The Elusive Strawberry
I’m fortunately not one of you people who are afflicted with the terrible disease of “Strawberry Blindness”. This is simply where you can’t taste (or more accurately, smell) strawberry flavorings. A simple Google of this issue results in dozens of forums and posts from people looking for a remedy for this ungodly affliction. The bad news is that there is no cure. The good news is, there are some simple DIY e-liquid tips I will give you, that may help you at least remotely taste strawberry enough for you to use it in your mixes.
Check out this article written by Kopel – a Strawberry Non-taster
What’s The Problem?
So first off, what’s causing this issue? Well, no one really knows currently. It seems to be an amalgamation of a sensitivity to a specific compound that’s often found in strawberry flavorings, and olfactory fatigue. Now, because TPA Strawberry + Strawberry Ripe are the most common ingredients people are blind to, we can take a look at their spec list. I see that Triethyl Citrate is a compound, and it would make sense to me that some may be sensitive to this, blinding their experience to the rest of the ingredient. But I am not a biologist or chemist, so I can’t say for sure. It could be the esters or the ketones, or even as simple as the ethyl maltol/maltol and vanillin. Whatever the case, if you can’t taste TPA Strawberry, chances are you won’t be able to taste many of the other strawberries, like CAP Sweet Strawberry, and FA Strawberry.
Start with FLV or INW
Like Kopel mentions in his article, one of the strawberries that seems to work for non-tasters is FLV Alpine Strawberry. While it’s an expensive ingredient, it is very strong so you won’t use much, and it’s also one of the best strawberries on the market. This strawberry is a wonderful juicy, ripe, strawberry that can work in so many fruit blends. It’s not a sweet, candied strawberry, so you may need to do a bit of bending here. You can also try INW Shisha Strawberry, which is a bit more of a deeper strawberry, but still a fresh fruit nonetheless. Starting with these ingredients will give you a fighting chance. Maybe pick up a very small bottle at first, to see if they can work for you.
Fixing With Sucralose
My next suggestion is to use some Capella Super Sweet. This is an ingredient that contains sucralose and citric acid. Both of these compounds not only brighten flavorings, bringing them more forward naturally. But they also involve our tongues – our actual palates. This helps bring more of our senses into the picture, rather than strictly relying on our olfactory. Sucralose is very powerful, and can be easy to overdo, so a simple 0.25% is enough to see if it can help.
Fixing With Citrus
We can also try adding flavorings with citric acid. Lemons like FA Lemon Sicily, CAP Juicy Lemon, CAP Lemon Lime, all will help brighten that elusive strawberry top note that seems to like to hide from you. FW Star Candy, which brings a bright citric punch to the mix, might prove useful in this case as well. Now, you may not want to introduce any lemon flavor to your recipes. In this case, CAP Super Sweet contains citric acid, and may be the best bet. But if you don’t want that extra sweetness, try adding citric acid solo – which you can get from any flavoring house.
Fixing With Genre
Last, you can try to utilize flavors that are similar in genre, but are of a different flavor profile. These include raspberry, dragonfruit (though many also have issues tasting this as well), and red candies. One of my favorite ways of boosting strawberry in commercial mixes, is by stacking it with Swedish Fish. CAP 27 Fish, or TFA Swedish Fish, are great flavorings that can add a sweet, chewy, strawberry flavor to your mix. You can use this in fruit blends, or candy blends. Hell, with enough bending, you can even get this to work in bakeries. So utilizing similar genre flavorings, will help us emulate further, the strawberry notes we may be missing.
Put it all together
The last thing to do is put is all together. Start with FLV Alpine Strawberry, add in your citrus and sucralose, and pair up with a similar genre flavoring to create a frankenstein strawberry mix. Tweak as much as you need to make it work for you, and then either mix it up as a recipe, or use that knowledge to work into other recipes that may call for strawberry. At the end of the day, you may not get the full, most accurate, or even best experience. But if you’re able to get to a point where you can taste strawberry, then you at least have another tool in the box to use when the time comes.
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