Many beginners in DIY want to know how long they should keep a flavorings before either replacing it or just tossing it away. Unfortunately, there isn’t a concrete expiration date on flavorings. Some do have them, but most don’t. Especially if you’re buying from a reseller like BullCity or ECX. The best we will get (and this is not always) is a date that marks either when it was produced, or when the flavoring was rebottled. So if you don’t have any dates on your flavorings, the best way to go is to just mark down the date when you purchased it. This way you know how long you’ve personally had it in stock.
The first thing to note is that flavorings, concentrated aromas, do not “spoil” or “go bad”. For instance, if you have a Milk flavoring sitting on your shelf for over 3 years, it won’t taste like spoiled milk. These aren’t perishable food items! These are synthesized concentrated chemical aromas. So there’s no need to worry about spoiling. What you do need to worry about, is the flavoring becoming flavorless. So instead of spoiling, these flavorings lose potency. A flavorings that’s extremely bright, vivid, and contains a lot of flavor, might be reduced to something that’s dull, soft, and overall weak. This is what we mean when we talk about a flavorings shelf life. How long does a flavoring have on the shelf, maintaining 100% of its concentrated aroma.
For the most part, I’d say if you keep your flavorings in a cool, dry, dark place most of their time, you can easily get two years out of them before they start losing flavor. Unfortunately, this isn’t the same for all flavorings. Some flavorings can lose flavoring a lot more quickly than others. More volatile flavorings like Strawberry or Lemon, can sometimes lose their potency much more quickly, like in a matter of months. Other flavorings, might hold onto their potency even longer than 2 years. So the best way to mitigate this, is to make sure that your storing your flavorings properly, you’re keeping track of when you purchased them, and you’re testing them. Testing your flavorings will give you a good understanding of where your flavoring is at in its lifecycle. If you notice your flavoring doesn’t quite have much flavor, or is flat, or doesn’t have the same “punch” it used to, than it’s either time to replace, or throw away. Flavorings are quite cheap, and it’ll cost your more money trying to work with faded flavorings, than just replacing them. So do yourself a favor, and just keep up on your inventory, and you’ll have delicious, vibrant, e-liquids for the rest of time.