Review: Bird’s Nest Elixirs
These eliquids were provided for review courtesy of Bird’s Nest Elixirs and Spinfuel eMagazine. It should be noted that, initially, the thoughts you’re about to read here were intended to be contributed toward the review that appeared on Spinfuel, which you can read here. Circumstances which are still largely behind the scenes played out in such a way that that didn’t happen.
One additional note: While Bird’s Nest Vapors advises a steep time of “about 10 days”, I just couldn’t wait that long. These liquids are already so good, practically right out of the mail, that I had a hell of a time resisting the urge to review them when they arrived the day before yesterday. So these impressions are what you might call “early days”, though I expect these liquids to simply keep getting even better.
Well, never mind all that; let’s begin, shall we?
Testing Notes & Common Characteristics
Each of the liquids I received from Bird’s Nest Elixirs weighs in at 24mg nicotine strength, with a 50/50 PG/VG ratio, with the exception of Lyric which boasts a 55/45 PG/VG ratio. All four liquids were tested in the Kidney Puncher Long-Barrel 510 dripping atomizer, which boasts a resistance of 1.5 ohms, and from an Innokin iClear 30 with a resistance of 2.1 ohms. Power came from a SMOKTech Galileo outputting an unregulated 3.7 volts, as well as an Innokin iTaste SVD outputting 8.5 watts.
Each of Bird’s Nest Elixirs comes in nicotine strengths of 0mg, 6mg, 12mg, 18mg, and 24mg. Additional strengths are available, according to Bird’s Nest’s FAQ, though additional strengths must be requested in the comments appended to each individual customer’s order during the checkout process.
Each of these liquids shares two specific performance characteristics in common, as well, so I’m going to discuss those here rather than rehash them for each liquid:
First is the visual vapor output. Let me cut to the chase: It’s monstrous. Improbably big bodied and dense as London fog, the vapor here is a cloud-chaser’s delight. To demonstrate:
And that was on an unregulated 3.7 volts powering a cheap pre-assembled dual-coil RDA. No microcoils, no high wattage, no bells nor whistles happening there.
The throat hit, at 24mg, is likewise serious stuff. I found it to be almost too strong with both Fanfare and Maestro. On all four liquids, it comes on very quickly, and with a force that ranges from, “Ah, there it is” to “God damn!” These liquids can turn lackluster clearomizers like the original Protank into competent delivery devices, and can turn really good clearomizers like the Aspire or X.Jet models into hit-it-and-done monsters.
The presentation of any eliquid sold online, naturally, begins online. So let me take a moment to tell you what I see when I look at the online home of Bird’s Nest Elixirs: I see a site that, first of all, just calls out to the Steampunk aficionado, from the logo featuring what appears to be a young lady in a top hat surrounded by filigree, to the keys-and-gears motif of the page borders. Navigation through the site is quick and intuitive, making the selection of the consumer’s preferred liquid a quick and easy process.
Moving to the presentation as expressed in the bottling, I am suitably satisfied by what I see here. As an example:
This is precisely the kind of bottling I like. The quality of the dripper cap is competent, the clear glass preserves the freshness of the liquid within as well as making the monitoring of how much is left in the bottle a cinch.
But the labeling is equally important, and Bird’s Nest Elixirs has this nailed. In keeping with the Steampunk theme of their online home, the labeling manages to be both ornate and clean simultaneously. The information offered on the label is the most important consideration, though, and this is where these guys went an extra step that most places don’t.
The label does, of course, feature the company’s branding, the name of the liquid, and the nicotine strength. But where it goes the extra mile is not only in a “Born On” date but a suggested expiration date. That’s a nice extra touch.
Bird’s Nest Elixirs Says: “An intoxicating burley tobacco blend featuring the bold flavor of bourbon. But we didn’t stop there… hazelnut and blueberry playfully dance around in the mid-notes adding to your vaping pleasure. Designed to be an “All Day Vape” for those who want a satisfying but not overpowering flavor.”
(Please note: At the time of this post, Fanfare is sold out. But if you keep an eye on it, it should return to availability soon. -JC)
Fanfare greets the eye with a pale champagne hue. While there is a touch of occlusion in the liquid, this could simply be the result of the fact that the liquid is still in the process of steeping. The rotational test shows me clear evidence of this liquid’s 50/50 PG/VG ratio, with smooth ripple effect and a clean horizon.
The nose from Fanfare is certainly an interesting creature. The fusion of tobacco, bourbon, hazelnut, and blueberry comes through, on the nose, as something more closely resembling a warm, rich cookie or muffin impression. Very pleasant, closer to sweet than semisweet, but — at least for now — the nose doesn’t really allow for differentiation between the various flavor components. This is a well-blended liquid.
Moving on, you’ve seen the visual vapor output demonstrated. Flavor carriage in the vapor is minimal and, like the nose, is predominantly that sweet bakery profile. Vaping this around nonsmokers or nonvapers should get you no complaints. This is due in large part to the fact that, while there is a tobacco component to the aroma of the vapor, it’s so well blended with rich, creamy sweetness that the predominant impression should reasonably be inoffensive to anyone.
And on the subject of that flavor: everything in it is something I like. And unlike on the nose, where the blending is so thorough and so perfectly balanced that I can’t discern one component from the others, each one stands out equally when I take a drag.
On the inhale, I get that rich, dry burley sweetened just a touch by the bourbon. The bourbon seems to be on the woodsy side only lightly sweetened by vanilla notes, as if one had just taken a sip of something like <link>Knob Creek Single Barrel Reserve</link>.
On the exhale is where I pick up the mostly-sweet, slightly-tart flavor of ripe blueberries along with that creamy hazelnut. The nose may be simple, but this flavor is beautifully well-rounded and deeply complex.
Bird’s Nest says they designed this to be an All Day Vape, and by the gods, they have done exactly what they set out to do.
Bird’s Nest Elixirs says, “A delicate and sophisticated green tea with nuances of strawberry and lychee.”
In the bottle, this liquid shows off a color comparable to the source of its primary flavor, Green Tea. A light summer green in hue, it is entirely free of particulates and occlusion. The movement in the rotational test indicates its 55/45 PG/VG ratio with a diminished ripple effect and slightly more even horizon.
Lyric is really something unique in the field of my experience with eliquids. I’ve tried only one other that was along the same basic flavor profile of Green Tea; that was Mountain Oak Vapors’ “Tranquili-Tea”, which appears to have been retired at the time of this writing.
But where Tranquili-Tea mated green tea to the flavors of raspberry and pomegranate, Lyric fuses green tea with strawberry and lychee. So how does that work out on the nose? On the nose, the lychee takes a slight lead over the green tea, while strawberry lingers in the shadows. There’s a difficulty in this, though — lychee doesn’t taste quite like anything else.
While that’s true of most fruits — nothing tastes quite like an orange, other than orange, for example — the flavor of lychee isn’t quite as universally understood as that of orange, either. It’s mostly sweet with just a hint of tartness to it. Perhaps it could be described as “the anti-grapefruit.”
Because of this, the flavor carriage on this vapor seems to strike me, and those who helped me test this particular attribute, as being strikingly similar to strawberry lemonade. Certainly an interesting bit of feedback, as you’ll see in a moment, but in practical terms it simply means that the vapor from this liquid is unlikely to provoke any objections in nonsmoking and nonvaping company.
The reason why it’s so interesting to hear “strawberry lemonade” when I ask second-hand testers about the scent of the vapor is that, just as is the case on the nose, the strawberry plays a very minimal part in the flavor, as well.
Speaking of the flavor, the green tea component really steps up on the exhale to join the strong lychee presence. On the other hand, strawberry still hangs back like the shy kid at the dance, even on the exhale where the subtler flavor components generally come out more strongly in flavor fusions.
This is a flavor I would definitely recommend for a warmer temperature, as it brings a nice overall sense of refreshment. It would go well with just about any cold drink that isn’t carbonated.
Bird’s Nest Elixirs says: “A blended coffee that is not overpowering. Warm, rich hazelnut balances the robust coffee with a touch of vanilla swirled in to further soften everything a bit. A dash of wintertime spices were mixed in to make this your go to morning treat without the calories. This flavor is meant to be a softer take on coffee.”
The color of Maestro is a deep amber bordering on orange, with mild occlusion that is, as noted previously, probably related to the fact that the liquid is still steeping. The rotational test is identical to that of Fanfare, displaying the strong but smooth ripple effect which generally attends any 50/50 PG/VG liquid.
The nose on Maestro is something of a mystery to me. I don’t exactly detect coffee in it at all, but I do detect the combination of sweetness that typically accompanies hazelnut coffee with a little cream and sugar.
On the flavor, the coffee does come through, though it’s still quite subtle. The hazelnut is what dominates the inhale, while the vanilla and spices add up to a surprisingly eggnog-like flavor on the exhale.
To be honest, I was very surprised to find myself sort of let down with this one. It’s not that it’s bad — in fact, the flavor is really very good. It just seems to me that the flavor could be more present than it is. With a flavor profile this mellow, the strength of the flavor could stand to be dialed up a notch.
Bird’s Nest Elixirs Says: “Smooth and satisfying pipe tobacco blend with a bold punch juicy ripe orange, a subtle hint of anise followed by a touch of vanilla to round things out a bit.”
Uproar. Well, damn, what a name, and oh, boy, how this liquid earns it. I was predisposed to dislike this liquid from the moment I read the description and saw that it features anise. Anise, to me, usually translates to, “tastes like black licorice”. Black licorice happens to be one of my least favorite flavors, and I mean ever.
I was in for a surprise. But let’s take it note for note.
In the bottle, Uproar is a deep, dark red, although it’s only a middle-of-the-road gold in the dropper. There does seem to be that same significant occlusion happening here as with the other three, which I’m still — at this time — going to optimistically put up to that need for more steeping.
The motion tests are also well in line with the other three, so we’ll skip that at this point.
The nose I get from Uproar was my first pleasant surprise — the play between the bitterness of the anise and the sweetness of the orange adds up to orange peel. By itself not really an appetizing scent, I realize, but there’s also that robust pipe tobacco character right along with them, which elevates the combination from ‘orange peel’ to ‘orange pipe tobacco.’
I’ve never tried — or even heard of — an orange flavored pipe tobacco, although I’m sure that they’ve got to be out there. Vaping Uproar was for me an entirely new flavor experience. I’ve already covered visual vapor output, but I’ll add that I was once again blown away by that facet of Uproar. Just monstrous visual output happening here, and with a scent that is at once pleasant and perfectly organic. There’s nothing candy-like happening on any of these liquids.
But as so often happens, the flavor is where an eliquid is going to face its make-it-or-break-it moment with me. And here’s the surprise: I love this flavor. It’s not that I didn’t think I would — it’s that I was absolutely positive that I’d hate it. So to go from that preconception to its diametric opposite was the best kind of shock.
The pipe tobacco and orange come muscling in on the inhale. The pipe tobacco is dry and rich, while the orange is sweet and crisp. On the exhale, they stick around but are joined by the vanilla for added sweetness and a cream finish, with just that hint of bitter anise to keep the sweetness balanced and not cloying.
Uproar is, in my opinion, a strong candidate for an all-day vape, and I can easily envision myself enjoying this on a warm summer evening after sundown, basking in the new night breezes.
Recommendations & Conclusion
So what we have here are four liquids, ranging from ‘all right’ to ‘excellent’ in my personal opinion; among them is a surprise disappointment but also a surprise champ. On balance, I would give Bird’s Nest Elixirs a solid 10 out of 10, despite having a gripe about one out of four of their liquids, and here’s why:
Remember for a moment that all taste is subjective. While I would like the flavor in Maestro to be stronger, that’s because it’s a really good flavor. And while it may not be strong enough to satisfy me, it might be absolutely perfect for you. So let’s get to the individual recommendations:
Fanfare: If you are one who likes tobacco, I can practically guarantee that you’ll love this liquid. One of the best tobaccos I’ve tried this year, and I’ve tried quite a few.
Lyric: Sweet, just the right balance of tart, refreshing and delicious. I won’t be without it this summer.
Maestro: So close. So close to being a really strong contender in the coffee-based flavor segment. First hazelnut coffee flavor I’ve ever tried, and what there is of the flavor I love completely. I just wish there was more of that flavor.
Uproar: A surprise winner in my book. Rich tobacco, tangy orange, sweet vanilla and bitter anise combine to form a flavor that you just have to taste to understand and, when you do understand it, I can’t think of a single reason why you won’t love it.
You can get your hands on Bird’s Nest Elixirs at the individual links for each liquid named above, (Except for Fanfare, which as mentioned is sold out at the time of this writing), or explore their well designed site from scratch starting here.
Thanks for reading, and until next time, please remember to support this blog; do good work, and be good to yourselves and each other.