First let me repost a previous thread just to define the concept...
In my journey I have focused on "Pairing" as a way to create building blocks for recipes. I have seen too many times how two flavors can become one. This is important to mixing, but more important to "Picking the Flavor Lock" idea. So you have some commercial juice you want to clone? My first advice is to steer clear of Vendors self-descriptions of how their juice tastes. I think there's alot of misdirection there... I mean I don't think they're trying to list the ingredients, and are usually describing some pairing ...that you'll never figure out, by design.
I have much respect for some of the Commercial e-juice achievements ...perfected recipes which often defy cloning. We see them all here under the [REQ] thread. So how can we deconstruct those pairings and get a more detailed glimpse at the underlying flavors. I'm putting this out there because I can't possibly give all the answers and I think we all have that elusive White Whale which we juuust can't nail. I think many spend too much time trying to make it work ...lets try another angle.
Picking the Flavor Lock is just like picking a real lock ...you poke at it. My repost above gives some general ideas and I hope you guys can add much more. I have also fallen on a few myself since that original post. The center of the concept is matching each "pin" one at a time ...exposing their hidden identity. What tools to use? You already have them! ...maybe even right now. They're all your little 10ml testers, and of course you can always make a single flavor 10ml pretty quickly.
I use the word "Deconstruction" because the idea is to break the target juice ...expose pairings by unpairing them! One of the best lock picks I have found is Sucralose. Obviously something like Ethyl Maltol which is notorious for "muting" would be also a prime candidate to "pick the lock". The idea that sweeteners have different positive and negative effects on individual flavors. I was tinkering in a Super Strawberry Milkshake (RF) (private) recipe trying to see how many SB flavs I could add and discovered adding Strawberry Shisha (INW) turned the whole mix from a nice sour Strawberry to a tart SB.
If we can grow this idea it will be by sharing those weird flavor effects ...what noticeably happened when I added FlavX to a recipe. Each of these can be used to deconstruct a Commercial targeted e-juice recipe. Some other obvious "picks" might be Citric Acid or Sour (TPA) or any of the other non-flavor type adds like Smooth or Magic Mask. Remember we're trying to break the original juice. When it works the idea is just to get one "pin" (flavor) at a time. So starting with the original e-juice, you poke at it with various single flavors in your RDA and watch for new individual flavs popping their heads up.
As described in my repost you can also add small amounts of flavors you are sure are part of the original. If true, that would only boost that one flavor in the original ...right? In my example above if I added Strawberry Shisha to Strawberry JuiceX and my RDA vape-check went from sour to tart I could deduce that was incorrect. It may be true that you could add almost any flavor to a commercial juice and get a result! My hopes are we can grow this list. In an effort to avoid the TL:DR I'll wrap it up. Let's break some sh*t!