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Squeezing the Stash


#1

There are probably other threads like this, and if there are any better ones I’ll gladly fold this into one of them.

Anyway, I wanted to keep a thread with chatter about paring down a flavor stash. I know some (maybe many) of you have done this, so any and all thoughts and random musings are welcome and appreciated. This first post will be a little wordy, so feel free to glaze over and think of sports or something instead of reading it through.

When I started mixing, I nearly blindly bought my first few loads of concentrates as a pick-and-add-to-the-basket kind of thing. I didn’t use resources on the internet that were available (like EVERYONE SHOULD) so I just picked a lot of variety and things that ‘sounded’ good. That was definitely a summer juice outcome. Summer good, summer not. Took a while to realize that every ‘strawberry’ is a little different, and there’s virtually no flavor that tastes like any other regardless of vendor. Menthol, I suppose, maybe, is one.

Then, phase two involved adding different versions of flavors, like multiple strawberries from various vendors. I kept it to the ‘cheaper’ concentrates so I could get a big bottle and spend less. The goal was both to get good mixes, but also to load up without a second mortgage.

It was maybe a year and a half in that I started to realize a few things. First, I was suddenly in possession of triple digits of unique flavors. That’s nuts. Secondly, some of these I had only used a couple times, even if I liked them OK. Thirdly, a large portion of the stash went unused because they didn’t agree with my palate. When I first started hunting and gathering, it was kind of neat to know I had a whole arsenal at my disposal. But that wore off quick when I realized I didn’t use many of them. Reality sets in. I made a lot of mistakes by not doing what I now regularly advocate- research and ask questions.

The point of this is, I am now shifting to phase four. That means, cutting out concentrates I really won’t use, and getting to the ones I know I love, and can make a few dozen recipes that will sustain the habit. I’m comfortable with my methodologies and my palate knows now what it likes, so I think I am ready to specialize.

The question for everyone, aside from the obvious “I only use what I like”, is- how have you gone about the decision making process? And how do you approach recipes you see that have flavors you do not have? How do you go about deciding what is worth adding to the stash once you’ve gotten the stash where you want it?


#2

I’ve been in your phase 4 stage for about a year and a half. At my peak I had over 700 flavors. In the beginning I bought flavors just based on the flavor name on the bottle. I quickly learned that most of my stash was crap. So I made an effort to research, test and follow flavor advice and recommendations from mixers that I respected a lot.

Over time I was able to narrow my stash to around 200 flavors that worked for my palate. Ridding myself of so many duplicate flavors has really simplified mixing for me and it really help me with inventory control.

BTBH, I’ve bought some new flavors over the last few months and I now have 265 flavors in my stash. Trying new flavors will probably never end, but I try to keep it in check and I drop some older versions when I find a better replacement.


#3

Gadzooks.

I realize if I kept on like I had been, I could get to 700 eventually too. And while that might make you a fantastic go-to resource for virtually any concentrate questions, it only frenzies me thinking about that. Reminds me of a restaurant with far too many items on the menu.

So I am also seeing that time will be a big factor with the current stash. As I discovered with TFA Maraschino Cherry, it does not work for me on its’ own, and if the wife didn’t like it I would have put it in the “Essential Oil Diffuser” lot long ago, but using just one drop does actually enhance a few recipes so it stays. Had I binned it I wouldn’t have realized the usefulness of it. If I want to get the most of the stash, I will probably have to do a LOT of testing that I don’t look forward to. Sigh.


#4

Honestly I have been just leaving it sit kinda sorta. The thing is that I’ll go back to a flavor I haven’t used for 6-7month (sometime 1.5 years fa holds up pretty good for me so far) and mix with it again.

I found that oddly enough I really like citrus fa. Or whatever it is called. It took me two years to mix with it but I do like it. Same with blackberry fa. Took about two years to actually mix with it.

There are flavors I need to just dump and reuse the bottles after a full washing and rinse with alcohol. Lol. Like the majority of the one drop flavors I have.


#5

For me, the biggest obstacle is getting enough of an assortment to test (financial limitations). Though this seems to only apply to certain flavor groups, those particular groups have such a wide swath that you have to “cut through” to get to the end goal of finding the keepers for your profile. (Most notably: strawberry, caramel, brown sugar, raspberry, and the like.)

In those cases, I think the best approach is gather at least 4-5 (from a single group) and SFT them side by side (made the same day, steeped the same length, etc) but only after you’ve tested them individually so that you know your single flavor percentages before doing the shootout (that way you’re not fighting against an inaccurate representation of any given flavor, against an accurate sample of another).

Anything that falls short (or is still good, but not personally “ideal”) gets relegated to the PIF box, and offered to/shared with friends/appreciated newbies in the community.

To me, that’s the “easy part” (if they use something you’ve tested, but decided against), simply use your preference, and adjust to the application in the mix.
If I’ve never had the given flavor though, I think it’s just an educated guess (the first time), and then refine it to how high or low you want it to sit in the mix (when you make subsequent mixes).

So far, it’s been common flavors that either “fly low on the radar” [think: holes], or semi-esoteric flavor brands that I wouldn’t ordinarily try on the first round of two of buying (NF, German flavors, etc) [think: hard to match profiles, eg: Red Apple].

Apple has been the most challenging part of my apple pie/apple turnover hunt (aside from the obvious ‘crust’ struggle) because I’ve been looking for a very specific type of flavor. And while I thought I knew what it was I wanted, the names haven’t matched the profile in many instances. OR in FW case, their red apple had to be used so high (8%) that it rendered it virtually pointless for me.
But, once I was forced to stray outside the ‘normal paths’, I found one of my missing components in NF Red Apple. The highlights! (Now all I have to do is find the body.)

For where I’m at in the journey, the key has been more in finding the ‘preferred flavors’. I think the others (infrequently used) will define themselves easily enough to sort whether they warrant staying in the stash or not by how much I love a mix, and/or how frequently I mix a given recipe. :wink:


#6

At first, I thought I should try to place a hard number on the goal. Say, 40 or so. But I realize even 700 could be ok if I used them all regularly. But I have somewhere in the mid-100’s and do not come close to using them all, regularly or not.


#7

One problem with removing a flavour from your stash is that your flavor notes and ratings get removed along with it. I see two problems (for the wider community ) with that: one, obviously it impacts on the number of notes we have; and for under-used flavours like MF , the loss can be highly significant. two: this will skew the ratings to the positive end, won’t it? so the rubbish flavours won’t be easily identified.

With that in mind, I’ve left a few flavours that i don’t actually anticipate using again in my stash. Just to keep my notes alive. I’m hoping that @daath will come up with a better solution sometime.


#8

Well, I really meant the actual physical stash. I could leave the e-stash up no problem, but I really haven’t added much in the way of notes.


#9

I’m in the process of this paring down as well, but I’m also still adding to my stash too lol. I’ve realized that I like literally every broad category you can put finished juice flavors in, custards are my favorite but I like candies and fruits and bakeries and combinations of different categories too. My process is getting two or three recipes in each category that I consider an adv, and keeping all those flavors in my stash and getting rid of the rest. I still get new flavors, but only if it is an extremely good sale or if it fits a niche that I’m not fully satisfied with. I figure that with the amount of flavors I will keep around to make all the juices I currently love, I will still have enough variety to experiment with new flavor combinations without having to have a bunch of crap laying around that I barely use. Good luck in your “phase 4” lol


#10

My pairing down seems to consist of tossing things I don’t use in a misc tub. I buy new stuff when somebody has a mix that looks interesting but always in 10ml bottles. The things I use regularly I’ll rebuy in larger quantites. I keep a spread sheet to decide how large a bottle. Right now I probably use about 70 of the 125 in my stash on a regular basis. I expect to have a small crate of unused at some point.


#11

I have not been doing mixing a for that long but my stash is a bit scary already.
I am finding that I don’t really want to really discard anything as I often want to check recipes from other people as they are the way they mixed it. I can then recreate something based on what I liked in the original with my preferred flavours ( and very low or dap free)

If I had to dump half of my stash, I would keep most of my FA, the INW fruits + lemon cake, a few TFA, cap CDS, menthol, and the flv melons.
I can easily live with just FA for creams. I may add the solubarome herbals after I have time to properly play with them.


#12

Anyone know how much I freaking hate seeing this at the bottom of recipes when searching?? :rofl::angry:

> You are missing ingredients

How can I squeeze the stash when I don’t know what my favorite insert flavor here version is???


#13

I feel ya. Ive got waaaaay too many flavors already. Like @Harlan_Grey i also have a box that i keep the ones i dont use and/or dont like. Id like to give them away but i worry that as soon as i do there’ll be a recipe that i need it for. Eh, just gonna have to take that minor risk, as soon as i have some shipping supplies. Another issue for me is that i havent even tried probably more than half of the flavors i have! Time. Need more time!


#14

Bottles. You need more bottles! :wink:
At least, that’s continued be my issue! Fortunately though, with ECX’ recent clearance sale on glass… I’m adding 55 more testers, so at 2-3 bottles per flavor, I’m thinking that should help rip through an additional 20 flavors per mixing session!!

30 (or so) 15ml bottles just doesn’t cut it.

I’m tired of feeling behind on things, and can’t wait to get the 40 bottles in! I expect there to be leaps and bounds in “trimming the fat” on the shelves in the coming months! Not to mention the fact that their 15ml bottles actually hold 15ml of liquid, and have room to off-gass in the neck! /happy dance


#15

That is another problem for me. I buy these flavors either because I don’t have one or saw it in a few recipes and it was on sale, (like mango or pistachio), thinking I will find more recipe nirvana, then I don’t even try them other than a sniff when they arrive. A lot of it is time, but as Ahnold says, I lack discipline!!!


#16

I’m not close to 700 flavors, I only own 285,but I single flavor tested all of them at least, I feel like bad for already saying that, see what topics like that can do? Lol

I do have some flavors, that didn’t do anything for me but now nearly 1.5 years later I’m revisiting some of them. Some are even older, I only took vaping serious about a year ago and sometimes I don’t even remember why I got them.

I always blamed my taste buds for not having recovered yet, but some of the flavors are just too weak for me. Others are far off the label as it can go. Still useful, just not for I actually purchased for, and then there’s the third category, that needs so high of percentage that it’s not worth my time. Quality is lacking too.

I barely buy big bottles, so some flavors I run out off, I take notes and won’t buy them again. That sadly leaves a hole in some of my stash, since I need to fill out couple categories, but have no substitute. But I like to wing it sometimes lol.

Back in the day I jumped on every new flavor or hype trains, nowadays i find myself more cautious when it comes to flavors. With the sheer amount of flavors out there, it’s nearly impossible to test them all, and since I’m so picky hard to find something I might like.

I finally found a good strawberry combo I like, took me forever tho. But I did notice that some brands i lean more towards than other, and stopped getting flavors because there are 5million notes and recipes on.

I enjoy picking some that are barely documented, sometimes that bites me in the butt too tho, but less than the highly raved about flavors. I learned quickly that the amount doesn’t matter, but the knowledge of a flavor or profile.

I’m at that stage now, where I try to master categories, that are not even my favorite but in the long run helps me overall. I don’t think I’m good at it yet, but practice helps, however increasing my flavors with another 100-800 won’t really help me in that progress.

I still buy some, just not as much as I used too, and I try avoiding brands I personally never was very satisfied with.


#17

Yes dude, bottles! Constantly running out and dumping made juice thats just “meh” … i need to do like you just did. The lack of smaller bottles has been a big excuse for my lack of sft and i know that is holding my mixing back big time


#18

@Sprkslfly @netweight

Bottles for sft are a bit of a pita why not try something like

Yup I know they are plastic and these are in au but I am sure there would be something similar in your local area


#19

You can get bottles with droppers and caps for about the same price from specialised shops. My HDPE with thin dropper and childproof cap 10ml are £0.10 or so.


#20

Upside is it is much easier to put the contents in a test tube than it is in a 10ml bottle