Modest Monday – Layering Flavors (Strawberry and Cream)
Our lesson day it's going to be a little different from the last two weeks. Today, we will focus on layering flavors.
To break it down as simply as possible, there are three sections of an recipe:
- The base - The primary flavor profile. They set the tone for the juice and give the other flavors something to cling on to. These flavors are experienced throughout the entire vape, but most prominent between the inhale and exhale.
- The background - The flavors you may only catch a hint of, if at all, that are boosting and enhancing the other flavors. They add complexity and depth to your masterpiece. Primarily tasted on the exhale.
- The accent - Your "top notes", the flavors that accent the juice and you just can't miss. They tend to be sharp, potent, and fun. These are the kind of flavors that you taste on the immediate inhale.
Now, a flavor can fall between two different aspects either based on how much or how little you use and, mostly importantly, how you use it.
In respect to how a flavor is used, this depends almost entirely on the other flavors you are using in your mix. For example, my favorite flavoring of all time – TFA Vanilla Bean Ice Cream. By itself or in a rather bland mix, the immediate dominating flavor is a very forefront buttercream flavor. However, mix a bold citrus into this same mix, and it immediately becomes the top note. Thus, pushing the rich buttercream flavor back into the recipe a bit. Add yet another strong fruit flavor, like TFA Strawberry or FW Blueberry, that assumes the place as a base flavor and it will push the TFA Vanilla Bean Ice Cream even further back into the background. Leaving just a faint hint of the buttercream and vanilla on the exhale.
In order to create great juice, you have to balance all three. Miss an aspect, and it will stick out like a sore thumb. Your e-liquid will fall flat lacking depth. On the opposite end of the spectrum, too much focus on a certain layer can leave the flavors competing and turn the rest of your e-liquid into a muddled mess.
Now, the recipe. I highly encourage you to make this several times in your 10ml bottles with 1-2 ingredients missing as a side by side test. Try to figure out how each flavor is contributing to the juice as a whole and how it's reacting with the other flavors:
The Base: FA Fresh Cream, Cap Vanilla Custard, and TFA Strawberry Ripe
FA Fresh Cream is fairly neutral with a slight tang. Reminiscent of Creme Fraiche. Medium mouth density. No vanilla. No egg. No butter. Just a pleasant dairy to lighten up the fruits. CAP Vanilla Custard v.1 has a heavy mouth feel, strong vanilla, heavy butter, medium egg. Strawberry ripe. Light and airy. A whisp of strawberry flavor. This flavor easily falls between background and base. We'll talk about that more in a second.
Background - TFA strawberry ripe and TFA Dragonfruit
Even though strawberry ripe provides a good base to go along with the creams, it's barely noticeable. However, it will be doing a ton of work with TFA strawberry. It's boosting those back end notes you want. Adding complexity and sweetening with EM. TFA dragonfruit is doing the exact same thing. It's pushing the strawberry flavor forward. Accenting the sweetness and adding complexity to the overall flavor profile, though you can hardly taste it, especially after a 3 day steep, but if you leave it out, it will be obvious what it's doing to the juice.
Accent - FA Fuji and TFA Strawberry
The fun flavors! These are the two flavors you will immediately be hit with on the inhale. Fuji is very forward. It adds a nice freshness to the juice. It can also make for a very nice background flavor of you use it below 0.25% and just want to impart a nice dry crispness to the strawberry. I really can't ever see Fuji being a base flavor though. It's just not in its profile. TFA strawberry will be the forward strawberry flavor we want. It's jammy and juicy. It could be a base, but using it in combination with TFA strawberry ripe and TFA dragonfruit pushes it too far forward to occupy that role. Take those two flavors out and then it will be a base. FA Fuji will then be the lead accent. You won't really have strawberry and cream anymore, and your juice will lack complexity, but I insist you try it. This will show you how all the flavors are interacting.
Overall, this is a very simplified way of looking at things. There is a lot more that could be said about how flavors are layered and how they interact.