The Premium vs DIY e-liquid conundrum

Long post about something that bothered me recently. I sometimes see posts about people asking for juice, or asking for recommendations on what juice to buy. The post will usually go something like “Looking for a great banana cream flavor, any recommendations?”. And then you would see a ton of comments from users exclaiming their love for their favorite juices and brands. And then you’ll see a comment in the depths of the post saying, “so-and-so sells his DIY flavors and it’s excellent…”. In which the OP will then comment “not really looking to buy a DIY, looking for premium brands”.

I will then listen to various podcasts, and videos related to vaping, and often hear things such as “It’s not some dinky DIY bathtub juice…” or “I would never buy a juice some guy makes in his basement”. It goes on. There’s countless posts and writeups about how DIY is of a lesser quality than these “premium” vendors. And that when you get into DIY it’s because you’re cheap and can’t afford to pay for these vendors. It seems the general consensus from the mainstream vaping community is that DIY E-liquid is a means to someone who is broke, doesn’t care about the quality of their product, and just wants a carrier for their nicotine fix. It seems the general consensus is that DIY e-liquid is inferior to these “premium” vendors and that you can never get the same quality from an at home mixer, than you can from someone paid to mix.

This is simply not the case.

In my recent video I talked about the ridiculous haul I brought back from the NJ Vape Expo. I came home with around 40 bottles of eliquid all from different vendors and juice makers. I was sure, that at least half of them I would like and were at least vapeable. But no…out of all the juice that were at my disposal, only about 6-7 were actually vapeable let alone good. What’s good? Well to me, it’s an ejuice that I can enjoy every time I go to vape it. There’s no “adjustment period”, there is no steep required, it’s clean and not harsh, and it’s overall just tasty. Enjoyable. We can get more into what’s a good ejuice, as it’s not really a simple answer, but the outcome should always be the same. A tasty and enjoyable flavor every time.

So how is it that 85% of my juices do not fall into this category? How is it possible these companies spend thousands of dollars and then put out a product that isn’t even vapeable? How is it possible a company with a fucking ISO 8 lab can put out something harsh and peppery? Is it me? Am I just too picky, or too pretentious to understand the profiles these companies are trying to get me to taste? Well I think I have an answer.

This isn’t worth $20

Look at the critically acclaimed juice vendors that are out. Bombies, Vapor Chef, Adirondack, Labrat, Murdock. What do they all have in common? They were all juicemakers and mixers before they started a company. These were people who took the time and effort in finding new and exciting flavors that blend flawlessly with eachother. These were people who LOVED the act of mixing and the flavor of eliquids, and wanted to share this with their peers. They loved the mixing game more than they loved the actual industry. And they became successful because of this.

Well recently, it’s been the other way around. People see a “fun new market” and think of a “cool industry” to be apart of. So they think, how can we get into this market and make some money, and almost always they land on juice vending. It’s easy, cheap, and EXTREMELY profitable. So what do they do, they spend thousands of dollars setting up a cool website, social medias, the coolest packaging, the most gimmicky marketing. They spend all this time and money trying to become the “coolest” vaping vendor. The absolute last fucking thing they think of is the actual taste and quality of their juices. I’m positive most of them go “hey lets mix this banana with this chocolate, for a banana chocolate” and then write an insanely inaccurate description of the product. “A deliciously creamy ripe banana infused with almond and pistachio on top of a warm home baked chocolate brownie”. Nah you fucking idiot, you just mixed up LA Banana Cream and some shitty chocolate flavor. And the problem is, everyone just eats it all up. Vapers are the most easily swayed and gullible fuckers on the planet, and these companies are taking full advantage of this.

The fact that these companies have pretty labels, and a popular Instagram, does not mean their product is in ANY WAY premium. It really pisses me off how this community, the DIY mixing community, is seen as a lesser and inferior sect of juicemaking. No, we don’t have access to labs and clean rooms but there are tons of members here that are putting out STUNNING recipes, recipes that rival the likes of The Vapor Chef and The Vaping Rabbit. We make sure our flavors are mixed in as clean as an environment we have, and take necessary precautions to make a safe product and this is for our own consumption. There are members here getting into the deep chemistry of juicemaking posting their findings on how to further tweak base flavorings, or how to produce the cleanest nicotine. There are tons of members here who know the entire TFA flavor index like the back of their hand, and can mix up any concoction you throw at them. The people of this community are apart of this community because they love the act of juicemaking. We love finding what flavor profiles work together, or finding new and exciting ways to produce old classic flavors. We love creating new and invigorating eliquids for eachother and actually care about the quality of what we produce. There is no dollar attached to this obsession I have, I really love making a great eliquid, and passing the recipe on to others to have them enjoy it as well. If this was about profit, most of us would just keep quiet and start a fucking juice line. But we don’t we share our findings with each other to benefit the scene we have created.

The boutique flavor game started as a DIY movement from vapers sick and tired of the terrible products that were available. The OG’s of the game found ways to create elqiuids themselves and shared the recipes on how to make them with each other. Once they realized how much fun and easy it was they figured they could sell them to help out the ex-smokers just getting into vaping who didn’t really know how to mix themselves yet, or didn’t have the time. People took note of the profitability and here we are today, again with a market flooded with terrible ejuice.

Now I’m not blaming vapers, or juicemakers, or even the vendors, on the state of things. It’s just what happens when something so profitable is so easy to produce. It’s the nature of capitalism. I’m also not saying that there are no good ejuices out there, I’ll be the first to admit I look up to some big name vendors and the products they put out. Some vendors really do care about their products and put out amazing fucking juices with phenomenal flavors and magnificent quality. And I’m not saying every recipe or flavor note that comes out of this community is great either. There are tons of terrible recipes I wouldn’t even want my worst enemies to vape. What I’m trying to say is that I don’t like when I see a DIYer’s juice or recipe get minimized as someone who’s product is inferior. I don’t like when someone thinks that a “premium” ejuice is only something with a $1/ml price point. I especially don’t like when I see this community get labeled as “broke” or “cheap”. This community has given me a reason to keep vaping. This community produces some of the best content out there, and we need to understand this in order to continue to grow.Once you start mixing your own great recipes, you are a juicemaker, and you are just as much a “premium” as any Five Pawns bottle out there.

This is all just my opinion on matter. I know some of you may disagree and to those people I say mix up some of our members’ top recipes. I guarantee that you will be surprised of the result, and find that DIY eliquid mixing is a much more sustainable and enjoyable way to vape. Stop falling into the hype because all it is, is clever marketing and pretty disguises that cover up the lack of care that is taken when creating juices. Keep mixing, stay classy.

TL;DR: Just because you mix your own juice, doesn’t mean it’s inferior to vendor “premiums”