The purpose of this post is to familiarize new folks to DIY with the ELR Flavors Database. There are many things a person should know prior to starting DIY E-Liquid – things that will help them maximize their investment in time and money, as well as avoid costly mistakes and wastefulness. ELR has a vast amount of information already which should help in this regard; and a little time spent doing research will reward a person by helping them bypass a lot of the hands-on experimentation necessary to discover an individual flavor’s properties and usefulness.
One of the first and most expensive lessons learned by new DIY people is making large purchases of flavors, assuming they are good ones. For example, The Flavor/Perfumer’s Apprentice (TPA on ELR) has a huge assortment of flavors. On their website, these flavors have attractive photos and names which “lure” you in, making you feel they are all just excellent. And since they are priced to fit most budgets, it seems a no-brainer to start grabbing what looks good. But looks can be deceiving. There is no single company whose flavors are all great. What may be a fantastic strawberry from one company may be more like kerosene from another. And since you only have a picture and name to go on, well that makes it a crap shoot. At least that’s how it used to be for those early DIY folks.
In the early days of DIY, few people had experience working with flavor concentrates. That was an area of expertise occupied mostly by the culinary world and candy makers or other flavor-intensive fields. Back then an internet search for flavor concentrates would render very few results, with TPA being the main company with flavors considered to be the most suitable for use in e-liquids. So, they started buying and mixing, experimenting and perfecting. And while TPA certainly had plenty of offerings to make flavorful juices, they weren’t the final answer.
Capella came along a few years later (2008) and started getting attention. Since that time other companies have cropped up, each offering something unique and useful, something wonderful and tasty, something caustic and nasty. Yes, each company has good and bad. What follows is a guide to help you avoid the caustic and nasty while emphasizing the good, the flavorful, the reason you chose DIY in the first place!
First thing to do is learn to use the ELR Flavor List. Here you will find most of the information you need, as there has been several years of research and input. Not every flavor has useful info, but most do. So, leaning on what’s there, this will cut your research time down substantially.
Accessing the Flavors List:
On the ELR main page click on "User" in the top right corner. From the drop down list click on "Flavor List".
Sorting the Flavor List
In the search box type in any flavor or vendor abbreviation (TPA, MF, CAP and so on) then click "Search".
To sort by the most commonly used click on "Recipes"
The list will lineup by the most used in recipes and will have the proper name and vendor ID most used in recipes.
"HOW TO NAVIGATE THE FLAVOR PAGE"
In the top Orange Highlighted section you can find the proper name for the most commonly used name recognized by ELR and is used in most recipes, also there is a section for adding that flavor to your My flavor stash and/or My shopping list.
In the Red Highlighted section you can enter your personal notes that is most important to you. Your notes will become a part of the ELR Notes Database and are viewable by other members on ELR. You can also enter your preferred rating for individual flavors next to the blue arrow.
In the Blue Highlighted section you can enter:
1. Bottle size
3. Specific Gravity
4. Flavor Carrier
5. Preferred Usage Percentage
The info in the Blue Section will be useful when creating your own recipes.
The Green Highlighted section:
This is the Warning Section where if you are looking to avoid certain elements in a flavor, this is where you will find them.
In the Yellow Highlighted section:
Unless you have a photographic memory, you will end up referring to this repeatedly. Certainly, this is not an exact science, although the information does come from the recipes database. Still, it does provide a great track to run on for anyone with doubts as to how much of a flavor to use. Over time you will learn your own preferred strength. You can also find the Materials Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) document and Manufacturer specified gravity if one is provided by that particular vendor, you can also see the overall rating compiled by users of ELR.
This is a list of some of the sites and discount codes for ELR Users. You can also find sales and discounts here at http://forum.e-liquid-recipes.com/c/general/discounts-and-deals
Here you will find member comments about the flavors. In a perfect world, these comments would be limited to only useful info about the flavor. However, many mixers enter personal info here such as where they got the flavor or how much it cost. But you can get a lot of good insight into the flavor in many cases as there is often some detailed descriptions. You might find conflicting notes about some flavors. If you're following someone that has a mixing style that's similar to your own, it might be a good guide to follow their notes. You can also find some useful notes in this thread... http://forum.e-liquid-recipes.com/c/e-liquids/tasting-notes
Some users would agree "Ratings" are subjective, but can also be a good resource when searching for flavors users like as a group. Whether or not you like it depends on your individual palate.
Most commonly used with:
Under this tab is the flavors that's most often used with the flavor you have chosen to research. This is a lot similar to flavor pairings, but it isn't a definitive list of all the flavors used with your flavor choice. To view more options we suggest using the (Recipes) tab below to view more pairings in actual recipes. You can also go here to see the flavor pairings list... http://forum.e-liquid-recipes.com/t/flavor-pairing/18787/24?u=pro_vapes
Here you can sort the recipes by ascending or descending order by clicking any of the four column headers:
"Recipes" (Sort recipes A to Z) and all the comments contributed to each recipe listed
"Author/User" (A good way to sort by Users you are following and see how they are using flavors that interest you)
"Time/Date" (Sort by old to new and vice versa)
"Ratings" (Sort by top or lesser rated recipes)
Now that you have read "How To Navigate The Flavor Page" here is a little more info to help you find optional flavors (besides the most popular) for your Flavor Stash.
If you're like most people, you probably want to make the best juice possible. Looking at the highest rated recipes on ELR, you will find most of them contain TPA, CAP and FW brand flavorings. Is that because these are superior flavors? Not at all. It's more because those recipes were, in large part, the first to be made public at a time when those flavor companies were essentially all there was. And it's not to say the recipes or the flavors in them aren't good. Only that the recipes gained a lot of popularity early on. As new flavor companies emerged and more concentrated, authentic flavors were released, those early recipes already had a huge following. Consequently, many mixers were influenced by all this to take it as TPA, et al being the flavor standard. However, there are many other flavors from other flavor companies that are far superior to these. They just haven't received as much attention. We're calling them "Premium Flavors" and the list below is some that can move your mixing to the next level.
Real Flavors Super Concentrates
I'd like to give props to @SthrnMixer for doing a lot of legwork on this project. Your writeups are invaluable to seeing this project completed. Thanks to @Amy2 for all the support and seeing this thing to completion. And a BIG THANKS to all members that offered suggestions and support. You all opened my eyes to a lot of things I didn't fully understand... YOU KNOW WHO YOU ALL ARE.