Guide To Mixing

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This guide was written by forum user Grizwald56, he is also the Gourmet juice maker at Vape Escape

Contents

MY JOURNEY INTO THE WORLD OF MIXING

(An introduction).

Hi and welcome. I just thought that I would share my story with you as to how and why I got into the weird and wonderful world of mixing. And also tell you of my mistakes, realisations and methods I used to overcome the problems I came across while learning to mix my own juices.

When I first started vaping I bought pre-made juices, some I liked, some I did'nt. The main problem was the inconsistency of most of them. I'd find one I liked and upon ordering again found that they were either weaker, or tasted different. I do'nt think I ever ordered a juice that tasted the same consistently. I also found pre-made juices to be a little on the weak side for my tastes, probably due to being a 46 year ex heavy smoker. So I decided to start mixing my own.

Now I'm not the kind of person that rushes headlong into things, especially when it comes to buying stuff. So I spent a lot of time on various forums checking out any info I could find to do with mixology. I took in the advice given by others and copied down every recipe that I could find.

Now you've heard the term "taste is subjective". Well I found this to be quite true as a lot of the recipes posted did'nt taste like the title suggested. So I decided to use them for reference and ideas for my own recipes in the future.

I can tell you now that I wasted a hell of a lot of juice trying to find the right balance between flavourings and of course sorting the naf from the good. But patience and perserverence led me to create my first few recipes.

One of the first recipes I made was my own version of BANOFEE. Now as I'd heard rave reviews on both Fart (Flavourart) and LORANN's flavourings I decided to purchase Fart Banana and LorAnn's English Toffee, along with various other flavourings, as I was also creating a couple of other recipes at the same time. These being COCONUT MINT CHOC CHIP (Fart Coconut and LorAnn's MintChoc Chip) and my own version of a coconut caramel (both Fart flavourings) I named COCOMEL.

My first problem arose when trying to use the various recipe calculators. These ask you to input you're NicNicotine base strength, strength required, amount you want to make, etc... Problem is they also assume that you know what the flavour % is going to be of the flavouring that you're going to use, which is fine if if you do. But what if it's a flavouring you've never used before? It's all very well going off what others suggest as to %'s. But in my experience I've seldom come across two people that agree. Anyway, the finished product is for your satisfaction, not theirs, as you're the one who is going to vape the stuff.

My second problem was with this "20 drops = 1ml" rule that everyone seemed to follow. I soon found that this "IS" or, "IS NOT" the case. You see my early info came from forums such as ECF and TW. And I soon realised that at that time people in the US were using glass dropers. So yes 20 drops approx does = 1ml. But not when using plastic 5ml, 10ml and 30ml droper bottles. Upon filling several of each size bottles, using a pharmaceutical grade pipette, with 1 ml of various liquids, i.e. PG, VG (Cut with Vodka), water and nic juice, I found that I was getting between 27-30 drops equalling 1ml. So I decided on using 30 drops to equal 1ml. Painstakingly I found a 10ml droper bottle did, on average, hold 300 drops and that a 5ml held approx.150 drops.

So armed with what I now knew, thougt I had it sorted. Then I hit another problem. You see all of the recipies I had copied down, from the various forums, stated their flavour %'s as part of the recipe mix. So lets say, for example, a recipe is for 10ml of finished juice, and 20% of that is flavouring, then 8ml would be the base and 2ml would be flavouring. Seemed straightforward.... But hang on a moment.... I was trying to modify their recipes to suit my own taste, so even if I was successful I was'nt going to end up with 10ml as I might Use more or less of the flavourings, or might add other flavourings as well. Which meant that I might end up with say 323 drops in total. A bit of a faff to to start working out %'s.

By the way I never actually made 10ml as a trial, that would have been silly, and wasteful.

I needed a much simpler method that anyone could follow. And this is the way I do it. Lets go back to my Banofee recipe to use as an example. If you remember I used Fart Banana and LorAnn's English Toffee. Now both Fart and LorAnn flavourings are, in most cases, highly concentrated, so In the begining I would add 2-3 drops of each flavouring to 90 drops (3ml) of base (35 nic/55 VG or PG). Just to note I was using 60mg nic juice and was looking for 20mg strength. So dividing 60 by 3 gives 20. But allowing for flavouring I added extra nic, hence 35 nic/55 VG.

After adding my flavourings I'd shake well and put it somewhere dark for 24 hours. The reason for this is to allow the flavouring time to infuse with the base evenly. I find this an important part of the mixing process, as over time, all juices change and mature.The next day, as I was now driping, I'd drip3 drops into my atty and vape. If it was weak I'd add more flavouring and again, after a good shake, leave for another 24 hours. I'd repeat this process until I got the desired taste.

The recipe ended up as follows:

BANOFEE @ 20mg

90 drops - Base (35 nic/55 VG) 8 drops - Banana (Fart) 8 drops - English Toffee (LorAnn) (remember extra nic to account for flavouring)

The above recipe, although correct for flavouring amounts, turned out to have a slightly harsh aftertaste for my liking which I found to be due to the Banana flavouring. Funny thing was though, my friend loved the above recipe, and still uses it. So I had to hunt round for another Banana flavouring. Later on, thanks to Lisa at C9V, I found just what I was looking for called Banana Cream. Very yummy.

For those of you new to mixing, or thinking about it, you work out you nic quantity as follows:

Total drops in the above recipe = 132 drops. If you use 60mg nic juice then divide by 3 = 44 (approx). If you use 50 mg, or 52mg then divide total drops by 2.5 = 53 (approx). These figures are based on 20mg strength, so you will have to adjust them to suit your own juice strength.

So success at last, both my friend and I had a good Banofee recipe each. Taste really is subjective. And as for the other 2 recipes, my Coconut Mint Choc Chip and Cocomel, well they hav'nt changed at all over time.

I now had 3 successful recipes and thought I was on a roll.... Yeah Right.... I was about to hit my next problem. Around this time I had run out of my 3 favourite pre-made tobacco juices, which were STATE EXPRESS, HILTON and CIGAR from TW's red label range. As TW at that time did'nt do tobacco flavourings I ordered various Fart ones from LF. These were BURLEY, VIRGINIA, CUBAN SUPREME, DARK VAPURE, PERIQUE BLACK, ULTIMATE MAXBRO AND ULTIMATE CAMTEL. Heard the Perique Black was a good strong taste so decided on that one. could I get it right.... no way.... that is until a few days later, while on the ECF forum, I spotted a link to a video by an Australian guy called Luke (Light47). He was demonstrating how to go about mixing Fart tobacco flavourings. In his video he was mixing Perique Black which, according to him, was the most concentrated of all Fart tobacco flavourings, and which incidently happened to be the one I was failing with. Thanks to him I learned my next valuable lesson which was to reduce the flavouring to a more manageable concentration. This lesson was to serve me well later when I started back on future recipes of my own.

Basically what he did was make 5ml of 10% reduced, or diluted if you like, Perique Black flavouring. Formula as follows:

HOW TO MAKE 5ml OF 10% PERIQUE BLACK TOBACCO CONCENTRATE.

(using a pipette) 4.5ml PG or VG .5ml Perique Black (Fart)

Shake, let stand for an hour or so, and use as you would any other flavouring. He next made up the Perique Black to vape as follows:

HOW TO MAKE 4ml PERIQUE BLACK @ 26mg

40 drops - 52mg NicNicotine Juice 16 drops - Perique Black (10% reduced concentrate) 24 drops - PG or VG

Strong stuff or what?... But wow was it good.

Then I found another link on ECF posted by a guy called Nikhil entitled "GUIDE TO DIY FLAVOURING". Now some of you longer term vapers may have seen this link and the video and so, hopefully, will add these links in one of your own posts as I'm new to forums and do'nt know how. But having said that most of the major flavouring names are covered such as LORANN, FLAVOURART, CAPELLA, FAERIES FINEST, PERFUMERS APPRENTICE, BICKFORDS, TASTY PUFF and SEEDMANS. All are US based companies I think except for Fart which is Italien I believe. Here he lists what he believes the %'s of these companies flavourings should be. But be aware that his listing is only meant as a guide and, although helpful, I personally found some of his %'s a little weak. What interested me more was that all the Fart tobacco flavourings I had, and a few more, were there. So after reducing the rest of my collection, and following Lukes "HOW TO MAKE 4ml" formula for the Perique Black, I now had plenty of various tobacco juices to vape. And they all tasted great except for the Camtel which was oily and foul tasting. Even the two people I knew that vaped thought it pretty disgusting. So I would'nt recomend this one. Now they do vary in their reduction %'s, but here are the ones I bought:

PERIQUE BLACK - 10% VIRGINIA - 20% CUBAN SUPREME - 20% ULTIMATE CAMTEL - 20% ULTIMATE MAXBRO - 25% DARK VAPURE - 25% BURLEY - 30%

So now that I had Plenty of tobacco juices to vape I decided it was time to make some more recipes........YEAH!

Now a lot of people new to vaping will hear a lot said about a juice called RY-4 I think I'm right in saying that the RY stands for RUYAN which is a chinese tobacco recipe, and the 4 denotes the sweetness. Theres RY1, 2, 3, 4 the later being the sweetest. I did hear a rumour back in October of 2010 that TW were to introduce an RY-5 but I've not seen it yet. But what I can tell you about the stuff is that no 2 RY's are the same. Some prefer it from one vendor, while others prefer it from another. My first experience with the stuff was from TW and, I have to admit, it was'nt bad. But I did'nt think It lived up to the hype, until I got some from a guy I'd introduced to vaping and it was absolutely fantastic. Unfortunately the guy I got it off moved area due to his job and so I never saw him again to ask where he'd got it from. So Yeah....Had to try and make some, and went on an all out crusade to make my own recipe that would emulate the stuff I'd tried.

I spent the best part of 4 months trying to make this elusive concoction. I tried every variation that others had made and posted on various forums, but to no avail. I was however having lots of luck with other recipes of my own, which I will post on a seperate thread for any that wish to try them. Then one evening....EUREKA! After 4 tortuous months, and a lot of time spent, I managed to make something that very closely resembled what that guy had given me. It was quite by accident really. I had settled back to enjoy a new version of an RY I had made. After an hour I switched to an earlier version, still being a driper at the time, the two had mixed in my atty to produce the desired affect....Beaming smile.... So by playing around with varying quantities from each, and working out the ingredients, I now have a version I call RY-4.5 Now I'm not saying it in any way resembles what true RY should taste like, and some of you who try it will probably say "Nah...nothing like it" all I know is it's the same as the one I'd tried and I love it. Gonna have to get some from Toby and compare it.

I guess the lesson here is that if you mix up a batch of juice and it's not so good you could probably rescue it just by adding another juice, or even another flavouring.

Now if you remember back to when I was harping on about Fart tobacco flavourings, I told you that learning how to mix them would stand me in good stead for future recipes... Well heres how....

Another thing I've learned concerning flavourings is that sometimes you can't develope a recipe by mixing, that is by adding 2 or more flavourings to a base. To demonstrate what I mean I'll use 2 of my recipes as an example, one of which is a modification on someone elses recipe. The 2 in question are CHOC ROAST CHESTNUT and FERRERO ROCHER. These 2 led me on to a new technique in mixing.

Now I love nuts. Unfortunately, due to a gum infection in my early twenties, I lost all my teeth. So nuts were always out of the question, unless crushed. So it was really nice to be able to buy lots of different nut flavourings. The thing with these though is that I find them very dry and can't vape them for long, as much as I like them. Something I cured with Fart Pistacchio By adding Caramel and French Vanilla, a straight forward throw in all the ingredients mix. I did'nt want to do the same with my Roast Chestnut flavouring so decided it would be nicer with chocolate. After all I needed some for my Ferrero Rocher recipe anyway. So I ordered 6 different ones from different places, and from the 6, only 3 tasted anything like chocolate should. These were CHOC AU LAIT (DV), RICH CHOC (C9V) and DARK CHOC (C9V). I got myself 6 bottles and mixed 3 different Roast Chestnuts and 3 different Hazelnuts with each of the 3 chocolates. Put them away as usual. And tried them the next day. I found that the Choc Au Lait mixed with Hazelnut was the best as far as the Ferrero Rocher was concerned, and the Rich Choc went best with the Roast Chestnut. After a little time playing with quantities The Choc Roast Chestnut was born. However, my Ferrero Rocher was a bit lacking. but a few days tweaking, and the addition of some Sweet Cream (C9V) and French Vanilla (C9V) gave me what I was looking for. The taste of it is very much like the actual chocolates only not sweet enough. I tried Honey (Fart) but too much overpowered it. So will have to get some Ethyl Maltol to finish that one. Although it's quite vapeable with 1 drop of Honey per ml. So I proceeded to make 10 ml of each. . ...What a Disaster!

I'd put in the right amounts of both flavourings for both recipes. only when I tried them the Hazelnut had Totally obliterated the chocolate, and the Choc Roast Chestnut was off somehow. Double checking everything over and over found my quantities were definitely right. So what was going on? Could'nt do much with them them so down the sink they went. I'd have to start again. Then I remembered the Fart tobacco's. These had to be reduced in potency first. Then it hit me.... Of course.... They worked well enough when first making them up individually and then mixing them together, but not when trying to mix them as one. So I made up 5ml each of the 2 nuts and 2 chocolates and the next day mixed them. And after 24 hours tried them. They were great.

So I can only conclude that the molecules in some flavourings are too powerful and end up overpowering other flavourings, or changing them altogether. But once you reduce them, or dilute them , they behave. With my Malibu recipe I've found that I only need to make up my rum flavouring and that it was'nt necessary to make up the coconut, I could add that after 24 hours. some flavourings are fine straight from the bottle, others need reducing first.

In my journey through the weird and wonderful world of mixology I've come across some pretty whacky things, and that do'nt seem to make sense. And yet they do seem to work in some cases. Recently I came across a thread on STEEPING. I'd heard the term used in cooking, but vaping? Always curious about anything to do with juices I took a look. Basically if you have a juice thats a bit harsh, or has a chemical aftertaste, or if a bit weak, Steeping could cure it. This is done by removing the cap and droper nipple from your bottle of juice and placing it in a dark place for 1-3 weeks, occasionally giving it a shake apparently the open bottle allows evaporation of certain chemicals in the juice. On a video I saw on the subject the person showed how juice gets darker after time as it matures, showing juice at 1 week another at 2 weeks and yet another at 3 weeks. I can tell you the 3 week old juice was pretty dark.

Now I had some Custard flavouring (DV) that I found to have a chemical aftertaste, and also a bit too lemony. So I tried Steeping it After a week The chemical taste had dissapeared. After 2 weeks The lemon taste had weakened and I can report that it certainly improved that juice. In the future I'll experiment some more with this method before drawing any final conclusions.

These days I find that I'm not that keen on tobacco flavours anymore. I've got loads of Fart stuff that I know I'll probably never use myself. But then it does come in handy when showing other people all about vaping. The only 2 I still vape regularly are the Ultimate Maxbro, which I would'nt describe as a tobacco flavour at all but it does have a pleasantly unusual taste all of its own . The other is Statex (DV), and although this tastes like the pre-made State Express I got from TW, I do find it a bit lacking. I love peanuts, and as the statex has a peanuty aftertaste I've enhanced the peanut with some Peanut Butter (C9V). As State Express and 555 are basically the same cigarette in the US I' ve named my concoction 666. And no It's not because I'm a Satanist. What I'm saying here is that flavourings can be quite versatile and are useful in all kinds of ways, not just for recipes.

Another part of mixing worth covering is the use of VG (vegetable glycerine). As most people know VG is thicker than PG (propelyne glycol) and a lot complain that using too much seems to gum up their atty's, or that it does'nt whick as well as PG. Personally I cant say I've noticed any difference between them. I've used all PG and all VG mixes without any problem. The thing with VG, and this is intended for new vapers, you need to thin it out a bit. You can do this using either alcohol (Vodka), or de-ionised water. (Use 20% - 25% Vodka or water)

I've found that I prefer using a good quality Vodka as it gives a better throat hit than de-ionised water does. You should also be careful where you buy your VG from as some are thicker than others and wont thin out enough. I remember buying some from Asda and found it much too thick, In fact to get it to the same consistency as PG I needed to thin by as much as 40%. Way too much alcohol. The best VG I've found, and use, is from Tesco. You'll find it in the Home Baking isle labelled as Glycerine. It's a 38ml bottle and only costs 65p. There are bigger bottles and jars of the stuff also sold at Tesco but these are highly concentrated and should be avoided. Or you can buy it from Boots in 200ml bottles at cost of £1.45. I personally hav'nt used this Boots VG as it does say something about it being used for sore throats, which made me wonder if there was some kind of medication in it, and that put me off just in case it reacted with any of my flavourings or nic juice. So for now I'll stick with the Tesco stuff.

To prepare my VG I first pour the 38ml into a 60ml Tablet jar (available at some chemists). I then put 9ml of Vodka into the empty bottle and shake well to rinse out any remaining VG and pour it into the Tablet jar. Put top on Jar and shake to mix it together thoroughly. Now it should be ready to use. As I've said I find mine to be the same consistency as my PG and have no problens with it..

If you want to use de-ionised water instead you can buy this from car spares outlets and is cheap to buy. You could make your own but collecting the steam droplets takes a while. I spent 20 minutes and only got 3ml, so hardly worth the effort. Please do'nt confuse de-ionised water with distilled water they are not the same thing.

NOTE: Beware when buying supermarket flavourings as a lot of these are essences or extracts and are oil based. Alcohol based ones should be fine, I use a couple myself, especially Rum from Asda. I could'nt find a decent Rum anywhere so gave it a try. But its best to make this up first (8-9 drops per/ml) and leave for 24 hours before adding any other flavouring. 2 days is better.

Now over the months I've gained a lot of experience and have a far better insight into mixing. I'm also pretty sure that there is much more for me to learn. So I will keep checking the various forums for any useful info.

So to finish off I'd just like to point out that as far as the statements I've made in this post go, they should of course be used only in the context of ideas for you to try out for yourselves and in no way am I implying that they are law. As you can now see there is a learning experience involved when mixing your own juices and I can only hope that my own personal experiences will in some way save you time, money and bother. And remember, PATIENCE IS A VIRTUE!.

grizwald

PS If you wish to try any of my recipes you can find them listed in my post entitled "GRIZWALD's RECIPE COLLECTION"

USING PG AND VG IN JUICES

I've noticed a lot of debate about using PG and VG in various posts and can't help feeling that quite a few people have problems with both. PG (propylene glycol and VG (vegetable glycerine) differ in several ways:

PG is thinner than VG and wicks quite well. It also allows flavourings to infuse better than VG does, thats probably why most flavourings are PG based. However, if VG is warmed up then the same results can be obtained when dealing with flavourings.

PG has a drying affect in the mouth, so it's a good idea to sip fluids regularly when using all PG based juices. Whereas VG has a moisturising affect in the mouth and does'nt leave it feeling dry and open to irritations.

VG is sweeter tasting than PG, and can enhance certain flavours when used in conjunction with PG, i.e. 50/50 PG/VG mixes.

When I first started vaping I'd read a lot about people who were stating that they were allergic to PG. I remember thinking to myself, how can that be as PG is used in a lot of foodstuffs, asthma inhalers, cigarettes and is widely used in Hospitals in drip bags and in the ventilation systems to help combat MRSA, and also given to babies and young children when administering oral vaccinations. And a host of other things in our daily lives. So I put this down to a bit of hypochondria on the part of some people.

Five days into vaping I developed an itching sensation over most parts of my body and was about to conclude that perhaps I'm allergic to PG. But thinking about it I remembered hospital stays and how the first 12-24 hours there gave me a mild itching sensation and then passed. So I reasoned that YES PG can cause itching, particularly as I was now consuming larger quantities of the stuff while vaping, so instead of putting it down to being allergic I decided to take anti-histamines for 7 days, 1 every morning, to give my system chance to get used to the PG intake. After 7 days I stopped taking the anti-histamines and you know what? the itching stopped and has never bothered me again. My friend, who started vaping a couple of months after me, had a mild itch for a couple of days and then was fine. Yet others I've introduced to vaping had no trouble at all.

Now VG on the other hand can also produce certain irritations as well. I remember my friend complaining, after seeing some of Scott's reviews that he could'nt produce as much vapour as him. After pointing out to him that VG produces more vapour than PG does he decided to use VG based nic juice, I decided to join him and we both encountered irritations. He suffered nasal congestion and constantly felt stuffy, whereas I felt as if my lungs were full as when I was a smoker and produced quite a bit of phlegm. So we both decided the best thing was to go back to PG based nic juice and cut the nic with VG. Incidently we were both mixing our own juices and using 60mg nic juice. Anyway we both found our happy medium.

Now the only problem with VG in juice is it's too thick to use as it is and you really do have to thin it down. I've heard people state that they thin theirs by mixing PG and VG together, and these same people then go on to complain that their juice does'nt wick very well. Well that's not surprising really as PG is'nt that runny to start with and although the PG does go some way to thinning the VG down it's still going to be too thick to allow decent wicking. What you really need to do is thin down your VG so it's the same consistency as PG, then it does'nt matter what ratio PG/VG you use as they will be the same.

You can thin VG down using 2 methods, de-ionised water (not distilled, or tap water), or by using alcohol (vodka or pga (pure grain alcohol)). I've tried both methods and they each have their merits:

Using de-ionised water will produce a little more vapour than alcohol, and you can purchase it from all car part shops, or from any branch of Halfords. It's very cheap and a litre bottle will last a very long time. You can , if you wish, make your own but it is a laboriously long process and when I tried it took me 20 minutes just to collect 3ml, so hardly worth the effort.

Using alcohol does slightly reduce vapour, but will give a much better throat hit than water. In the US they use PGA (pure grain alcohol) which can get up to 180% proof, but you can't get it in the UK, so you need an alcohol that does'nt have a flavour such as rum, or brandy. I've found Vodka to be the best, but you should use a good quality high proof Vodka as cheap Vodka's leave juices tasting harsh.

Which ever method you choose to use please remember, to get your VG to the same consistency as PG, you'll have to thin it with 20-25% Vodka, or De-ionised water. I personally have always bought my VG from Tesco, Dr Oetker Glycerine 38ml for 65p. I know you can buy 200ml at Boots for £1.45 and will probably get round to trying it myself once my own runs out. But a word of caution when buying VG, or Glycerine as its more commonly called in shops, it really does make a difference where you buy it from. I remember getting an Asda brand once, and ended up adding 50% Vodka to get it to the same consistency as my PG. Far too much alcohol, and not good for your atty.

I've never found anywhere on the high street to buy PG, but I believe that Boots will order it in for you. But if you want my advice order it from MISTRAL, as that's where Boots get it from anyway, and you'll probably get it quicker. When ordering make sure you ask for MONO-PROPYLENE GLYCOL as ther are different forms of the stuff and you don't want to be vaping the stuff used to make cosmetics, or soap. My friend and I orderd a litre each and paid around £15 per litre. We also got delivery in 3 days.

One final word of cation concerning VG. Never let it boil because Glycerine turns to Acrelyne at a certain temperature and that is hazardous to your health.

I hope you find this information useful as it has been a lot of trial and error on my part learning about these 2 essential vaping ingredients. Both have their merits and as far as I know neither is detrimental to your health. In fact I would even go so far as to say that using PG has many benefits in that it coats the bronchial tubes acting as a barrier against germs. I used to suffer with constant colds, but since vaping, touch wood, have not had one in the 8 months that I've vaped. Also I do'nt seem to suffer with spots as much either. Now I do realise that a percentage of this is down to not smoking tobacco anymore, but you do have to wonder.USING PG AND VG IN JUICES

I've noticed a lot of debate about using PG and VG in various posts and can't help feeling that quite a few people have problems with both. PG (propylene glycol and VG (vegetable glycerine) differ in several ways:

PG is thinner than VG and wicks quite well. It also allows flavourings to infuse better than VG does, thats probably why most flavourings are PG based. However, if VG is warmed up then the same results can be obtained when dealing with flavourings.

PG has a drying affect in the mouth, so it's a good idea to sip fluids regularly when using all PG based juices. Whereas VG has a moisturising affect in the mouth and does'nt leave it feeling dry and open to irritations.

VG is sweeter tasting than PG, and can enhance certain flavours when used in conjunction with PG, i.e. 50/50 PG/VG mixes.

When I first started vaping I'd read a lot about people who were stating that they were allergic to PG. I remember thinking to myself, how can that be as PG is used in a lot of foodstuffs, asthma inhalers, cigarettes and is widely used in Hospitals in drip bags and in the ventilation systems to help combat MRSA, and also given to babies and young children when administering oral vaccinations. And a host of other things in our daily lives. So I put this down to a bit of hypochondria on the part of some people.

Five days into vaping I developed an itching sensation over most parts of my body and was about to conclude that perhaps I'm allergic to PG. But thinking about it I remembered hospital stays and how the first 12-24 hours there gave me a mild itching sensation and then passed. So I reasoned that YES PG can cause itching, particularly as I was now consuming larger quantities of the stuff while vaping, so instead of putting it down to being allergic I decided to take anti-histamines for 7 days, 1 every morning, to give my system chance to get used to the PG intake. After 7 days I stopped taking the anti-histamines and you know what? the itching stopped and has never bothered me again. My friend, who started vaping a couple of months after me, had a mild itch for a couple of days and then was fine. Yet others I've introduced to vaping had no trouble at all.

Now VG on the other hand can also produce certain irritations as well. I remember my friend complaining, after seeing some of Scott's reviews that he could'nt produce as much vapour as him. After pointing out to him that VG produces more vapour than PG does he decided to use VG based nic juice, I decided to join him and we both encountered irritations. He suffered nasal congestion and constantly felt stuffy, whereas I felt as if my lungs were full as when I was a smoker and produced quite a bit of phlegm. So we both decided the best thing was to go back to PG based nic juice and cut the nic with VG. Incidently we were both mixing our own juices and using 60mg nic juice. Anyway we both found our happy medium.

Now the only problem with VG in juice is it's too thick to use as it is and you really do have to thin it down. I've heard people state that they thin theirs by mixing PG and VG together, and these same people then go on to complain that their juice does'nt wick very well. Well that's not surprising really as PG is'nt that runny to start with and although the PG does go some way to thinning the VG down it's still going to be too thick to allow decent wicking. What you really need to do is thin down your VG so it's the same consistency as PG, then it does'nt matter what ratio PG/VG you use as they will be the same.

You can thin VG down using 2 methods, de-ionised water (not distilled, or tap water), or by using alcohol (vodka or pga (pure grain alcohol)). I've tried both methods and they each have their merits:

Using de-ionised water will produce a little more vapour than alcohol, and you can purchase it from all car part shops, or from any branch of Halfords. It's very cheap and a litre bottle will last a very long time. You can , if you wish, make your own but it is a laboriously long process and when I tried it took me 20 minutes just to collect 3ml, so hardly worth the effort.

Using alcohol does slightly reduce vapour, but will give a much better throat hit than water. In the US they use PGA (pure grain alcohol) which can get up to 180% proof, but you can't get it in the UK, so you need an alcohol that does'nt have a flavour such as rum, or brandy. I've found Vodka to be the best, but you should use a good quality high proof Vodka as cheap Vodka's leave juices tasting harsh.

Which ever method you choose to use please remember, to get your VG to the same consistency as PG, you'll have to thin it with 20-25% Vodka, or De-ionised water. I personally have always bought my VG from Tesco, Dr Oetker Glycerine 38ml for 65p. I know you can buy 200ml at Boots for £1.45 and will probably get round to trying it myself once my own runs out. But a word of caution when buying VG, or Glycerine as its more commonly called in shops, it really does make a difference where you buy it from. I remember getting an Asda brand once, and ended up adding 50% Vodka to get it to the same consistency as my PG. Far too much alcohol, and not good for your atty.

I've never found anywhere on the high street to buy PG, but I believe that Boots will order it in for you. But if you want my advice order it from MISTRAL, as that's where Boots get it from anyway, and you'll probably get it quicker. When ordering make sure you ask for MONO-PROPYLENE GLYCOL as ther are different forms of the stuff and you don't want to be vaping the stuff used to make cosmetics, or soap. My friend and I orderd a litre each and paid around £15 per litre. We also got delivery in 3 days.

One final word of cation concerning VG. Never let it boil because Glycerine turns to Acrelyne at a certain temperature and that is hazardous to your health.

I hope you find this information useful as it has been a lot of trial and error on my part learning about these 2 essential vaping ingredients. Both have their merits and as far as I know neither is detrimental to your health. In fact I would even go so far as to say that using PG has many benefits in that it coats the bronchial tubes acting as a barrier against germs. I used to suffer with constant colds, but since vaping, touch wood, have not had one in the 8 months that I've vaped. Also I do'nt seem to suffer with spots as much either. Now I do realise that a percentage of this is down to not smoking tobacco anymore, but you do have to wonder.

Flavourings

One of the most frequently asked questions is "WHO SELLS THE BEST FLAVOURINGS?". The simple answer is "NO ONE" and "EVERYONE". Let me elaborate.

When I first started out mixing I would search the forums for other peoples recipes to get an idea of which flavourings they were using, thinking that if these flavourings were good for them then surely they'd be good for me to use as well. I copied down every recipe I could find to give me an idea of the most popular and most often used flavourings. However, most of the recipes were from US forums such as ECF and I soon found that quite a few of the flavourings were not available in the UK. So I picked flavourings that were, such as DV (Decadent Vapers), F'art (Flavourart) and LorAnn.

After purchasing a few I decided to try out some of the simple recipes to start with, ones that only used two flavourings. The first two recipes I tried were a Coconut Caramel and Banofee. For these I used Coconut, Caramel and Banana flavourings from the F'art range, and English Toffee from LorAnn. After tweeking the ammounts in my mixes I came up with two pretty decent recipes that let the flavourings I was using shine through. However, I did find that the Banofee recipe had a harsh aftertaste. But being new to mixing and knowing no better put this down to the fact that I was'nt actually eating the stuff, I was vaping it, so should'nt expect the same taste experience.

Now as I was sharing the cost of flavourings with my friend I soon found that my half of the 5ml bottle of F'art Caramel soon ran out. So we decided to order DV Caramel which came in a 10ml bottle and was only a quid dearer. We thought we were getting better value for money as we would both have 5ml each. Problem was that when I made up some more of my Coconut Caramel recipe it did'nt taste as good. I thought well perhaps it's because DV Caramel is'nt as strong as the F'art stuff so I added more. All I ended up doing was overpowering the Coconut and making the recipe worse. In the end I thought that there was nothing else I could do but order some more F'art Caramel, and all was well again.

As for the Banofee recipe, which incidently my friend loves and still follows the original recipe, I later found a flavouring from Cloud9 called Banana Cream which was a great improvement to the recipe, no more harsh aftertaste. My friends not so keen though.

Now I'm not slagging off the DV Caramel, on the contrary, as later when developing new recipes I found it to be much better than the F'art stuff, especially in more complex recipes that use 3 or more different flavourings. Where the F'art Caramel would dominate these, the DV Caramel did'nt.

Theres one thing I have learned when dealing with a particular flavour from different vendors and that is never expect them to taste, or interact in the same way. One such flavour is Chocolate.

A while back I was looking for a Chocolate flavouring to compliment two nut recipes I was developing and ordered 6 different Chocolate flavourings from various vendors. Out of the 6 only 3 tasted like chocolate, and one of these had a cocoa taste. Quite nice actually. But for the two recipes I ended up using 2 different Chocolate flavourings from different vendors.

Another point worth mentioning is the affect some flavourings may have on certain people. To try and demonstrate what I mean I'll use Cinnamon and Rum flavourings as examples.

Now I love the taste of Cinnamon and used to buy LorAnn's Cinnamon Roll, which I absolutely loved, and never had any ill effects from. Unfortunately, Totally Wicked, who used to sell LorAnn flavourings, stopped selling the stuff. As I could'nt find any other vendor in the UK that stocked it, I ended up buying 2 different Cinnamon flavourings from 2 different vendors. Problem was that both of these left my mouth sore after prolonged vaping. In fact one of them gave me mouth ulcers. I tried weakening the mixes but to no avail. Strangely though my friend does'nt have a problem with either of these and can quite happily vape them all day long.

When trying to find a white Run flavouring to use for my Malibu recipe the only one I could find was a Rum from F'art, but both my friend and I agreed that it certainly did'nt taste like any Rum we had ever tasted. Anyway while shopping in Asda one day I spotted an Asda own brand Rum flavouring and after seeing on the label that it was alcohol based decided to give it a try. Well it certainly complimented the Coconut flavouring that I was using and my Malibu recipe was born. Unfortunately for my friend, who really likes Malibu, the Rum gives him a sore throat if he vapes it too long. I on the other hand can vape it all day without any ill effects at all.

I think by now you should be getting a better understanding of the difficulties and problems you may face when vaping certain flavoured juices. It's not just flavourings that you buy to mix your own juices that may affect you as I've heard of ill effects with people using pre-made juices also.

Vapers, especially the more experienced vapers, all seem to agree that flavourings in our juices are the achilles heel, as not all that much is known about them, none of us know exactly what ingredients are in them. Although I will say this, when they do find a problem I'm quite impressed with the way they deal with these issues. For example, I was made aware of a chemical called Diecityl. (not sure if I've got the spelling right). This chemical came to the forefront after workers at a popcorn factory in the US developed severe lung dissorders, which was dubbed "POPCORN LUNG". Now before anyone goes into a blind panic about this, you should take into account that these workers were'nt just inhaling massive doses of the stuff, they were also eating huge ammounts of popcorn as well. Now of course they wear face masks and the ventilation system has been upgraded considerably.

Diecityl was found to be in some flavourings and over on the ECF forum huge debates took place as to the safety of inhaling the stuff while vaping. And has resulted in certain vendors saying they will remove it from their flavourings. And if you check out Liberty Flights F'art range and scroll down below the flavourings you'll find all the flavourings listed that contain Diecityl. I personally am not going to let this bother me as the ammounts contained in the flavourings are miniscule compared to what those workers over in the US were inhaling. Plus I do'nt vape these flavourings all day long myself as I like to swap and change my juices quite frequently throughout my vaping day, and of course theres the fact that vaping is far safer than smoking. That said though, it's better to be safe than sorry and I welcome any move that makes vaping safer. And, you can bet your life on the fact that there are very concerned vapers out there researching other ingredients that are coming to light and no doubt these will be dealt with to.

We should also be aware that most flavourings were not developed to be used for vaping, they were intended as food flavourings. As far as I'm aware Flavourart are the only vendor who produce flavourings for vaping.

Finally a word of caution concerning Supermarket flavourings. I personally do use a couple of them, especially the Asda Rum flavouring. But you should always read the label carefully and check that they are either water, or alcohol based before deciding to try them for yourselves. Oil based, or extracts are not deemed safe and may damage your equipment.

FLAVOURINGS AND PERCENTAGES

In my post "MY JOURNEY INTO THE WORLD OF MIXING" I touched on the topic of figureing out how much of a certain flavouring to use, and the method I use to work this out. I've had a couple of PM's asking me to elaborate more on this and so I decided to go into it in more detail for those embarking on the mixing trail.

In my post I mentioned that I found one problem with the various mixing calculators in that they all assume that you know the percentage of a given flavouring already, and as I had already found out these percentages can vary from person to person so I had to come up with a way of developing my flavours that would be foolproof and economical, and of course easy for anyone to use.

I had wasted quite a lot of flavourings using other peoples recommendations in the begining and so as a result came up with, what I think, is a method that should give you the desired flavouring percentage to use. As taste is subjective and each of us have different levels at which we taste flavours due to the damage done to our taste buds, because of our past smoking habits, we are not all going to necasseraly need to use the same ammounts of flavouring in our juices.

So let's say you've just purchased a new flavouring and are eager to mix it and start vaping.

The method I use is:

First, mix up a small ammount of base in a 5ml droper bottle.

For this I use 90 drops (3ml) of a high strength nic juice (50mg) and VG. So as I vape at 20mg I divide the 90 drops by 2.5 which gives me 36 so my base would be

36 drops of 50mg nic and 54 drops of VG giving me a 20mg base.

As I'm also going to be adding flavouring to that base, and any addition will effectively lower my nic level, I slightly vary the ratio of nic and VG so I will set my base to

40 drops of 50mg nic and 50 drops of VG. Give it a shake and I'm ready to add my flavouring.

Now as I've mentioned in previous posts not all flavourings are equal, some are stronger than others and so until you get a handle on using flavourings you should be cautious as to how much you add. For example, F'art and LorAnn flavourings can in some cases be very strong indeed and you may only need 3 or 4 drops added to the 90 ml base, i.e. F'art Whiskey which only needs 1 drop per/ml and that may be too strong for some, whereas other flavourings may need up to 40 drops of flavouring to get the desired taste.

So as a general rule I start with 3 drops per/ml. shake, and put it away for 24 hours to allow the flavouring to infuse with the base and settle down. 24 hours later I vape some and if it's too weak will add more flavouring, shake and leave for another 24 hours. Repeat as necessary.

How much more flavouring you add will depend on how weak you find your mix. If after adding 3 drops it's very weak and you can hardly taste anything then it would be safe to assume that you can add another 2 drops per/ml which will now equal 9 drops added. If your mix tastes almost right then just add another 1 drop per/ml.

In the case of the afore mentioned F'art Whiskey 2 drops per ml would be too strong and so in this case I would throw it away and start again with a fresh base and only add 1 drop per/ml.

You may think that throwing away a mix is wasteful and that you could just add another 90 drops of Base to weaken it. Well in my experience I've learned that by doing this I've sometimes weakened it too much and now have too add more flavouring to compensate, problem is your using up you nic juice and flavouring at an alarming rate and can easilly loose track of the drops of flavouring your adding. Also what happens to your mix if you do'nt like it, you'd be throwing away a lot of juice as your never going to vape it. throwing out 3 ml is neither here nor there and will not break the bank.

Another good idea is to keep a writing pad handy to record what your doing so you do'nt forget. I write mine as follows:

Base = 40 drops nic (50mg) / 50 drops VG Banana (F'art) = 3

I've used the Banana as an example only.

So if I need to add more flavouring I'd ammend the above like so:

Base = 40 drops nic (50mg) / 50 drops VG Banana (F'art) = 3 - 9

The 9 is my original 3 drops plus 6 drops more.

So if in my above example I'm happy with 9 drops added to my 90 drops base then I now know that my flavouring works out at 3 drops added to a mil.

Let's take this one step further and clarify it a little more.

Recently I purchased some RY-4 Flavouring from Lisa at Cloud 9 and as I'd read somewhere that it was similar to the RY-4 from Healthcabin as far as percentages went, the Healthcabin's RY-4 was 25%-30% in a mix, I felt that I could safely start with 6 drops per/ml. So I made my usual 90 drops base and added 18 drops of flavouring and recorded this on my pad. Of course it was weak and so I had to tweak it and my record looked like this:

Base = 40 nic (50mg) / 50 VG RY-4 (C9V) = 18 - 27- 36 - 42

As you can see my original 18 drops proved to be weak and so I added another 9 drops giving me 27, still weak so another 9 drops giving me 36, still weak so another 9 drops ending up at 42. This means that for every 30 drops (1ml) of base I make I need to add 14 drops of RY-4 flavouring for it to taste right for me. The percentage of flavouring used in the overall mix is somwhere around 27%-28%. (So now, if I wish to make 10ml exactly, I could use one of the various recipe calculators but that is entirely up to you whether or not you do.)

All I had to do now was to work out my nic more accurately to get my desired 20mg as follows:

Add the drops used for the base (90) to the drops of flavouring used (42) which in this case is 132

Divide 132 by 2.5 = 52.8 ( round up to 53) This is how much nic I use.

Next add the drops of flavouring (42) to the drops of nic (53) = 95

Subtract this total (95) from 132 (total drops) = 37 This is how much VG I use.

I now have a recipe for making up just over 4ml of RY-4 at 20mg strength, which took me 4 days to develope. This may seem like a long time to wait but I now had a recipe that worked for me and had'nt wasted any juice, so well worth the wait. When mixing the golden rule is "PATIENCE IS A VIRTUE". I do of course keep a recipe book into which I write my final recipes for reference and have recorded the above recipe in my recipe book as follows:

RY-4 (C9V) @ 20mg

90 drops - Base (53 nic 50mg / 37 VG) 42 drops - RY-4 (C9V)

I would suggest that you wait a few days before recording anything in your own recipe books as some flavourings can weaken slightly and you may need to add a few drops more. I tend to wait a week before I record mine as that's time enough to live with my new recipe and notice any changes in flavour. Some flavourings do'nt come into their own for 2 or 3 days, it's not that they weaken they just need longer to settle.

When I first started mixing people were suggesting that it was far cheaper to add flavourings to a base with no nic, seeing the wisdom in this I did just that. However, I soon found that there was a difference in the way flavours tasted when adding nic and so I always use nic in my trial base. At least that way I know what it's going to taste like as a finished product, plus as I said throwing away 3ml of juice is'nt going to break the bank.

I hope that this post will be of some help and if followed correctly should save you time and money. I will also be writing a follow on post to this one dealing with developing your first recipe. That is where 2 or more flavourings are used.

P.S. I'd just like to add that it is always best to use plastic droper bottles when using drops as using pipettes or syringes will give eroneous results i.e. you can't control the pressure you exert on a pipette or syringe and so can end up with varying drop sizes. Also, different liquids have different viscosities, water is thinner than say PG or VG and would not need as much pressure applied. So after I cut my VG with Vodka in my 60ml tablet jar I decant it into a 30ml droper bottle and use this bottle every time to count out my drops. I also decant my nic juice into another 30ml droper bottle and do the same. With flavourings I sqeese the drops straight from the bottles they come in except for LorAnn flavourings that come in glass bottles and these I decant to 5ml droper bottles first before using. I only ever use pipettes or syringes when, on the very rare occasion I make up a large batch.

P.S.S. You should also be aware, especially noobs to vaping, that there will be days when your taste buds will be non-functional and either everything will seem to taste the same, or you wo'nt taste anything at all. If that's the case then I would advise waiting till your taste buds are back on track. I always leave trying mine till late afternoon, or evening time, that way I can judge the performance of my taste buds on the daytime vaping. Do'nt be in a rush or you may end up adding more flavouring than you actually need which can result in a bad mix when your taste buds do come back.

MEASURING OUT LIQUIDS USING DROPS

I've noticed that some people are having a little difficulty whith mixing juices when using drops, as they are trying to use pipettes and syringes. This is not really possible:

firstly, you can't control the pressure you exert accuratly enough on either a pipette, or syringe and will only result in drops of varying sizes.

secondly, different liquids have a different viscosity i.e. water would'nt need the same pressure exerted to produce a drop as say VG which is thicker.

The best way I've found is to use plastic droper bottles as the nipple will give a more accurate measurement of drops. So I do the following:

After mixing my VG with Vodka, in a 60ml tablet jar I have, I decant it to a 30ml droper bottle and use this bottle every time.

My nic juice I also decant to a 30ml droper bottle and use the same bottle every time.

Flavourings I drop straight from the bottles they come in, except for the LorAnn flavourings which come in glass bottles and so I decant these into a 5ml droper bottles first.

As I cycle through my various recipes over the course of a day, and have quite a few, I do'nt see the need to make up more than 10ml of any of my recipes at a time and so using drops is no big deal. After all it's not as if I have to make them all up together as I vape some more than others. I only ever use pipettes and syringes when, on a rare occasion, I make up a large ammount of a certain recipe, and then I only ever use Pharmaceutical grade pipettes and syringes as cheaper ones are'nt accurate enough and can vary greatly with measurements.

STEEPING JUICES

In the section "MY JOURNEY INTO THE WORLD OF MIXING". I made a reference to a technique that I had read over on the ECF forum called "STEEPING". Now as I have a passion for all things concerning mixing, and am always on the hunt for ways to improve my mixing techniques, I thought I'd look into this.

In my post I made a reference to a flavouring I had purchased from TW, DV Custard. I had never intended this to be one of my daily vapes of course, it was purchased for the development of a recipe I was puting together. However, curious as to wether it actually tasted like Custard I mixed some up to try. After leaving for 24 hours, as I always do with all my recipes to let it infuse with the base and settle, I tried it and noticed quite a pronounced lemony taste and also a slightly harsh metalic undertone, plus it did'nt really taste like custard should. So I decided to try this Steeping method on it to see what, if any, affect it would have.

Steeping involves making up a juice, at whatever quantity you wish, shaking it, then removing the lid and droper nipple and putting the juice somwhere dark for anything from 1-3 weeks, giving the juice an occasional shake. (put your juice in a bigger bottle i.e 10ml juice in a 20-30ml bottle, as this allows for the evaporation of the offending chemicals. And also seems to age the juice more rapidly).

So I put my Custard mix away and after a week tried it and found that the harsh metalic undertone had gone, and after another week the lemony taste had subsided and it was quite an enjoyable vape. So I concluded that this Steeping was worth further investigation.

My latest recipe called "Whiskey Cream" was born while trying to make "Bailleys Caramel" which I was'nt having much luck with as it seemed to lack punch. So I purchased some F'art Whiskey flavouring thinking that this might perhaps help. Unfortunately F'art Whiskey is a very strong flavouring and found that 1 drop per ml was more than enough. Now although I did'nt get the desired Bailleys Caramel taste that I was after, I did end up with a rather promising Whiskey concoction, although a little overpowered by the Whiskey flavouring. So I decided to Steep it'

I made up the recipe, which you can find in my post entitled "GRIZWALD's RECIPE COLLECTION", shook it, removed the lid and droper nipple and put it somewhere dark for a week....

....After a week I tried it and found that the Whiskey flavouring was'nt as dominant and had interacted with the other flavourings to produce a creamier taste, and so I decided to Steep it for another week. I made up a second batch to put away with it so I could see the taste difference at both 1 week and 2 weeks.

After a further week of Steeping I tried the 2 juices and there certainly was a difference between them. The 2 week old juice, although even creamier, had a much more weakened Whiskey taste and found it to be well balanced with the other flavourings, although I personally prefered the 1 week Steeped mix. Incidently the 2 week old juice was much darker than the 1 week old juice.

So in conclusion I'd have to say that Steeping, in my opinion, certainly has its merits in as far as its affect on flavouring. You could compare the effect to the difference in taste between a cheap chocolate bar as opposed to a more expensive luxury chocolate. I now intend seeing what affect this Steeping method has on my other recipes, and flavourings that I had condemed in the past for being too harsh, or overpowering, and will of course report my findings, for those of you who are interested, in further posts. So if you purchase a juice and find it harsh, or not to your liking, try Steeping it, You've nothing to lose in trying.

P.S. Steeping is also said to improve pre-made juices as well, but as I don't buy any I can't verify this claim. However, I will be purchasing RY-4 and RY-4X from toby over at iVapour and I will try steeping a few mls of each to see what, if any, affect it has. Will let you know.

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