Vaping Diaries #165: Top 10 E-Liquids of 2013

Since the year is wrapping up, I thought it would be a great time to look back and think about the many juices I vaped in 2013. Below is a list of the top 10 e-liquids of 2013, but there are several things I’d like you to keep in mind. While most of the juices on the list are 2013 releases, there are some older releases that are simply new to my tastebuds. Obviously this list is completely subjective. The e-liquids I enjoy the most are made with naturally-extracted tobacco or are complex blends. Just because I’m enamored with these juices doesn’t mean that they’ll be instant hits for you. Lastly, I’d love to hear about your top 10 e-liquids of 2013 (or however many you’d like to post). Kindly take a moment and share your favorite juices of the year in the comments section. Now onto the list!

  1. Sahara Blend (Ahlusion) — This a brilliant mix of Turkish and Virginia tobaccos. What I love about this juice is that there’s so much going on. It’s sweet, spicy, and dry all at the same time. While I’ve had Turkish blends that have similar qualities to this juice, none of them can match Sahara Blend’s complexity. The excellent flavor and complexity have it first on my top 10 e-liquids of 2013 list. After vaping my review bottle (review will be filmed soon!), I’ve ordered a few 60ml refills. That’s how much I enjoy this one.
  2. Honey Cured (Ahlusion) — This juice is a masterful blend of bold tobacco and bright honey sweetness. As with the other Ahlusion aromatics, the tobacco is authentic and stronger than what most companies offer. The honey sweetness is strong and true, and perfectly complemented by the flavorful tobacco. I’m always amazed by the stellar balance Ahlusion achieves with so many of its juices. This is a sterling example of that. Full review here.
  3. Gambit (Five Pawns) — There are a ton of apple pie e-liquids on the market, but this is the most remarkable one that I’ve vaped. The complexity is off the charts. You can taste the apple, vanilla, crust, and cream. I haven’t had an apple pie juice this good and it would take an extraordinary blend to top it — Gambit (the Five Pawns juice, not the pansy Cajun Marvel superhero) is just amazing stuff. Full review here.
  4. Castle Long Reserve (Five Pawns) — A limited-edition release, I was lucky enough to get two bottles of the first batch of this juice. It’s stellar. Like Gambit, the complexity is amazing. You can make out the coconut, toasted almond, and vanilla flavors, as well as a touch of oak. I’ve heard from several friends that the second release of this juice is a tad different and not quite as good. That means that I’ll savor every last drop of the original Castle Long Reserve that I have left. Full review here.
  5. Lychee (Bamskilicious) — This juice was given a shout-out by Ricky from Dr. Mike’s Rad Vapors during our Vapetoberfest 2013 interview. I bought a 10ml at a local shop to try it out…and have probably picked up around 200ml since then. As an Asian-American, I’ve consumed a lot of lychee (both canned and fresh). It’s one of my favorite fruits in the world and this juice replicates the flavor of canned lychee perfectly. In fact, I’m vaping some in my Russian atomizer as I type this.
  6. Gold Member (Ahlusion) — It took a month of steeping for it to become great, but this dessert juice ended up being exactly what I wanted. A few years ago, salted caramel desserts were the rage in Los Angeles. This juice lets me enjoy that outstanding flavor without the calories. That’s a complete win! Full review here.
  7. Banyan Tree (The Vape Tree) — This company was started by a fine gentlemen that I met on ECF. Initially, this was my second-favorite juice of his, but now I like it best. The flavor is unique and complex — a rich bakery-type vape complemented nicely by tobacco. The sweetness of the multiple dessert flavors is wonderfully cut by the earthiness of the tobacco. Full review here.
  8. Americano Ciambella (P.O.E.T.) — Another complex vape, I was intrigued by this juice’s description when I chatted with POET CEO Randy Freer at ECC 2013. Maple is the dominant flavor, and it’s complemented by coffee and subtle tobacco notes. Randy described it as his morning drive — eating a maple bar, drinking a cup of coffee, and smoking a cigarette on the way to work. While I rarely drive, the combination, complexity, and wonderfully subtle background notes made this one a winner for me.
  9. Grant’s Vanilla Custard — To be completely honest, I didn’t want to love this juice. Through no fault of the creator, it’s ridiculously overhyped. Some of the reasons are that it’s difficult to obtain and opportunistic people flip bottles of it for double the cost (or more). While I abhor the “flipper” aspect of this juice (again, not the creator’s fault), I’ve come to really enjoy this excellent custard e-liquid. It’s sweet and rich, with the perfect amount of eggy flavor (for me). While I maintain that it’s overhyped, there’s a reason why this is the vanilla custard juice that all other vanilla custard juices are compared to. And yeah, I’ve gone through 100ml of this stuff and have 200ml steeping.
  10. Pinoy Punch (The Vape Tree) — This one got me attention with its awesome name and kept it with its use of mangosteen. Another one of my favorite fruits, mangosteen is awesome and rarely found in e-liquids. This blend also uses other tropical fruits and has a thick texture that I really enjoyed. But, it’s the mangosteen that made this one of my top 10 e-liquids of 2013. Full review here.

Now it’s your turn! Kindly share your top 10 e-liquids of 2013 in the comments section when you have a chance. I’d love to see your picks. I’m hoping to see some juices I’ve never heard of or haven’t considered. Perhaps I’ll review some of your picks in 2014. Fire away (please)! If you’re interested in my vaping gear picks, then check out my top 10 vaping devices of 2013 list.

Vaping Diaries #131: The Vape Tree Review

The Vape Tree is a relatively new e-liquid company that focuses on complex juices that use several ingredients. I recently vaped three of the company’s e-liquids: Pinoy Punch, Banyan Tree, and Royal Tobacco. I liked one of them and loved two. The two Vape Tree e-liquids I loved were unique and complex — very distinct blends that stand out. The one I loved the most featured one of my favorite fruits — a fruit that’s very uncommon in the vaping world. I definitely recommend giving the two juices I loved a shot. You’ll see why in the tasting notes below, but first, a few more details.

As I mentioned in Vaping Diaries #87, The Vape Tree pre-steeps its e-liquids using an ultrasonic cleaner. The juices spend around three hours in an ultrasonic cleaner before being shipped. This is the rough equivalent of three weeks of steeping. With that in mind, it was no surprise that the juices were great to vape out of the mail. Additional steeping helps the flavors unify, but many vapers will find that these e-liquids are good to go straight away. As far as vapeability goes, these three Vape Tree juices are very clean and suitable for all types of juice delivery systems. Banyan Tree was slightly heavier than the others, but still quite clean.

The Vape Tree has an October promotion for Banyan Tree and Pinoy Punch. Using the coupon code “FightCancer” will give you 30 percent off of those juices, with The Vape Tree making a 10 percent donation to the Susan B. Komen foundation.

Now onto to the flavor breakdowns and steeping notes!

Pinoy Punch: As a Filipino-American, I’m a sucker for any juice that has the word “Pinoy” in it. Yes, it has a name that I love, but I also genuinely love this juice. It’s a tasty blend of tropical fruits. There are many, many juices out there that mix tropical fruit flavors, but there were two things that made this one stand out. First, it has a thick texture that I really enjoyed. Secondly, it has…mangosteen! This is one of my favorite fruits in the world and there aren’t many e-liquids that use it. The mangosteen flavor made this Vape Tree juice a total winner in my book.

Banyan Tree: To be completely honest, I probably enjoyed Banyan Tree as much as I did Pinoy Punch, but this juice doesn’t have the word “Pinoy” in it so it got the silver medal. This is another complex blend with several different flavors that mix together nicely. The end result is a moderately sweet juice with a bakery-type flavor that has an earthy tobacco undertone. It’s pleasantly unusual. In some ways, it reminded me of a Heather’s Heavenly Vapes NET e-liquid, but was still very distinct in its own right. Some vapers view Banyan Tree as The Vape Tree’s signature juice and it’s easy to understand why. It’s well done and stands out.

Royal Tobacco: This one I didn’t enjoy as much as the others. It’s a medium-bodied tobacco with mild-to-moderate sweetness. It wasn’t bad, by any means. It’s just that this category has a ton of competition. For medium-bodied tobacco e-liquids, Ahlusion’s non-aromatic juices and Goodejuice’s House Brewed Line are fantastic choices. This is “only” a good one.

The Vape Tree Pinoy Punch

Steeping Notes
On the advice of Wlad from Ahlusion, I’ve been trying a new steeping method starting 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. The bottles are shaken every day for at least two weeks before vaping.

Pinoy Punch (The Vape Tree)
50/50 PG/VG ratio, 6mg nicotine
Uncapped: July 31, 2013 2:12PM
Vaped: September 24-30, 2013

Banyan Tree (The Vape Tree)
50/50 PG/VG ratio, 6mg nicotine
Uncapped: July 31, 2013 2:12PM
Vaped: September 24-30, 2013

Royal Tobacco (The Vape Tree)
60/40 PG/VG ratio, 10mg nicotine
Uncapped: August 3, 2013 4:32PM
Vaped: September 24-30, 2013

Review Process (Updated February 17, 2013)
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 an atomizer, a cartomizer/tank setup, and a clearomizer. The exception is naturally-extracted tobacco (NET) juice; since those are known to clog up cartomizers quickly, those are vaped in atomizers and clearomizers.

Vaping Diaries #87: Vape Tree Preview + Contest

Last week I received a few e-liquids from The Vape Tree. The company is new to the online e-liquid world, but the owner is an experienced juice maker. There are a few things that make The Vape Tree stand out:

  1. Transparency: The company is totally upfront about using commercially-available flavorings and nicotine from Wizard Labs. Although some vendors are honest about how they make their juices, most are secretive about their ingredients. I really appreciate The Vape Tree’s transparency.
  2. Pre-Steeping: The Vape Tree pre-steeps its juices in an ultrasonic cleaner for at least three hours. Many people believe that this is the equivalent of two to three weeks of steeping. For some vapers, this means that the juices are good to go out of the mail. For others, it cuts down on steeping time. Again, some vendors of made-to-order juices do this, but most don’t.
  3. Complexity: The owner is a big fan of complexity and most of his juices use several flavors. I’ve dripped a few of The Vape Tree’s juices and like them so far. There are some interesting flavor mixes going on.

It’s going to be a few more weeks until I review The Vape Tree’s juices. Stay tuned for a review of Banyan Tree, Pinoy Punch, and Royal Tobacco. For now, let’s get to the contest!


Contest: Win an Innokin iClear 30 Clearomizer
To enter the contest, all you have to do is go to The Vape Tree web site, peruse the menu, and leave a comment below with the flavor you most want to try and an explanation of why you want that particular flavor. It’s that easy!

[Edit: August 10] The Vape Tree will also be providing a 30ml bottle of e-liquid to the winner!

Now for the boring contest rules:

  • Only one entry per participant
  • Contest closes on August 18, 2013 11:59PM PDT
  • Winner will be chosen with a random number generator
  • Must 18 or older to participate
  • Must have a U.S. mailing address to be eligible
  • RPad Productions Inc. is not responsible for the prize being lost or damaged by USPS