Long time DIY guy here. I’ve been doing DIY for a couple of years now and have came up with some pretty nice recipes.
About a year ago, my childhood friend and I decided to start up a premium E-Liquid line. What a journey it has been so far! We have already invested around 7K into start up and other business expenses.
We are now finally in our launch phase and have ran into a big problem. About 3 weeks ago, we mass produced 500 bottles for our startup product to push. For the first 2 weeks the flavor on the product was as intended and tasted amazing. Unfortunately the flavor has really gone down hill this week right before our first sale. The juice doesn’t taste right and we really can’t figure out why. We obviously can’t move it.
We have never had this issue before with smaller batches and bottle by bottle handcrafting. In fact, the flavor on bottles we handcrafted over 6 months ago taste out of this world good now. Nothing has changed, we are using the same ingredients as we always have.
We are obviously missing something. Any help on manufacturing bottles on a higher volume would be greatly appreciated!
I would also like to add that we are sanitizing all over our equipment and manufacturing in as close to ISO7 cleanroom as we can afford right now.
We don’t believe this is a contamination issue.
Other possibilities could be our VG and PG supplier or our nicotine, or both. We have always used myfreedomsmokes nicotine which has always been fine for us.
We are going to try to redo the batch next week using NicSelect nicotine, VG and PG which is the same stuff Molecule Labs uses, but we still run the risk of the same thing happening to this run.
If there’s any other culprits anyone can think of please let us know!
I’m not the person to answer but that’s never stopped me before What changed from your smaller batches. That may sound obvious, but clearly your culprit lies in those changes. I mean did you go from glass labware to a Hobart mixer for huge batches. Contact with metals could be catalyzing reactions post-mix (stirring tool?)
Thanks for the reply man. Nothing has really changed much on the larger batches. We are using 1 gallon style F jugs with a 1 oz pump connected for quick bottle filling, then it’s off to the labeling machine.
We add everything in, shake it for about a hour and then fill the bottles and let them steep. We are using glass graduated cylinders for all measurements.
Pretty much the same way a lab would do it, but on a much smaller scale. We plan to move to a distribution manufacturing facility in the future, but for now we have to find out what’s causing this!
We have tried 2 other methods prior to last which resulted in the same problem after about 2 weeks. The flavor diminishes to the point to it’s almost like vaping VG with no flavor. Where is the flavor going!?.. So we have had to throw over $1,500 of product away. Its unfortunate. Because these are really really awesome flavors that have been in development for a long time. Steep approved, this shouldn’t be happening.
I agree with bodarc. If nothing has change except the equipment…the equipment is a good place to start. One thing off screws everything up.
Also…did you do a small test batch from your bulk orders? Maybe you recieved a less than quality product from a vendor…maybe that’s why all the primium juice makes add surclose to hide the variations in flavor profiles
Small batch testing doesn’t just include doing a quick mix. Just like with nic there should be chemical tests you can run on products to verify quality. Of course that costs more money. Especially when trying to move into high volumn.
In my industry (not vaping) we have to test out liquids. Both from the manufacturer container, from the tank of our equipment and all the dispensing items. One thing off fails the whole quality check and a potential loss…but when safety is paramount you do the tests.
Agree with @Chrispdx. fastest test is make a smaller batch with current bulk supplies …could be something wasn’t totally clean like brand new 30 ml empty bottles
I would think that the steeping time for a small batch and a large batch would vary considerably since you’re dealing with a lot more volume
Changed my mind about what’s fastest. Get a dozen shot glasses. Put an ounce of water in each one. Swirl 3 drops of each flavor in a shot glass and compare old->new individual flavorings. They should taste the same. You can Vape test old-vs-new PG VG Nic in various combinations (flavor before flavoring). Send the “tainted” and an older good batch out for chromatography analysis (not fast, but no guessing) maybe take a new empty 30ml (with its dropper) and fill it with distilled water and send that too
The only last ponderance or helpful idea…since I don’t mix on that scale is the moving from newbie to seasoned mixer…and now for you producer.
The newbie forget things they’ve read. Shake your flavors, take care in measuring your flavors. They miss these steps (including myself). They result in a low weak flavor from under or over flavoring.
We all transition to some degree of a seasoned
Mixer. We fix our issues. And get great results. We notice that when going from a 5-15ml teaters to 30-120mls things are off. We step up our game and we realize when we put 0.5% of flavor in a bottle at 0.09 grams…we were really putting in 0.0993 and there is a variance or degree of being off.
We get that all fixed and we are good. For the most part. But occasionally we won’t tell anyone we get too ball’zy and we produce a bad batch or two…we don’t want to admit. But that’s what it was. Lesson learned.
So my point is. Maybe you have learned your lessons but forgot one. My other vote is the degree of variance in measuring. Especially if you go back and do acouple small test batches.
Suggest you make a list of the differences between what you did to make small batches and large. Pick the most likely culprits and go down the list until you nail it.
To eliminate all ingredients, could make a small batch of new and old batches and compare. The problem most likely to be in: equipment material, method or environment.
last words …whenever you have a problem seeking a solution, repeat this Mantra …once you solve the mystery you will know I was true
“Nothing is ever lost, it is only where you refuse to look…” - BoDarc
This sounds like the culprit right here. I have scientific glass graduated cylinders, and all measurements vary from each other and are never correct when compared to weight measuring or volume with syringes. Beakers too. None are precise and can vary greatly. I firmly recommend getting a scale and measuring by weight, it’s the easiest and most accurate imo. But syringes would also be more accurate. It would take you a long time as they don’t make huge syringes for larger batches.
But I’m just guessing as I see that being an issue. Good luck, I hope you figure it out!
You might have a small case of vapors tongue affecting your taste from over vaping it, don’t throw out your juice till you get outsiders (me) to try it
You may have to introduce heat into your process. I hate heat an ejuice but when dealing with such large runs even the big boys use heat. If you don’t flavor separate.
I’m willing to bet if you went back and checked every bottle you’d find the flavoring some where. Separation is a bitch. This is why we steep to allow everything to attach to every thing else.
Looks like graduated cylinders are only accurate within 1% but I am listening to you very closely. Example; separation… if you mixed vigorously for an hour and then immediately bottled, separation would not be an issue. But if you left the lab at 3 AM with the product in whatever mixer (set to run for an hour) and returned at 9 AM and bottled? …any time between mixing and bottling could allow for separation.
The question would be how many bottles (of the 500) did you sample? Obviously they should all taste the same …consistency is born from rigid process, but how well did you validate that bad result?
Your success and your process are one and the same, so this is smart to get an outside view …most times we are too close. One thing I would have (and remember we are all guessing) is a large ultrasonic cleaner to wash newly manufactured bottles before filling and jugs used to store/dispense glycerol and flavors. Assume nothing fresh off the assembly line is clean (silicone parting compounds left on surfaces after coming off molds) …like plastic pumps.
No need to give us the details of your lab or process, we’re just tossing out some things that could go wrong. On “separation”, if you are using gallon jugs of flavoring …I would shake the BeJesus out of them before dispensing. Separation premixing could be an easy culprit here. Hmm put a teflon coated magnet at the bottom of each (gallon) and give them a few minutes on the mag mixer.
[chuckling] Seriously brah, You need a company that specializes in vaporizing mass quantities of eliquid and performing qualitative flavor analysis …I know a coupla dudes!
OK, OK pour it all back into a vat, remix it with a dang boat paddle or a electric mixer to insure its not just a settlement problem. But don’t just throw it away unless that’s your last resort.
And I’m still up for testing if you want to send a sample.
And for sure Nic brands do affect the taste, so I hope its that simple.
After reading everything you described my guess given you said the flavor is fading away is what @MysticRose already said, if you did not use a scale to measure out your flavorings this is the reason.
You mentioned Molecule Labs and if you are familiar with them you should also know in the video that P.Busardo did on them the owner stressed that measuring by weight not volume is the only way to be accurate and get consistency.
A buddy of mine used to have a juice company and I remember him saying to get the real precise flavors he never mixed above 120 ml at a time. When he closed his business to move to New Zealand I got sveral of his recipes. One is my favorite and I got cocky and made a 240 ml bottle and like you after a few weeks it doesn’t taste quite right. I’ve gone back to mixing 100 ml bottles. I almost purchased a box of 240’s to do them all that way. Sure glad I didn’t.
Hope this helps.
These are all perfectly valid points…
Although on the first 2 runs we used huge 60ml syringes. It took forever but even with the syringes the same thing happened as the last batch with the graduated cylinders.
The strange thing is that for the first 2 weeks the flavor was spot on for consistency and quality. Then it just started fading. No bad taste or anything, just really weakens. Even smelling the bottle, it smells a lot less potent.
We have a small group of beta testers to rule out the vapors tongue issue. It seems like something chemically is happening possibly it could be something on the flavor manufactures end.
We are going to do a small 30 bottle run with the NicSelect and Musum Mas VG to see if this makes a difference.
What are using to store and seal in during steeping?