow’s Incredible Juice. A few of the company’s juices have unique twists that I haven’t encountered before. For example, Sweet Molasses blends extracted molasses with tobacco for a novel combination of sweetness and earthiness. While there are hundreds of peach flavors on the market, Peach Blow stands out with its use of dragon fruit.

Learn more about Joe Blow’s Incredible Juice and see what’s coming next in my Vapecon USA 2014 interview above.

Joe Blow's Incredible Juice

Vaping Diaries #276: Gmodz Jeff Luciano Interview (Vapecon USA)

Gmodz was showing off some unique and beautiful 26650 mods at Vapecon USA. The Gmodz 26650 is available in a variety of finishes and uses a unique atomizer. The company claims that the Gmodz 26650 is the smallest and lightest 26650 mod on the market. What really caught my eye was the beautiful finishes the company offers. It all starts with a base of 304 stainless steel. After that, the possibilities are endless — 24-karat gold, Tiffany blue, and powder coat paint are available, with brushed, matte, and polished looks. You can even go as far as getting your signature engraved into the mod.

At Vapecon USA I chatted with Gmodz’s Jeff Luciano to learn about the mod, the different finishes, the customer service behind the product, and more. While I didn’t know anything about the company going into the show, I left very impressed by its products and customer service philosophy.

In addition to the Gmodz 26650, the company announced plans for the Gmodz 18650, which will be available with all the custom finishes the company offers. Learn more about the company and see its gorgeous products in the video interview above.

Gmodz 26650 Jeff Luciano interview

Vaping Diaries #275: Craft Vapery on Mike & Dr. Drew

Craft Vapery — in my opinion, the best e-liquid subscription service in the vaping business — made a special guest appearance on the Mike & Dr. Drew podcast. Company co-founders Omri Agam and Joshua Krane did a fantastic job representing the vape industry in a positive way. The two helped explain vaping to a general audience in clear and concise fashion. There are millions of people out there that have no idea what vaping is and many that have been given incorrect information about it. While vape enthusiasts are familiar with the ins and outs of vaping, mainstream outreach is vital for growth of the vaping business. Having great reps like Omri and Josh is an excellent, excellent thing. Through their appearance on the Mike & Dr. Drew podcast, I’m sure that the Craft Vapery guys helped many people find a great way to quit smoking tobacco cigarettes. Well done, gentlemen!