ID10-T is a mixer that has grown to critical acclaim among many in the DIY community for his amazing complexity, stark contrast to traditional profiles, and wildly intriguing profiles. This spotlight will focus on the mixer, Dave Bellows, and chronicle his history of mixing from when he first started till today. Throughout the piece you'll get a good understanding of the man behind the scale, and learn a little bit more about one of today's best artists.
(DIYorDIE) When did you first start vaping and why?
(ID10-T) I started smoking at 15 and was up to at least a pack of Marlboro Reds a day at 16 (switched to Lights in college). Starting at 21, I tried to quit several times with patches and gums and cold turkey but always fell back into smoking. When my first son was born in 2010, I finally managed stop cigarettes long-term, but only by stitching to Snus, another nasty tobacco habit.
September 2014, about 21 years after I started smoking, I was spending a romantic weekend in a hotel with a woman who’d brought along a small pen-type e-cig someone had bought her, to use in the room. I’d never seen one up close before. She was still very new to it and still smoking cigarettes as well, but she shared it with me and I was grateful for the nicotine that I didn’t have to get dressed and leave the room for. I’d left the Snus at home because nobody wants to make out with that. In fact, I’d never told her about those and had told her that I’d quit smoking. Yet I was taking cigarettes from her when we left the room for dinner and such and we shared one when we said goodbye. She made me promise when she gave me cigarettes that it was only for that weekend, that I wasn’t going to start smoking again because of her. But of course I bought a pack on the way home. I hated that pack and especially hated how horribly urgent that need to buy another felt as soon as it was gone. But I didn’t buy another. I wanted to keep that promise, so I went out to a shop and bought one of those Vision Spinners, a Nautilus Mini, and some house juice, and never smoked again.
What got you into mixing?
Dragonfly E-Cig out of Dallas and that same woman again. She suggested I try some of their juices because she enjoyed them. They have a few storefronts and a website, and on that website something caught my eye: Design your own juice. Choose two or three flavors and they’ll mix them up for you. The mixes I “made” that way were way overpriced and frankly terrible, but it got me thinking, if they can do that, why can’t I?
When did you really start taking mixing seriously?
In the sense that I read everything there was to read on /r/DIY_ejuice before I shook up a single bottle, I’ve always taken mixing seriously. In another sense, I’ve never taken it too seriously (search ATF for Strap-On, for example).
If you’ll pardon the cliches: If something’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well. But also, Don’t take life too seriously, it’s not like you’re going to get out alive.
What were your biggest obstacles when you first started?
Using tanks pre-built coils exclusively and mixing by volume. My mixing would have evolved much faster if I’d bought an RDA and a scale sooner.
What was your first good recipe?
When did you realize you were getting good at mixing?
When someone told me, “This is my ADV. This is better than any juice I’ve ever bought.”
What flavor profiles did you tend to focus on?
Tropical fruits, especially mango, pineapple, and coconut.
What recipe have you made that was your first ADV?
It’s actually an unfinished recipe, shared to provide an example of how easy it is to make pretty decent juice and to encourage others’ creativity by telling them to add something to it and make it their own (because it is so accepting of other flavors). But it was also the first thing I made that I could really vape all day (except in the summer in Texas) and especially all night.
Do you have any tips for those looking to get into more advanced mixing?
Single-flavor test all of your flavors. I cannot possibly stress that enough. Better yet, single-flavor test them at different %’s and at different steep times and really get to know them intimately.
What are your top five must-have flavorings?
FLV Mango, CAP Sugar Cookie, CAP Vanilla Custard, TFA VBIC... I can’t do five. The fifth spot is like an eight-way tie.
What are your top three worst flavorings?
FA Pineapple, FW Cookie Butter, and of course, TFA Honey.
If you could choose one flavor house, which would it be and why?
If I could only choose one? That’s a tough one, but I’d go with TFA, for the versatility, selection, and accessibility.
What is your “white whale?”
Two profiles, both thanks to Trader Joe’s: Cookie Butter and their Mango! Mango! Gummies.
What are you currently working on mixing?
I’ve stretched myself so thin right now. I’m supposed to be working on three different two-person collaborations with other mixers and two different group projects, but I’m lagging behind on all five, and feeling bad about not pulling my weight. I’m making things for /r/MixersClub every month. I’m trying to clone Titan by Blue Dot. I’m probably going to work on their Milk of the Poppy next. Someone has offered to pay me to copy the Vapor Hut’s Mossy Oak and I’m trying to decide if I even have what it takes to take that on. There are the aforementioned white whales. I really want to get started on a pineapple-basil ice cream profile, if such a thing is even possible. I want to do something simple with my Kentucky Bourbon/Toasted Marshmallow pairing that’s even better than Coop’s Kiwi Bourbon, if such a thing is even possible. I feel like owe the whole community more FLV Mango and TFA Honeysuckle recipes now, after preaching the gospel of that mango and all the attention on Longing and people who bought honeysuckle to try it. I’ve got to make some more cookie recipes to make ConcreteRiver sorry he said FA Cookie is a better cookie than CAP Sugar Cookie. I’ve got a list of others’ recipes I’ve promised to critique and I will keep those promises, eventually. I’m ridiculously far behind on my single-flavor testing. Even if I had time to mix all this stuff (I don’t), I only have one face hole to inhale it into. Help, I’m drowning.
What is your favorite recipe?
Of my own or someone else’s? Longing might be my “best” recipe, but personally, I love the taste of my Mango Colada more than any of my others.
|TFA||Cheesecake Graham Crust||1.5%|
If you’ve ever had one of those strawberry shortcake bars as an adult, they’re really not all that good. Certainly not as tasty as you remember them from when you were a fat kid chasing after the ice cream truck. But it’s my favorite not for the flavor itself, but because it was inspirational and in a way, transformational to me. I tried it early in my mixing journey and its accuracy to the profile opened my eyes to what was possible in terms of representational mixing and set the bar for it. If I’m not just plain trying to make great-tasting juice, and I’m not delving into more abstract mixing or one of many other creative challenges this craft offers, if I’m really every bit as intent on making e-juice taste just like something I’ve eaten or imbibed as a painter working on a photo-realistic painting, then I must ask myself, “Does this taste as much like my source material as Manson’s Strawberry Shortcake Bar tastes like a strawberry shortcake bar?”
What's Your Best Recipe?
To quote AB Dada: BEST.
But to attempt to answer the question
|TFA||Vanilla Bean Ice Cream||1.5%|
Not just because of the cash and prizes. I made Longing about more than making a surprising and delicious recipe in a short time frame. I tried to take my mixing to another level entirely, to really showcase it as an art form. I tried to take my own emotion, my broken yearning tortured heart and unquenched desire, put it into a bottle, and cause others to experience it. Whatever degree I succeeded in that, even if only a tiny degree, makes this my best recipe.
And there you have it. The work of Dave Bellows, aka ID10-T, laid out before you with his start into mixing all the way to his present day best mix. Watching Bellows grow from being a small figure head in the community moderating the polarizing /r/DIY_Ejuice, into one of the most exciting and critically acclaimed mixers of today has been a treat. Seeing the progression and watching the style of the artist come together before our eyes, in a medium that is still brand new to the world, was nothing short of entertaining. Also, watching his performance in the DIYorDIE World Championship against other top mixers was stunning. I can't wait to see the work of Bellows in two or three years, to see how far he pushes the envelope. And I wish him nothing but the most success.
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