Are you mixing right now? Are you somewhat of a beginner? Novice? Do me a favor. Stop what you’re doing. But down the concentrates, and move the scale over. I need your full attention for this. Did you put your mixing stuff away? OK cool. Now listen to me. Listen hard and listen good. You really need to hear this. Are you ready? OK…here it comes. I’m about to give you the best advice for mixing you’ll ever receive. Ready for it? OK.
You’re overthinking it.
That’s it. All the issues you’ll run into in mixing, all of the junk recipes, all the bad blueprints, they all stem from one big preventable problem. You’re just overthinking it. You’re thinking too much. You’re going too deep. You need to take a step back, take a deep breath, clear your mind, and think much more simply. I promise you, once you stop overthinking, your recipe output will increase dramatically. You’ll be able to put together recipes easier. You’ll be able to put recipes together quicker. And you’ll be able to use all the ingredients you’ve purchased. You see, a lot of mixing is chemistry – this is true. But the other half is just your creative input. Relying on your sense of smell and taste to develop something that fits the creative narrative you seek out. You don’t need to be a chemist to develop recipes. As a matter of fact, I only know a couple of professional flavorists and chemists that work in the industry putting recipes together. That means the chances that your favorite eliquid was made by some dude who has a good nose, has been mixing a while, and maybe never went to college, is quite high. Your favorite eliquid was developed by a couple dudes or dudettes sitting around, drinking beers or munching on snacks, spit-balling ideas they want to vape. And once they found that idea, they went to their mixing stations, whipped up a few batches, and voila. As much as they would want you to believe it, they weren’t deep in a lab, surrounded by the greatest minds of science, developing this recipes for years on end, spending millions on research. No, they said “we have strawberry flavoring, and milk flavoring, let’s make a strawberry milk.” It’s funny to think about sure, but it’s almost always the case. And to be honest, it’s a great outlook on recipe development. It’s efficient. Gets results. And is satisfying. So throw out the idea that you need to spend hundreds of hours per month testing flavorings. Stop worrying about flavor bending that chocolate to taste like watermelon. Stop adding drops from dozens of different flavorings in your recipes. Keep it simple, keep it tight, and keep it fun, and you’ll see how your mixing changes from then on out.
Then What’s With All That Advanced Stuff?
So DIYorDIE is constantly releasing articles and videos talking about tons of DIY mixing techniques to help with recipe development. Anywhere from notes on flavorings to layering to flavor bending – there is a ton of topics I cover to help you get the most out of your recipes, beginner or professional. So how can you make recipes in a simple manner, while also using the techniques that were explained in other articles? Well, they are supposed to be used in conjunction with the fundamentals of mixing. So let me explain.
Mixing is a process that we use to produce e-liquid in any manner we see fit. Any flavor that you want to vape, you use the process of mixing to get you there. That’s easy, duh right? So in the most simple terms, if we have a flavor we want as an eliquid, we use the ingredients we have at our disposal to get us there. That means taking those “tools” to build us the exact flavor we want. The goal of every mixer is produce that flavor at all costs. That’s what we call the “Golden Rule.” Many times, we can reach that goal by just mixing the necessary flavorings involved in that flavor profile. But, as you’re going down that path of your mixing journey, you’ll run into situations that call for more technical answers. For instance, you might have a flavor profile in mind that we don’t have the ingredients, or flavorings, for. It’s at that moment where using other techniques might serve you better. But these techniques should only be used as the last resort. This is because you always want to try and hit your golden goal in the most straightforward or simple way possible. Why? Because it’s more efficient, more cost effective, and much more delicious and vivid in flavor. Say you want to make a Strawberry recipe. You can just use the Strawberry flavorings we have available to get there, rather than trying to flavor bend an apple flavor and adding 3 different layers of raspberry to reach the same result. You wouldn’t want to go the second route because you’re unnecessarily spending more money and using more supplies, and you’re “diluting” your recipe more and more as you add more ingredients into it. Therefore, it’s ALWAYS best to try and reach your goal in the most simple manner, before introducing any other complexities to your recipe. And this is something that many mixers either ignore, lose sight of, or just completely rebel against – but SIMPLE RECIPES DO NOT EQUAL SIMPLE FLAVOR, AND COMPLEX RECIPES DO NOT EQUAL COMPLEX FLAVOR. These things are completely separate from each other. Stop thinking that. More flavorings does not equal more flavor, and this is a problem so many new mixers keep running into. Every time you add a flavoring to your recipe, you introduce another layer of balance issues, overflavoring issues, and so on. You can get an amazingly complex and vivid flavor from a recipe with two flavorings. And you can get a simple flavor from a recipe with 20 flavorings. So always start out simple, straightforward, and slowly work your way up to your goal.
Staying the Course
Now that we understand why it’s best to stay on the road of simplicity, let’s take a look at how. This is, believe it or not, the easiest part of mixing and the whole reason for this article. Simplicity is often difficult to abide by for many people. Myself included. Learning how to not overthink things was a skill that I had to learn, and it took some time to do so. It’s all about sticking to the script of the flavor. So your main goal in mixing is to reach that flavor profile in your head, that flavor you want to vape. For example, let’s say its Strawberry Cheesecake. Immediately some of you are looking at that profile and going “TFA Strawberry, TFA Strawberry Ripe, TFA Cheesecake Graham, FA Meringue, TFA Marshmallow, CAP Sugar Cookie, Ethyl Maltol….” Stop. You’re already doing it. You’re already over thinking it. This is a very simple profile that doesn’t need much thinking. CAP Sweet Strawberry and CAP NY Cheesecake both at 6%, with some CAP Super Sweet and you have a delicious strawberry cheesecake eliquid that will please 90% of the people who want to vape that profile. Maybe it doesn’t quite have the strawberry you’re into, try TFA Strawberry. Or maybe the cheesecake is a bit light, you can add a touch of Vanilla Custard. Tweaking from that point on will allow you to develop not only a more vivid recipe, but one that’s perfectly catered to your tastes. This goes for every flavor profile you try and tackle. Stay the course of simplicity and you’ll end up with smaller recipes, that are more cost effective, pack more flavor, and will get more people to want to mix them. If you want to know a little secret, 99% of the eliquid on the market only consist of 2 -3 flavorings with maybe some extra sweetener.
Complexity for Complexities Sake
The last thing I want to talk about is making your recipes complex and intricate, just to make them complex and intricate. This is the worst thing you can do as a mixer. Intentionally drowning out the flavor of your recipes, intentionally spending more money, and intentionally staving off potential audience members, is a foolish escapade. Like I said previously, complex recipes do not always equal complex flavor. Your goal is to reach that flavor that’s in your head, with the shortest path possible. If that path takes a bit longer than you’d like and introduces multiple techniques to get you there, than by all means go down that road. Just know that road often has shortcuts that you’re not seeing, and the longer you go down that road the more difficult it gets to the end. Don’t worry about how your recipes “look”. It’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard. It’s not about the recipe, it’s never about the recipe. It’s only about the flavor, and that’ what people will be judging your recipes on. Not the amount of flavorings involved, or the 1.632 drops of FLV Persimmon that bends the 2.3234 drops of INW Melon to add a Red Pepper flavor to your Foundation layer…etc.
Now I’m just trying to help get you thinking a bit more differently. I don’t want to confuse any of you more novice mixers, and any techniques and tips you’ve learned along the way are extremely vital to your recipe development. They’re all just tools in the toolbox waiting for the right job. But that’s what I want you to understand. WHEN that right job comes along, WHAT tool to use. A lot of the time, you might not need any of those other tools, and you can just simply use the flavorings in your hand and a bit of creativity. But there will be times where you’re stuck, and you might need to know a bit more about layering to get the flavor you want, or some other technique might come in handy, and then you can whip out some of those Recipe Developmental skills you’ve learned. Don’t just use them because they’ve been sitting in that box for a while, or don’t just use them to make things look a bit flashier. Use them only when needed, and everything else should remain simple. Keep it simple, and keep mixing, and you’ll be mixing up some winners in no time.
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