On this, the eve of my 55th birthday, I have some good news: I've given up nicotine. After five years vaping, I've switched to zero nic juice.
I still use the Serpent tank and a K120 from Kanger, but a couple weeks ago I decided it was time and ordered a bottle of my ADV in zero nic. This was my plan all along, ever since I started vaping. I suffer from anxiety, and nicotine is a stimulant, and stimulants don't generally help anxiety at all, or they just make it worse. Anyway, I wanted to be free from nicotine, and now I am.
How did I do it? I started with 12mg nic when I first started, and gradually lowered my nic level over the years. I stayed at 3mg for about two or three years before switching to zero nic.
The even better news is that I have felt absolutely no ill effects from changing to zero nic. No withdrawal symptoms at all. It used to be, if I quit smoking, my blood would turn to fire in my veins and it was the most uncomfortable thing ever. But now there is nothing. No nicotine, and no withdrawal.
Vaping is the greatest gift. It got me where I wanted to be, and did it in the best possible way. I don't know how much longer I will vape, now that I don't 'need' to, but I have no plans in that regard. I will vape until it doesn't satisfy me anymore, and then I will stop.
I quit smoking two years ago today, the day I picked up my first eGo kit and iClear 16 clearomizer. I've learned so much about vaping since then. For instance, I never thought I'd know an equation well enough to apply it to my daily life, but Ohm's Law is etched into my brain. I can recognize nearly every piece of gear on the market by its silhouette, just from watching a myriad of videos on these products. I can build coils fast and know what my resistance will be before I put it on the meter. And for a while, a long while, I felt really confidant answering questions on the ECF forum.
But that has changed. Most posts I see now are asking about gear that's either too new or too old for me to know what they're talking about. And when I do see a post about a subject my own experience is still relevant to, at least four or five other people have answered the question in great detail. So, while I'm feeling a little bit left behind, I'm also hopeful that all these new people will carry on and continue the good work of ushering newbies into this life-saving hobby of ours.
Which is not to say that I'm leaving. I'm not. I like it here.
Some things I've discovered in 2015:
While my Derringer clone is the best RDA I've ever tried, my new Serpent RTA equals the flavor easily, and surpasses the Derringer for convenience. I can't believe I finally found a tank that gives my preferred RDA experience (0.5 ohm single coil at 35 watts). I used to think the lung hit I got from my Kayfun 4 was sufficient, but it feels way too tight after a day with the Serpent.
Thanks to a post here on ECF, I decided to check out Verde Valley Vapes, and ordered one of their big sample packs. So far the juice I've been vaping from them has been phenomenal. Really, really good. Straight out of the mailbox. When I've tried all the flavors I will post a proper review, but suffice to say that VVV is worth trying out. AND they're very inexpensive.
This year I also discovered that, while there will always be a place in my heart for mechanical mods, I actually prefer the consistency of a regulated vape. And now that more and more companies are making them, and thus lowering their prices, I can finally afford a couple. Also, the ones that come with silicone sleeves are great when the weather is cold. I think grabbing an ice cold mod is almost as much an unpleasant shock as sitting on an ice cold toilet seat in the morning.
I've also become acutely aware of how corrupt our government is. I mean, I had always suspected, but I didn't really start paying attention until vaping came along and changed my life.
I suspect there is still a lot to learn about life, politics and vaping. Hopefully next year will allow me the opportunity to continue doing so.
I ran across this Wiki page about various hoaxes in which people were told about the terrible properties of a dangerous chemical called dihydrogen monoxide (or some variation thereof), which is actually just the fancy chemistry name for water.
The reason I'm posting this link in my blog is because it relates to the attack on vaping. In fact, it's exactly the same kind of hoax, only perpetrated on a much larger population, and with nefarious intent.
Dihydrogen monoxide hoax - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Crew Juice is a line of e-liquid from Big Lou of the youtube channel, Big Lou's East Coast Review. The name 'Crew Juice' refers to his loyal youtube subscribers, whom he refers to as his 'crew'. Crew Juice currently has four flavors in the line, and each one is available in nicotine strengths of 0, 1.5, 3 and 6 milligrams per milliliter, and is available at BLECR.com. The price for 30 ml's is $19.99. The bottles I received are 1.5 mg's, and all are maximum VG only. It's a molasses-thick juice that's made for dripping on sub-ohm coils.
I've been a Big Lou subscriber for nearly a year (full disclosure: I'm in the crew), and I've always found him to be a very straightforward and honest reviewer. If you don't mind salty language and a totally East Coast vibe, then I strongly recommend Big Lou's channel; especially for those of you interested in sub-ohm builds and box mods. Besides hardware and juice reviews, he often does giveaways and contests; as well as some in-depth tutorials on everything from battery safety and mod maintenance to copper and brass patinas.
And lastly, before getting on to the review, I'd thank to thank Big Lou (again) for the juice. He sent the whole line to me for free, and without solicitation. In fact, I didn't even know they were coming until I opened the box. Anyway, on to the flavors!
Sweet and smooth pink bubblegum with a watermelon finish. I found this flavor subtle and light, and very good. Like all great flavors from our childhood, every hit brings a rush of memories and nostalgia. For me, this brings me back to riding my bike to 7-11, buying candy and gum, and then going to the park to enjoy my sugary bounty in peace. The pink bubblegum dances across the tongue delightfully on the inhale, and the watermelon, which is a bubblegum watermelon - sweet, not tart - is very refreshing on the exhale. This is easily an all day vape, as the flavors aren't at all overpowering, and they don't leave an aftertaste.
I'm vaping this juice, as I do with all my RDA juices, on a .6 ohm single coil made from 8 wraps of 24 g Kanthal with an ID of 2 mm. If I take a longer hit, thus heating the coil more like it would be at lower resistances, then the flavor really pops. My guess is that these juices were made to be vaped on dual coils with resistances around the .3 and lower mark, but even at .6 on a single coil, they're delicious.
The description for this juice on the BLECR site is spot-on. Cookie crumb pie crust with a muted sweet, red apple. It might sound like a surprising twist to lower the intensity of the apple in an apple pie juice, but it totally works. Faded Apple is luscious and mouth-watering. The cookie crumb crust is predominant on the inhale, giving way to the relatively faint notes of cinnamon and brown sugar. Midway through, the sweet apple note comes through - smallish and in the background, but important and welcome, and in perfect balance with all the other flavors. It shines through at just the right 'volume', so to speak, so as not to overpower anything else; and the results are stunning.
Also, I'd just like to take a moment here to talk to you about... clouds. The vapor production of Crew Juice is just about as good as it gets. I'm running this on single coil and when I exhale, the thick fog just goes on and on. Just huge, heavy clouds.
This was the first juice of Big Lou's that I ever tried, when it was just a homemade concoction. I received a bottle of it for winning a contest. Within a few days I found myself writing Big Lou and telling him that, to my surprise, this was the best juice I'd ever tasted. Every build I put it on was fantastic, though a dual parallel build at 0.3 ohms seemed to be the sweet spot. I've tasted a couple other fruity cereal flavors out there, and this is by far my favorite version. It's just the right mix of ingredients. The sweet dairy note is more like cream than milk to my palate, making this a substantial, rich vape.
If you haven't already guessed by the name, this juice is a mixture of blueberry and coconut. It took an extra couple of weeks to steep, in order for me to taste the coconut. I've noticed before that coconut flavors seem to fall a little short with me, and this one did too, at first. But once it matured, the coconut came through in a perfect combination with the sweet blueberries. It's one of those flavor pairings that blends, rather than splitting into two distinct flavors. Very satisfying and not overly sweet.
Well that wraps up the Crew Juice line. Great juice, all of it. Go get some!
BLECR | Big Lou's East Coast Reviews
Despite the large number of parts, it's a fine atomizer once you get the hang of it. I used a Kayfun Lite for about six months, so I thought 'Oh this will a breeze. "Learning Curve" Pffft.' My ignorance was overshadowed by my arrogance, but luckily it didn't effect my confidence. It only took me two days to really figure it all out.
I started writing a detailed blog about my experiences, but from what I understand they were pretty much like everyone else's, so I won't bother posting it. I never even finished it, really. Also, it was kind of embarrassing. I was trying to fiddle with this thing based on a memory of a video from months ago, and I was sooooo wrong. Huge facepalm. Then another, and another. Now I'm vaping like a champ and loving it.
I just wanted to chime in and say that the Tobeco is indeed everything it's cracked up to be, except for two small things - I got mine in black to go handsomely with my box mod, which it does, but the black coating or whatever it is seems to scratch off easily. Not a huge concern, but worth noting.
The other thing is that I heard the authentic had an adjustable 510 pin. Mine is definitely not adjustable. It protrudes a fair amount, but if I loosen it to stick out a little more, my build's resistance starts going up and up and up. At one point I was reading a 4 ohm coil and firing at 6 volts, burning my juice. Once I screwed the pin in tight, everything went back to normal.
And one more thing, if you get a Kayfun 4 of any kind, watch PBusardo's video below. I learned things from that video that there's no way I would ever have known about or discovered on my own. Essential.
I fixed the switch!
I mentioned before how the firing pin in the switch has like a 'step' in it. The pin rests on that step when the switch isn't being fired. It's shaped like this: ===--- i.e. thick at the top, then steps down to a thinner section which sits inside the button housing. So I had an idea to simply move the step, so the resting position of the pin is about 2 or 3 mm above where it usually sits, thus shortening the throw.
I did this by taking an old O-ring from a drip tip (a thick one), and sliding it on the skinny end and scooting it up to the step. Aaaaand, BINGO! The long throw that was bugging me and seriously reducing my love of this mod is no more. Now it's just about the shortest throw of any mod I have. It's a recessed button so I don't have to worry about it firing under its own weight, and the extra magnet gives it a lot more resistance so it takes a bit of effort still to push the button. But once you do push it, it only has to travel about 1.5 mm to make contact. Which is bang on (as Todd would say).
Now, once that was done, of course, it threw the whole length off and I had to put some wadded up tin foil into the threads of the pin so I could adjust the button back out to be flush. As it was it was way inside the mod, totally negating the whole point of what I was doing. Anyway it worked just perfectly.
It was a bit of a pain going through all that, but I'm so glad to have the Shotgun working like it should, AND like I prefer it to.
If you get a Shotgun clone and have some issues with it, and find this blog entry and want some clarification, leave a comment or PM me and I'd be happy to help.
Oh boy, this is going to be a rant. If you're easily offended, you should probably skip this one (though I promise that no ECF guidelines were broken).
Lately, there's been two things nagging at me. I'll get the really trivial one out of the way first, and in doing so can avoid starting one of those 'Am I the only one who hates... [blank]?' threads.
Tootle Puffer. Seriously? This is all you can come up with? That has got to be the lamest, most fake sounding slang term I've ever heard. It just sounds like something that someone came up with while drunk at a party and three people thought it was a riot, and now they use it all the time like it's a thing. It's not a thing. It's a childish, silly and forced phrase that makes me shudder in embarrassment. I don't know who made it up or WHY, but if anyone called me that on the street I'd feel like punching them in the face.
And anyway what is the deal with breaking up people into smaller and smaller groups? What is the point of that ridiculous 'us and them' thing? There is none. We're all just vapers. We don't tootle, or pootle, or spody oh doh, or 23 skidoo. We're vapers. We vape. Period.
The other thing that's been bothering me lately is the term 'sin tax'. One of the most influential and interesting books I read in high school was Steinbeck's Grapes of Wrath. In it, a preacher says 'There ain't no sin and there ain't no virtue. There's just stuff people do.' I always loved that line, and as far as I can tell, there's absolutely no evidence to the contrary. So when someone says we have to pay a 'sin tax' on vaping, my response is simply, 'There's no such thing as 'sin', so I'm NOT PAYING IT.'
I'm starting to think the whole movement to ban e-cigs is just to soften us for the eventual bargain we're going to be offered at the last second, which is: okay, you can vape, but we're going to tax you to death over it. That is just unacceptable. I will purchase every piece of vape gear I buy from Hong Kong or China if they do that. If that gets blocked I will make my own juice and build my own mods. Because I'm not going down another road like we did with cigarettes.
The reason, supposedly, for those huge taxes on smokes was to fund better public health. First of all, that's not what they spend it on. Secondly, e-cigs are the biggest boon to public health since Penicillin. They should be giving away free mods to everyone who brings in a pack of smokes, like the needle exchange programs, rather than vilifying vapers and charging us extra for our healthier choices. I mean, really, I'm sorry you borrowed a bunch of money against that tobacco company settlement, guys, but that's not my problem. If you had asked me before you did it, and I said yep, let's do that! (i.e. Voted For It) then I could kinda understand why I should suffer too. But no. Just because you mismanaged an entire State's finances, why should I have to give up a harmless and fun alternative to smoking? That makes no sense.
A while ago I talked about a kind of chart or database where anyone could go and find out if one piece of gear was compatible with another. I got a comment or two, and then it all fizzled out. But that's okay, because I've noticed more and more that product manufacturers are taking on that responsibility for themselves. I've seen more and more mods with specific instructions about what resistance range it can handle, and what kind of batteries to get.
I think it needs to go a little further, though. A couple of things we consumers need to know about ALL our gear:
Amp limits. Sometimes mods come out with the ability to run low builds at high wattages. But then they put in a 5 amp switch which breaks the third or fourth time it's pushed beyond its limits. So I want every mod to come with a notice that says 'this mod can fire this high, can be built this low, batteries need this C rating, and the switch can take this amount of amps.' That way everyone can figure out whether or not they want it, can use, or can't live without it.
Resistance range. Easy to do and self-explanatory. And, like I said, being done more and more.
Another thing I'd like to see in every mod and atty packaging is a brief rundown of Ohm's Law, with some explanation as to why it should be learned, what it means to your vape, and what happens if you ignore it.
And, while I'm at it, I'd like to throw in a request for never ever ever using those lame two-pin Nemesis style battery-adjustment screws again. They're awful. Floating or spring-loaded pins from now on, guys. I can't even believe I have to ask, at this point. Or that I'm still seeing brand new mods coming out with fixed pins. Um, did no one tell you we're all using different stuff at this point? That there are no 'standards' for 510 connector length, and that not every topper has an adjustable pin? Speaking of adjustable pins... Oh yeah. That too.
After five days of using my new Shotgun, I've discovered some interesting things. Some good, some bad.
First of all, and most annoying, is the switch. When I took the mod out of the box and put it together the first time, the switch was not great. Kinda crunchy. Made some clicks and dings every time I fired it, and the throw was just a hair too long. So I took it apart and tinkered. It took me several days to finally come to a happy medium, which is not really that happy, but at least it's functional.
The problem seems to be in the length of the firing pin. It's too short. Unscrewing firing pins to shorten the throw is almost never a good idea. Once that pin is loose, it can continue unscrewing and come apart from the assembly inside the switch, and possibly cause a catastrophic hard short. I say catastrophic because it's not like releasing the firing button will stop that short. You'd need to take apart the whole mod, which is not easy if the battery is in thermal runaway. So my mission was to get that firing pin elongated in its reach without compromising its integrity in the switch.
Ultimately, most of the crunchiness and cheapness of the switch was solved by adding another magnet. The ones the mod came with are thin and weak. So I took an extra magnet I had from another mod, twice as thick as the ones in the Shotgun, and added it to the magnet inside the mod body, the one closest to the battery. It was slightly smaller in diameter, so trial and error made me realize that the larger diameter, original magnet needed to be in the little divot that was made for it, or the magnets all slip around, making the janky switch ten times worse. Anyway the additional magnet increased the stability and smoothness of the switch tenfold. It's amazing now.
Except for the throw. Apparently, there's just no way to adjust that. Something about the pin being in two stages like having a step in the middle that rests against the housing and prevents the button from protruding. Even if you unscrew the pin from the switch to shorten the throw, that doesn't work. It just makes the formerly flush, recessed button stick further and further out as you loosen the pin. So there's pretty much nothing I can do about it. At least the switch is stable, safe and quiet. I have to curl my finger around the bottom of the mod and really work to get it to fire, which is kind of annoying, but as far as I can tell, that's the best it's going to get.
The other thing of interest is that the mod is definitely coated. The copper hasn't tarnished at all since I've been using it, which explains the strange, red coloration. I was going to use this opportunity (having my first copper mod) to explore the wonderful world of forced patinas, in order to circumvent the inevitable tarnish it would accumulate, but now I don't have to. I still want to because I love love love patina'd mods, but now I can relax and take my time collecting the ingredients and supplies to make a great patina.
Also of interest, though this won't be a shock to anyone who owns a copper mod, is that this thing hits so hard that the quality of my vape didn't diminish at all until my battery was down to 2.6 volts. This is not good for the battery, and turns out to be somewhat of a negative for me. I'll have to be more careful about when to swap batts on this thing.
I have to say, though, that a truly hard-hitting mod is pretty great. I had always wondered what, if any, noticeable differences there were in an all-copper mod, and now I know. The difference is huge. It just seems to be letting more juice flow for a much longer period than any other mod I have. Something about that uninterrupted power makes for an awesome vape, too.
I'm still recommending the Shotgun, despite its issues. I don't know if the switch problems were my clone, all the clones, or endemic to the authentic's design. I sent a note to Grimm Green asking about this, and I'll let you know what he says when I hear back from him.
I may yet discover a way to shorten the throw, but for now, it works. It's all worth it for the self-adjusting aspect of this mod. That part works like a charm, and is extremely innovative and smart. Also, it's so heavy it makes hefting my previously heaviest mod, the M16, feel as light as a feather. So I'm not only getting a great vape, but I'm getting a nice workout, too.
I received my copper Shotgun clone today. I've been on the lookout for a clone of this mod ever since seeing Grimm Green's gushfest over it. The original, by Emit Vapor, is not something I could easily afford, but I was so impressed with the design. This mod is made to be self-adjusting for battery rattle. Everything fits flush due to a spring-loaded ring of delrin around the firing pin. It's genius, really. No more taking everything apart and re-adjusting everything twice or three times to get everything to fit and fire the way it should. It does it all. You just screw in your atty, which pushes down a floating pin (which was quite tight on my clone). Throw in the battery, screw on the switch, and you're ready to go.
The clone seems to work exactly as the original. I can't compare them side by side, obviously, but I will say that I had read somewhere that the original and the clone suffered from a minor flaw in that the throw was quite long on the button. The reason for this is that when you screw the firing pin all the way down onto the switch assembly, it's just a tad too short. Your instinct is to unscrew the pin and give it some more reach, but because of the switch design, that won't work. Instead, you'll just see the button start coming out from the bottom of the mod. The switch is magnetic, which is probably why the button scoots out when you loosen the pin. At any rate, there is a fix for this. Interestingly, this was the first mod fix I learned, on my first mechanical mod, the Sentinel M16. Same issue, though not for the same reasons. However, same fix. Which is to take a piece of aluminum foil and scrunch it down into the firing pin and screw it back on. The pin still needs to screw down pretty far, so don't use too much or you'll see that button backing out again.
The mod is copper from top to bottom, and hits like a champ. Or as Grimm Green says in jest, 'Like a school bus, duct taped to a freight train.' This is the main reason I bought this clone. I have been using the Astro clone but, while it's a very well-designed mod and extremely compact and versatile, it hits more like a fresh bagel being thrown from two feet away. And since the Shotgun is copper, it not only hits hard but is quite weighty. I thought my Sigelei Mini and Kayfun was hefty, but that rig is so light in comparison that when I reached for it after using the Shotgun for a while, I just about tossed it across the room, expecting it to be heavier. It's even a few grams heavier (and about ten millimeters taller) than my chunky stainless and brass M16. The Shotgun also features a locking ring, but with a perfectly flush recessed button it probably won't get much use.
Overall I'd say this is a fine mod. I don't know how good of a clone it is, but it does the job and does it well, despite needing a little tinkering. But hey, if you buy clones, you're probably used to tinkering. I got this mod from EVCigarettes for 35 bucks (on sale, plus I had a discount code which basically covered the shipping).
The copper on this mod is strange. It's an odd color, like there's a lot more red in the copper than usual. It may be some kind of polish, I'm not sure. I'm planning on doing a major patina on this mod at some point, but if I have any issues with the finish before I get around to it, I'll post about it here.
I was downtown this afternoon, and saw a billboard proclaiming, amongst other things, that e-cigs are a TRICK from Big Tobacco to get TEENS hooked on Nicotine! The billboard went on to say that vapor is TOXIC, underneath pictures of cartoon monsters giving an eGo setup to a couple eleven year olds.
If you're a vaper like me. and you know what a gigantic mountain of BS and misinformation this spreads, then you might have had a similar reaction to mine. Which was that I really wished I'd had my trusty cigarette lighter with me, so I could set that ridiculous billboard on fire. I wanted to scream at it, punch it, stomp on it, then do all those things to the people who put it up. Telling people outright LIES seems to be the way things just work these days. Wasn't it Hitler that said if you repeat a lie often enough, people will believe it, and the bigger the lie, the easier it is to believe? Didn't he say something like that? Whatever. I'm not looking it up. But I do know this: Anti-Vape Jerks Love Hitler and hate children.
Repeat it often enough...
In my previous blog, I said that Spoon Licker V2 was the first of the ITC juices I tried, but it wasn't. I had simply forgotten about the entire bottle of Apple Buns I had ripped through during the previous week. And, I can't really say I forgot about it. I had just stopped thinking about it because I was distracted by Spoon Licker V2.
But after I wrote the previous review, I went back to my notes and it all came back.
Full disclosure, first: Just as Spoon Licker V2 was my first strawberry flavored vape, this e-juice was my very first predominantly cinnamon flavor. I've had several apple pie flavors, but traditionally the cinnamon in apple pie is considerably more subtle.
Apple Buns has a picture of an apple fritter with it. The description says it starts out as a cinnamon roll and over time tastes more like an apple fritter. I had let this juice steep a couple weeks, which apparently is enough to bring it to the apple fritter stage, because that's what I got. And wow, was it good! The cinnamon was sweet and strong but not overpowering at all, and the apple tasted like red ones, baked into pie filling. Scrumptious.
This vape was impossible to put down. I had just received my new Derringer, and couldn't decide what was better, the juice or the RDA. Turns out they were both top-notch. I'm really impressed with ITC so far. It's rare that a single juice company makes flavors good enough to make me want to try everything they make.
Also, in case you've not been over to the ITC site already, their juice is made fresh with your order. That means you need to steep your e-liquid for at least two weeks, some flavors suggest a month, for it to be the best it's going to be. This is a pain in the neck, but totally worth the wait. The reason I'm not complaining about the steep times is that this juice is priced at around the same level as Mount Baker Vapor, which is the most inexpensive American Made juice you can get. Vape Wild is priced similarly.
I've still got a bunch of Vape Wild juice steeping, but from the couple of things I've tried from them, and the three juices I've tried from ITC, ITC is looking more and more like my new favorite vendor. Unique and quality flavors at a super low price. It doesn't get much better than that.
I can't say enough good things about my little Derringer clone. I've been vaping my face off with it night and day, and can honestly say it just suits me perfectly. I've got it built with a single micro coil of 24g Kanthal A-1, wrapped 7 times around a 2 mm screwdriver and clocking in at around .6 ohms. The flavor is insane. Airflow is just right, wide open in single coil mode. The vape is very warm and wet, and spitback is minimal. When I do get it, which is rare, it's only a little and hardly noticeable. Not sure why so many are complaining about spitback with this atty.
The only problem I've had is an issue with the top o-ring. There are two o-rings on the build deck: the top one is for the inner barrel, and the bottom one is for the outer barrel. While snapping the inner barrel onto the top o-ring I pinched it, and over time it started tearing apart. So I grabbed a replacement from the little bag that came with the RDA and slapped it in there. That one fit worse than the first one, and it was torn and shredding in no time.
So I pulled out my collection of o-rings and tossed them on the table like some high-tech oracle. I immediately found a ring with the same thickness but smaller diameter. I put it into the groove on the Derringer and grabbed the inner barrel. I licked my finger and ran it around the o-ring, then slid the barrel down. There was a satisfying, dull snap as the barrel seemed to lock into place. Exactly where it should be. Clearly, the manufacturer of this clone forgot that the upper o-ring needs to be a few mm's smaller than the lower one. The problem is, that was the only one of its size in my collection, so it's not a common o-ring. Hopefully this one will last a good long time.
So, I had a bad experience with Mount Baker Vapor. I had ordered my usual ADV (peanut butter and green apple with a bit of pear) with a little more pear than usual. The pear tones down the tartness of the green apple and makes it taste more like a red apple; so this time I thought I'd add a little more pear in hopes of increasing that effect. But, halfway through my 236 ml bottle, the vape turned bad. It developed this weird metallic taste that tasted like something left to rot in a rusty old tin can. I wrote to MBV and asked them if their juice ever 'went bad', and described the unvape-able metallic taste. Their reply was that sometimes, mixing pear with any flavor other than soft fruits can produce that weird metallic taste. So, they knew about this issue but never bothered to mention it. They didn't even offer a solution, like 'buy some more peanut butter and it will fix the taste'. Not that it would have worked, maybe they know it wouldn't, it just seemed kinda final to get a note essentially saying 'yep, it does that. too bad'. Especially from these guys. Their customer service is usually above and beyond excellent. Not that I was looking for it, but from previous experience with MBV, I half expected them to offer me a whole new bottle with my previously okay pear ratio. But not so much as a suggestion how to fix it or what to try next time? That's not good.
So I wrestled, internally, about what to do. Should I write them back and ask for a little more than a 'too bad' note, or just drop it and perhaps look for another ADV? I decided to go with the latter. MBV flavors have been fine for a while, but after winning a ton of premium juice on ECF and Youtube, I've come to the conclusion that I can do better. The problem is, MBV is the cheapest e-juice you can get without going DIY.
Or, so I thought. There are actually two other major vendors that have prices comparable to MBV; Vape Wild and ITCVapes.
I assumed both vendor's juice would taste exactly the same as MBV, but it seems I was completely wrong about that. I'll get to Vape Wild in another review, but let's talk about ITC. ITC juice tastes like quality stuff. Just like the premium juices that cost 20 bucks for a 30 ml bottle. Yep, that good. At least the one I've tried so far. I took it out of the plastic bottle it shipped in and poured it into a glass dripper, then took the label off and stuck on the glass. It looked very classy and much more befitting the quality of the juice. Maybe this will be the crazy anomaly in terms of outstanding flavor, but somehow I don't think so. Spoon Licker V2 was the first one to smell like it was done steeping, so I started dripping it a few days ago. I got it in Max VG at 6mg strength. I'm now halfway through the 30 ml bottle and I have to say, I'm impressed. It's described on the site as predominantly cake batter with strawberries, and that is pretty dead on. It tastes to me like a fresh strawberry tart or shortcake. There's a lovely bit of crumble cake crust in the finish, but mostly it's a very rich blast of strawberries and creamy batter. It's really heavenly. I've tried it in a couple different builds in my Derringer, and it tastes wonderful no matter what I vape it on. Single coil, dual coil, whatever; it's fantastic.
More ITC Reviews to come, as steeping progresses. I've got two more flavors from this last purchase, and I think I'll get some more just to give it a good long steep. The two weeks was okay for the Spoon Licker V2, but just since I opened it the flavor has improved daily. Some flavors on their site have reviews saying they're best when steeped for a month or more, which can be a downside for some, but I'm fine with it.
My wee little Derringer clone arrived today. It was part of a nice haul of vapemail, but I saved it for last. I wanted to go through all the other stuff first, then settle down and do a build on it, then sit back and have a vape.
After installing my new M-tank on the Kayfun (translucent black, to match my new Sigelei Mini), and opening up the new juice I got from ITC to let it breathe, I grabbed my 24 gauge Kanthal and did 8 wraps on a 2mm screwdriver. I bought the Derringer clone to replace my Jam RDA clone, which was a dirt cheap but ultimately disappointing and annoying atty. The problem with the Jam, if I may take moment to go off topic, is that the airflow control ring which sits on the outside of the barrel, is too large in diameter. When you screw down the topcap to hold it in place, there is a little gap all the way around between the ring and the barrel. While you're vaping, juice collects under the top cap and condenses, spilling into that gap and making a ridiculous mess. Maybe it's just the clone, maybe it's just the clone I received, I don't know. But it's awful, and I've been swearing at it so long I decided it was time to go.
After wrapping my coil and pulling apart the Derringer, I slid the coil into place and started tightening the post screws. By the way, the Derringer clone I received from Vaping Walrus was immaculately clean. Spotless. Not a drop of machine oil on it. This was the first and only time I've taken a dripper out of the box it came in and felt comfortable building on it without giving it a thorough washing. Honestly, I usually do that with any vape gear, but this thing was just sparkling, so I decided to give in to my excitement and slap a coil in there without the usual ritual. No regrets, either. Anyway, as I tightened the screws on my build, I realized that there was a problem. My coil was so wide there wouldn't be enough room to tuck in the wick on the side closest to the edge of the chamber. Man, that is one teensy tiny little build deck.
So I pulled out the coil and took one wrap off, making it 7 wraps. It was still terribly cramped so I began bending the wires to get the coil more towards the center of the deck. It wasn't hard, and while the wicking wasn't quite as easy as in other RDA's, it went fine.
Unlike my previously most-used dripper, the Infinite CLT, the Derringer has a single-coil option for the airflow. As much as I enjoy blowing gigantic, warm and dense clouds with CLT, I am not rich and can't afford to have more than one atty eating up juice that fast. And, great flavor doesn't need two coils.
After finishing up the build, I dripped some Cosmic Fog Church on the wick (see my previous blogs for a review of this juice). I put the newly-built and freshly dripped Derringer on my Astro clone and took a toot. Holy moly, that was amazing. Better have another, that must have been a fluke. Nope, another and then another great hit. Super warm, extremely flavorful, huge dense clouds. Single coil, .5 ohms, and pretty much the same quality of vape as my CLT with two coils built to .3 ohms. That reduced chamber, while being a bit of a pain to build on, makes for one heck of a nice vape.
After being sufficiently wowed by my new toy, I had some lunch, watched a couple of old episodes of 3rd Rock From the Sun on Netflix, and took a nap. While sleeping, I had some weird dream in which I was having an odd confrontation with some obnoxious guy at a vape shop. The funny thing I noticed when I woke up was, throughout the dream, I was vaping on the Derringer. I'd only had the thing for a few hours, but was already dreaming about it. And I want you to understand, I have never dreamt about vaping or vape-related things before. This was a first. Sure, I've had the occasional daydream about Jenee Fowler, but that's different.
Normally, I use a piece of new gear for several days or more before writing a review for this blog. I've jumped the gun before and it's kind of a drag having to go back and make corrections or write a whole new blog recanting my previous enthusiasm for a product. But this thing was so terrific right out of the box that I had to share. I still might find something terribly wrong with it down the line, or discover some cool trick or build that makes it even better (if that's possible), but at this moment I couldn't be happier. If anything comes up, I'll let you know.
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