Brick & Mortar Shops On The Front Lines
One thing I have come to realize on my journey is just how important vape shops are for the new vaper. Like any shop, some are better than others, and customers should be aware. I’ve been to some great ones, and have been to some ugly ones since I began back in November. Some shops sell tobacco along with vape products, and those are a red flag for me. I’ve been in three of them and walked away seriously disappointed. My suggestion to the new vaper is go to those shops that exclusively deal with vaping to get the supplies needed, whether hardware or eLiquid. This is the best way to ask questions, get answers, and get help in the decision making process. These folks are experienced and have the know-how to help. Cost of items may be a bit more since shops have overhead, but when shipping charges are factored in from online purchases, the savings usually are minimal at best. Unlike shopping online, dialogue and relationships are built, and the better shops can assist you when making changes, whether it’s the daily vape choice for eLiquid, or the hardware being used.
All Shops Not The Same
It’s real easy to tell what places are geared for assisting fellow vapers and what places don’t. As I mentioned, based on my experience, places that offer tobacco products along with vaping supplies are not the wise choice. Usually the clerk is there for the job, wants to sell what is asked, collect the money for the transaction, and go back to reading their magazine or texting their friend about after work plans. In these shops, vaping is just a product line. In the three outlets I’ve been in, the clerk has been clueless about hardware, coils, eLiquid, or other supplies. The product line is sketchy; usually cheap vape pens. Ask about ohm’s or mah’s and eyes glaze over immediately. eLiquid selection comes from some sort of a mass production origin, most likely from China. Ask about PG/VG content of the eLiquid, and chances are they are fumbling around to answer or looking at the next person who just walked into the store looking for a pack of analog smokes as a diversion. The best place to go is exclusive, “vape only” shops.
B & M Shop Pet Peeves
I’m a type of person who likes to walk into a shop and look around a bit. I’m always fascinated with the various options shops have to offer, whether it is hardware or eLiquid. In my experience, those places that allow me to look around, ask to see a piece of hardware, sample a reasonable amount of eLiquid, and answer questions that I have, get my business. Sometimes a few other folks are in the shop hanging out, clogging up the juice bar, tying up the store clerk with small talk, laughs, and friendly discussion. I understand that we’re all in a “brotherhood” of sorts, and the vape shop is a hub for regular, local customers to spend time at. When it deters business from being done, it’s a problem. The finer establishments usually have a couch or comfortable chairs to lounge in, along with a television, away from the juice bar. If I was going to go to a shop to make a transaction and want to hang out after, the last place I am going to be is in a position where business gets taken away from the shop owner, or deter or distract the owner or clerk from handling the next customer walking through the door.
Another point of contention for me is when shop owners who produce their own eLiquid for sale make snark comments of a well known product. It’s a major turn off for me. I don’t know if it is jealousy or envy as to why the well known product sells better or is better known than their best in-house label, but trashing competition is the wrong approach. Much could be said for those shops that offer only one brand of vaping hardware and make pot-shot comments about the brands they don’t carry. When a customer likes their particular set up, the right sales call is to empower them with it. When they need to make a change down the road and mention that, then that is the right time to sell your product line and discuss advantages about it.
First Round Of eLiquid Reviews Of What I Have Tried Thus Far
My first experience with eLiquid quite frankly is one I would just like to forget. It was World’s Finest Vapor’s Summertime Watermelon. I became seriously burned out with it within a week or so of purchase. From what I can tell, it’s a mass production eLiquid that some tobacco shops & convenience stores may carry. A word to the wise: a variety of eLiquid is the spice of vape life. Hindsight being 20/20, my first purchase would have included two different types of juice. From what I gather it is a 50/50 blend, but as sweet as it was, 60 PG seems about right. It was intense melon flavor, and I am sure anyone who likes melon vapes would appreciate it. It got me started. It’s not anything I’d purchase again. On a scale of 1 to 5, I rate it a 2. Would I buy it again? Never.
Lost in vaping despair from the World’s Finest Vapor’s introduction, the fine folks at Old Port Vape restored my perilous faith in vaping with Suicide Bunny’s Mother’s Milk ($22 / 30 ml). I will forever be grateful for Pip & her product, for the one reason that because of it, I am still vaping today. There are literally hundreds if not thousands of reviews done on this, and the vast majority love it. Something about a light strawberry inhale with a crème exhale that vapers adore. Which ever hardware I have used, whether the Kanger EVOD, EVOD MEGA or the Aspire Nautilus Mini, the flavor is deep and satisfies every time. A perfect 5 in my book. Would I buy it again? Many times!
Another from Suicide Bunny was Madrina ($22 / 30ml) that I opted for when one shop did not have Mother’s Milk or The OB in the nicotine level I was looking for. I really gave this one an honest shot. I tried it in the EVOD & EVOD MEGA, used it as my morning, afternoon, or evening vape. Melon & crème may work for a lot of people, just not me. It reminded me of my first vape juice with World’s Finest Vapor’s too much, which didn’t work for me. I know it’s Pip’s personal favorite, so to give it a poor rating wouldn’t be fair because I didn’t like the flavor. Cloud production as with Mother’s Milk was excellent. I suspect at 60% VG blend with this, but I could be wrong. My rating on Madrina is a 4. Would I buy it again? No.
My Christmas treat was a bottle of Phillip Rocke Grand Reserve Crème de la Crème which only comes out once every three months. Since I am a crème guy, this one was one I had to try. A bit steep at $25 for 30 ml, but was it ever worth it. The crème and hazelnut undertone came through brilliantly with this, and I used a EVOD MEGA which I am sure will get laughs since it’s 80 VG. Yes, I changed coils often, but every coil burnt was worth it. For the drippers out there, this is a great one for you. My rating: 4.5. Would I buy it again? YES!
Another from Suicide Bunny is The O.B. ($22 / 30 ml) and this juice ranks right up there with Mother’s Milk for me. Something about vanilla crème & cake just knocked my socks off. This was my afternoon vape for two weeks in the Aspire Nautilus Mini and I enjoyed every deep clean hit off of this. Pip knew what buttons to push on people when she created this product line. If I walk into a vape shop and they’re out of Mother’s Milk, but The O.B. is at the level I want, I won’t walk out disappointed. My rating: 5. Would I buy it again? Many times!
The final eLiquid review for this edition comes from a local shop here in Maine called DownEast Vapes, located in Lewiston. Not only do I enjoy my crème flavors, I am also a blueberry guy. I checked out their website as I was looking for local shops and found that they make their own eLiquid, and Maine Blueberry ($18 / 30 ml) was one of them. This was a must try for me. I wasn’t disappointed. Of all the flavors I have tried so far, nothing has delivered a “remember when” like this eLiquid has. From the first inhale, I was taken back to childhood in an open field with a wild blueberry patch behind my home. This eLiquid has just the right amount of blueberry balanced with sweetness to produce those late summer days picking and eating fresh wild blueberries. This has been my evening vape in the Innokin Gladious-M tank that I also purchased from there. I’ve enjoyed every trip home to the blueberry patch for the past three weeks now. My only wish for this eLiquid is a bit of crème to go into it. Other than that, it’s perfect. My rating: 4.5. Would I buy it again? YES!
Coming next week, more eLiquid from DownEast Vapes in Lewiston, ME, Stella Blues Vapors of St. Louis, MO, and also Vape Kult in Auburn, NY.