Flavour chasing is a term that has come off the back of ‘cloud chasing’. Unlike cloud chasing though, this isn’t about showmanship or competition, but getting the best tasting vape you can from your favourite e-juices.
All vapers would probably agree that the best vape comes from a robust, delicious flavour. Many seasoned, vapers are looking to improve flavour, and this is where flavour-chasing has evolved. Flavour-chasing means fine-tuning your vaping setup to get the best taste possible. This is in stark contrast with cloud-chasing, where vapers focus on producing massive clouds, sometimes at the expense of flavour.
Flavour-chasing is actually complex because it requires a lot of trial and error. Each e-liquid responds differently to the same settings, and you have to consider a lot of factors to extract the best flavour.
Tricky as it is, here is a breakdown of how to get the best flavour from your e-liquid.
We recommend that you choose variable voltage/wattage devices or those with temperature control. The voltage, wattage and temperature of your e-cig will have an impact on how much and how quickly your coil heats up. When you increase the wattage, the temperature also increases. In turn, this affects the taste because the various flavourings in an e-liquid turn into vapour at different temperatures.
With these devices, you can choose the temperature or wattage that works best for your e-liquid. Start with a low setting, then gradually tune it up until you reach the precise flavour you want. You can even get some very complex liquids which have been designed with different flavours to respond differently as you change your settings. This means with the same e-liquid you can actually get different tasting flavours using different settings.
Opt for bottom-coil atomisers instead of top-coil. The problem with top-coil atomisers is that their wick absorbs e-liquid while going against gravity. It’s not very efficient, so you end up with less flavour. On the other hand, bottom-coil atomisers go with the flow of gravity and the flavour benefits.
If you’re serious about flavour-chasing, you can upgrade to rebuildable atomisers. They’re a lot more challenging and hands-on, so you’d have to be experienced with vaping, but the flipside is they offer amazing levels of customisation that aren’t available with other devices.
Luckily, most devices have adjustable airflow. A limited airflow is much better for flavour-chasing since your vape becomes heavier, warmer, and more condensed. But it’s important to achieve the right balance. Shutting off the airflow too much makes the vapour uncomfortably hot, with a burnt, bitter taste. Play it safe by starting low and then increasing gradually.
With this setup, airholes should be bigger to avoid a harsh throat hit. They should also be at the bottom rather than at the sides because flavour is better preserved when the vapour goes straight up the mouthpiece.
Silica wicks used to be the most popular, but they dampen flavour significantly. Most e-cigarette manufacturers eventually switched over to Japanese cotton. It does a good job of maintaining flavour and handling wicking, and it sets an excellent industry standard.
Vapers who want to try something different can turn to Cotton Bacon or even mesh coils. If building your own wicks isn’t for you, then you can use pre built stock coils made for your particular tank. These tanks all take different coils so be careful in buying the correct coils. Mesh coils are the newest coil system introduced, where the mesh distributes the heat evenly around the cotton as opposed to heating it in one spot like a traditional pre-made wound coil. Traditional coils heat up on a tiny surface area compared to mesh, whereas mesh uses the whole surface area which in turn make your coils last longer and gives more flavour.
Just as with wicks, your coil’s material matters. Kanthal is the most common, and it gives a clean taste that works well with flavour-chasing. Nickel is also okay. But if you’re using a device with temperature control and the vapour is a little off, the reason might be if your coil is made of steel or titanium, which impart a metallic taste.
Another useful tip is to look for coils that maximise surface area with lots of twists and turns. This way, more e-liquid can touch the coils and be turned into vapour.
An e-liquid’s base consists of VG (vegetable glycerin) and PG (propylene glycol). Because these two have very different properties, their ratio affects cloud production, throat hit, and flavour, among others.
Cloud-chasers favour high-VG juices because this produces large clouds while sacrificing flavour. In comparison, flavour-chasers should choose higher-PG e-liquids, although too much PG causes a harsh throat hit. As always, it’s a balancing act. A 50/50 ratio is excellent for moderate vapour and flavour, but to squeeze more flavour out of it, you can aim for as high as 70% PG e-liquids.
Storage and Cleaning
E-liquids should be kept in a cool, dark place when not in use. If making your own liquids, you can steep your e-liquid like wine by storing it away for a week while giving it an occasional shake. Afterwards, it’ll take on a darker colour, and the flavour will taste much better. Another technique is letting an e-liquid “breathe” by opening the cap.
Gunk can build up from all those vapes, so equipment should be cleaned regularly. Rinse your tank with warm water every now and then. Make sure to change your coils every few days to avoid getting an acrid taste. If you’re using rebuildable coils, you can replace them every time you change flavours, or when they burn out.
It’s not always about your setup. Sometimes flavour flattens out because you get “vaper’s tongue,” where your tongue can’t taste an e-liquid as much. Vaping tends to dry out your mouth more than normal, especially with high PG flavours, and your tastebuds numb out.
This usually happens when you’ve been vaping a single flavour continuously, and it can last from 1-3 days up to two weeks. To prevent this, take breaks or switch up flavours, and stay well-hydrated. If you have it already, try sucking on a lemon or soothing your taste buds with menthol for a reset.
This has included a lot of detail to consider. Keep in mind, though, that results may vary depending on your e-liquid and setup, and these are only the start of flavour-chasing. You’ll have to experiment a lot and get to know your vape components really well, but it’ll pay off when you reach that sweet spot and get the best flavour out of your e-liquid.