Sunday, May 29, 2011

Yee Haw! Juice Round Up: Gourmet Vapor

Since I haven't had time to post anything lately and have a ton of juices to review, I'm thinkin' we'll just have ourselves a good ol' fashion Juice Round Up! Yee Haw!

There's several on here that warrent a full review, but we'll come back to those later. I'm heading out with the family on vacation this week, so while there shall be much vapage insuing, there will be little vapage reporting.

I do want to write up my experiences about travel vaping, though, so this should be somewhat interesting. My plan is to carry two 1300mHa VGo bats and a back up pocket KR 808 bat, as well. That gives me two full days of vaping power should I forget to charge up. 

We'll have a USB wall charger and the car charger along, as well. In fact, with the DS and phones and vaping and Kindle and cameras and other devices, I think we're taking more stinkin' chargers than we are clothing. Geez!

Ok, so let's go to the juice shelf and see what we've got...

Gourmet Vapor

All of these were at an 80/20 PG/VG mix with 12mg of nic unless noted otherwise. TH was about medium, nice, and right where I like it. Vapor is solid with nice plumes of puffiness, as expected from an 80/20 liquid. These are generally mixed fresh when ordered, so a two week steep time is required! After about 4 weeks these all seemed to hit the sweet spot for me.

Mostly vaped on a 808 threaded VGo battery and an original Kanger 808D-1, dripping on a Vapor Kings 901 atty and from a Kanger 808 Carto.  A couple also got a run in the Got Vapes Vortex carto.

Maiden Coffee - Undecided. Frist drip vape was delicious. Loaded it into a Vortex carto and couldn't stand it. Wrecked the carto, too. Ouch, expensive!  Strong coffee and cream flavor with a bit of sweetness. We'll be trying this one again, but just not good out of the Vortex. Such a strong flavor I've been putting off dripping it again for fear of ruining a $10 atomizer.  Maybe I'll make an atomizer out of an old carto and try that... hmmmm. Good or bad, it's gonna need a full review.

Capt's Cranjerry - Tasty! Personalized flavor. First bottle I ordered the nic too strong by accident. 24mg is too much for me these days. Reordered at 12mg and it's just right. Nice tart cranberry flavor with a pretty decent caramel rum flavor. Not an all day vape, but definitely one to enjoy at the right moment. We'll be doing a full review on this one.

US4 - Something's not right. This is me trying to be creative and make an American Tobacco version of RY-4. Fail. At least so far. There's the smooth tobacco flavor. Check. Carmel. Check. Hint of vanilla. Check. And an underlying stale taste. My second order from GV and all three juices had that same staleness to them. Leaving the US4-Honey and Capt's Cranjerry out and uncapped for 24 hours fixed two of them, but it's still there with this one. Not sure what's up. We'll let it sit a bit longer.

RY-4 - Not. Sorry, it's just not RY-4. Tobacco is there. Little bit of caramel and vanilla. Something else... But it's not RY-4. It's not horrible. But I'd have to pass on this one.

RY-5 - Also not RY-4. Strong, more earthy tobacco flavor.  Maybe similar to the original RY-5, if such a thing ever existed. Never tried it if it did. We'll hit it again, but first blush was not terribly pleasant.

Red Marble - I like. I think. Yah, I like. Pretty sure. Nice complex tobacco flavor. There's a hint of sweetness, and spiciness to it. It's a light taste that sits well when you vape it. Almost but not quite mint tone to it, as well. I'll be finishing off the sample bottle on this one and give it a full review.

Mom's Rasberry Truffle - Not bad. Tastes like a tootsie-pop. You know when you swirl it around in your mouth once the ridge is dissolved and your tongue gets coated with sticky Tootsie Roll/cherry goodness. Yah, kinda like that. I'll vape it a bit more but it's a full review candidate, if only because generally speaking I find chocolate flavors to be monstrously suck-ass. This one, not so bad so far.

US4-Honey - Still my favorite and one of my personalized blends. Light flavored tobacco with caramel, touch of vanilla, and a sweet honey after taste. First 10ml bottle I vaped it dry from a Vortex. Second bottle came with that weird stale taste. After steeping for almost a month the stale taste appears to be gone and it seems to be settling in to it's proper deliciousness. Review will be forthcoming.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Juice Review: Ms. T's Mountain Pop

It tastes just like Mountain Dew soda pop.

There. Done.

Easy review!

Ok, so maybe I should say juuuust a wee bit more.

Like maybe, it's freakin' awesome?  Oh, yeah!

The Juice: Mountain Pop
The Vendor: Ms. T's Bakery Essentials
The Mix: proprietary/undisclosed
Nic Strength: 14mg
Add-Ons: None

Vaping On: VGo with Got Vapes Vortex

Quick Look

Throat Hit: None  Low   Medium  High  Ouch!
Vapor: Meh   Low   Medium   High   Damn!
Taste: Nada  Minor   Mild   Medium   Strong   Gak!
Overall Rating: 5 Puffs (out of 5)

De-licious!  I got a Mountain Dew soda in one hand and some Ms. T's Mountain Pop in another while at work. My co-workers think I'm crazy, but it works. Can't tell the difference. Mountain Pop's throat hit combined with the perky lime flavor even feels like soda bubbles.

Could be my imagination, but who cares. Good stuff!

It vapes nice and clean out of the VGo and a Vortex cartridge. Mr. T's proprietary VG/PG blend put up some nice puffy vapor. The website says that they won't disclose the mix, but that it contains more VG than PG.

Even at "low" (14mg) nicotine level I get a nice TH that feels just right.  I also tried it in a CE2 carto. That one wicked a little slow, so I couldn't take quite as long a drag on it, but it did well with massive vapor production, as expected. In a regular Kanger horizontal carto it worked perfectly, though the flavor took a slight dip when compared to the Vortex or the CE2.

The only downsides?

Well, first, this is one of those flavors you could easily over vape and burn out your atty or carto. Easy. Second, no caffeine.  If Ms. T's puts caffeine in this they won't be able to keep it in stock. That would suck.  Third, because you'll vape it so frequently, the bottle empties out way too fast. Ms. T's offers them in 15ml bottles, so order two... or three... at least.

Mountain Pop is seriously close to being added to the permanent restock list in the juice pantry.

I've never tried the Mountain whathaveya flavors from anyone else. Now I don't need to. Found the perfect one and I'm good.  Go getcha some!

Angel's Luck & Electric Dreams,

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Gear Review: LeCig D1 Starter Kit

No, not for me. Sheesh.

Mother's Day and Mom wants an e-cig. So I shop around and I'm leaning toward a couple of models. It's got to be something she'll actually use and something that doesn't look like a pipe bomb.

Then I stumbled across the LeCig web site. Is this perfect or what???

Yup. It's the perfect Mom kit.

Now, I'm perfectly aware that I can get a kit just like this without the pretty colors and the fancy logo for, oh, $20 less. At $59.99 (on sale) it's a tad on the pricey side for an KR 808D-1 two bat kit.  LeCig, of De Queen, Arkansas, is definitely shooting for the trendy and/or fashion conscious and/or gift market. This is not a bad thing, really.

I'm certainly not complaining. They sold on me, right?

Ordering was rock solid and great customer service. Shipping was free. No minimum, just free shipping.  Gotta love that! 

The website is well done and easy to navigate with descriptive text.  They even mention in the product text that it's an 808D-1 battery. More vendors in this market category should list the battery type. LeCig sells all the good stuff including cartos, liquids, extra batteries, several different battery types, and even a book to help quit smoking.

 LeCig shipped the kit the day after I ordered it and I got it the next day via US Priority Mail. Everything arrived intact and in good working order.

The LeCig D1 Kit package. Fancy, yet... not fancy. Hmmm...

The D1 Starter Kit ($69.99 base price) includes everything you would expect. USB and USB wall chargers, a pack of five cartomizers (available in various Tobacco flavors, Vanilla, or Menthol), a carrying case and two batteries.

The kit I received had a standard 808 and a short one. Which concerned me at first because the pictures on the web site indicate two regular 808s.  But... Mom actually likes the shorty better, so that worked out.  I'd inquire before ordering, though. The text doesn't say anything about a short bat, which will have a lower mAh rating (meaning, shorter battery life).

Between the french sounding name and logo, the finish on the batteries, and the color selection of the cases, these are oriented toward a feminine market, obviously. Don't worry gents, they also make the Pig Cig for those that need a little manly in their PV. 

Room for two KR 808D-1 batteries, charger and two cartomizers.

The batteries themselves are actually quite nicely made. These are from the higher end of the 808-scale, which has a tendency to vary from super-nice and reliable (like the V2 Cigs) to complete crap (like... some others). You get what you pay for.  These are done in gloss white with little off white rings going around the length of the bat, giving the whole thing a textured appearance.

A nice touch, the case is one of the ones that can accommodate the small size USB charger. Basically, the small weekender style case.  I really need one of those myself (charger and case). No, I didn't steal Mom's, but I thought about for a second or two.

I ordered up the Menthol flavor cartos. Not my bag of doughnuts, but this was a gift. I would urge Le Cig to reconsider the bright green color on the carto. Yow!  White would definitely be better, regardless of flavor. (Print the flavor in small letters on the carto wrapper if you have to, ya know?)

My other minor nit to pick is that the D1 Kit doesn't come in a box. Just the Priority mail box and everything else is (neatly) packet in plastic baggies. Don't get me wrong, it was packed up nice and tight and shipped well. No problem there. I just think a nice gift box, particularly at this price range, is something of a requirement. I just think if you're going to go fancy, go fancy.

Nice touches. The textured looking finish and the LeCig logo printed on the bat.

That said, the Le Cig itself is well made. The case is standard but available in multiple colors with the classy LeCig logo on them. Everything works perfectly.  Mom loves it. I'm a happy customer.

I'll definitely recommend the LeCig D1 to people looking for a good looking e-cig, one that will go out in public with some respectability, and is well made and simple to use. I usually recommend V2 for that audience, but the LeCig brand certainly will have an appeal for many. A little sprucing up on the packaging, and LeCig will be able to carve out a nice niche market.

Angel's Luck & Electric Dreams,

Monday, May 9, 2011

Juice Review: Alien Visions E-Juice Flue Cured

I've been sitting around for a few days trying to decide which particular e-juice to review first for Vape-O-Rama. I finally decided I'd just go for it and review whatever the hell I happen to be vaping at the moment.  So what's loaded up right now?

AVE's Flue Cured!

The Juice: Flue Cured Tobacco
The Vendor: Alien Visions E-Juice
The Mix: 100% VG
Nic Strength: 18mg
Add-Ons: None

Vaping On: VGo 808 with 2.6-2.8 ohm CE2 r4 XL Cartomizer

Quick Look

Throat Hit: None  Low   Medium  High  Ouch!
Vapor: Meh   Low   Medium   High   Damn!
Taste: Nada  Minor   Mild   Medium   Strong   Gak!
Overall Rating: 3 Puffs (out of 5)
(For reference, my sweet spot to get a 5 is Medium TH, Damn! vapor, and Medium to Strong taste. Your mileage may vary.)


I pretty much prefer tobacco flavors at this point, though I have to admit that some of the fruit and drink juices are starting to grow on me. Naturally, when I decided to try AVE's juice I grabbed a couple of tobacco flavors including Flue Cured. 

I tried it straight out of the mailbox and it was pretty good but a little weak. Huge vapor as expected from a VG juice. 

It can be somewhat temperamental with the CE2 r4 carto. Tends to be slow on the wick, so you'll get that burnt atty taste if ya draw it too fast.  However, it will vape nice and smooth out of this carto when you find the right draw. (Note: That's also a characteristic of the CE2 style carto when used with high VG liquids. Taking the time to load it into a filler-style carto, or maybe even a Vortex carto, may produce better results.)

It's actually doing nicely on the atty as well.  After 6ml of juice it's still nice and clean.

I let it steep for about 10 days and then vaped the bottle dry. Having the last bit of it now, in fact.  The taste is a solid flue cured tobacco with a slightly earthy undertone. No sweetness at all, which is greatly appreciated in this particular type of flavor. I've had flue cured juices that seem to have a dark and off putting nutty taste, but AVE's is quite pleasant.  

My main disappointment is the flavor's strength didn't quite pick up after letting it steep. That probably means it needs a bit longer. Or it could be that's just the way this one is, being pure VG.  It's not devoid of flavor at all. I'd just like a little more. 

If you're a big fan of flue cured tobaccos I don't think you can go wrong with AVE's version. In fact, the juice is so pleasant, for the flue fan this could easily become a staple. Unlike other flue cured juices I've tried, there's no dark harshness to this one.

The big fat plumes of vapor and the solid, but easy to take, TH make this one the best of the flue cured tobacco's I've tried so far. The taste that's there is quite good and much more to my liking. I'd suggest giving it a full two weeks or more to steep, though. Just to be thorough.

Out of the four or five flue cured tobacco juices I've tried, AVE's is the best and the one I'll be going to when I'm in the mood.

Angel's Luck & Electric Dreams,

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Ms T's Box O' Wonders

Cutsie-Foo-Foo stuff really isn't my bag of doughnuts, but I gotta admit... When the package from Ms. T's Bakery Essentials arrive a few days ago, I grinned like a little kid.

I'll get into the testing of the juice soon, but just the package itself is worth a full blog post.

First off, the whole box is packed with popcorn. No, not packing popcorn, real freakin' popcorn! I love popcorn. And what have we here? Why there's some candy in there, as well. Now, granted, I'd prefer a sampler of Jamaican rum, but hey candy will do! Ms. T got herself a customer right there and I hadn't even tasted the juice. That's some fun stuff!

She also throws in a few extras, that apparently vary from time-to-time. In this case, tossed into the mix was a nice pen and a magnet with the Ms. T's logo on them. The little ones promptly confiscated the candy and the pen. Rounding everything out is a full menu (that's actually formatted like a restaurant menu) and some very nice business cards.

Oh, and the juice is in there, too. Nicely packed and sealed in a plastic baggy. The whole experience is like opening your lunch box and finding it stuffed with Twinkies instead of a cheese sandwich. Two thumbs up.

Popcorn packing, candy, printed materials, awesome juice... Ms. T's is a win.
The juices I grabbed are Snickerdoodle Cookie, Bavarian Cream Filled Doughnut, Blueberry Muffin, Blueberry Cheesecake, Mountain Pop, and the test kitchen sampler of Gourmet Vanilla. I also picked up a Bottle Buddy, which is actually quite handy, and a bottle of Ms. Ts sweetener for mixing with some other juices.

Definitely not my normal fare, but I figured if I'm going to a bakery I might as well go all out.  The one's I've tried have been fantastic. The Mountain Pop was wicked good.  Vaped the whole bottle in two days and reordered the 15ml bottle already. Definitely worth a try.

Ordering from Ms. T's is straightforward with the shopping cart system you see everywhere.  The website is well designed and has a down home kitchen feel to it. Like ordering from a kitchen supply vendor, but there's a home-made feel about it. Shipping was fairly quick and everything was, as mentioned, well packed and arrived just as ordered. From ordering to delivery, Ms. T is building a customer experience that I haven't seen anywhere in the vaping world before.

Like a kid in a candy store. Great production value and great juice! Sweetness!

I've mentioned before about the importance of production values. A quality product is the most important thing, but it's not going to go anywhere if it's not packaged properly.  Ms. T's has hit their niche spot on.  Down home, home-made cooking with some of the best and most unique flavors available. Boxing everything up the way it is adds that extra bit of flare and attention to detail that many vendors could take note of.  It's this sort of thing that lends legitimacy to the commercial side of vaping and it's the extra care that builds long term customer relationships.

And the juice is fabulous.

Juice reviews coming, but if you like good juice that's a bit different than the regular stuff, give Ms. T's a try. Way fun!

Angel's Luck & Electric Dreams,

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Minor Fixes for the Vortex

The Got Vapes Vortex cartomizer is pretty much all the rage for 808 vaping right now. Easy to fill and it vapes so pure that it's pretty close to perfect. Pretty close, that is.

Problem #1 is minor. The neat little cap they put on it is wonderful. It's just the right size for me, makes a handy drip tip, and has a textured feel that is quite nice on the lips. Unfortunately, it also fits very loosely and has a tendency to fall off.

Problem #2 is a bit more major. They tend to leak like a sieve. Out of the box of 5 I initially ordered, one leaked on the first fill and one kind of just fell apart when I tried to unscrew it from the bat. A third started leaking after four fills. Basically, they're a bit fragile.

Being the crafty vapers that we are, there's go to be an easy solution. And preferably one that's economical.

Let me aside for a moment and say that despite initial problems the guys at Got Vapes are on it and I suspect they'll have these issues fixed in the next iteration of the Vortex carto. More important, vaping an 808 with these things is amazing. Well worth any trouble.  In fact, I just ordered up two more boxes of them!

That said, let's tinker with it.

Left: Modified Vortex with belt and sealant. Right: No sealant and sporting the belt.

Problem #1 - The Loose Hat

See the review for my opinion on the cap for the Vortex. Short version is, I like it so much I frequently use it on regular cartos now.  Only when I'm stationary, though. They just aren't secure enough for travel. Until now...

Awhile back I read a post somewhere (probably ECF) where someone used a carto condom to hold their 510 cart onto their atomizer. My apologies to that original poster and kudos, cause it's an awesome idea. The original vaper just cut the end off the condom and slipped it over the cartridge and the atomizer. It wasn't pretty but it sure worked.  I'm gonna swipe that idea here.

Introducing the Vortex Belt!  With a carto condom and an Xacto brand hobby knife, you can make a little belt to fit around the Vortex cap and hold it on more securely.

Materials and Tools:

  • Carto Condom
  • Cartomizer
  • Vortex Cap
  • Hobby Knife

Step 1. Lay the condom flat and cut off the closed end. The tightest fitting condom you can find will work best.

Step 2. Squish the condom flat, trim the cut end straight (if needed), and then cut a 1/4 inch peice off.

Step 3. With the Vortex Cap inserted in the business end of the cartomizer, wiggle the belt down over it until the belt overlaps where the carto meets the cap.

Is that easy or what?!?

That'll hold the little devil on there much nicer.  If the belt bugs you when you vape, just scooch it down a bit while you're vaping and the pull it back up when you're done.  I also like this idea because it recycles a piece I usually to throw away. You know, that carto condom that has the butt plug attached inside it. Can't use it to bottom fill, so chuck it, right?  Well, now you can make Vortex Belts with them!

I've been using these on my Vortex caps for about a week now.  Th ebest won't make the Vortex safe to put in your pocket, but it sure makes it a little more comforting when you've got one bouncing around in your case with your expensive bats! 

Problem #2 - Plugging the Leak

Once again, I'll have to throw credit for this one to an anonymous donor, but props to him or her, as well. This works like a charm. It's a bit more complex. But it'll save a rather expensive carto and make it work even better.

The Vortex has but perhaps one fatal flaw. The bottom has a tendency to come loose and leak, or worse, come off completely.  Not fun with a carto full of juice.

To fix it, we're gonna have to take it apart, unfortunately.

Quick little cautionary note: This fix is not necessarily safe, nor will it promote better vaping with the Vortex. No guarantees. This just works for me. It's also not approved in any way shape or form by the fine folks at Got Vapes. 

Materials and Tools:

  • Vortex Cartomizer
  • Retractable Pen (or equivalent, see below)
  • 1/2" Thread Seal Tape (from your local hardware store)

Vortex guts! Yum!
Taking apart the Vortex is pretty easy. (Partly because they come apart so easily... ouch.)  Take a retractable pen, or other thin stiff implement, and carefully but firmly push down on the center tube.  The bottom will slide down and pop right out.  You can also attach it to a battery and give it a few gentle twists back and forth and it'll usually pop apart without too much trouble. Don't do that with a full carto. Obvious? You'd be surprised.

Take off the wrapper and use the thread tape.
Okay, so now we have the outer tube and the innards. The guts of the Vortex consist of the center tube (which also acts as a post to stabilize it), the metal ring that screws on to the bat, and a little plastic house that contains the wicks and the atty.  Also wrapped around the little atty chamber is a thin strip of material.

Those aren't the technical terms for those parts, in case you couldn't tell. I have no idea what they're really called, so "little atty house" works for me.

We're not going to take it apart any further than this, except to discard the thin piece of material around the atty housing.  I know a lot of people think that it's for wicking juice to the atty, but it's not. It's just there to hold the bottom on better. Chuck it.  Removing it makes the Vortex wick juice into the atty faster, which for me means better vaping.

Wrap it tight and trim off the ends.
To hold it on and seal everything up, wrap a piece of plumber's 1/2" thread seal tape around the brass part of the base.  The top edge of the tape should be flush against the top part of the brass base as shown in the picture. Make sure the piece you cut is long enough to wrap the entire base.

Next, press it down nice and tight with your finger. A little overlap is ok, and much better than a gap. Don't worry about the bit hanging over the bottom edge. Wrap that down and around the bottom of the base where it screws into the battery, but don't push it down into the threads. We'll be removing that extra tape in a bit.

Now slide the plastic outer tube back over the atty assembly. It'll be really tight, so go slow and work it down over the tape until the tube and the bottom of the base are almost flush. There's a little lip on the base that the clear tube should sit on. Give it a good squeeze around the base and set it aside for 15 minutes to let everything settle.

Finally, take a hobby knife and trim off the access tape. Takes a bit, but make it nice and neat so that there's none hanging down or jammed down in the base's threads.  Give it another push at the base and a squeeze around the area where the tape is, just to seat it nicely.

That's it!  Test it by filling it with water if you like. If done right though, you can pile in the juice and get to vaping!

So does it work?!? Well, my caps don't come popping off in the car and roll around on the floorboards. Sorry about that swerve, lady, but I didn't want to loose the cap. Still can't just pop one in my pocket, but it hasn't come off and leaked in my case either.

As for resealing the carto, that's hit or miss. I've saved two of five using this method. The last kept leaking a little bit, so I wrapped a tad of thread tape around the outside as well. Still using that one a week later. It's not pretty but it'll do the job.  Honestly, it's probably a lot more trouble than it's worth, but these are relatively pricey cartos, so I don't mind trying to save them.

These slight modifications make a good carto last a bit longer.  With these two adjustments, the Vortex is quickly moving up the personal rankings on my favorite CE2 r4 cartos. If Got Vapes can work out the problems in production, perhaps there's a new champ in town?

Angel's Luck & Electric Dreams,