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Terms used in DIY for describing flavors


Was hoping to get a better understanding of the terms, phrases that I see in discussions about flavorings and recipes. For example I read " flavor is almost completely a mid-note (has no bottom and very little top). i can see it being burried by even light flavors. however, can be useful when you have a fruit recipe that needs some gaps filled in between flavors." I started thinking about it and being new to diy i am just trying to be on the same page as everyone else. Also read many times about a mix being “thick or thin”.
I have been doing quite a bit of SF testing and run across phrases like these in the flavor notes a good bit and was hoping to get a clearer understanding.


We often talk about top, mid and bottom notes. The top notes are light bright flavours like many fruit or floral flavours, whereas bottom notes are darker and heavier and the mid notes are in between the two others. You usually get the best result if you create a mix where there is both top, bottom and mid notes, sometimes also called layering a recipe.

As for the rest, well people have different ways of describing things, and taste is very subjective, but I would guess that thick/thin reefers to the mouth-feel, but that is just my guess.


I’ve been mixing for a while now but even I am still confused about how people describe a recipe sometimes.
So for example a strawberry cheesecake recipe, you’d say the top notes are the strawberries, the cheese the mid notes and the crust the bottom notes? I think this here is easy to understand because everybody knows what the thing would look like and physically see what is bottom and top.

So what about an RY4 recipe with some graham cracker, caramel and cream, something people may not be able to visualize as an edible thing? What would be top/mid/bottom notes there?


Very much appreciate your reply. This rabbit hole just keeps getting deeper! haha
Just found a link in another thread that helped a great deal. Lemme see if i can share it.

It was a very good read and helps figure some of this out!!


Very true. So using your analogy, to me I would say the ry4 and caramel perhaps the top, followed by the cream in the middle and the graham as the bottom note.
Perhaps with everyone’s perception of the different notes there would be no wrong answer.
Another thought would be using different brands of flavorings and how small nuances in the different brands change the entire recipe.
As a new non smoker i am working with healing taste buds and am finding I have to use very high %'s in order get flavor. And an even harder time trying to find these subtle notes of flavor! But, I am enjoying the process and it should only get better! Thanks!


In my opinion it’s a lot more than that. Rather than looking at it like each flavor is a top/mid/base note, Iook at it more like the different components of each flavor are those layers. For example (using your example) the bright tart aspect of the strawberry along with maybe the tang of the cheesecake and the subtle hint of spice in the crust could all be considered top notes. The bolder part of the actual strawberry along with the creamy cheesiness of the cheesecake and the cookie/graham aspect of the crust could all be considered mid notes, and the richness of it all along with mouthfeel would be the base.
So in your ry4 example, it’s not necessarily finding out which flavors equal each layer, but figuring out the individual layers in each flavor and balancing them with the layers in other flavors. The ry4 could have all three layers but be heavy on the base while the caramel could have only mid to base notes, but another caramel could be lighter with more top notes. I feel like I’m rambling, so I’ll stop here. :joy: But hopefully that makes sense!


I have to agree. Not only to your opinion but others who have commented as well. Taste is so subjective.
I have been vaping a lemon tart recipe and as far as taste i’m getting a very lemony top note but not much else until after I exhale the vape. Then i get sort of an after taste of the tart portion of the mix.
Now if I just smell the mix i can smell the lemon and the sweet meringue and the actual crust of the tart. Its funny but it actually smells better to me than it tastes.


@IzNoGoat is there a particular recipe that comes to mind where you can distinguish the layers and actually taste these different notes? Or would it be difficult to say based on one’s own taste buds?


See now that makes me think that what you’re wanting to be the lemony top not is actually encroaching on the body of the whole flavor. Imo, a flavor like a fruit that most would assume should be a top note can very easily be a mid/body note or even a base note. It’s all about how much you’re using and how you’re pairing everything.


Now i think your just screwing with my already confused brain! :grin: I guess I need to look at it in general terms as to not make it quite so confusing. At this point in my DIY journey I guess I have not had a complex recipe that I can actually taste all of the layers in or it could be that i just don’t have enough flavor knowledge to pick out the individual flavor profiles in a mix. Or it could be that I still have CTS!! (Can’t Taste Shit) I am always however trying to get a better understanding of DIY.


I describe vape juices the same way I would describe foods. Examples include, say, a mango tea. Tea is the bottom note, and the mango adds that bright top note. Maybe a little sugar makes it pop. Yikes, three descriptors for a simple drink right there. So if you think of it that way, a lot of the notes you read can make a little more sense.

But like everyone says that is so true- it’s all quite subjective.


You’re on solid footing with this outlook IMO!
It’s all about perspective.

I’ve always looked at it from the aspect of:
The top note is what most prominently hits the palate first.
The middle note(s) are any secondary flavor(s) that come through.
The bottom note(s) are basically whatever is left trailing (the last detectable flavors), frequently found in the exhale (but not always).

The key to me, regardless of order, is balance. The same as in cooking.

In most cases, any given aspect can be made “the star of the show”, but the key in how bright the star shines is in the supporting cast!
To me, it’s far more important to find the right flavors to combine.

Notes are great… But they all boil down to personal preference (and what the individual expects due to geographic location, or how one’s body perceives/processes them). So again, personal experience (read as: SFT) with the flavor provides the ultimate defining factor in how well you are going to enjoy (and be able to refine, and layer) a mix. So that any given flavor comes through in it’s desired location (top, middle, bottom notes), regardless of how you “define” the location.

I understand the overall point of trying to understand (the question, as originally posted). I’m simply trying to provide my thoughts on it. Not saying anyone’s outlook or descriptions are right or wrong! But more trying to say that your own understanding, and subsequent application of the ideas are more important IMO. :wink:
And frequently (usually for most), that only comes with personal experience.

I hope this comes across clear, and makes sense for you.

As your experience grows, it’ll become easier to put the good notes out there to use!


Makes perfect sense! Appreciate your explanation!! I have many many more SFT to do in order to get a grasp on flavors. I have been reading all of the notes for each concentrate as I do my sampling and kept reading about using them in different notes or layers in a mix and its much clearer in my mind what folks were meaning in the more detailed notes. Much Appreciated!!


It is not a bad analogy, but I don’t think it holds 100% true, at least for me it is more about the actual flavour than where it would belong in a desert, and as @Ths1MxrChk said, a single flavour can have many different notes.

It seems like everybody have different definition of top, middle and bottom notes. Personally I think about it like music, the top notes are the treble and the bottom the bass and in between you have the mid notes, and just like music is better with all 3 instead of just treble so is a recipe.

Whether I taste it on the inhale or exhale is another issue.

There are other better mixer here who would be able to guide you to a specific recipe better than me, but I would say that most top rated recipes probably have all 3 layers. In fact it is only recently that I have started working with layers, until then my approach was more intuitive and random :wink:


Makes sense. Right now i’m mainly doing SFT on the concentrates I have in my stash. I should have been doing this long ago but I neglected the basics I guess.
My excuse, find a couple mixes I could vape on daily and not have to keep spending Premium dollars on sub premium e-juice! I am Happy to say that I have done this!! Thanks for the help!
Btw, Love your avatar!!!


That’s not an excuse mate. That’s a reality of the situation IMO! :wink: No worries!


I have found several that i have mixed that are “Top Rated” and have been enjoying enough to keep me from buying from the local shops. Some of which are perfect and I can taste several of the flavors in the mix so “the Terms” make a lot more sense. Thanks for the Help!!


@atssec97 I just tried out one of @Pro_Vapes masterpieces, which EXACTLY reflects what you were asking, about being able to pick out the individual notes, YET, it still works beautifully as a whole.

Wow, actually trying to describe, how we are describing notes, hehe, is more complicated than I thought (edit).

Top, middle, bottom. It CAN be used to describe the initial flavor, the middle/body, then the finish.


That looks divine! Will have to try this one day. I still have not invested in the MF flavorings but now have 6 on my list! haha Thanks for your help, very much appreciated!


I have exactly two of the ingredients needed to mix that beauty. On the bright side (pun intended), that is two more than I used to have! Getting there.