During my trip in Amsterdam, I had the unfortunate experience of needing to buy commercial juice. OK, I didn’t really need to. I just wanted to see what Amsterdam vape shops were like, what the industry was like, and what the vaping community was like. Not too surprising, they’re just like shops everywhere else. Vaping also seemed quite popular. Walking about the streets, I saw people vaping many open system mods, but it was unclear how many were THC vapes, and how many were nicotine vapes. Anyways, the shop experience was very similar. You walk in, you get greeted, you take a look at the small selection of subtanks & Chinese mods, and then you look at the juice menu. The brands I saw a lot of were DVTCH, I’m assuming a local brand, Nasty Juice, Naked, and Charlie Nobles. There were some shops that carried a lot of smaller unknown brands as well, all TPD compliant 10ml bottles. So I decided to go with what I knew. Naked’s Unicorn, a strawberry cream and a few Charlie Nobles. Because they were all 60ml, it meant that they couldn’t be sold with nicotine as per TPD rules. So to remedy this, the e-liquid companies leave a bit of liquid out of the final batch, and the shops will carry “Nic Boosters”, which is a small 10ml bottle filled with 18mg nicotine base. This allows people to vape any flavors they like, and allows the industry to remain. But it comes with many downsides that I’ll list below.
Limited Nicotine Options:
Because there is a nicotine cap with TPD compliant companies, shops can only carry 10ml 18mg Nic boosters. This means if you have a 60ml e-liquid, they only leave out 10ml, and 30ml they only leave out 5ml, leaving your juice only at a target 3mg. This is a big issue because many vapers and newly-quit smokers enjoy higher concentrated juice such as 6 and 12mg. This means they must opt for multiple 10ml bottles, which is less cost-effective, and much more limited in terms of flavor options. A huge compromise. So one might ask, can’t you just pour the e-liquid out into a bigger bottle, and add more “nic booster”, and that leads to our next problem.
Dilution of Flavor:
Because these e-liquids are made specifically with 10ml’s left out, adding any more base runs the risk of over-dilution. If I were a betting man, I’d wager that many of these e-liquid companies aren’t producing different bottles for TPD that compensate for this extra added base. I think they are just leaving 10ml’s out of these TPD compliant bottles during the filling process. So even at the normal 3mg, adding these nic boosters will dilute your e-liquid. When you couple the dilution on top of the poor e-liquid recipe development that’s already in place, you have yourself a lot of shitty and under-flavored e-liquid being sold.
The last issue is the reason I wanted to write this article. I was very, very disappointed in the quality of the Nic Boosters I was given in Amsterdam. It seems as if these Nic Booster companies are using the cheapest, lowest quality nicotine they can get their hands on. First off, the nicotine booster added a very offensive and oppressive flavor to the e-liquid. This was the most surprising aspect of it, because commercial juice is normally quite strong in flavor. But these boosters were adding this earthy, herbal, flavor to every e-liquid I purchased. Which included Charlie Nobles Pistachio RY4, Charlies Custard, and Naked’s Unicorn. All three of those juices were purchased at different shops, and all of them used a different nic booster brand. Yet, they all shared the same off-notes. It makes me wonder if there is a parent nicotine company that provides those different “brands” of nicotine. But the flavor added was unacceptable, and completely ruined the flavor of the e-liquid. Any nuance, and subtlety was lost. Pistachio RY4 was the juice that seemed to hold up best, but wasn’t immune to that offensive off-note. Then you have the harshness. At 3mg, I tend to pick up a touch of a “thump” to my throat, mainly because I personally vape at 1mg. What I felt was more of a softer “burn”, usually identified with lower quality nicotine.
So when you combine all those issues together, you have a pretty disappointed consumer, which I was. But there’s a very simple, cost effective solution that I want to provide you. You COULD buy your own nicotine! (Walker Vapor Group LLC or any of its associates don’t condone, nor encourage the use of nicotine or any mood altering substances without the explicit consent of a physician). Now you can go even further and just make your own e-liquid, something you can do with the help of this website and my YouTube channel. But if you just want your commercial e-liquid to taste as it should, and vape as it should, all you need to do is provide your own base. I understand there are some countries and cities where this is not possible. And that’s unfortunate. But if you can find a DIY e-liquid supplier that will ship to you, it will remedy each of the problems I listed above. You’ll be able to mix any amount of nicotine target you’d like. So 3, 6, 12, 53.5mg, the sky’s the limit. You can also buy higher mg/ml nicotine, such as 100mg/ml, which would then minimize dilution greatly. And of course, you purchase higher quality nicotine that won’t impart any flavor on your juice.
So I definitely recommend taking a look at the DIY route for the rest of your vaping journey. It’s extremely cost effective, saving you THOUSANDS of dollars per year. It’s quite easy, especially now when there are countless tutorials and outlets on how to get started mixing. And it provides you endless customization, allowing you to finely tune your vaping experience to fit your personal preference.
Where to buy Nicotine Base UK/EU: