Tips wanted for wading into the "slightly complex" recipes arena?

Ok…I may be having one of my “lack of focus” moments, or possibly even just over thinking things (won’t be the first or last time in either case, much to my chagrin)… Maybe I just need sleep. Who knows.

So as folks who’ve been active over the last several months know, I’ve been (and continue) testing the stuffin’s out of single flavors. But I’m really getting bored and frustrated with the process lately…maybe due to a bad selection (or rather testing too many in the same vein on my part in the last two sessions that I’m burning myself out inadvertently. Either way, I’ve reached a point (on more than a few now) where I know what my preferred SA (standalone) or SF (single flavor for the vets) is, and my question is this:

Has anyone found a nice “cut-down ratio” (again, just as overall starting guideline) that they’d recommend? As I need to break the monotony up, and changing direction for a moment might be just what the doctor ordered.

I fully understand that certain flavors dominate when mixed, and I almost feel stupid even posing this question…but knowing that I’m already ‘sensitive to flavor overload’… I just can’t get past the mental hurdle of say 6% Cap v1 VC, 8% FW butterscotch, etc etc as that’s already 14% and I haven’t even “filled the gas tank” flavor-wise. Worse, this is compounded for me with having to stay (ideally) about the 80% vg marker (or higher), or I start having pg problems the next morning, never mind the taste buds.

50% of the SA flavor? 33%?

Do you have special cut-down rules for certain categories (creams, accents, etc) that you typically apply??

Appreciate your help, tips, thoughts!

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Following because I’d like to know people’s thoughts on this, too!
I think you’ve done a lot more single flavor tests than I have. But with the few that I’ve done and tried to combine into recipes it usually goes something like 50-75% on the flavors that are mild or weak as standalones, and 25-50% for the strong ones. But that is when combining 2-4 flavors. Obviously if you’re looking to make more complex mixes with 5, 10, etc. flavors, it’ll take a lot more tweaking.

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Since I started serious DIY 4 months ago, I’ve been pursing recipes with stronger flavors. Because of sinus issues, most recipes taste very bland. I’ve had to tweak most recipes so that I could taste stuff.

I think this has a lot to do with your question, because of the concerns with flavor overload. I’ve done that to many, many recipes - making a bottle of eLiquid that tasted bland or bitter just because there was too much flavoring.

I asked about making stronger recipes this in this thread: Mixing / Adjusting for strong flavor
A few months later I posted what I had learned, in this post: Mixing / Adjusting for strong flavor

Some of the lessons I learned might be applicable to your endeavor - at least concerning flavor overload.


My apologies for not being clearer!
In regards to “flavor overload”, I meant that some palettes (and subsequently recipes) use way too much flavor for my tastes…so I have an extra appreciation for the times that I find those recipes that don’t blow my taste buds out of the water. :wink:

Wasn’t even thinking about the muting or chemical aspects when I said that (which I too have done on the odd occasion when learning a new flavor).

I think that’s especially prone to happen with exposure to new brands though. (eg my first couple of dealings with FA -thinking 4% might be ok as a SA. Wrong again! Lol. more like 1-2% as an SA for me, and probably going to land in the 0.5 +/- range for me in mixes IF my guess above is right.)

Edit: also worth noting is that I’m asking the question above from the perspective of having not mixed anyone else’s recipes (to speak of) other than the one I posted that EJAB created (Krispy Kreme donut).

I think that your writeup in the second link was excellent, and going to be another wonderful tool that will give alot of folks some great ideas and insights though!

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I put it simply. I HATE SINGLE FLAVORS. It’s a nessisary evil. One that prevents my next step in knowledge, but my tasting ability prevents me from finding joy. I gotta have flavor at the front and back.

By not doing single flavor test it hurts in trying to learn how to layer flavors. But this is a punishment I accept…continued…

Like it makes it really hard if not impossible to clone a recpie. Or get that last touch of flavor.

I have over come a lot. But certain things require more time, reading, and research. Thankfully over the last five years people have shared a lot allowing me to cheat…but I’m not 100% perfect.


I really hate doing single flavors too. :weary:


I honestly can’t imagine creating a recipe on my own.

My wife says I’m crazy, since I’m an excellent cook. She reminded me of numerous delicious meals that I’ve made out of odds and ends. Or the rather tasty one-time meals I’ve whipped together for a dozen people at a campground. Or the times I’ve cooked something that I’ve never seen or heard of, but it smelled delicious so I cooked it.

I then reminded her that I’ve been eating for 51 years, cooking for 40, and doing DIY for 4 months.


I’ve made some disgusting sh*t… When I try to start with too many flavors in a new mix it’s not always pretty. Other than a few flukes that I got lucky on, I like to start a new recipe with just a few flavors (around 3) and then tweak them by adding in more flavors each time I make a new batch. That seems to work well.


OK… so what I do (I rarely test a single flavor, maybe two or three)

Once I test it and say “Hmmm… this needs something…”

I think about it for a minute, dump it into a cylinder, ask my taste buds what it needs and then I search the notes section on that flavor on say… Vanilla Custard or Bavarian Cream or Caramel or whatever and decide how much to add based on the notes. I take whats in the beaker do the math and add the flavor, shake the heck out of it and let it sit overnight and try it again.

The thing is some of those creams are powerful and you only need 1.5% to get the “note” of the cream so there’s no blanket rule and custards have to steep a while.



I’ve debated writing something a guide or something based on my findings, but then I learn something new and realize that I don’t know sh*t about DIY.

Yet. Some day…


@Sprkslfly don’t think there is a good rule for cutting flavors in mixes. At least not one that’s a one size fits all. The reason is that some flavors have a very narrow margin of usage between what’s too much and not enough. Additionally, many flavors will be accentuated while others subdued depending on what they’re mixed with. You need to hone your skills and learn how your flavors work together.

First thing I would recommend is getting a copy of The Flavor Bible. It’s available on Google Books, Amazon and elsewhere. I have a digital copy and use it all the time and it’s a recommendation by our resident chef, @DarthVapor from maybe a year ago. It will help you discover flavor pairings, many of which it’s doubtful you would ever think of on your own.

Second, VapeyMama has a good approach which I’ve used and find it works quite well. [quote=“VapeyMama, post:8, topic:84083”]
like to start a new recipe with just a few flavors (around 3) and then tweak them by adding in more flavors each time I make a new batch.

You can use this method in conjunction with The Flavor Bible to decide what flavors to add. You can, of course, be experimental and I personally believe that’s where some awesome flavor combinations come from, but I think you’ll get instant gratification if you have a determined approach at first.

Lastly I would like to see you resign yourself to the fact you will make some crap. We all do. The only way around making crap is to never experiment and to stick with tried and true recipes. But if you choose to create…crap will come. And if you’re like me it will come more often than winners :slight_smile: Just remember, complexity in mixing is a natural progression from learning your flavors and lots and lots of experimentation.


I do a lot of singles. I don’t hate doing them, in fact I kind of enjoy it. I know, I’m odd. When I’m lacking inspiration, it gives me something to mix and test for the next month so at least I don’t feel like I’ve got nothing going on. :stuck_out_tongue:

What I usually do is about once a month or so whip up 15 or so single flavors I haven’t done yet and test them once a week for a month. I’ve been really trying to focus on taking good notes on what the flavors taste like and not just saying “mm I like this…” LoL. But then once I’m done with those singles, there’s usually like 2-3ml left in the bottle. When I get the urge, I’ll rummage through and pick a few out that I think would make a decent mix, dump them in a tank, and see what I think. It breaks up the singles monotony and I can try stuff out without worrying about wasting a ton of flavoring.

To answer your actual question though, I mix my singles pretty low and usually will use them in mixes at what I test them at. But, if you’re mixing them at 10%+ I’d say half is a good place to start. Obviously it depends on if you want it to be a main flavor or a supporting flavor and how strong it is, but a good (read: probably terrible) rule of thumb is 5% mixer for the ‘weak’ flavors and 2% for the ‘strong’ ones. If I haven’t got a clue on a flavor, there’s not many notes, and I’ve never used it, that’s what I usually go with. Most FA, Flavorah, and Inawera get the 2% treatment. Most Cap and FW get the 5%. TPA is so all over the map with their flavors that if I really don’t have a clue, I’ll do something like 3%. Live and learn I suppose. :stuck_out_tongue:


I still have a direct link to my google drive, if you are in need of the digital copy.

Find it here;


Making single flavours is the key but using a combination of concentrates to make that single flavour.

There is no single consentrate thats perfect, you have to use common sense with flavours and combine them to achieve your flavour

I use around 4 or more flavours to make one flavour

Ie, to make a nice strawberry i use

Sweet strawberry cap 8%
Ripe strawberry tfa 3%
Lemon sicily cap 2%
Marshmallow fa 2%

This is just an example not a receipe
I Mix the consentrates together before mixing into your base but thats up to you, it saves me storage space then having loads of consentrates laying around, but thats after you found the right combo of flavours to make the one.

When you mix and find the perfect flavour using a combo of consentrates
Add it to your base mix at what ever ratio you prefer, 10% higher/lower its up to you and it will taste the same always apart from strenth :wink:



A very good idea, and once I get a few things to come together, I plan on keeping it few ‘stones’ on hand for just that reason! =)

Also, I definitely needed sleep earlier, as I unintentionally “lied through my teeth” when I posted something (which I’ll elaborate on shortly (once I get to the pc to be able to reply to a few other things with easier access to formatting).

When I wrote:

“To speak of” would have been better stated as “by comparison”.

I’ve definitely mixed a few (in fact, more than I realized) of some popular recipes here, and had to check my notes to realize how many, I’ve actually done, as I’ve got SO many more that I’ve yet to try, due to still getting flavors together. But the one’s that I dug out notes for (relatively easily) were:

Sinnamon Cookie Kustard by Ken_O_Where
Snickerdoodle by bigted209

  • which incidentally, I didn’t realize were ‘the same’ until I just went back to the pics I saved to retrieve this. >< (For those wondering, Ken’s post was 3 days earlier…)

Blueberries and Cream by ThirdWorldOrder posted by Krucial Juice

which is the SAME RECIPE AS (barring the tweaking to the base ing’s.) the following:

Ketchup Milk - Simple Blueberries and Cream - by ThirdWorldOrder

6% Tiger’s Blood by Haitianboy420
(which I made for a friend -who loved it, but personally, it wasn’t anything I’ll put into personal use. Even still, I halved the percentages before giving it to my friend. 12%+ on anything just ‘isn’t going to work’ for me.)

Triple C’s (Caramel Cream Cake) by [ENYAWREKLAW] I did this one early on, and I didn’t have several of the proper flavors to make this exactly, so substitutions were made, which as we know, changes things from what the creator intended to convey. So I can’t share my notes on that, as they’re not valid.

Birthday Cake by NotCharlesManson
This was very surprisingly not my cup of tea at all. Also worth noting, I didn’t have Meringue FA at the time, so IIRC (notes are on the laptop) TFA was subbed for FA.

Cinapple Fritter [DIYorDIE: returnity]
Again, another one that I bastardized to hell and back (thanks to subbing) early on, so again, not fair to comment.

muffin man clone (spot on) by Joey350z
This one was really good, but I still had to sub Double Apple CAP for Ina’s TwoApples (which I halved the percentage to 2% -could have even possibly gone 1% though).

So there’s at least a few that I’ve made, but I guess although it wasn’t intended to be lying, it was an overstatement/oversimplification on my part to say the least.

Basically though, what I was trying to convey was that, when I’ve done single flavor mixes (of what? easily 50-60 flavors at this point?) that have been at bare minimum 2, usually 3, and sometimes 4 or more variations PER SF…that add’s up to a ton more mixing (3 variants each for 60 = 180 tests, vs only a few mixes of most of the above) than ‘living off of creating pre-done recipes’. Not that there’s anything AT ALL wrong with that… it’s just that I’ve been hitting things from the entirely opposite direction. My thinking being, if I can get my SA’s learned first, then the rest should fall naturally into place (well, at least more easily), but I had the ‘momentary’ question of…“I wonder if anyone else, hitting this like I have been, has found a ‘method in the madness’ during the process, as they graduated into mixing an actual recipe?”

Again, sorry I’m unable to be more concise in times like above, when it’d really be helpful. I hope this makes sense.


Completely agree.

Yep. Huge difference. It’s like being 6 years old in the kitchen all over again (when I first learned to cook). But at least we have the advantage of a reference point (cooking) to translate once things finally do start to ‘fall into place’!! :smiley:

[quote=VapeyMama]I like to start a new recipe with just a few flavors (around 3) and then
tweak them by adding in more flavors each time I make a new batch. That
seems to work well.[/quote]
Great advice!! Much appreciated!
That’s more or less what I’ve been doing on the “Southern Charm” that I’ve been trying to recreate. I’ve got at least 8 variants so far, and have been subbing different brands, different percentages, etc. (and trying to keep it methodical as I’ve gone, so that I can see/address the changes). And I’ve been making progress, but still more work to go.

That ‘clone attempt process’ appears to be laying the foundation work for building future recipes from scratch…so my limited experience thus far definitely affirms your suggestion and methodology!

Interesting. My fear here (unfounded or not) would be that the flavors would not be mixing at the same rate, and that things would change, and then not be repeatable in the future when you sling it all together at once. (Assuming that I understood you correctly, and you’re leaving time in between testing, and adding more flavoring then testing later etc -as I know that some have mentioned doing)

Working on it brother! Trust me! :laughing:

Already done!! I have a pdf copy (WRONG. see below), but I need to get it printed off and have it more accessible for ‘on the go’ situations I think. (It’s truly a great resource as well!)

Called out, AND read into at the same time. LMAO!! 1000 points for you.
Yes, you’ve hit the nail on the head to some degree, and I probably have (to some degree) not focused much on ‘jumping into’ trying to do multi-ingredient recipe’s. Intentionally so.

One, I know I have to learn these things, to be able to make use of them as a whole.

Two, I’m just frustrated by “not feeling further along”. But there’s a shit ton of flavors to learn, and even having mixed up a bare minimum of 200 vials over the last few months, I look at the spread on the table, and see that I have at least that many to go (as SA/SF tests)…it’s just kind of daunting. So I’m trying to look up to see the ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ to remind me (or more correctly: give me the stamina), as well as gather some information that I can use in the hopefully not to distant future, while maintaining sight of the end goal: creating some “semblance of a recipe” on demand, from scratch. =)

[quote=JoJo]I usually…whip up 15 or so single flavors I haven’t done yet and test them once a week for a month. I’ve been really trying to focus on taking good notes on what the flavors taste like and not just saying “mm I like this…” LoL. But then once I’m done with those singles, there’s usually like 2-3ml left in the bottle.

When I get the urge, I’ll rummage through and pick a few out that I think would make a decent mix, dump them in a tank, and see what I think. It breaks up the singles monotony and I can try stuff out without worrying about wasting a ton of flavoring.[/quote]

Likewise!! I think my error this last two times, was simply that I didn’t ‘spread the spectrum’ of flavors out widely enough.
The last time it was mostly berries/fruits, this time it was mostly ‘heavy’ stuff. Custards, caramel’s, butterscotches, etc…So I think what I need to do to keep from getting ‘burnout’ on SA testing, is to make sure that I keep the selection varied. EG: compare two caramels, two blueberry, two strawberry, two creams, etc. Then if I need to do a ‘shootout’ -then revisit one that I took notes on previously as a refresher.

@DarthVapor: Thank you for the link!!!
I checked and found that I only had the .epub version before, so I made sure to grab the PDF!

Anyways, I sincerely appreciate all the wonderful input from everyone!!


There’s just some cool people on ELR huh? Well you have the tools in front of you. You have the support of ELR. Only thing left is you. Get to mixing. Take some of those flavors you’ve tested and combine them. If you need to have a rule of thumb for reducing them in a mix just follow @JoJo advice and start with half what you’d use as a SA flavor. It’s easy to bump them up if needed. Take 2 or three flavors, mix them, taste and then adjust what you feel needs a bump. Then if you feel another flavor is useful, add that at half the SA percent, taste, bump and so on. I have a good example for you. Right now I have a new mix I’m working on that started as an idea for a RY4 and Apple mix. It started with RY4 and Apple, then I upped the RY4 and found it was good, but I vaped a tank a day for a couple days and doing that I would think to myself is this good as is or could it use something else? That led me to add 2 other flavors. Vape again for a couple days. Today I’ll be adding some Anise. Now I can’t say if this is a skill or not - to me it just seems like my normal, haphazard approach to creation. But it works for me. The point is, every recipe should start as an idea, and many with only 2-3 flavors that are the starting point to the final recipe. You can do it!

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Thank you so much for reminding us of the PDF link you posted…I was unable to download it before when you first linked it because I needed a new computer and then I totally forgot about it, but I just downloaded it and I look forward to reading it! Thanks a bunch for sharing this wonderful piece of work!


I feel this needs more emphasis…

There ya go. :wink: