I've found that I can taste most fruit flavorings quite well. Custards I can barely taste at all, which is a bitch because I love them. Damned near everything else - take that with a grain of salt - falls in between.
So after making about 60 recipes, I've found a few generalizations that I now go with:
- Any fruit flavorings get no modification, and I use the exact percentage specified in the recipe
- Any custard flavorings get modified to 150% of the percentage specified in the recipe
- Any "creams" - Bavarian Cream, Ice Cream, Vanilla Swirl, and other such flavorings get modified to 125% of the percentage specified in the recipe.
- Damned near everything else gets modified to 125% of the percentage specified in the recipe.
So given a fake recipe:
- Some Fruit - 5%
- Damned Near Everything Else - 8%
- Anything Cream - 8%
- Vanilla Custard - 10%
I would make this recipe using, respectively, 5%, 10%, 10% and 15%.
That is a general rule of thumb for me now. I always expect to tweak this once or twice, but by the 3rd batch I almost always have a tasty juice.
I used to make all recipes with 70% VG and 30% PG, but I now make all recipes at 55% VG, 45% PG.
I did a test and made a recipe, rather mild in flavor, and made 2 variations. One was 70/30 and the other was 55/45. I made another recipe, not so mild in flavor, and did the same thing.
I loaded them into 2 TFV4s takes with new coils, and put each tank on top of a Coolfire IV TC100.
In both cases, the 55/45 version were noticeably stronger in flavor. It wasn't a blow-your-socks-off difference, but it was quite easy to pick out the 55/45 from the 70/30.
Now for the bitch: Steep for a long time.
I won't even taste-test all-fruit recipes for 3 weeks. For creams/swirls, 4 to 6 weeks. Custards I won't even sniff for 6 weeks.
Okay, this is what I call it when I let something steep for some time and decide that something - or most things - are too weak. I'll try to tweak the recipe mid-stream and re-adjust the flavoring percentages. I'll add some more of the flavorings that I think it needs. It's less expensive than throwing it out, so I'll tweak it.
I call that "reformulating" for some reason, because adjusting the recipe and making another bottle would be called "adjusting the recipe and making another bottle" so I needed another term.
Anyway, the important parts when adding more flavoring to an existing batch are:
- Don't do it too soon. Let it steep for a long time. I don't do this until the 6-week mark.
- It's better to weigh everything involved. Tare an empty bottle, pour the juice in, tare, and add some extra flavorings. Keep notes so you can recreate the recipe.
- Don't expect to recreate this mess perfectly.
- Let it steep AGAIN for a long time. The new flavorings have to steep again for the same time the original flavoring should have steeped.
- It's always - ALWAYS - better to let the original batch steep longer and just make a new batch with an adjusted recipe. This is also more expensive. Always.
There some flavors I've come across that are quite strong on their own. There's a recipe here called "Orange Bavarian Cream" and I had to cut the orange in half. LorAnn's Banana is quite strong to me. Dark Bean is incredibly strong. "Smooth Morning Kick" uses it. I did that recipe at 125% of all ingredients except Dark bean, which I used at the specified strength.
The Right Tank / RDA
Finding a tank that provides great flavor was key for me. I tried a couple, went through some searches, and started a thread here. In my opinion, the Aromamizer Supreme provides the most flavor. I like it better than the Avocado or Griffin. I have yet to build my Boreas so that's up in the air.
For an RDA, I have like 6 and have checked out some of my wife's. I chose the Velocity V2 - but I have to admit that other things besides concerns over flavor went into that decision.
But I can't get the Aromamizer to be 100% leak-free in all circumstances and that's not acceptable to carry around all day. I can't refill a Velocity at 80mph. So I've tried 5 or 6 different tanks-with-premade-coils and settled on the TFV4 using TF-Q4 (quad Clapton) coils to carry around. My rebuildable tanks and RDAs stay home - I know my TFV4s can reliably provide excellent flavor all day while remaining 100.00% leak-free. Those are my All Day Carry devices.
Last week I compared my TFV4 against my wife's favorite tank, a Vaporesso Gemini (I think). It was night and day - the TFV4 blew away her tank for flavor.
Which tank is not the important part of this section. My opinions - and needs and desires - are different from anyone else's. The key is to do some research and find the device(s) that provide you flavor and every other need and desire for a great vaping experience.
Make A Lot
My last bit of advice is to make a lot of recipes and be prepared to throw a lot of them away.
But don't throw them away until they've steeped for 3 months.