Two From EMS Vapes!
Every so often, I am privileged to find myself in a position to review a liquid produced right here in the Valley of the Sun. Such has been the case with Butt-Out eliquids, as well as with the premium label of Friend or Faux.
Today I am doubly privileged — not only do I find myself in the enviable position of reviewing liquids from right here in my own neighborhood, but I find myself breaking the very first news of these liquids to you, Dear Reader.
EMS Vapes is the creation of Mike Smith, a Phoenix local, and these are really some very finely crafted liquids.
I was fortunate enough to have a little Q&A with Mike Smith, the man behind EMS Vapes:
JC: Can you describe how you discovered vaping and what prompted you to make the switch?
MS: So far it has been simply going to shops in the Valley and giving samples. Word of mouth has reached a few folks. We are planning to hit the local meets every month with samples of our line, and new flavors as we come up with them. The Facebook group is relatively new, and will be getting more attention soon with a giveaway contest in the next few weeks.
MS: I hope to see it much the same as it is now, but with a bit more structure. I fear the idea of the FDA running things, but just a little less than I fear the idea that we really have no rules as it stands.
The package I received from EMS Vapes was the usual USPS priority box, just a plain white box, with the usual exterior signage. The bottles themselves were swaddled in bubble wrap within that box, which was a nice touch.
Each bottle is clear glass, which is going to allow more rapid oxidation of the liquid inside than either cobalt or amber glass — but when you’re like me, you like to put your eliquid to use the sooner the better, so the accelerated steeping that takes place with a liquid in clear glass bottling is a plus, not a minus.
Because these are early — perhaps even “pre-release” — samples, the labeling is a little off. Now, I don’t fault EMS Vapes for that, and I want to stress that you shouldn’t, either. These liquids are not quite ready for prime time, but what they do show me, at every step along this evaluation, is that they are nearly there.
Let’s get right back down to brass tacks, though; let me tell you what I see from these products at this early stage.
What I see from the labels is that there is a touch of inconsistency, right now. For example, the two liquids I have before me are ‘Banana Taffy’ and ‘Spearmint Berry Breeze’.
With ‘Banana Taffy’ the label has ‘EMS Vapes’, the name of the vendor, with both ‘EMS’ and ‘Vapes’ on the same line, up top, above the name of the liquid. With ‘Spearmint Berry Breeze’, on the other hand, ‘EMS’ is on top, then the name of the liquid, then ‘Vapes’ underneath the name of the liquid.
That’s not a major faux pas, but it is there, and so I have to make note of it. It’s a fairly usual and common ‘pre-release’ variance, actually — brands that are in the formative stage are just bound to do that — have label variations while they’re figuring out the label layout that looks the best.
What’s really important is the information conveyed by the label. So what have we got on that score?
Well, the labels of both liquids nail that part, good and solid. Rotating the bottle counterclockwise, we arrive at the left-most border and find a matrix of nicotine strengths — 0mg, 6mg, 12mg, and 18mg. My selections for both liquids were 6mg; that’s what’s marked on these labels, and the throat hit and nicotine rush of both liquids speak to that being what I received.
Additionally, either liquid is marked — also on that left hand border, but at the bottom — as being 80% VG (so, 20/80 PG/VG ratio). There is some information I’d like to see that isn’t here yet, such as a born-on date. That isn’t really a big omission in my eyes, personally, because I’ve seen born-on and best-by dates from enough vendors to know that the lifespan of eliquid is generally about one year. Newer vapers might benefit from that specific piece of information, though.
Okay, enough about the generalities, let me bust out the testing notes and then we’ll get into the specific liquids.
These 6mg liquids were tested in a UD iGo-W4 rebuildable dripping atomizer sporting a single 0.6 ohm coil featuring hemp wick. The atomizer was powered by a Kamry K100 mechanical mod at an unregulated 3.7 volts.
Testing occurred almost exclusively in an indoor environment, with brief excursions to my balcony to test the cooling effect of “Spearmint Berry Breeze.”
Although I was informed by the owner of EMS Vapes, Mike Smith, that the liquids arrived ready to vape, a 48 hour period of active steeping was still undertaken due to some unrelated personal business that briefly delayed this review.
The hue of this liquid is a light, bright, “brand new penny” copper. Shake test and rotational tests support the 80% VG ratio listed on the label; the rotational test, in particular, reveals an even horizon line but thick ripple pattern.
Ripe, sweet, organic banana with a strong presence of caramel taffy. Very appealing.
The visual vapor is quite strong. A dense core and plenty of lace adds up to big visual volume. Flavor carriage is potent, but doesn’t linger. No particular cumulative effect presented itself, flavor-carriage-wise.
No tobacco notes at all means you can vape this in mixed company without too much risk of objections from nonsmokers.
Throat hit on this one is gentle, but warm and very tangible. It’s not a ‘thump’; it’s more like a push. This is probably owing both to the high VG ratio in the liquid as well as to the sweetness of the vape. (I’ve noticed that sweeter vapes tend to ‘push’ rather than ‘hit’.)
This one really impressed me on the flavor front. I’m not a huge connoisseur of banana or banana fusions, but this is the second I’ve tried that I really do like. The taffy is what really rounds out the sweet with just the right amount of savory.
On the inhale, I get plenty of that authentic banana, very sweet and natural, while the taffy is a nice savory foundation. On the exhale, as the banana departs, the foundation is left for a nice medium finish.
If you don’t yet have a favorite banana-based liquid, this just might be your first. If you’re already a fan of banana and banana fusions, give this one a try and just see if it doesn’t earn a spot in your eliquid rotation.
Spearmint Berry Breeze
Spearmint Berry Breeze
The hue on this one is as clear as clear gets, so you’ll want to exercise care when filling a clearomizer or tank with it. Rotational test pegs its 80% VG claim as dead-on accurate, as was the case with Banana Taffy; thick, rippling liquid that’s nice and clean.
To be honest, the nose on this one had me thinking I might not like it. Y’see, I’m not really a menthol/mint type of guy, and the nose here is almost dominated by that mint component.
I do pick up the berries, but it’s hard to name their names under that blanket of mint. After a couple of days, though, I began to notice that this was very definitely not your usual peppermint or menthol offering — the nose resolved, after some steeping, into a very definite, very distinct spearmint dominated profile. That’s when I started to get intrigued and a little excited.
The visual vapor here was likewise rock solid, with that nice, dense core and plenty of lace. Let me digress, for a moment, though, to explain something I may have accidentally buried:
These liquids are producing very nearly cloud chasing levels of vapor, and doing it on a setup that isn’t geared toward cloud chasing. I have a feeling that on dual microcoils dialed up to the 20 watt range, I’d be exhaling cumulo-freakin’-nimbus clouds with this liquid. I strongly believe that the potential is there for doing that with these liquids.
On to flavor carriage — I’m on the fence with this one, regarding whether nonsmokers would or would not complain if they pick up the scent from this. On the one hand, there’s no tobacco to it. On the other hand, the spearmint does have it leaving a stronger residual scent than the Banana Taffy, and the residual scent from this could be mistaken for menthol readily enough that nonsmokers might be tempted to grouse about it.
As always, use your own best judgment.
Although the nicotine strength and PG/VG ratios of the two liquids under review are identical, bear in mind that differences in flavor can impart different characteristics to the throat hit.
The throat hit on this one, due to the strong spearmint component, is much more immediate and powerful than that of the Banana Taffy. Fortunately, while mint lends more perceived raw power to throat hit, it’s also a nice, cooling throat hit. I vaped this for a while in the course of reading out on my balcony in 100+ degree heat to test that effect, and while it didn’t make the excursion entirely comfortable, it was noticeable and quite pleasant.
The reason I’m not a big fan of 99% of menthol/mint fusions is that I just don’t like the flavor of menthol. To me, it simply doesn’t have much of a flavor, and yet it’s so overwhelming that when it’s a component in a flavor fusion, all it really seems to do is mute the other flavors it’s combined with.
So here’s where we get to the difference, and why I actually really like Spearmint Berry Breeze — spearmint actually has a flavor. Rather than muting the berries, it legitimately enhances — and is enhanced by — the other flavor it’s working with.
The spearmint dominates on the inhale all the way back to that very solid throat hit, and seems to remain in the throat while the berries speak their piece on the exhale, leaving the berries on the tongue and the spearmint at the throat for a relatively quick finish.
My experience with this one is that it’s just a perfect summer vape, as well as being a novel and very nice twist on the usual mint fusion.
Recommendation and Conclusion
These two liquids perfectly exemplify why I love doing what I do — I am, when left to my own devices, almost hard-headed about what I’ll try and what I won’t. And it’s liquids like these, that are outside my usual habits, that prove to me that sometimes that may be leading me to miss out on some really wonderful new experiences and sensations.
I absolutely give each of these liquids a hearty thumb’s up.
Where are Banana Taffy and Spearmint Berry Breeze available from?
Well, here’s the thing — they’re not. That is to say, not just yet. Mike tells me that plans are in the works to bring these liquids to availability as you read this. I’ll keep you posted, Dear Reader.
Do I recommend them? You bet your back side, I do. To keep an eye out for them, and for more flavorful and unique offerings from EMS Vapes, keep your eyes peeled at their Facebook page.