First of all, you seem to have normal flavor concentrates, I don’t see any problem with your stash. Thanks for posting the link.
I tried a couple of these and even though they’re all highly rated, I wasn’t too impressed. One thing I do notice is that most of these are strawberry flavors. Maybe that is just not your thing?
Strawberry flavors are notoriously difficult for some and it might be you are just one of those people. There are advanced mixing techniques to boost a strawberry, whether it’s with a certain sweetener, an acid or a totally different flavor to fill in the gaps in the SB flavor spectrum. I wish I was at that level but someone else will have to pitch in to help you here.
I’ve heard people mention dragonfruit is the magic ingredient to boost it, but that’s a subjective thing. For me it helps more to play around with combining other SB flavors (a deeper, darker Shisha SB from INW works wonders for me) and berries like blackcurrant or even a berry crunch… CAP sweet strawberry is as good as a mute to me but those other flavors can bring something special out of it when I need it.
I personally do have issues with some of these recipes being over flavored. Dragonfruit (TPA) for example is something I pick out of most recipes at very low % and yet there are recipes that use it up to 10%? Many people obviously like that, otherwise it won’t get that rating, but it doesn’t work well for everyone.
That doesn’t explain though why you’re having the same issues with recipes like Geography French Quarter, which is IMO a good recipe. I think it benefits from a good steep however, but you should have plenty flavor from the get go. Strawnana Custard is also something that didn’t work well for me (i.e. the flavor profile) immediately from a shake and vape, but letting it steep for 2 months really pays off well. However, at that age, the SB is very much faded away.
You mentioned keeping your flavors in a “cool place” … if that’s way below room temperature, maybe you just need to let your flavors get up to room temperature before mixing and always properly shake every ingredient in a mix. Some concentrates can start to crystallize in colder temperatures, components can separate. And yeah, check your flavors as well.
Things like sweet cream, cream fresh, whipped cream, vanilla swirl etc are all very nice in mixes but you have to be careful with them. They can easily mute, drown other flavors and dominate your mix. Try using them in low %. The Ripe Dragon Cream recipe for example, is IMO way over flavored. If it smells good to you, I’d probably adjust the overall flavor % and start mixing it half strength or even lower.
You’ll hear this a lot, but taste is really subjective and if you see that the average things that work for others don’t work for you, you have to experiment a bit and try to find out why… SFT (single flavor test) is your way out here. I would just heat up some plain VG or your preferred VG/PG ratio (10ml or so) , add a couple drops of flavor concentrate, really shake it well, drip it and test. Repeat this process, each time adding a few extra drops of flavor until you find the sweet spot for your concentrates. Always keep a notebook handy and record your experiences.
From my experience, there are concentrates that I need more of that other users, and some that are used at completely ridiculous %. TPA VBIC is something you’ll often see used up to 8 or 10% in a mix, but when I use it at 2%, it’ll take over the recipe and ruin it for me. Dragonfruit as well… anything higher than 2% will result in a total screw up (and your ripe dragon cream recipe uses it at 10%).
Once you do your SFT, you should get a better feel for what to expect from a recipe. Also remember that flavors can have a big effect on each other when you combine them. There are flavors that can be very dominant and strong while others are subtle and easily hide. Keep in mind that less is often more, so begin with low %, just hints of a flavor and you may be surprised how much effect that has.
Steeping is important. Right from a shake and vape, a recipe may be airy and not much flavor and a week or 2 later you could have something with intense and dense flavor. If you don’t have the patience and immediately add more flavor, you’re going to end up with over flavoring problems (and often that results in losing overall flavor).