Nicotine's effect on flavor

Hello everyone,
I was searching through the forum archives looking for this topic or something similar but was unsuccessful locating anything. That may just be my inability to effectively search but regardless I wanted to raise it in the forum to share our experiences.

I was reading the Your Exit Strategy topic and one of the things that came to mind is nicotine’s effect on the flavor of e-liquids that contain it. I assume, perhaps incorrectly, that the OP’s intention using electronic nicotine delivery as a smoking cessation aid, was to ween off nicotine by methodically reducing the content of the nicotine in the e-liquids used. My experience has been that nicotine content and quality has a marked effect on the flavor of e-liquids that contain it, some more than others. I first noticed this relationship when I attempted to significantly reduce the nicotine content of tobacco-based e-liquid I was vaping daily about eight years ago. The recipe was a simple single-flavor mix using a Health Cabin flavor I seem to recall was named ‘Red’ or ‘Red Tobacco’ (or Red something anyway) and for me, the flavor was altered so extensively by the reduction of nicotine that I did not perceive it to be the same flavor. I had considered whether it was just my brain flexing its addiction preservation muscle, but do not believe that was the case. Ultimately, I opted to leave that flavor alone and find something new to mix with the reduced nicotine content. Since that time, I have determined that nicotine indeed is a considerable contributor to flavor, at least for my part and to the extent that I have heard others comment on the same. For me, it seems to play a considerably larger part in tobacco, nut and bread or grain recipes and certain drink recipes, particularly whisky and rum flavors. I perceive it to have less impact on cream and custard-type recipes, and even less so on fruit flavors, but ‘your mileage may vary.’

I had a negative experience once that I related to the purity or quality of the nicotine base. I’d ordered some 36mg/ml base liquid from a new re-seller when my ‘go-to’ was out of stock. It was considerably darker than what I was regularly using and smelled much different/stronger and ultimately, I tossed it because my recipes tasted horrible with it. That was several years ago, before I was able to easily acquire nicotine base stronger than 48mg/ml, so things have changed considerably as to the quality and potency of nicotine base available to the vape enthusiast and this probably is less of an issue these days. Based on that experience though, I believe the quality of nicotine base can play a factor too. Impurities like other nicotine alkaloids (cotinine, anatabine, nornicotine, etc.) or external impurities introduced during the manufacture or packaging process could impact the quality and/or purity of the nicotine base, so I would think that could then play into it’s flavor contribution as well. I also assume that proper storage techniques are important given that perceived relationship with flavor, but it’s all subject to research well beyond what I’m willing to put into it. I know enough for my own satisfaction, and hope I can pick up some more from all of you! :smiley:

What experiences have you had with respect to nicotine’s effect on flavor? Have you had situations where perhaps a different supplier’s nicotine base influenced the flavor of your e-liquids in one way or another? Do you have recipes that just don’t taste right without nicotine? I’d love to hear about it.

Thanks in advance for any comments!




Try using shorter paragraphs :slight_smile: (seriously)


Now that I did manage to read through it all I can actually comment.

I had a nic go bad on me, and it did kill the flavor in mixes.It was 100mg freebase nic I got from LNW, and as long as it was clear i felt no difference in flavor in recipes (i mix most of mine 0nic or 3mg). Once it started turning pink and then brown, it got peppery and nasty.

i replaced that with 100mg salt nic PG base (which is kept in the freezer) and I notice absolutely no flavor difference between 0nic and 3mg


I’ve gotten some poor nic before. Not sure if it “kills” the flavor but the pepper, harsh, taste definitely made the mixes less pleasurable.


A few years ago I was getting all my nic from Nicotine River. After mixing my batches would always have this ‘off’ flavor but it wasn’t what I would call peppery. After 24 hrs the off flavor would go away and the recipe tasted normal again, or so I thought.

After a few screw ups and inflated shipping charges by NR I switched to Vapors Tek. Since using their nic, the same recipes and ratios I had mixed before just seemed to have more flavor. Maybe it was all psychosomatic but it seemed something with NR’s nic was compromising my flavors.


I have used different Nicotine products , some had a peppery taste which for me kills the liquid instantly , but besides that ive never noticed a nicotine product muting or changing the flavor.
When i first started vaping the salesman at one of the shops told me that the lower the amount of nicotine the better the taste… So a 3mgml juice would taste better than say a 20mgml but i never tested that theory , by the time i started DIY i was down to 3mgml …


The only difference I’ve noticed is the throat hit at different levels of nic, but then my wife does say all my taste is in my ears.


@PAFLICK This is a very interesting subject. I’m early in on this post (for once) and I see the replies, many of which are mentioning the “pepper” effect that NIC, especially oxidized NIC can have on juices. I’ve experienced this first hand, but I think I want to move away from oxidized NIC and pepper to OTHER part of your question. I am very particular on my NIC, even more so than my flavors, as it’s in EVERY bottle I mix, and therefore almost MORE important to me (but I love my flavors too). I do tons of SF tests, and a long time ago, I stopped using NIC in them, assuming it was a waste. Quickly however, it became obvious to me, that it was indeed different when tasting with and without NIC mixes. Tried and tried I did to be able to CAPTURE exactly what this “difference” was, but I was unable to. All of my NIC is tasteless (to me anyway) as I’ve tested PG/VG vs. PG/VG/NIC with no flavors, and I can’t identify any TASTE difference. Needless to say, I started using NIC in ALL of my mixes, AND single flavor tests.

I think you nailed it that there seems to be a marked effect, DESPITE my inability to explain or decipher it myself.

I thought about this as well, but ruled it out as you did. I can’t quantify it, but to my tastes, it does seem to do SOMETHING to it, hence my return to using NIC in all mixes, including SF tests. Great post.


Honestly I don’t do zero mg nic, even in testing because I testing the end result. But I have only used one nic supplier…NicSelect…so I can’t really judge.

Do I do feel that nic has some small effect and that’s why I have been at 1.5mg nic for two years. Just enough to get me through the day and satisfied.


LOL. Funny you should mention that. I started off with about 6 and condensed it down to these as I was worried that the number of paragraphs rather than the size would turn people off. I’d probably be better off learning to get my message across with less verbosity instead! :wink:

Thanks adary!


Hello @SessionDrummer.
You did a much better job describing the magical nature of it’s effect on juice flavor than I did. I know it’s still early in the topic but based on the comments at this point I wonder if it’s an effect of the sensitivity of an individuals palate/olfaction as we know some flavors tend to be. I know taste is largely subjective so this is most likely the case, perhaps we are more ‘sensitive’ to certain aspects of nicotine than others are…


I use no nicotine for the last 3 month in my juices, but I noticed better flavor, then again I was using NR’s nic which might or might not been the issue.

I don’t vape real tobacco but rather fake tobacco aka ry4 :wink: and my main profiles are mostly custards, bakeries and some fruits here and there, however it didn’t effect my juice negatively and I’m happy that I don’t need nic anymore :slight_smile:


When you learn how to do that, please let me know…


Another interesting question. Does the NIC “prime” your tastebuds ?? Maybe like Salt or Sugar does ?? Trying to remember way back (in the dark ages) when I tried removing NIC from testers, what my actual thoughts were. When comparing with/without it was as if something was “missing”, maybe they didn’t seem as “full”, or they just seemed LESS full without. Struggling to remember exactly what it was. If I’m SF testing, I still have my ADV sitting nearby so I was never NIC deprived when testing NIC-less testers, so that wasn’t it. I guess I just felt there was something missing in terms of a fullness, or body without the NIC, but, hard to verbalize. It was more of that, then anything purely relating to a “flavor” or “taste”, which I think would be easier to identify.


Congratulations @eStorm I am jealous. I started out @ 16mg MTL, and switched to sub ohming, and dropped down all the way to 3mg, but when I get below that, the voices return, so I’m stuck @ 3mg for now.


I definitely agree that nic has an impact on the flavour. Since I started vaping I have cut down my nicotine content several times starting at 18mg and now at 4mg, and I have tasted a difference every time, even with a relative small step down from 6 to 4mg I could clearly taste a difference.

It isn’t a large difference, like two completely different flavours, but more subtle like a mix that is suppose to have just a drop or two of a certain flavour, but you omitted it for one reason or another. The other flavours might taste a slight bit brighter, but you are still missing something in the mix. At least that is the best way I can describe it.

This is also one of two reasons why I always do my SFT with nicotine, though at 2mg instead of 4.


If you scower the threads there is a zero 0mg thread where i reported my findings and testing rearding 0mg vs Nic e liquids. I proved
(to myself at least, though personally i dont consider testing to be merely anecdotal) that a 0mg Custard is nowhere near the same as a 3mg Custard in both colour and taste. The nic somehow creates a reaction which triggers/accelerates the “steep” process. For myself this change in mixes with nic was far more apparent in flavors that have the potential to age into more complex aromas/tastes ie custards, creams, desserts. With fruits the difference from 0mg to Nic is less noticable.

Yes yes and more yes. Again i have pointed this out only to get differing opinions as rebuttals. Thank you for this comment. Preach! Lol

Edit: my ultimate goal is to get to zero mg but would need two things to happen to ultimately and satisfactorily achieve this goal.

  1. A throat hit additive? (thinking this has to exist but havent bothered looking as problem 2 needs to solved first)
  2. “Steep” (flavor maturation, development) to occur in the same way as it does with complex flavors (custards etc) with nic in a zero mg
    Thinking an additive could work here as well as we discussed (zero mg thread) that alkalinity could play a factor here
    My most recent idea is a benzoic acid additive solution (no nic) if it works in salts it may just solve both issues simultaneously

I mainly vape tobacco and I must say that the nicotine is adding to the tobacco effect.

I’ve been on 3mg/ml for quite some time but I’ve upped it to 4 when my dog died because I was stressed and kept it at that level because I like it better.

I do enjoy a throat hit and even a little pepper, for me it just spices up the tobacco :yum:

I can imagine that it doesn’t play well with fruit. Imagine is the right word here because fruit and vape doesn’t play well with me :wink:


This is not calling you or anyone out as this was how I spelled it until I finally googled it for myself…

The palate is (1) the roof of the mouth, and (2) the sense of taste, and it’s also a fancy word for flavor, especially in writing on food wine.

A palette is the board painters use to hold and mix their colors. By extension, it sometimes denotes the range of colors used in a design or work of art.

BTW… Good Topic!


When I mix a new recipe I usually make 15ml @ 2.5mg. I’ve been using Nic Salt from LNW exclusively for the past 8 months. If I like the new recipe I’ll then mix up usually 60ml at 4 - 4.5mg for my daily squonking. I’ve noticed that many times, once I raise the nic the flavor isn’t as strong or vibrant. I use mostly fruit juices which can be bright and pop with flavor.

It’s perhaps the equivalent of going from 10 to 8 so I just deal with it. If I had more free time I’d experiment, but honestly, I can’t be bothered to do so.