The word premium has become a frequently used term when referencing high quality e-liquids in the electronic cigarette industry. The words have become so common place that it is hard to differentiate what is really a premium e-Liquid versus one that is just being called a premium.
There are many reasons why a line may be called premium e-liquid. Some companies use premium e-liquid to define elaborate concoctions that layer flavors. Some companies use premium e-liquid to identify juices that are steeped under unique circumstances that provide a distinctive flavor. Some companies use premium e-liquid to classify lines that have ornate packaging and designs. Most commonly, premium designates e-liquid lines that represent high quality ingredients, with consideration for crafting process, package design, and specialization. We want to focus on what really goes into a premium e-Liquid.
This the most important part. Ingredients in premium e-Liquids should be the best stuff available. There is some debate about what constitutes the best stuff, but there are some obvious points to make. Vegetable Glycerin and Propylene Glycols should be food and pharmaceutical grade, and industrial grades should never be used, in e-Liquids. Further those ingredients should be screened for their quality. Propylene Glycol can be based a couple different ways, it can be coconut based, or palm based, this is an important factor when it comes to quality and the possibility of allergic reaction.
Flavorings is where quality can be compromised among the ingredients. Many electronic cigarette companies, manufacture their own flavorings and many others outsource their flavorings from suppliers who have more experience handling flavorings. In either case, flavorings should be screened for several things such as:
How strong is the flavor? does it need dilution? Is the flavor profile weak? Premium juice lines should have pretty potent flavor profiles, in the finished product, unless the specialize in lighter flavor varieties. The e-Liquids should have plenty of flavor for the user to taste, though, sometimes companies can fall short on this and the outcome is weaker liquids that have little to no notable flavor.
How does the flavoring affect atomizers, tanks, plastics, and on skin? Premium liquids should have a positive reactivity. Although, there are some limits as some flavorings can be highly acidic naturally, it is sought after to produce flavorings and e-liquids that do not break down plastics, destroy atomizers, or burn the skin when contact is made. A few flavors that are naturally a bit difficult to work with in this area are cinnamon, wintergreen, and pineapple.
How is the flavoring made? Is it naturally derived or artificially derived? Are there questionable additives such as Diacetyl or Acetylpropionyl? It is not new news that diacetyl has been discovered in many e-Liquids and flavor lines and its presence in e-Liquid is cause for concern. The presence of diacetyl may not be intentional or even present at the time the liquid was manufactured. In some cases, diacetyl can still develop in the liquids due to it being naturally occuring in natural flavorings. It is important to ask if a company uses flavorings that contain added diacetyl or even naturally occuring diacetyl so you can be informed about the products you are using. We tend to believe high quality e-Liquids are free from added Diacetyl but there is a strive for them to be free of naturally occuring diacetyl as well. Though, the discovery of which flavorings can result in naturally occuring diacetyl will take time some time.
Steeping and Freshness
Does the flavoring lose potency when it steeps? Does the flavor gain a more robust flavor profile after steeping. This is very much up to each individual's personal preferences. Some companies specialize in fresh made premium e-Liquids, while others work strictly with flavors that undergo a steeping process. Each consumer is different, some prefer fresh made e-Liquids and others prefer a steeped variety. We find that we specialize in fresh mixed e-Liquids, we want the liquids to taste great from the get go, and only develop into more robust flavors with time. Ultimately our goal is to leave it up to our clients and offer both worlds.
How does the flavor blend with Propylene Glycol, Vegetable Glycerin, or ethyl alcohol? Will the flavor separate? This is important, because Premium e-Liquids should not come with a lot of work, you shouldn't have to worry about remixing your bottle every time you pick it up. Premium lines should have a well blended miscible liquid as the outcome and should not separate easily. There are a few flavors that are known to separate and require extra care to make sure the are blended before vaping, cinnamon and wintergreen are known to separate after being mixed.
Is the flavor colored with food coloring? Does it change color after mixing? This is a more minor thing to look at, but color can be important too. Some darker flavors can develop into thicker sludge looking flavorings and no one wants that. They can also stain tanks, and ghost in an atomizer. There tends to be a preference for lightly colored and mostly transparent liquids.