Friend or Faux – Five Liquids Reviewed
Update and Correction!
Turns out I goofed on something! These liquids are 60/40, but with this line, that’s VG first, not PG. I’m so used to seeing PG, then VG, on the label that I missed it. So these liquids are 60 VG, 40 PG.
Friend or Faux. You know, it’s usually the name that’s the very first thing to catch my eye when it comes to a new brand of eliquid. In the case of this brand, that was certainly true. I like a good nugget of wordplay.
Let me put this out there, going into this review, that this is a premium brand. I’ll touch on each individual reason why I say that throughout this review, but for the TL;DR crowd, there you are. This is a line of premium eliquids.
Testing Notes and Common Characteristics
Each of the five liquids I reviewed were tested in a variety of AD’s (atomizing devices), from the run-of-the-mill Kanger 510 cartomizer to the SMOK GBC to Aspire and X.Jet Vivi Novas. All of these ADs were powered by a SMOK Galileo plus Kick 2 outputting approximately 8.5 – 9 watts.
All five of the Friend or Faux liquids I tested came in at 6mg (0.6%) nicotine strength and boast a PG/VG ratio of 60/40 favoring VG. The fact that all five liquids share a common PG/VG ratio contributes to some attributes that all five liquids share, which I’ll describe now.
First, all five liquids are extremely pale in hue, the darkest being a very pale gold and the lightest being entirely clear. All five are free of any particulates or occlusion of any kind, which speaks to an extremely high level of purity.
Additionally, all five show minimal ripple effects in the rotation test, which is a testament to their VG content, which is on the heavier (not the lighter) side of medium; another effect of the PG/VG ratio is that the nose and flavor of each liquid is particularly potent in the bottle, but more mellow in the vape, while the throat hit of each, even at 6%, is surprisingly satisfactory for someone like me who tends to vape 18-24mg liquids throughout the day.
The presentation of Friend or Faux eliquids is centered on a very strong “retro” theme, specifically late 19th to early 20th century medicinal products. This holds true from the iconography and language choices of the web site to bottling.
When it comes to the bottle in hand, the shape of the bottle itself continues the retro medical theme by resembling a small (30ml) flask in size and shape, composed of amber glass. Moving to the label, we see that it echoes the late 19th century iconography and typeface shown on the web site, with the additional, subtle stylistic touch that the label for each of the five distinct liquids bears a different central icon.
Moving from the artistic to the practical, the labeling doesn’t skimp there, either. The face bears the brand, “Friend Or Faux”, just over the subtitle, “Quality E-Liquids”. Beneath that, in the center, is each liquid’s own icon. For example, with “Old Tyme Sarsaparilla”, we see an oak barrel. Below the icon is the name of the liquid.
Turning the bottle counterclockwise to examine the left hand panel, we see the particulars of the eliquid — from left to right: Nicotine level, PG/VG Ratio, then — quite the pleasant surprise — Batch number. I happen to be sampling from Batch Number 001.
Below that is the web site URL, http://friendorfauxeliquids.com.
Rotating the bottle clockwise until we see the right hand panel, we’re treated to an ingredients list, beneath which is an advisory to keep this product away from children and pets and a further warning that nicotine is poisonous if ingested.
The overall impression holds from beginning to finish in the presentation, and it’s an almost anti-marketing which I find to be quite clever and appealing. What I mean by “anti-marketing” is that, seemingly in opposition to the hyper-trendy “this is not your grandpa’s <x>!” exclamation which is implicit in most products and explicit in a few, the creators of Friend or Faux seem to be presenting the idea, “This would have been your grandpa’s eliquid!”
There’s something at once new and familiar, cozy yet cutting edge, in that statement. I quite like it, and I suspect that many of you will, too.
Dr. Hood’s Toffee Delight
Friend or Faux Says: “Do we have a toffee, you ask? Lad, we trained our whole lives to face that very question. The multi-faceted graham cracker-infused flavor we developed as an answer is considered in rarified circles to be the history’s finest toffee, breathable or otherwise. With tones of graham cracker, cream and vanilla our toffee is deep, savory and utterly delicious.”
One of the very first things you’re likely to notice about Friend or Faux eliquids is the unparalleled complexity evident from the very first inhalation of the nose of the liquid in the bottle. This complexity is really something special, and it’s one of the top reasons why I think of this as a premium brand.
To give you an example of what I’m talking about, let’s begin with Dr. Hood’s Toffee Delight. What you read up there in the description from the creators of this liquid isn’t just slick advertising copy. It’s not just pretty words selected and arranged to sell eliquid. It is honest to God true. And I can detect not only the cumulative flavor created by the combination — I can taste each and every flavor named there.
When it comes to most brands, when I vape a liquid that’s a fusion of flavors, I wind up experiencing one of three effects:
*The entire thing is a muddled, jumbled-up mishmash.
*One of the component flavors so dominates the others that it’s really all I taste, with the others maybe coming in as an aftertaste post-exhale.
*The component flavors are all well blended, but so indistinct individually that I only taste the combination, not the components.
Then there are premium brands like Bird’s Nest Elixirs, Cyclops Vapor and Five Pawns, where I can taste both the parts and the sum of those parts simultaneously. Friend or Faux has joined the ranks of those premium brands, and Dr. Hood’s Toffee Delight is my first proof.
Aside from the buttery, rich graham cracker, the light, sweet cream, and the contrasting just-slightly-savory sweetness of the vanilla, I also get the entire fusion of those components into the best robust/sweet vape I’ve ever had. It’s for that reason that this eliquid scores itself an Angel.
Old Tyme Sarsaparilla
Friend or Faux Says: “Back when men were men and women were women, we drank real soft drinks. This balanced, deep flavor will scratch your thirst for old-school root beer flavor so thoroughly you just might find yourself shaving with a straight-razor tomorrow morning. Old Tyme Sarsaparilla is a rich creamy root beer flavor with undertones of vanilla and sassafras – it’s everything you want a classic root beer vape to be, but couldn’t find before.”
What the description doesn’t tell you — which makes it fun that I get to — is that, as with Dr. Hood’s Toffee Delight, there’s a whole fusion of component flavors going on here that all add up to a classic Sarsaparilla. But, with respect to the gents who created this vape, I’m not entirely sure they realized that the component flavors that add up to “classic root beer” in their eliquid are the same component flavors that add up to the classic root beer flavor of the liquid kind.
Or, who knows? Maybe they are aware. Anyway, now’s my chance to make you aware of it, so here goes:
What we have in the component flavors of this vape are licorice, vanilla, and molasses. And the truly awesome thing about Old Tyme Sarsaparilla is that you can detect each of these, individually, even as you indulge in the combination adding up to what is in my opinion one of the very best root beers I’ve ever tasted.
For me, the benchmark of root beers is Barq’s — which is really, really tough to find here in Arizona, at least in the Phoenix Metro valley. In my opinion, Barq’s is the only one that gives the anise/licorice component its fair share of consideration — and Old Tyme Sarsaparilla does the same. So if you like your “root beer” with a little more bite — this is a premium liquid with your name all over it.
Orange Glaze Sticky Roll
Friend or Faux Says: “Gone are the days of unsophisticated pedestrian pastries, friend. Wrap your lungs around a deep, complex confectionery delight with pleasant hints of citrus and coconut. It’s as our grandfathers said – A sticky roll is a gentleman’s cinnamon roll.”
This one, ladies and gentlemen, is a real treat. Now, I have to confess that I don’t detect the coconut that’s mentioned as a separate component in the overall combination. I do pick up a nutty note in there, but to me it comes through as walnut.
What I will say is that the combination of warm, buttery sweetness and the light zip of the citrus is just amazing. I’ll be looking to Orange Glaze Sticky Roll when autumn and winter roll around again, because this is the perfect vape to go with breakfast or after dinner coffee on a crisp, dark morning or evening. This one gets an Angel.
Peachy Keen Ginger Tea
Friend or Faux Says: “When there is a chill in the air, what could be better than a nip of something warm to take the edge from the cold? In the name of improving brisk mornings and cold winter’s nights, Friend or Faux blend the freshest and juiciest of ripe peach flavors with the clean bite of ginger to create a tea that both can’t be forgotten and can – and must – be inhaled.”
This one really blows me away, and yet I have to confess that, subjectively, it’s probably my least favorite in the lineup. Yet, let me reiterate this for emphasis: I say that entirely subjectively. This flavor is as masterfully blended as all the others; it’s simply that peach and ginger aren’t a combination that appeals to me personally.
And let me further add: …yet. I’m the same guy who, three months ago, couldn’t stand the flavor of anise/licorice, didn’t even like to vape it. And that’s changed. Tastes are subjective and, more importantly, they evolve.
So while the expertly balanced blend of sweet Georgia peach and the tangy, borderline-bitter bite of real ginger root doesn’t add up to something I’ll find myself craving right now, I’ll keep on keepin’ on with it and see if it doesn’t just grow on me.
What you get on the first whiff of the nose is just what the description promises — peachy sweet, yet with a bright, sparking tangy note right there shoulder to shoulder beside that sweetness.
On the inhale, the two notes remain side by side, as if they’re running a race down into the lungs — and yes, I do get a faint but discernible lung hit from this one even at 6mg strength. The exhale seems to drop the ginger off to emerge with just that ripe, juicy peach flavor.
Overall, this is an extremely satisfying vape. It’s just gonna take me some time to get to the point where I crave that flavor combination.
Strawberries & Cream Milkshake
Friend or Faux Says: “Take my advice, friend, and grab the ear of your favorite aethereal soda-jerk. Don’t let go until he rewards you by pouring a delicious glass of this marvelously refreshing blend of the ripest, sweetest strawberries and the smoothest cream. You will find his reddened ear and your perseverance well rewarded indeed.”
My first whiff of the nose on this brought me that sensation of subtlety I got from Dr. Hood’s Toffee Delight. This is another vape that is far from overpowering, yet still quite pleasing to the senses.
The inhale remains subtle, with succulent, half-sweet, half-tart ripe strawberry lurking under a layer of sweet heavy cream, taking me back to a dessert I had once as a very young boy one sweltering Texas afternoon.
The exhale keeps that same balance and intensity, making this vape consistent all the way through the puff, with a soft but solid throat hit. This is full, rich yet smooth “comfort food” in vape form, and I can’t recommend it highly enough as a vape for those rare and precious still, contemplative moments during the evening. This one, too, gets an Angel.
Recommendation & Conclusion
Right now, Friend or Faux eliquids can be had at Butt-Out retail locations throughout the Phoenix Metro area. You can find them at:
- Butt Out Phoenix
708 E Virginia Ave
Phoenix, AZ 85006
- Butt Out Mill
401 S Mill Ave
Tempe, AZ 85281
- Butt Out Express
6610 N 47th Ave Suite #5
Glendale, AZ 85301
Please Call for Express hours
Each 30ml bottle goes for the very reasonable asking price of $23.00, and in my learned opinion, this a premium eliquid worth every single penny of its asking price. Do I recommend Friend or Faux? You bet I do, and how!