Sunday, June 16, 2013

Letters to Virginia Vapor: The Juice

My Dearest Virginia:

At long last we come to the pinnacle of our discussion about vaping; The Juice. It is the sweet nectar that brings us that which we most desire. The liquid pleasure that delivers the nicotine to quench our fire and still our raging minds. That it comes is such a wide variety of flavors to make the experience even more enjoyable is a delicious a bonus.

There are essentially three factors you should consider when selecting your juice. In order of least important to most they are the base, nicotine level, and flavor. All three require a small amount of experimentation to discover a blend that makes your vaping devine. Finding that perfect juice, however, is without doubt the most important part of vaping!

The base is most likely chosen for you, although there are some important reasons to consider seeking out different ones. The purpose of the base is to act as a carrier for the nicotine and flavoring.  Most juice is made from a base of propylene glycol, or PG, as it is known in vaping circles.

PG is a thick, liquid substance that is commonly found in many personal products you use every day, as well as the carrier for intravenous drugs in hospitals. It vaporizes nicely at relative low temperatures, as well, is completely harmless, and is thus used frequently in vape juice. Some people, however, do find it a throat irritant, particularly when they first begin vaping.

Common Vegetable Glycerin, or VG, is another oft used base. It's much thicker in viscosity than PG, but tends to vaporize smoother and is less irritating for many people. It is food safe and harmless, as well, and produces large amounts of vapor. It is quite fun to be walking fog machine.

Unfortunately, VG tends to dull flavorings and is terribly thick. It does not work well with juice delivery systems that rely on wicking, such as a tank or cartomizer. For pure VG applications, dripping is the preferred, and often only, method of vaping. Flavor boosters are also recommended.

Increasingly more common, these days, a combination of these two bases is used. PG to thin the juice and carry the flavoring, with a percentage of VG to enhance the vapor and "throat hit." For use in a tank system, I suggest 80% PG and 20% VG, though a 70/30 mix (such as yours truly prefers) works well.

The nicotine level of the juice is measured in milligrams (mg per part). The higher the mg rating, the more nicotine in the juice. A low nicotine juice would be in the 6 mg or 12 mg range. Medium would be 16 mg or 18 mg (my preference), and high would be around 24 mg.

Some enthusiasts actually go as high as 36 mg, but that is pushing it. Beyond that it becomes dangerous. In its diluted form nicotine provides a brain boost that is divine. In its more pure forms, nicotine is a deadly poison. Having been near you to some extent, this angel/devil dichotomy is not lost on me, I assure you.

Start with something in the medium range, say 18 mg, and move up or down based on your experience and preference. I find I like a little tingle in my vape, which the nicotine provides, though some prefer none and so go lower. Others prefer to have their eyeballs seared out. Disregard the rough equivalents you will find advertisers making. Such as one bottle of juice equals 10 packs of cigarettes. They are ludicrous, as your experience will quickly bare out.

Finally, my dear Virginia, we get to the good part. The tasty pleasure that is the juice. There is no one recommendation I can offer you. It is purely personal. As such, it takes a considerable amount of experimentation to settle on what vapers call their "go to juice" or "all day vape." Indeed, you may find several you enjoy. Variety is the spice, after all!

I grant you a few clues, however, to assist narrowing your search.

Start with flavors you already know you enjoy. Many people, myself included, like tobacco flavors and most start with these. They aren't for everyone, though. You'll also find fruits, drink (of the common and adult beverage varieties), spices, savory, and dessert flavors.  If you like blueberries, try blueberry. If you like cheesecake, try it.

Find a flavor you like and shop around. There are many vape shops in town, however they often only carry one or two of the chinese-made brands of liquids. While these are perfectly acceptable, there is an alternative juice scene that offers up tastes that are quite out of the ordinary.

Mostly found online, alternative juices are often created by some mad flavor genius. Like a demented DJ at a rave, these juice savants mix and blend some of the most unusual and delightful concoctions in the vaping world. They require a certain dedication to the process and a connoisseur's taste, but these juices take vaping to a whole new realm.

Many of these vendors offer sample sizes. Find a juice you enjoy and order it in the larger size. With every order try a different sample. You will get some that are horrid, but when you find that gem that tickles your tastebuds, it is well worth it. (And trade the unliked samples with friends and other vapers!)

Alas, my sweet Virginia, it is with this that we must end our discourse on vaping for now. It is my fondest hope that you will discover the joy, satisfaction, and better health that comes from vaping that I have. I long for and look forward to spending a quiet Summer's evening, sitting quietly, a cool tropical drink in hand, and vaping with you someday soon. We have much to talk about, and the soothing effect of a good vape will most certainly be a requirement!

I remain forever yours,


The above is a transcript of the second in a series of letters to a new and curious vaper, Virginia, and her diligent vaping suitor, Vaporous. The letters were found in an old shoebox in the attic of a recently renovated house and given into my possession by a friend. While they were in tattered shape, I have endeavored to reproduce the letters accurately and in their entirety. Any misrepresentations or errors are entirely my own. -Capt.

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