I was searching through the forum archives looking for this topic or something similar but was unsuccessful locating anything. That may just be my inability to effectively search but regardless I wanted to raise it in the forum to share our experiences.
I was reading the Your Exit Strategy topic and one of the things that came to mind is nicotine’s effect on the flavor of e-liquids that contain it. I assume, perhaps incorrectly, that the OP’s intention using electronic nicotine delivery as a smoking cessation aid, was to ween off nicotine by methodically reducing the content of the nicotine in the e-liquids used. My experience has been that nicotine content and quality has a marked effect on the flavor of e-liquids that contain it, some more than others. I first noticed this relationship when I attempted to significantly reduce the nicotine content of tobacco-based e-liquid I was vaping daily about eight years ago. The recipe was a simple single-flavor mix using a Health Cabin flavor I seem to recall was named ‘Red’ or ‘Red Tobacco’ (or Red something anyway) and for me, the flavor was altered so extensively by the reduction of nicotine that I did not perceive it to be the same flavor. I had considered whether it was just my brain flexing its addiction preservation muscle, but do not believe that was the case. Ultimately, I opted to leave that flavor alone and find something new to mix with the reduced nicotine content. Since that time, I have determined that nicotine indeed is a considerable contributor to flavor, at least for my part and to the extent that I have heard others comment on the same. For me, it seems to play a considerably larger part in tobacco, nut and bread or grain recipes and certain drink recipes, particularly whisky and rum flavors. I perceive it to have less impact on cream and custard-type recipes, and even less so on fruit flavors, but ‘your mileage may vary.’
I had a negative experience once that I related to the purity or quality of the nicotine base. I’d ordered some 36mg/ml base liquid from a new re-seller when my ‘go-to’ was out of stock. It was considerably darker than what I was regularly using and smelled much different/stronger and ultimately, I tossed it because my recipes tasted horrible with it. That was several years ago, before I was able to easily acquire nicotine base stronger than 48mg/ml, so things have changed considerably as to the quality and potency of nicotine base available to the vape enthusiast and this probably is less of an issue these days. Based on that experience though, I believe the quality of nicotine base can play a factor too. Impurities like other nicotine alkaloids (cotinine, anatabine, nornicotine, etc.) or external impurities introduced during the manufacture or packaging process could impact the quality and/or purity of the nicotine base, so I would think that could then play into it’s flavor contribution as well. I also assume that proper storage techniques are important given that perceived relationship with flavor, but it’s all subject to research well beyond what I’m willing to put into it. I know enough for my own satisfaction, and hope I can pick up some more from all of you!
What experiences have you had with respect to nicotine’s effect on flavor? Have you had situations where perhaps a different supplier’s nicotine base influenced the flavor of your e-liquids in one way or another? Do you have recipes that just don’t taste right without nicotine? I’d love to hear about it.
Thanks in advance for any comments!