Saturday, June 25, 2011

Ms. T's Bueberry Cheesecake & Blueberry Muffin

I've mentioned before how I really didn't think I'd be overly impressed with Ms. T's juices and, to be frank and quite humbled, was simply blown away. This is good stuff, folks. Even with the flavors I haven't liked personally I can easily see why someone with slightly different tastes would like them.

As always, taste is extremely subjective. If a juice sounds tasty to you, I always recommend ordering up a sample and giving it a try.

Ms. T's Blueberry Cheesecake and Blueberry Muffin are pretty similar juices. The former is one I really like, and the latter is one that may not be for me, but is quite tasty and some folks are going to love it. Regardless of the rating given below, the best thing I can say about any juice is that I vaped the bottle dry. And I did with both of these!  Let's have a vape.

The Juice: Blueberry Cheesecake
The Vendor: Ms. T's Bakery Essentials
The Mix: proprietary/undisclosed
Nic Strength: 18mg
Add-Ons: None

Vaping On:

  • 4.2V VGo w/ 901 atty (3.0 Ohm, direct drip) and Kanger Horizontal Carto (3.0 Ohm)
  • V2 Long Manual (4.2V) with Kanger Horizontal Carto (3.0 Ohm).

Quick Look

Throat Hit: None  Low   Medium  High  Ouch!
Vapor: Meh   Low   Medium   High   Damn!
Taste: Nada  Minor   Mild   Medium   Strong   Gak!
Overall Rating: 4 Puffs (out of 5) 

Blueberry Cheesecake has a nice richness too it. That makes it somewhat like cheesecake, but I don't really get cheesecake from it. To me, it takes like a strong, rich baked flavor. That baked undertone makes it seem more like pie,  or even muffin, more than cheesecake. Cheesecake, to me, has a soft citris undertone with a dense creamy feel to it. In some cheesecakes there's an almost a bitter element.  I don't get any of that from this juice.

Of course, simulating the texture and density of  cheesecake in a juice is going to be near impossible anyhow, but a tad of citrus and cream might get it there.  The blueberry covers anything like that, if it's there at all.  I'd want to try Ms T's straight Cheesecake flavor to see exactly what kind it is. There's creamy light cheesecakes, dense New York style cheesecakes, and everything in between. With his juice I couldn't tell what it was striving for.
Regardless, the "baked" taste is spot on a absolutely delicious, particular when mixed with the blueberry flavoring Ms T is using.

Speaking of the blueberry, it's there, it's strong and it's delicious. It's a smooth sweet blueberry flavor that hangs out after the vape for a few seconds. I like it.

The rich baked flavor and the sweet blueberry mix together perfectly, though, and that's what makes this a top Ms T's juice for me. The balance of the flavors is just right.  The proprietary PG/VG blend produce nice puffy clouds of vapor. The TH is barely there at all, even at 18 mg, but I don't really want a lot of TH in this kind of juice.

If you like blueberry juices, this is definitely one you'll want to try out. 

The Juice: Blueberry Muffin
The Vendor: Ms. T's Bakery Essentials
The Mix: proprietary/undisclosed
Nic Strength: 18mg
Add-Ons: None

Vaping On:

  • 4.2V VGo w/ 901 atty (3.0 Ohm, direct drip)

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) 

Blueberry muffin is very similar. Just about all of the above applies, except I got a little less blueberry flavor, and the baked flavor has a sweet cinnamon taste too it.  Not red hots cinnamon, but cookie style cinnamon. The sweetness is perfect, not too much, not too little, but it just doesn't have the blueberry hit that the cheesecake does.

That "baked" flavor (the only way I can think to describe it) isn't as well balanced as in the Blueberry Cheesecake. Blueberry Muffin is tasty, don't get me wrong, just not as tasty to me.

Both of these juices get a slight ding for not be being spot on their namesakes. However, both are wonderfully tasty as they are, the Muffin a little less so than the Cheesecake.  Both make great dripping juices, and are the kind of juices that are nice to watch a show with, piddle on the computer, or just sit quietly and enjoy a nice vape.

Grab a sample of both and see which one you like best. These aren't are going to be all day vapes for me, but I really don't think you can go wrong here. I'll certainly be grabbing another bottle of Blueberry Cheesecake to keep around!

Angel's Luck & Electric Dreams,

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Carto Deathmatch, Round 1

I've been putting together a collection of CE2-Style cartomizers to try out with my awesome KR VGo and testing them for the last couple of months. The idea of CE2 cartos has a lot of appeal.  No filler material to burn up or hassle with while loading. And, theoretically, a much cleaner and purer vaping experience.

I picked up four different types of cartomizers to start with. Three CE2 varieties from Vapor's Heaven, and the new Vortex system from Got Vapes.  The latter is something completely new.

In a standard 808 cartomizer, the atomizer is at the bottom (horizontal), or run through the center of the filler (vertical). The filler material packs the carto either on top of or all around the atomizer. Running through the middle is a plastic or paper tube. You put the juice into the filler material, then when you vape it pulls air up through the tube, which in turn wicks the juice down on to the atomizer. The resulting vapor is then sucked back up through the tube and out the top.

CE2 Cartos work in a rather ingenious way. Instead of a filler material the carto is empty. So you just pour the juice in and it holds it like a bottle. Running down inside the carto are wicks.  In a CE2, the atomizer is situated at the top of the cartridge and the wicks feed the juice into it from below.

The Vortex, on the other hand, works more like a traditional cartomizer but without the filler material. Actually it doesn't work like a traditional carto. Wait, well, sorta. We'll get into it's operation in the review on that device because it's quite neat-O.

Here's what we've got in contention for this first round:

  • CE2 Clear XL Clearomizer
  • CE2 r4 Cartomizer
  • CE2 r4 XL Cartomizer 
  • Vortex 808 Bottom Coil Clearomizer

From left to right: CE2 r4 XL, CE2 Clear XL, and the Got Vapes Vortex. 

Let's start with general impressions.  This is my first shot with this style of cartomizer system. While it's not terribly difficult, these are probably not for beginners, either. For example, filling a CE2 can be challenging without covering yourself with juice the first time you try it. Gah!  And the plastic ones will break if you stick 'em in your pocket, which results in juice running down your leg. Oops.

That sounds rude and nasty. Hmmmm.  Anyhow...

I'm using am 808-threaded VGo 1000 mAh battery and a good old original Kanger 808D-1 to test these on. Both are unregulated and start off at 4.2V. All of these cartos are 808 threaded.

The biggest problem have with these is the Burn Factor. Every single one of these cartos will go dry and give you that not-so-tasty burnt atty flavor.  There's a juice idea for ya.  In addition, the atty will heat up and burn the juice. Didn't matter what juice I put in them. Burned it.

With some practice and very slow, long draws they vape fairly well. If you're use to standard cartomizers, though, you'll need to pay attention when vaping on this style of carto to avoid the Burn.

I suspect the main problem is the battery running at a higher voltage. Let's loook at the VGo for example. I measure the VGo at spot on 4.2V fresh off the charger.  Measuring about every 30 minutes of vaping, after two and half hours it's down to 4.0-4.1V. It hangs there for the rest of the time until it starts to drop rapidly as the battery runs out. For about an hour it'll sit at 3.7, then drop suddenly and starts flashing.

The only time any of these cartos was really usable, and by that I mean enjoyable, was in that hour of 3.7V vaping. Regardless of resistance rating, these cartos are clearly designed for batteries that run at 3.7V. So poping one on your favorite box mod or VV mod will give some sweet vaping.

With 808s being mostly 4.2V bats, though, why put that thread on one of these cartos?  If you your 808 runs at 3.7V these are a entirely different experience than I had. If they pop at 4.2V, you're gonna struggle with these.

The Vortex on a VGo. the CE2 r4, CE2 Clearomizers, and Vortex.

Overall I'm not terribly impressed with the Clearomizer concept. Neat idea and I like that I can see the juice in there. In fact, one of the biggest drawbacks to the solid case CE2s is that it's difficult to tell when they're filled, which can get messy and waste precious drops of juice. Not good. The clearomizers, though, are just too dang fragile. I'd like a regular CE2 r4 with a little window down the side. That would work.

So who wins?

I'll do an individual review on each of these, but here's break down:

Taste - CE2 r4.

By a nose over the Vortex, but the difference is there. The CE2 r4 just works better, more consistently putting the right amount of juice on the atomizer and producing a solid taste with little or no interference. It's not for every juice, but for most, the CE2 r4 wins the tasty battle out of this lot.

Vapor - CE2 r4

"Plumes" is the only way to describe it. Even with my good old regular MBro/USA Mix PG juice, it easily produced more vapor on the CE2 r4 than the other two cartos.  Sometimes the difference was very slight, particularly with juice loaded with VG. But on many of the juices I tried, in particular mostly PG stuff, the CE2 r4 won out hands down.

Ease of Use - Vortex

Pop open the cap, filler her up, vape. It doesn't get any easier than that! Sure there's a few bugs to work out, but for easy, the Vortex blows away anything I've seen. Not just these two, but anything. With a little tweaking, this is the future of cartomizers right here folks.

Design - Vortex

It's sleek, clean design and easy to use features make the Vortex a cutting edge cartomizer. They look wicked cool, as well.

Overall Winner - Original Kanger 808 Horizontal Cartomizer!

Wait! That's not a choice! Well... Unfortunately, none of these is enough of an improvement to get me to give up a good old Kanger Horizontal carto. They have their pluses, but the minuses are too much.

It's about the vaping. On all scores, none of these produce the convenience of an original carto. The Vortex has the most potential, and the CE2 r4 certainly has the flavor and vapor production. But screwing with them is more trouble than it's worth for me.

Oh, I'll keep trying them and messing with them. That's the fun part. But at this point, I can't just flat out recommend them as replacement. The newest and latest generation of filler-style cartos are vastly superior to those we were getting just a few months ago, and make it difficult to recommend making a full switch.

That said...

As much as I love the Vortex, it's still got a few tweaks before it's ready for prime time. The CE2 r4 is the better vaping experience out of this lot.. It might take a little practice to hit the sweet spot, but it's a Very Sweet Spot when you get there. The Vortex will be getting revisions soon, of course, and the G4 style cartos are starting to show up now (it's a Vortex, basically). Perhaps, those will do it.

In the meantime, if you're set on trying a CE2 carto, look for the CE2 r4 or r5 versions. They perform reasonably well and give great vapor and taste when they do perform.

Just don't be surprised if you find yourself ordering up a batch of Kanger or Boge filler-style cartos at the same time. Just in case.

Angel's Luck & Electric Dreams,

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Review: CE2 Clear XL Cartomizer

I've spent a month vaping on some CE2 Clearomizers and now feel nominally qualified to at least give my impressions. Well, sorta. They take some practice, that's for sure. Let me splain...

The CE2 cartomizer may be a pain-in-the-ass sometimes, but it really has revolutionized the cartomizer to a large extent.  Vapers either love them or hate them. They tend to have various problems, from slow wicks to leakage, that inspire tinkering deluxe. Despite any particular issues, though, they simply deliver a better vaping experience than traditional filler-style cartos.  When they work, that is.

I ordered a box of five Clear CL CE2s from one of my favorite vendors, Vapors Heaven, to put them to the test. You can get these from many places, of course (but buy them from VH anyway!). This is how it went.

As you can see from the pictures, these look wicked funky. Kind of complex, too, which explains the higher price over traditional filler cartos.

Disassembled CE2 Carto

Looking at the picture*, we have:

1. Mouth piece.
2. Silcone cap.
3. Atomizer/filler cap.
4. Atomizer.
5. Center air tube/post.
6. Wicks.
7. Conductor wires.
8. Base connector (808).
9. Plastic tube casing.

* The CE2 on the left has been slightly modified with it's wicks trimmed and the filler cap removed. We'll get to modding so they work better in a separate post.

First thing you'll notice is the atomizer coil is up at the top instead of at the bottom or running through the filler. Of coure, the next thing one notices is... there's no filler.  Instead there are two wicks that are looped into the atomizer cap that feed the e-juice into the atomizer. Pretty slick, right?  Yup.

You pour in the juice using a syringe, screw the carto onto the bat, and blast off.

Seems pretty simple.  And for the most part, it is.  What could possibly go wrong?

Plenty. Unfortunately.

The first problem is juice flow. Depending on the juice you're vaping, it can be a big problem. Heavily VG based juices just don't wick well, so the atty goes dry pretty quick. Take a puff and you get that nasty dry atty taste. Most unpleasant. Even some PG liquids I tried just didn't wick well in the CE2.

Second up, these guys just seem to get hot real fast. The atty will burn the crap out of your juice. My fully charged VGo has to settle down a bit before these cartos are even usable.  Had the same problem vaping on a regular old KR 808-D1 bat, as well.

This is surprising for a 3.0-3.2 carto.  The VGo and 808D-1 aren't regulated, so they'll supposedly range from 3.4 (or so) to 4.2V. Grated, part of it is learning to vape on a new style of carto and you might have more success using a regulated or variable voltage mod to find a sweet spot. Just don't take a big honking pull on these.

Thirdly (which is apparently really a word), they can break and leak. The clear CE2s are made of a plastic tube casing. This is not a carto you can just jam in your pocket and go.  They're fine in a case, but leaving it attached to your bat is asking for trouble.

Finally, they're a pain-in-the-ass to fill and clean. I just can't get into carrying around a syringe with me. Bad idea. Can you say trip to HR? I knew you could.

Granted, at home when no one's watching, just plunge in the pipette and fill 'er up. No big deal. Still... As for cleaning, you've got to take it completely apart, then figure out how to get it back together and reseal it to the connector without it leaking all over you. Not fun.

With all that said...  what's the good news?

If you've been vaping solely on generic cartos (I'm looking at you Boge) then the CE2 Clear is a dream. It'll just change the way you enjoy your juices. Nice clean flavors, and big piles of vapor. Can't go wrong with that!

These work best with PG juices that are a bit thinner. I just couldn't get pure VG juices to wick properly in these CE2s even with the various mods that are suggested (see YouTube). If you try it, ya might need to water them down a bit to avoid that lovely taste o' burnt atty. Gak. Several of the 80/20 PG/VG and 70/30s I tried worked pretty well.

Don't suck. I mean don't pull on it hard. Wait, I mean... oh hell just vape it gently and mostly it's fine.

I think this is about a close as you can get vaping directly off an atty with a cartomizer. Despite it being finicky with voltage and heavy juices. With no filler material to mess with, the juice wicks up to the atty clean, which produces superior flavor and vapor, if you can find the right e-juice to put in it.

Are the CE2 Clear XLs worth the trouble?

For me? No.

They're good, but there's better things out there (such as the CE2 r4). For the modest improvement and price increase (almost $1 more each), I can stick with plain Kanger cartos and get a lot of vaping for my buck. And put just about any juice a like in them.

I can whole hardheadedly recommend trying a CE2 carto. It might just be your thing. It might be perfect for your juice. It's definitely something you'll want to try for yourself. Particularly if you prefer to drip, but sometimes need the convenience of a carto. If you hit the sweet spot, you'll never go back to filler-style cartos.

Angel's Luck & Electric Dreams,