Technical guide – The secrets behind an e-liquid tasting

1.    Conditions

If you have decided to taste a new product, you need to be in good conditions! Forget about tasting new e-liquids if you have a cold, if you have just been sipping a strong coffee or tasted very rich food. To fully appreciate the flavors, plan your tasting session just before a meal so that your senses won’t be polluted.

Make sure that the e-liquid has been stored in good conditions and check the expiry date. Even if this date is for indicative purposes only, it’s always better to taste a recent e-liquid.

Before starting, make sure to clear your head of any preconceived ideas. This could have an influence on your feelings. Pay attention to the evolution of aromas and don’t hesitate to rinse your mouth between different products to avoid saturating the taste buds. The water will play the same role as ginger with sushi or sherbet between dishes. Actually, ginger is used to delete aromas of the different fish you taste when you have a sushi or a maki sampler. It’s exactly what we typically do in France with sherbets: between every dish, the sherbet will rinse the palate and free the way for new flavors.

 

2.    Smell

a.     First nose

You have your e-liquid bottle and are ready to start your tasting. Start by opening your bottle and smell immediately the first aromas. This will give you the aroma family (ies). To make it simple, this is the general category in which you can classify the e-liquids. There are 7 different families:

  • Floral
  • Fruits
  • Spice
  • Wood
  • Citruses
  • Aromatic
  • Balsamic
  • Green

If you wish to know more about these families, keep on reading!

Tasting e-liquid

b.     Second nose

For the second nose, you can inhale directly from the bottle or use a little paper strip similar to the one used in perfumes. Stir it a little in the air then inhale. You’ll be able to refine the first nose by identifying the dominant notes.

E-liquid tasting

c.     The vapor

Finally, we can also inhale the vapor to identify potential aromas.

 

3.    The taste

Once you have explored the e-liquid through the sense of smell, you can move to the tasting part. To better taste the e-liquid, don’t hesitate to keep the vapor in your mouth for a few seconds, to blow a little bit through your mouth then through your nose. The origins of the perceptions lies in the olfactory mucosa which is in your nose. It will enable you to better identify the flavors.

a.     Top, middle and base notes

When you are tasting an e-liquid, you’ll be aiming at defining three kind of notes:

  • Top notes: these are the first flavors that you will perceive, generally citruses are sensed first because they are fleeting
  • Middle notes: what you will feel in a second time, these aromas last a little bit longer
  • Base notes: the most persistent and profound aromas are the ones we discover in the end

Top, middle and base notes

b.     Palate length

When tasting an e-liquid and if you define notes as explained previously, you’ll notice an evolution of the e-liquid, especially concerning its palate length. Some e-liquids are rather short and stay on top notes, other will be more complex and will evolve towards base notes.

c.     Feelings

On top of the dominant notes, you’ll have some feelings thanks to the mouth sensors:

  • Sour
  • Bitter
  • Sugary
  • Salty
  • Fatty
  • Fresh

d.    The hit

For e-liquids with nicotine, you’ll also be able to characterize the hit, which is this tingling feeling in the throat associated by smokers and former smokers to tobacco and cigarette sensations. Actually, this hit can be more or less intense, and can even bring people to cough. You can for instance evaluate the hit from 1 to 5, 5 being the more intense feeling.

 

4.    The sightUsing sight - E-liquid tasting

You will be able to observe the vapor created by evaluating the size and the thickness of the cloud.

You’ll then be able to confirm this observation by a reading of the composition and of the split PG/VG.

5.    Feelings

Feelings are based on all the senses: taste, smell and even sight sometimes. Even when using a common vocabulary and when identifying similar aromas, the tasting will be based on what you are feeling. Some flavors can echo some olfactory or gustative childhood memories. It is therefore normal that everyone feels differently when tasting an e-liquid.

Besides, tastes are personal: some people will be looking for sugary and round flavors, others will be looking for a sour taste, some will look for a strong hit. We are all different!