I just want to share some thoughts with DIYers; and this is coming from a frequent pre-made eliquid buyer. I have long taken you, DIYers, for granted and I sincerely apologize.
These thoughts are just some of what has been swirling around my head lately as I learn more and more (through various channels) about the eliquid game.
1) It has been stated many times, to the point of ad nauseaum, but the fact is, most vendors are using common commercial flavorings. Even many of the eliquid vendors that boast about being natural are using commercial flavorings, but they don't speak on it (some do reveal this). (Many large and small commercial operations sell flavorings that are "naturally extracted"--tobacco included, and not just tobacco absolute.) Some supposed "in-house" extractors are in fact buying those extracted flavors; yet they will lead their customers to believe that they are doing it themselves -- and some don't even mix the liquid at all, they buy it wholesale.
2) So often a DIYer will come into a discussion and point out the fallacy in championing eliquid vendors for being more than they really are, and I often would balk at that position. I agree with their points (as long as it's pointed out tactfully) and I have come to realize very few vendors are above using (what I believe) false advertising. That is not to say that I will stop buying pre-made ejuice (it's more than a habit, and some mixes are just flat-out good), but I have begun dabbling into DIY and to say that it is rewarding is a huge understatement. It's also a great nah nah nuh boo boo to those vendors that are bottling hype.
3) DIYers are a unique bunch. All this time I had actually believed that I knew something about eliquid, but until I began researching flavorings, trying them out and making it myself, you don't really know how simple much of this stuff really is (obviously there are a ton of concentrates, and figuring out which to use and how much is the hard part).
I should've known. Considering I am an artist, and artists know how to make it look like we're doing more than we really are--I guess I just wanted to believe in certain things, i.e., the notion that a more than a few liquid vendors possessed magical skills--though some truly have mastered their craft. The point is, I applaud DIYers and their network of enthusiasts that get down to business and figure out these liquids (and come up with fantastic recipes of their own); that's how these vendors got their start.
4) Most people don't want to admit (or know) that they're being sold a bill of goods--and I was very, very much of that mind-set--and it also doesn't feel like you've been taken advantage of when you believe that making quality ejuice is best left to the "professionals." To a certain degree that can be true (when dealing with nicotine and a few other ingredients, I would rather not have a vendor eyeballing or using some slipshod method to get their percentages), but for the most part it's as simple as most things that are made out to be more difficult than they are.
I had the impression for a while that DIYers were simply making just above vapeable liquid, but that is as false as believing that vendors posses some special knowledge that is out out the reach of the average vaper.
5) Yes, there will always be trick of the trade, insider information, special access to obscure flavors and a host of other things that will allow for certain vendors to have an edge over DIYers; but at the end of the night, when considering the cost differential and the near perfection with which some of these home-brews can be created, I am here to say that DIYers had it right the whole time. I was wrong, you were right. I was wrong, you were right. I was wrong, you were right. I was wrong, you were right!
I am not trying to, or will, "out" any one vendor for any one thing (as it's never really that simple) and most of what I have learned will always be relegated to circumstantial evidence (though many cases have been proven with less, LOL), but some stuff is irrefutable. Please don't think you know whom I am referring to as it is several different vendors for different reasons (so don't even ask).
Final thoughts: As of now, I know of only a few vendors that are willing to pull back the curtain and show you some of what they're doing; and as long as that's the "special" part that needs to be validated, I am cool with that. C'mon, how hard would it be to make a Youtube video of a part of the process that sets you apart from the pack? Show us part of your extraction method--but you won't, will you? Got test results? Certifications? Pictures of labs? Work spaces? Few have done that, and even fewer have done all of that.
Of course some vendors are professional in what they do, the flavors they use, quality of extractions, how they mix, the consistency of their output and the development of their flavors. That isn't special though, that's just professional; in any profession, professionalism should be basic. Hell, it should be a given.
Anyway, like I said, I will continue to buy pre-made liquids, but the DIY bug is flying around my house and it looks like it wants to bite me.
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