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Thread: Tips for testing flavours

  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Judi View Post
    No practicability...
    Oh Jenny, Jenny , Jenny , Judi .. how many times do you have to be banned .... Vendors posting crap in threads to legitimise their account and pretending to be ordinary members just don't cut the mustard ... this is why HelloCig (*cough cough ) probably wont get business from here and most certainly not from me
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  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by fabricator4 View Post
    Thought I'd put this here for new DIY'ers and experienced folks who are having trouble working with new concentrates.

    I find a systematic approach is very useful for testing individual concentrates because it removes a lot of the uncertainty. This in turn also helps you to understand each concentrate much better and will help immensely when you get to the formulation stage. Surprisingly it also helps a lot with ideas on what formulations will work well. You'll find yourself getting a lot more ideas on how to use the flavour by testing; ideas that would not have come to you off the top of your head.

    Make a working solution
    The first thing I do is make a working solution of unflavoured e-liquid. This has the correct PG/VG ratio that I like to vape at, but I'll typically make the nicotine content much weaker. The tendency is to vape much more frequently when you are testing, and you really don't need to overdose on nicotine. A bout of nausea can really ruin your perception of a flavour.

    Accuracy/Calibration
    The problem with testing small amounts is that it's very difficult to be accurate. It's becoming more common these days to use very accurate digital scales, however a properly calibrated drop system will be more accurate for small batch testing- you'll see why shortly. Drops are only inaccurate if you have not bothered to calibrate your system, so it's vital to do the following excercise.

    Using the smallest syringe you have that will measure at least two ml (2.5ml syringes are ideal), hold your finger over the hole and count drops pf PG into the syringe until it reads 2ml. Halve the number, and this is how many drops you get per ml. You do two ml because it doubles your accuracy, and it's important to use the same type of dripper that is on the concentrate bottle. You maybe surprised to find that the results change depending on a few variable factors like the diameter and shape of the dripper, temperature, viscosity and even the person doing the dripping. It's important to re-check the value if the variables change. When I test mine right now it comes out to 43 drops/ml and that's what I'll use for the examples here. Technically you should test drop the concentrate itself but I'd consider this wasteful and unnecessary - just use plain PG.

    About sample size - mixing a useful sample
    The sampling we do must give us useful information about the strength of the flavour. To calibrate the sample I've found it useful to work to one drop being equivalent to 1% of the batch. This is a good compromise between speed, accuracy and economy. In my example of 43 drops to the ml, one drop would be 1% in 2.32ml of e-liquid. (100/43 = #mls). Note that one drop is 0.024gm, a quantity this tiny is impossible for all small digital scales to measure accurately. As stated, it's actually more accurate to use drops if you do it correctly.

    All you need to do then is put 2.3ml of the working solution into your test bottle, then add 1 drop of concentrate for 1% solution. I recommend starting at 2%. This is then shaken well and tested on a dripping atty, however if you have a specific tank device you use for testing then you have enough solution to do this.

    Nothing is Equal...
    There's a wide variation in the strength of flavourings. Some of the traditional flavour companies that have been around since I started vaping produce a few flavours that are too strong at 1%. Basically if you take the cap off the the bottle and can smell it at 10 paces on a windy day, you know that starting at less than 1% may be a good idea. This is not usual but it's something you need to watch out for. A lot of other flavourings will be used at around 2-5%, and in the case of some of the newer companies making budget and easy to use concentrates, 10% is certainly not out of the question. I would not recommend going straight to 10% even for these - beyond a certain point adding more flavour does not make it better, and in some cases it can make it much worse. For lots of reasons it's a good idea to find out where the "only just enough" point is for you. This will help you formulate flavours later - combining them to achieve what you are after instead of having one overly strong flavour that ruins everything else you are trying to do.

    Take notes!
    When testing you may be able to remember the results from one or two tests very easily. As you do more testing during the day though, it can get a lot harder. Keep notes on the results that you can refer to later. You might come back to the flavours in a few months time, and this may be very helpful. A few thoughts on the flavour can really jog your memory later.

    It's on the nose
    Our sense of taste is really quite poor, only being able to differentiate gross flavours like salty, bitter, sweet, sour etc. Our noses on the other hand are capable of detecting much more subtle nuances and are much more important in the sense of "taste" than most people realise. Keep this in mind as you test and do nose exhales and sample the vapour at the back of the throat. Only evaluating a flavour on the inhale across your tongue is a big mistake.

    Take your time
    Beware of flavour fatigue and other problems when you are testing. Certain flavours will also mask others so that you can inadvertently think that you need to mix them very strong. Don't make any rushed decisions about whether a flavour needs to be increased or decreased. Plenty of DIY efforts have been messed up through trying to achieve too much too quickly. Experience will help a lot, but early on you need to be very careful. If you decide that a flavour needs to be increased, mix a fresh batch at the new strength, and come back to it later.

    Have something to drink while you are testing. Plain water is good, or a little fruit juice. Anything that will refresh your palate and keep you hydrated. I find tonic water, coffee, and cocoa useful too depending on what I am testing. If you notice that flavours are starting to be a little muted you've reached your limit. Give it a rest for a while.

    Less is more
    This is an often quoted phrase in DIY. A common mistake is to mix flavours too strong. This might be due to testing flavours while you can't taste them - you don't realise that you've made something truly revolting until next day when you get stuck at work with only your new creation, and you absolutely hate it. Increasing flavours can magnify their bad points to the point where you can't bear it. I understand the desire for extremely strong flavours which are more of an experience in themselves, I sought the same kind of experience when I started. It's not necessarily the best approach for most people; subtle beats sledge hammer most of the time.

    I do understand that some people have very muted senses of taste or smell. Smoking causes it to some degree which is why your senses of taste and smell change so much when you start vaping exclusively. For those that do have problems in this area but want to get some flavour out of the vape, you may want to go for higher concentrations even in testing. I suggest start at 4% and go from there.

    Accuracy (or, you F'd it up...)
    The astute among you would have realised that in my description of mixing the test sample there's an inherent inaccuracy in the procedure. 2.32ml plus 2 drops is actually closer to 2.4 ml therefore the concentration is a minute amount less than 2%. You'll also notice I dropped the 0.02 off the end of the quantity of working solution. The truth is that syringes aren't accurate enough to measure to two decimal places, and that inaccuracy is far greater than the two drops. I did round the amount of working solution down for this reason too. It might be slightly more of a problem if you are testing an 8% or 10% solution, so if that bothers you measure the correctly calculated working solution into the bottle, or just drip the 8 or 10 drops out of the bottle before you add the concentrate.

    Accuracy Revisited
    So it really is import to be accurate, especially if it's not going to cost you too much money or time to do so. If you already have a set of scales by all means use them to measure your working solution into the bottle. Doing this for the larger amount of WS will be far more accurate than using a syringe which is usually only accurate to +/ 0.1ml. I usually mix the working solution in batches of 30ml or larger.
    HI ,FAB-4 ,A great Post & most helpfull ,To me anyway as a NEWBIE to VAPING,, Very informative THANKS,,BARRY..
    Hi,life is too short,SO DO NOT WAIT TO SEE THE LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL,STRIDE DOWN THERE AND LIGHT THE DAMN THING YOURSELF..

  3. #13
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    Thanks Barry, glad you found it useful. It also reminds me that I haven't added anything to it for a while, so I might make some notes in the placeholder message above.
    Chris: Tobacco free since 17:00 15th March 2013.

  4. #14
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    On new flavours I always start with this introductory process.

    I first place my bottles on my shaker pad for 1 minute.

    Shot Glass or tiny shallow cup/bowl - 10 drops of 50/50 PG-VG. Much better than using plain water imo, more realistic.
    I single drop of flavour and Mix around with pipette or similar. (Double all if you wish)

    Inhale - take notes on what you sense about the flavour.
    Place single drop on tongue and follow up with more notes. Open mouth and inhale too.
    ADD 0.5 ml (10 drops) of DW or filtered water. Swirl around in mouth.
    You may wish to adjust the qty's. Never make it too rich though, best to keep on the subtle side.

    Before I even use an RDA (I use a Magma), I like to get acquainted with my flavours this way. I also check using clearomisers such as the Evods.
    Make as many notes as you can and think about what other flavours may go with.

    Edit: Forgot to mention that you may wish to try above using DW or Filtered, at times it's nice to get a comparison.
    Flavour isn't subjective but how we perceive it can be.
    Last edited by charles Vaper; 05-02-17 at 01:38 PM.
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  5. #15
    Cat
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    Thanks for the tip. Shaker pad sounds nice.
    charles Vaper likes this.
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  6. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cat View Post
    Thanks for the tip. Shaker pad sounds nice.
    Yes, they're great for concentrates or e liquids. Agitation and time are the most important aspects to steeping imo. Don't want aeration or heat.

    Mods: Provari, Silver Bullet, Cool Fire 4 TC 18650, Cool Fire 4 Plus, Joyetech eVic VTwo Mini, iJoy RDTA Box.
    Starters: PockeX, eGo AIO, Endura's, MyJet Pod, SmartBox.
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    RDA: Vandy Vape Pulse 22, Magma Paradigm.

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    It's all about the juice..

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  7. #17
    Cat
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    Thank you for the pic, was going to ask but didn't want to impose. Much appreciated!

    Any suggestions as to the best place to find it locally (aside from evilbay?)
    Be Realistic. Plan for a Miracle.


    Quit smoking 22 Sep 16

  8. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cat View Post
    Thank you for the pic, was going to ask but didn't want to impose. Much appreciated!

    Any suggestions as to the best place to find it locally (aside from evilbay?)
    charles Vaper, Cat, emu and 1 others like this.
    Chris: Tobacco free since 17:00 15th March 2013.

  9. #19
    Cat
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    That's great. Even a vibrator would do the job if I had one, come to think of it. Much better price tag.
    emu and Sully like this.
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  10. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cat View Post
    That's great. Even a vibrator would do the job if I had one, come to think of it. Much better price tag.
    You left yourself open with the vibrator remark LOL. Pass... :-D

    I think his frequency is too high in the video. A larger concentric nut or a balance bar with a moveable weight might work better. That's the thing with DIY, you always learn something...
    Cat and Sully like this.
    Chris: Tobacco free since 17:00 15th March 2013.

 

 
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