Review - 3 Batches of Aroma VS WTA
Jerry has sent me samples from 3 different batches of unflavored VS WTA. For those unfamiliar with the VS designation, it stands for "Very Special" and represents the generation of WTA being produced by Aroma since around the beginning of January 2014. While I have declined to praise past generations of WTA as being as good as the small batch custom WTA that I produce, the VS WTA is different. The difference in quality between Aroma's VS WTA and my custom WTA is so small as to be effectively negligible.
The three samples sent are all in VG and identified as:
CAF11414 - 23 mg
AF1514A - 21 mg
AF11214 - 23 mg
For reference, I will be using a 24 mg WTA in VG that I produced myself in a small custom batch around 3 months ago. The WTA isolate has been stored in the dark and sealed. I mixed it down to 24 mg today. It will be referred to as "reference".
Reference - 24 mg
The deviations from the standard 24 mg concentration in the Aroma samples are due to the fact that while the WTA itself comes from production batches of WTA, these samples were mixed down separately from the regular production bottles. I would have rather Jerry kept them all standard at 24 mg, but to expect him to do everything I'd like... well, not gonna hold my breath. Still, the levels are all approximate enough to the standard 24 mg concentration as to be "close enough" for all but the most fussy observer.
My review of these samples will be done in multiple posts presented as my impressions are made.
Lets begin with color:
AF11214, CAF11414, and the reference are basically identical. AF1514A is lighter, remarkably so. Granted it is only at 21 mg, but that's hardly enough to make a significant difference. I am rather pissed at Aroma for daring to make a WTA lighter than mine but there it is in living color.
More to come.
Last edited by DVap; 02-02-2014 at 09:24 AM.
The 2 dram bottle I got looks very light in color to me.
Sanity is overrated. I'd rather be happy.
Impressions on the reference.
(Note: All impressions via a 2.2 ohm Joye 510 atty at 4.1 volts in a Provari. Wattage is 7.6. Liquid dripped onto the bridge, 6 drops, allow 1 minute to soak in)
The reference WTA seems a bit flat. By "flat", I mean that the stuff is OK but that "WOW" throat taste and great smoothness has gone downhill a bit and a small bit of throat scratchiness is evident. The holy-grail woody-honey character in the throat and nose is muted. It certainly wasn't like this when it was made three months ago (it was perfect), and I'm beginning to suspect that extended storage isn't good for undiluted pure WTA. I've never stored pure WTA for an extended period, and I'll likely take this as "lesson learned".
The implication here is that WTA should probably not be produced too far in advance and stored in an undiluted form.
Again, this WTA was excellent when freshly made and it's still good, but certainly has lost some of it's charm.
I wouldn't so much suspect that a 24 mg WTA liquid would suffer similarly from time since the alkaloids are present at a much lower concentration in the VG carrier.
Grade (out of 5): 3.75
Last edited by DVap; 02-02-2014 at 09:54 AM.
Impressions on AF1514A (21 mg).
WOW. The classic smooth throat feel and woody-honey throat-taste really shines. Completely neutral to the tongue and nose unless I exhale nasally. Nasal exhalation just moves the smooth woody-honey sensation to the nose. Wholly agreeable.
I've not "cleared" my system of WTA at all, so any evaluation of the effects is going to be somewhat obscured by this fact.
This being said, I still get a distinct feeling of well-being from this stuff. There is no "buzz" associated with it. For that matter, I don't believe that a "buzz" is an effect that a good pure WTA should provide.
The throat hit has no burn to it, not really so much a hit as a nice warm sensation with the woody-honey note taking center stage. The question has to be asked, "What should a throat hit feel like?" I like one that's smooth and fulfilling, and this stuff certainly does that. Some folks might prefer the classic tickly/itchy throat hit. If I went up to 10 watts, I'd probably get much more of the classic throat hit.
My reaction here was sort of, "VAPE... WOW... want MORE... VAPE.. WOW.. want MOAR! .. Vape.. Wow. Want MORE!... naw, I've had enough." Couch-lock ensues.
I am loving this sample!
Here's something everybody needs to understand about WTA. When done right, the throat and nasal sensation must have the smooth woody-honey character that I've described. Any other detectable taste/odor/sensation is a defect. This stuff is done right.
I'd better wait a good little while before I go on to the remaining samples. I'm gonna sit back, contemplate the multiverse, and pet my dog.
Grade (out of 5): 5
Last edited by DVap; 02-02-2014 at 06:44 PM.
Impressions on CAF11414 (23 mg)
Well, enough time has passed since I made love to AF1514A, so I can look at another sample.
While AF1514A was the remarkably light sample, CAF11414 is one of the other 2 samples that matches the reference in color. I'm actually in real time here, so I'm typing as I wait for the sample to soak into the atty.
OK, this stuff is really good, not quite as outstanding as AF1514A, but really good all the same. The difference seems to be in the degree to which the woody-honey character presents itself. It's every bit as smooth, but the woody-honey character isn't quite so pronounced. It's the same woody-honey character, just not quite as much.
I've actually had to go back and fill an atty with the five star AF1514A to make sure it's not me that's the variable. I'm forming my re-impression of the AF1514A as I type here. There difference seems to mostly be me since the AF1514A is certainly impressive, but at this late hour, it's not making me go WOW! quite as much as it did some 6 hours ago. The only thing I can think of for my different perception just now is that I've eaten some spicy noodles just a bit ago, while I hadn't eaten anything when I reviewed the AF1514A some hours ago. This being so, I've probably dulled my taste/smell senses just a bit. Side by side, and at the same time, AF1514A is still better, but it seems to be maybe only 0.5 points better. Don't get me wrong, the difference between 5 and 4.5 stars is pretty minor. The deduction on CAF11414 isn't because it has any perceptible faults, it's only because I like AF1514A just a bit better side by side at the same time, and to me, "just a bit" is about equal to 0.5 stars.
Still quite relaxing, but now that I've had some good sleep, I'm more alert and not quite so prone to want to sink back into the couch.
This also should warn us about the variable that comes about due to the fact that we ourselves create inconsistent perceptions from one day to the next, or even one hour to the next.
Grade (out of 5): 4.5
Impressions on AF11214 (23 mg)
Ok, this one is pretty much the same as CAF11414, maybe a touch better, but I'm not going to add any points because I'm simply not sure that I'm simply imagining it.
Grade (out of 5): 4.5
All of the samples were excellent and all delivered on the one thing that I consider most important in the sensory experience of unflavored 24 mg (or pretty close to 24 mg) WTA. That is the character that I keep referring to: That wonderful woody-honey note minus any off-notes that detract from the experience.
Though I haven't tried it, I suspect that if I raised the wattage a bit on the atty (I tested all at 7.6 watts), the 4.5 star samples might rate better than the 5 star sample. When testing, it's important to keep the equipment consistent to minimize inconsistent impressions. Any liquid is going to hit much harder at 10 watts than it will at 5 watts. There is a range where increasing wattage can make a liquid better, but there also comes a point where you can go too far and start to make it worse. Conversely, much can be lost at too low a wattage. The trick is to dial in on the spot where you're happiest.
When it comes to WTA faults, I mainly look at a few items:
1. Harshness. Does it leave a roughness in the throat? It should be smooth and not present so much a "hit" as a fullness and warmth.
2. Taste: Does it present the woody-honey note to the throat and nose. If this note is absent or lacking, that's a serious problem. To be absolutely clear, a good WTA must present this boldly and cleanly.
3. Off tastes: Does it have a taste that the tongue can detect? Does it leave a "cloying" sensation, especially toward the back of the tongue, that makes you want to lick your lips to try to make it go away?
4. Calming effect: At 24 mg, one shouldn't find themselves chain-vaping. After a few minutes, you should want to put the equipment down, and happily so.
In short, if you've tried Aroma's newest VS WTA at 24 mg, you've effectively experienced WTA as I make it in small custom batches. I can't emphasize enough that WTA that doesn't have the superb woody-honey note can still be a nice vape, but once you experience the woody-honey note, you'll find that you've been missing it all along and you will accordingly recalibrate your notion of greatness.
This stuff, all of it, is great.
Last edited by DVap; 02-02-2014 at 11:11 AM.
Great reviews Dvap. I wish I was that good at describing liquids when someone asks my opinion.
Sanity is overrated. I'd rather be happy.
Thanks. It might come off to some as very self-serving for me to review a material whose creation I'm responsible for. Anybody who knows me or has followed my posts here should know that I value my credibility very much. The more a person posts claims or opinions that are either untrue or unsupportable, the more that person creates an environment in which folks who are paying attention will come to discount that person's veracity. That being so, I prefer to live by the motto, "If you don't know what you're talking about, shut the hell up". Or, at the very least, preface your opinion or claim with the caveat that you you're less than certain about what you're saying.
Originally Posted by hittman
While I'm responsible for the procedures and practices used at Aroma, Jerry is the person doing the work, and it's his ability to successfully implement these procedures and practices that I'm looking at. My creation of WTA puts me in the unique position of being able to state what WTA should and shouldn't embody. It's this unique position that also allows me to evaluate WTA with a fine-toothed comb. For the longest time, Jerry only had it "kinda right", and my nature is such that I wasn't going to allow Jerry to rest on "kinda right". Even more so, my nature is such that I'm not going to allow myself to tell everyone that Jerry has it right when he only has it kinda right. While I've never quantitated Jerry's past work with WTA, I'd say he was generally capable of producing 3 to 4 star WTA. I should probably define the way I look at ratings:
1 star: Awful (no redeeming qualities, you hate it.)
2 star: Mediocre (You really have to work hard to convince yourself the stuff vapable.)
3 star: Good (Not unpleasant stuff, but rough edges are apparent.)
4 star: Excellent (Really nice stuff, but could be even better.)
5 star: Great (No room for improvement.)
Yes, I've always spoken well of Aroma's WTA, but I've never claimed there wasn't room for improvement. I've been pretty insistent that the demands of making WTA on a commercial scale created a chasm between what can be accomplished on a commercial scale versus what can be accomplished on a small hand-crafted scale. Helping Jerry to bridge this chasm has been a publicly stated goal of mine for the past 6 months.
That I consider the custom WTA that I produce to rank 5 stars might be viewed by some as hubris, but I look at it differently. I've been working with WTA long enough (over 4 years) that I've made stuff that's great and I've made stuff that's not so great. There are two and only two characteristics that should be apparent in WTA. There must be the smooth woody-honey throat/nose sensation and the stuff must provide a pleasant calming effect, not a buzz. I'd better say here that there is certainly room for flavorings or other modification, but the purified WTA in and of itself must possess these two defining qualities and nothing else.
So, inasmuch as I'm the father of WTA eliquid (I prefer "creator") and have well-defined opinions on the characteristics that WTA eliquid should and should not present, I do believe that with the introduction of Aroma's VS unflavored 24 mg WTA at the beginning of this year, Aroma has bridged the chasm between commercial scale WTA and my small custom scale custom WTA. As such, unless and until something better comes along to upset the rating scale, the scale is calibrated such that there is essentially no room for improvement in Aroma's unflavored 24 mg WTA.
At worst, Aroma's WTA is a hair's width short of perfect and at best Aroma's WTA is perfect.
So you won't need that private stash anymore? I can dispose of it for you.
Sanity is overrated. I'd rather be happy.