The Really Big RY4 Roundup (long)
RY4 (short for Ruyan #4) is a very popular eliquid that incorporates three basic component flavors: a tobacco base (usually mild and understated, but occasionally stronger and more up front), caramel, and vanilla. The caramels and vanillas are as varied as the tobacco bases. Some vendors include other flavors, but those three are essential. Without one of them, a juice is not really an RY4.
The magic lies in the quality of the ingredients and how they’re blended. Some RY4s are very bright, almost effervescent, with a pronounced and sparkling high end. These virtually shimmer. Others are darker and deeper, with bass notes predominant. Some emphasize the distinct taste of each component; others are blended into a unified and more singular flavor experience. Some are downright spectacular vapes; others fall short---occasionally way short.
What follows are capsule reviews of all the RY4s I’ve bought and vaped, ranked in order of my personal preference, from most beloved favorite all the way down to swill I won’t vape. As we all know, juice reviews are entirely subjective, so I’ll state up front that my personal leaning is toward the smoother, deeper-flavored RY4s (over the brighter, more aggressive RY4s). I expect disagreement ranging from mild to wild, but that’s fine. We get to vape what we like and share those likes (and dislikes) here on ECF.
Please add your own RY4 reviews to the thread, especially for RY4s I haven’t tried from all the other (many) vendors who sell it.
1. BackwoodsBrew RY4
From the web site: “This is not your standard RY4. While it has some sweetness to it, it has warm and an ultra clean tobacco taste that bites. We use a very special and somewhat uncommon vanilla that makes this juice right every time. If you want an RY4 with true tobacco goodness that produces tons of vapor, then look no further.”
Don at Backwoods Brew has created a legend with his RY4. He announces on the BWB web site the day and time a new batch of RY4 will be available, and then it sells out within hours. Each customer is limited to one 30ml bottle only. Heck, people sell their firstborn child to get this juice. Since it’s definitely NOT a “typical” RY4, why is it so popular? First, the tobacco base is unique and forward, with great punch (or “bite,” per the description) and satisfying impact. Then all the other flavor ingredients are superbly blended into a beautiful harmony. A word like “delicious” doesn’t even apply---BackwoodsBrew RY4 is in a league by itself (like another renowned juice, Alien Visions Boba’s Bounty). The longer BWB RY4 steeps (ages), the better it gets. My all-time favorite #1 RY4.
2. OzarkFresh Kentucky Burley RY4
From the web site: “Mama mia! RY4 lovers may vape little else. Imagine a hint of tobacco steeped in delicious caramel. It rocks! Just right for your vaping appetite.”
OzarkFresh is a newer vendor, at least for me. Their web site is fake-down-home and faux-hillbilly, but I’m from Missouri originally, so that stereotype is old hat to me. Anyway, I ordered their Kentucky Burley RY4 with few expectations. Imagine my shock and awe when it turned out to be terrific! Their recipe contains some real tobacco extract---though less forward than BWB RY4---but this juice is carried by the caramel and vanilla flavors, which are wonderfully integrated and perfectly balanced. Wow. Not much buzz about Ozark Fresh here on ECF, but I give their RY4 a huge thumbs up.
3. VapeRite Organic VR4
From the web site: “This is my Organic version of the popular RY4 flavor. I use House extracted, certified additive free, certified Organic tobacco, Flavors and VG in this juice. True tobacco flavor with a hint of caramel and vanilla.”
Vaperite’s organic formula for RY4. Macerated tobacco and a strong caramel flavor that is almost unbelievably gooey and dominates the flavor profile. Totally unique among RY4s and RY4-variants. A dessert vape rather than a main course. Not sweet like cotton candy or honey, but downright luscious. I really love this juice, although its overall performance---vapor production and throat hit---is a bit thinner than my Top 2, which is why it settles in at #3.
4. PrimeVaping PV4
From the web site: “Our version of the Popular and well known RY4, we took it up a notch. we mixed our Exotic Natural Tobacco with the utmost perfect Caramel & Vanilla, this is a signature blend of ours so you know we threw in a little something special.”
PV4 lands in the middle of the flavor profile scale for RY4s, with distinct caramel and vanilla flavor. Overall, it’s much smoother than the more radical RY4s. As one of few RY4s that has a subtle nuttiness, this juice pleases me immensely. I’m not looking for an all-day vape, but if I were, this could be it. PV4 wins a very high ranking on my list of fave RY4s, and PrimeVaping---with their Love From Above, Natural Tobacco, and Nostalgia---has joined the growing club of my most respected vendors/tobacco juicemakers (which includes BackwoodsBrew, Vaperite, Want2Vape, and VaporStation, along with two other newcomers, OzarkFresh and VermillionRiver).
5. Want2Vape RY4
From the web site: “RY4. Every vendor has one. This is ours. Rich, sweet, and smoky. Natural tobacco extract with sweet caramel and smooth vanilla.”
The flavors are smoky, dark, and deep. Not being a big fan of the more effervescent, sparkly RY4s, I like this juice a lot. It’s not as rich as its “cousin,” Vaperite Organic VR4, but it is very substantial, with flavors that linger on the palate. This RY4 almost revels in its plain jane qualities, like a person who isn’t outwardly attractive but wins you over with inner magnetism. I bought only a two 3ml sample bottles from W2V, but I’ll definitely order a larger bottle. The #5 ranking is no surprise, since I really like Todd’s macerated tobacco extractions.
6. Ikenvape IKV RY4 Gold
From the web site: “IKV authentic RY4 Gold. Smokey, nutty, and caramelly tobacco fine tuned for perfection. This e-liquid has been a year in the making of recreating the legendary lost flavor of the Real RY4.”
Reputed to be a replica of the fabled (and now lost) original Dekang RY4. IKV RY4 Gold is the only RY4 I’ve tried that has a pronounced nuttiness as a forward flavor component, as if DK-TAB had been used as the base. Very few other ry4s have a nutty element, and those are mostly subtle. The IKV is very bright, but strongly nutty throughout, on both inhale and exhale, almost like a 555. Massive throat hit, even at 18mg. Kicks like a mule. The VG version that I was able to get (70VG/30PG) is said to be slightly less flavorful than the PG blend (70PG/30VG), which I ordered yesterday and look forward to trying. The VG blend is certainly very good, but---as stated in my longer review of IKV RY4 Gold---not exactly the Holy Grail for me.
7. VapeMasters R4
No web site description.
No longer sold, but probably similar to or the same as VaporRenu Re(4)nu. Very dark in color and deeply intense. Bass notes are emphatic in the profile. Not sparkly or punchy at all, but flavorful. The tobacco is indistinct, but the caramel and vanilla are great---a molasses-laced toffee with a vanilla-cotton candy finish. R4 also has a slight aroma of fruitiness that is unique among RY4s and lingers happily on my palate. Because I prefer the deeper-flavored RY4s over those that emphasize upper-end brilliance, this juice scores a big hit with me, which is all the more shocking since hardly ever like VaporRenu’s juices. Best of all, I paid $22 shipped for 90ml of R4 last November and still have 60ml of that in my stash. Cheap juices often suck, but this one was a 100-to-1 longshot that came in a winner.
8. KalamazooVaporShop RY4
No web site description.
KVS’ RY4 has a nice, smooth punch. I don’t mean throat hit, although it does have ample TH at 24mg, but something in the flavor base that pushes. And here’s the thing: That smooth push is good. Very pleasing, like pushing down the door to let the other flavors through afterwards. It’s the third RY4 (besides IKV Gold and Ozark Fresh Kentucky) where I can taste nuttiness, although here it’s very subtle. Beyond caramel and vanilla, KVS’ RY4 also has some subtler flavors that I can’t place. The smoothness is what won me over, however, and the reason for the #8 ranking.
9. VaporTalk Dulcis
From the web site: “A Tobacco Juice with a hint of caramel that is sweet (although not too sweet!) and decadent.”
I was hoping that Dulcis might be IT---the top dog RY4. Not to my palate, though. I prefer a little more sweetness and bottom end. I don’t really find it “decadent.” More balanced than rich. I think Dulcis might grow on me, however, because of a certain warmth that’s difficult to identify but definitely attractive. With more than a week’s steeping time, Dulcis might mature into a Blue Ribbon pig at the fair. Time will tell. For now, it sits at #9 with a possible bullet higher.
10. LiquidXpress Taboo
From the web site: “RY4, Riskee, etc. A good caramel/vanilla blend.”
This one surprised me, perhaps because the picture on the Xpress web site looks like a dessert. But Taboo is not especially sweet. It’s in the bright group of RY4s---similar to Dulcis, Elixir, and Riskee in its pronounced high end. Individual flavors come through, not especially strong but still identifiable as caramel and vanilla wafting over a pleasing tobacco base (flue-cured?) None of the bright RY4s win my grand prize as a personal favorite, but all four of them are very impressive juices. Right now I’d give the edge to Dulcis, but only slightly.
11. ElixirLiquid RY4
From the web site: “Vanilla and Caramel! Our best selling E-liquid by far! Our RY4 has more flavor in it than any other E-liquid on the market. Treat yourself and see why everyone agrees that our RY4 is unbeatable.”
Bright but also balanced. Not as sparkly a high end as Dulcis and Taboo, but with similar impact and performance. All in all, a tasty, well-blended, and unified liquid (meaning no erratic or stray flavors). But “unbeatable?” That’s just marketing hype and is effectively meaningless. Still, a very good RY4 that starts off my second ten.
12. VapeRite RY4
From the web site: “The very popular RY4 flavor, distinct tobacco flavor with a hint of caramel.”
This is Vaperite’s non-organic rendering of RY4 (as opposed to their Organic VR4). The RY4 strikes me as a toned-down version of VR4 (the caramel in the RY4 is more restrained, less luscious and gooey), but with more tobacco bite. Of the two Vaperite offerings, this is more balanced and typical of RY4s in general. A competent, well-made juice, but I prefer the VR4.
13. Madvapes Dekang RY4
No web site description.
This is Dekang premix that I purchased in October 2010. The flavor profile may not match Dekang batches sold at other times by other vendors. After steeping for eight months, the 40ml left of the 50ml bottle I have is actually quite good, holding up surprisingly well in comparison to other, more high-end and expensive RY4s. Not especially rich, but still flavorful. Kind of a stripped-down-to-essentials version of RY4. Incredible value for the price ($11/50ml). I’m told that the Custom China version Madvapes sells for about the same price is not the same, and some people say not as good. YMMV.
14. NiteLiteVapor Renegade RY4
From the web site: “Renegade is NLV's version of the popular RY-4 (by Ruyan), a smooth flavor of toasted/roasted nuts with soft tones of caramel and vanilla blended in a sweet tobacco flavor.”
Like Bluemist RY4, NiteLiteVapor Renegade is a transparent and almost clear liquid. This RY4-variant 65PG/35VG blend has strong tobacco impact and substantial throat hit. I can taste a slight nuttiness, but just barely. The other flavor components also take a less flavorful back seat, receding into the tonal background. As a straight tobacco vape, Renegade excels (I also like NLV Bounty Hunter). As an RY4, however, it doesn’t make me sit up and take notice. With more caramel and vanilla, however, NLV Renegade could morph into a prize-winning RY4.
15. Esmoke4Life Riskee Yuice
From the web site: “Amazing depth of flavor. Its everything you could want!”
This RY4-variant is supposedly the same juice as the old PureSmoker Cash Riskee, but I strongly doubt that. Leans toward the brighter, more sparkly end of the scale, from mid-range on up into treble. I find it too bright and lacking richness, as if the base flavors don’t provide a solid anchor. So much for “amazing depth.” The flavor profile is blended and balanced, with no single ingredients standing out, but less flavorful overall than Dulcis, Taboo, or Elixir, all of which score higher with me than Riskee. OK, but definitely not “everything you could want.”
16. VaporStation VS4
From the web site: “The creation of this flavor was actually an accident. In our first attempt to create the famous RY4 flavor, we asked our developers to include some of their own ingenuity. Well, they did a damn good job. VS4 is absolutely superb and is of the highest caliber of analog flavors on the market. Our best seller; Highly recommended!”
I love Vapor Station’s tobacco juices (especially Frisco, Tampa, and Tennessee). Their RY4 is not in the same league, but I still like it. In addition to a pleasing sweetness, the word that most comes to mind about this juice is balanced: Nice throat hit. Nice flavor. Nice high and low end. All in all, a nice juice that lands in the middle of my second 10.
17. VaporStation RY4
From the web site: “One of the most popular analog flavored e-liquids in the world, RY4 is sure to tantalize your taste buds. A leafy tobacco undertone coupled with a semi-sweet caramel and spun sugar texture. Highly recommended!”
I bought a sample 5ml bottle of this a couple months ago. My memory is that I wasn’t as impressed with the RY4 as I am with VaporStation’s other tobacco juices, many of which are terrific. The RY4, however, struck me as average at best and disappointing at worst. As a result, my sample bottle of VS RY4 ended up being added to one of my larger bottles of DIY RY4 blends (I have three different DIY blends of RY4).
18. FreedomSmokeUSA RY4
From the web site: “Tobaccos, caramels, and other flavorsome ingredients for the true RY4 lover.”
FSUSA is a great vendor---huge selection, frequent sales, good service, free samples with every order. Early on in my vaping journey, FSUSA was my #1 juice supplier. Over eight months, however, all their juices have lost luster in my eyes (or rather, taste buds), and this includes their RY4. From top dog, it has fallen to the also rans of the pack. Kind of sad, actually. I don’t know if it’s me or the juice, but even with extra flavor, FSUSA RY4 no longer does it for me.
19. Want2Vape Rock Star
From the web site: “Vape like a rock star with our twist on RY4. Tobacco, creamy caramel, and ? Lighter and brighter than our RY4, but don't take that as meaning lightweight. Sweet, fresh and addicting.”
W2V Rock Star is among the brightest of all the RY4 variants I’ve tried, with a very pronounced high end sparkle, in the same neighborhood as Elixir and Taboo. That effect is refreshing for some palates, but not mine. I have a feeling that this 3ml sample bottle (the second one I’ve bought) will end up like the first---added to one of my darker-flavored DIY RY4 blends to give it a lift for better balance. You might love it by itself. To me, it’s only so-so.
20. AwesomeVapor RY4
From the web site: “Yummee! Hints of caramel, But not Caramel, Hints of Tobacco, but not tobacco, hard to describe, but its my 3rd best seller and a favorite of mine! It is my mainstay.”
I got a sample 3ml bottle of this RY4 some time back. As I recall, it was OK, but nothing special, so---like VaporStation RY4---it ended up getting dumped into one of my DIY RY4 homebrew blends.
21. GoodEjuice RY4
From the web site: “Our RY4 Tobacco eJuice is not too sweet. It has just the right amount of caramel added to it to help mellow out the strong tobacco base. This has been a popular combination for ecigarette users for years.”
This is a DIY juice I made using GoodEjuice RY4 flavor concentrate mixed 70PG/30VG at 18mg, so it may not be identical to the RY4 mixed and sold by the vendor. That said, the resulting juice was for me a middle-of-the-road RY4. All the typical elements are present, but the result---while acceptable---is essentially undistinguished. Would I vape it if I were stranded on a desert island with no other juices? Sure, but I would dream of other, better RY4s.
22. Mist-Stix RY4
No web site description.
Based on their other tobacco flavor offerings, I’d guess that Mist-Stix RY4 is Dekang, but I can’t be 100% sure. Mist-Stix has a new Premium Line of juice with an RY4 that may be different (meaning better). My bottle of this RY4 is not particularly noteworthy. Ordinary at best.
23. VoidMist RY4
No web site description.
An unusual and altogether odd RY4 that I couldn’t vape too much of at one sitting. Not overly bright, but with strange flavor signatures. Vapable in short bursts, but I tire of it quickly.
24. Vapure VY4
No web site description.
VY4 is among the sweeter of all the RY4-variants I’ve tried. It doesn’t have the gooey caramel richness of Vaperite’s VR4 organic---this is more of a cotton candy sweetness. No sparkle, but the tobacco flavor at the bottom is slightly off-kilter, which forces the sweeter flavors to carry this juice. For me, VY4 lags behind the pack and finishes far off the pace of the leaders. Just barely OK because of the skunky tobacco base.
25. BlueMistVaping RY4
From the web site: “By popular request, RY4.”
This RY4 is an almost colorless, transparent liquid---the first RY4 I ever sampled that was clear---not dark, not even pale gold, but completely colorless. Also, it doesn’t taste like an RY4 at all, but Something Else Unknown. My first reaction months ago was to pour the entire 180ml bottle down the drain, but steeping must have helped, because I have come to perversely like it (somewhat). Entirely its own creature, BlueMist RY4 won’t ever make my Top 20, but I actually will vape this weird juice from time to time.
26. FlavourArt oRYental 4
From the web site: “A long time favorite, made with Italian flair.”
I got my 3ml sample bottle from FreedomSmokeUSA, but the same juice is sold by numerous vendors who use FA concentrates and in their juice recipes. The only thing “Italian” about oRYental 4 is that FlavourArt is based in Italy. I find it completely unimpressive, lacking in both tobacco flavor and punch, and containing some additional weird flavors I can’t identify but don’t much like. No thanks. FlavourArt has pretty much lost me with most of their flavorings, and oRYental 4 is dreadful. It sinks to the very bottom of my list of RY4s, the only one I absolutely won’t vape---Massive Fail.
And finally, three I haven’t yet tried that might be noteworthy:
Unranked: Kick Bass Vapor RY4
From the web site: “We truly felt the vast majority of vapers really wanted that original Dekang taste prior to changes in the last 2 years in an RY4 and feel we have found it. That is the main reason it has taken KBV so long to release it's version of this flavor.”
Another “original Dekang RY4” wannabe? We’ll see. KBV handles sweet flavors as well as just about any vendor around, making sweetness delicious rather than cloying. I hope KBV can work that same magic with their new RY4. I’m waiting for a bottle in shipment now and will edit the reviews and rankings after it arrives.
Unranked: JantyUSA Janty RY4
From the web site: “Our #1 selling flavor. A bold tobacco base with hints of caramel and vanilla. Will satisfy the original tobacco lover as well as the sweet fans!”
Out of stock. Can’t get it. Haven’t tried it. I read good things about it on ECF, but with no first-hand experience I can’t comment on it. I include Janty RY4 as an unranked footnote only because numerous posters are very high on it.
Unranked: Halo Tribeca
From the web site: “Tribeca is an ultra-smooth new Tobacco e-liquid with a fantastic flavor all its own. Tribeca has definitive tobacco undertones with a semi-sweet top note that is reminiscent of RY4 and other treasured tobacco blends. Tribeca delivers a solid throat hit and excellent vapor production.”
Halo, which specializes in tobacco juices, is not your average working class juice vendor. Definitely upper crust. Now they’ve finally tossed their hat into the RY4 ring. The bit about a “flavor all its own” means that Tribeca’s base isn’t just a recycled Torque. I haven’t vaped any of Halo’s juices, but they get considerable love on ECF and are often used as a high-end bull’s-eye for less prestigious (and less expensive) juices to take aim at. I would suggest, however, that any vendor who aspires to the crown of best RY4 ever might be smart to just go ahead, bite the bullet, and call their version what it is: RY4.
Nice.. I've been doing pretty much the same thing, trying to find a Ry4 that'll go into one of my multi-mil PVs.. only with about 10 of the vendors on your list. Please follow up with your thoughts on #6 when you get the VG sample in, as I almost decided on that one when I found out the PG wasn't available.
Also.. my thoughts exactly on #1, #18 and #26... I went through those very same experiences on my search. Thank you for sharing your opinions.
Thanks for posting this! My search for a Riskee Yuice replacement is ongoing! KBV's Ry4 is very good as is Tribeca!
Thanks for saving me from wasting my time and money on #18
I don't know how Halo's Tribeca stacks up to your list but its the only liquid I have that I wouldn't change a thing about.
I'm curious if any body has tried DIY FlavorShacks ry4. It came with a tiny bottle of caramel on the side, which I thought was weird. It kind of tastes like dirt was an ingredient.
The Want2Vape RockStar... I enjoy it every now and then.
I have had Kick Bass Vapor RY4 for two days now, trying about 10 different RY4s myself this seems to be in a place of its own, to me its nothing like dekang. Its really rich and creamy. Also want to add thank you for the great reviews........
Last edited by passerbyeus; 06-02-2011 at 06:30 PM.
Thanks for the exceptional reviews. I've come to appreciate a good RY4 though I rarely crave them. My favorites are also the offerings from BWB and Vaperite. They're very very different but quite singular and amazing in their own right. The BWB is like vaping cedar to me while the VR is like vaping dessert.
Provari V2 w/ 18650, IGO-L RBA, and gallons of Boba's Bounty.
Can't wait to hear how KBV ranks. I too love Vaperite (Organic) and W2V RY4s
Originally Posted by violetvoo
It's not that Freedom Smoke USA makes or sells bad juice. They've steadily increased their line of juices vapes, adding new concoctions every month. In all varieties, they sell 300 juices now, which is amazing in itself. Their tobacco line alone offers 35 flavors, so it's a vaping version of Baskin-Robbins. The problem for me, especially with their tobacco juices, is that the signature base flavors they use for tobacco blends (I think I read that they use FlavourArt, but I may be wrong about that) have been eclipsed by many of the artisan juice makers now in the marketplace. In other words, their juice hasn't gotten worse; other vendors' juices have just gotten better, often spectacularly so. This is particularly true with the juice makers who are using macerated/extracted tobacco as flavor bases for their blends.
After spending a small fortune on vaping stuff---mods, atties, cartos, tanks, batteries, DIY supplies, and juices---over the initial eight months of my vaping life, I was moving into a comfort zone with liquids. Though I have a ridiculously huge stash of sweet/fruit/bakery/drink juices, I am primarily a tobacco guy, and I had pretty much settled on a small cadre of premium vendors for all my tobacco vapes: Backwoods Brew, Alien Visions, Vaperite, Vapor Station, and Want2Vape. These were my go-to sources for juice heaven.
But recently we've witnessed an explosion in the number of artisan juice makers. Newer vendors such as Prime Vaping, Vermillion River, Kick Bass Vapor, and Ozark Vapor are making juices that knock my socks off. I don't know where these folks learned their craft, since they apparently came out of nowhere, but I'm finding that I buy just as much juice now as I did during my earlier days of trying many vendors to find juices I really liked. Actually, I buy a lot more now. Today there are so many fabulous juices on my faves list that I keep 15 loaded PVs on my desk just to accommodate my daily vapes, not to mention those I sample more sporadically. I'm also getting the hang of DIY mixing, so fewer of my juices remain off-the-shelf products as I learn to combine flavors successfully. Juices such as bwb Malty Toffee and w2v Crème Brûlée are fantastic as mixers, to round out and improve even the best tobacco juices.
Civilization may be going to hell in a handbasket, but it's a wonderful time to be a vaper.
Dekang is my daily vape, like drinking bud light at the end of the day. Nice, cheap, and effective for what it is
Bwb ry4 is a champagne you save for special occasions.