Juice Battle 32: Zodist Edition

zodist-box

If you follow my blog at all, you will know that last week I came back from about a month-long hiatus. I won’t get too much into detail on it, but basically I just wanted to take a little time off from reviewing new stuff and enjoy the stuff I already have – more on that later.

Plus, the juice battle format I have been using – 10 different juices from 10 different vendors each week, was difficult for me to keep up with. Actually, I was able to make time for it most weeks, but as a result I had a lot less time to review the crazy amount of hardware I have sitting in my queue.

So the good news is, juice battles are back, and I intend to try and pump one out every week whenever possible. At the same time, however, there are going to be a few changes. I have wrestled with different ideas for how to present this. For now, I am going to just try a few different things and see what works. For example, the next few weeks rather than doing 10 random juices from 10 different vendors, I am going to do some more organized battles.  You also might notice that this battle is numbered. I went back through and numbered all the juice battles I have done so far, this will make it easier for myself, and everyone to keep better track and reference previous battles.

This week, we will be taking a look at the 4 juices I received in my Zodist box and I will be pitting them head to head. I know it’s only 4 so I have some other stuff planned after that.  I have only really been vaping these 4 juices for the last 2 weeks, so I didn’t think it would make a lot of sense to try and jam other juices into the battle, as I wouldn’t be able to vape them nearly as much as I have these 4.

So without further ado, let’s start the countdown…

#4 – Cosmic Fog: Cola Gummy

cola-gummy

Coming in last place this week is Cosmic Fog’s Cola Gummy. Here’s what they say about it:

Those chewy gummy cola bottles we all loved as kids are back. With a twist! Cola Gummy is a flavor as simple as its name. The flavor is unmistakable.  It comes on with a rush  of fizz, like you just popped the top on a can of soda. This is not simply a flavor … This is an experience!

This juice is really not your typical last-place kind of juice. It’s actually really quite good, and I’m still vaping it as a matter-of-fact. As far as the flavor goes, it is kind of what the name indicates. I do get both cola and gummy flavor. That said, I think the gummy flavor far overpowers the cola flavor – to the point where the cola might be difficult to detect if you didn’t know what this juice was before hand. The gummy aspect of it is pretty good. I love actual gummies, and out of most of the gummy vapes I have tried, I really haven’t been too impressed.

In this case, the gummy/candy flavor is SUPER strong, yet I still find it palatable. I think the reason is that most other gummies I have tried have had a fruity companion to them- usually some kind of strawberry type flavor. The gummy and fruity combo is usually just sweetness overload and I end up not being able to vape a lot of it. With this juice, the cola is a nice companion – it adds a more smooth and slightly spicy flavor to it and most importantly doesn’t make it overly sweet.

Unfortunately, this is not the best gummy cola vape I’ve had. I reviewed Classic Coke, which I got from Alternatecig a while back, and even though it wasn’t described as a gummy cola flavor, I thought it tasted almost exactly like the real thing. Additionally, that particular juice I only paid $1.99 for, while you would likely pay over $10 for this one in the same size. So personally, I think if you are specifically after a gummy cola flavor, you would be better off trying the cheapo one first because I thought it was a great rendition.

That said, this is a really nice juice all around. The performance is stellar – I get amazing throat hit, super full flavor and thick, dense clouds. Even though the candy component is very strong, I have had no problems vaping a TON of this stuff.

#3 Space Jam: Starship 1

spacejam-starship1

Coming in 3rd place this week is Starship 1 from Space Jam. Here’s what they say about it:

Starship is a vanilla custard topped with fresh kiwi with a slightly sweet undertone. Let’s just start by saying that the fresh kiwi in this juice is absolutely amazing! We at Elevated Vaping are huge fans of the taste of kiwi, and Space Jam has created a delectable concoction with this juice. The vanilla custard is not too sweet, and it doesn’t bite at the back of the throat, which is really nice. Many times we see that the vanilla custard is a little too saturated, which tends to have a weird burn in the back, but that is not the case with Starship. The vanilla custard is sweet and smooth and rolls off of the tongue. 

I really enjoyed this juice a lot. I spent most of the last two weeks vaping through tank after tank of it in my Aqua. The funny thing about this juice is that I already reviewed it once before during Custard Week. At the time, I was reviewing it in the context of it being a custard juice rather than a straight up review, and I probably didn’t give it the attention it really deserved.

I just happened to get a bottle of it in my Zodist box, and I felt it wouldn’t be fair if I didn’t give it another shot. I’m really glad I did.

Starship 1 is basically a really nice fruit flavored vape, with a super-smooth creamy-custard finish.  Now as far as the fruit goes, it’s supposed to be kiwi flavored. I haven’t found a kiwi vape yet that actually tasted like kiwi to me, and this one really doesn’t either. I think it pretty much tastes like strawberry – a really good strawberry. I have had time to think about this, and I think kiwi is just a tough juice to nail down with an artificial flavoring. I can’t think of any candy, food or beverages that were supposed to be kiwi flavored that I have ever tried, so I think this principal extends to food as well.  So I don’t really dock them points for it not tasting like kiwi, but I definitely don’t think it’s close.

As far as the custard component goes – this juice has a great cream finish. It is fairly reminiscent of a custard, although you could call it a cream as well. The thing about a lot of custards is they commonly have odd artificial tasting notes that creep in at certain spots in the vape – usually not enough to be a huge problem, but still noticeable. This juice doesn’t have any of that. You can really taste the cream, it melds wonderfully with the fruit and it is perfectly smooth and delicious the whole way through.

Overall this is really a phenomenal vape. If you are into fruits and creams like I would wager to guess a lot of people are, this is probably one of the top juices out there in that category and is bordering on a must-try.

#2 Vapewell – Hive

hive

Coming in second place this week is Hive by Vapewell.  Here’s what they say about it:

Natural Coconut taste sweetened with the power of Honey. Perfect with a cup of coffee or a stiff drink.

I found this juice to be particularly interesting. At first I thought it was a little on the light side, but I think that is because I was already vaping a ton of  The Weekend, and it is a similar flavor. Once I ran out of the weekend and was mostly vaping pure Hive, I really started to notice how much personality this juice has.

The primary flavors here are coconut and honey. I wouldn’t normally think of pairing these 2 flavors for an ejuice, although it doesn’t seem like an awkward combination either.

I think they play quite well together. The first thing you will likely notice is the honey. If you’ve ever tried any other honey vapes before, you will know it can be pretty hit-or-miss. In fact most of the honey vapes I have tried have been downright horrible.

The best thing about this juice, for sure, is the pure, natural honey flavor that it has. The sweetness is just right, and there are no crazy artificial flavors lurking around. Most importantly it doesn’t have any awkward floral notes. A lot of honey vapes I have tried have been nearly unvapable due to overpowering floral notes.

The other primary ingredient, coconut, beautifully cuts through the honey flavor for a warm and super smooth finish. It’s not an overpowering coconut flavor – in fact, you might not even notice any coconut at all for the first few puffs. Once you get used to the juice, you will get a very clear, yet subtle coconut finish on every vape that has a nice warm feel to it.

I started out not liking this juice as much as the other 3 but I have really come to like it over the last few days in particular. I think the honey component is delicious and unique, and the coconut is very well done.

#1 The Juicery – The Weekend

the-weekend

This week’s winner is The Weekend by The Juicery. Here’s what they say about it:

coconut milk with a hint of almond

I was really happy to see 2 coconut flavored juices in my Zodist box, and they both turned out to be fantastic.

In fact, both The Weekend and Hive are fairly similar.

I would say that Hive has a definite honey component that adds a little complexity to the vape, while The Weekend has a nuttier flavor that makes for a more rich finish.

The primary flavors in this juice are coconut and almond. Personally, I felt this one tasted a lot like Graham cracker flavor. It had kind of an almond-extract-like scent in the bottle – sort of acidic and sweet/sour smelling. The way the almond presented itself in the vape, however was quite different. It really came off as much more rich and nutty.

The coconut flavor was spot on. This is another one of those juices that even people who don’t care for coconut may still like. It’s not coconut like in a tropical, pina colada kind of sense, but more of a warm, toasted coconut kind of flavor. Really rich and satisfying.

Overall I thought this juice was phenomenal, and I easily vaped right through my bottle of it. I couldn’t put it down!

This is my ideal kind of dessert-style vape. It’s not too sweet, and the flavor isn’t so strong that you get sick of it quickly. It’s really smooth and the flavors come out subtly. It has a definite richness to it, but not enough to make you sick.

If you’re a coconut fan like me, this one is a must try.

The Bottom Line

Even though I only had 4 juices to review, I made the most out of them. All 4 were very tasty, and I don’t have more than half a bottle left of any of them at this point. I’m actually kind of sad to be moving on to new juices this week.  I won’t get too much into the Zodist service here because I already did a lengthy review on that, but the results speak for themselves. They sent me 4 juices and I thought all 4 were outstanding and had no problem vaping any of them.

Bonus – What I’ve Been Vaping Lately

Since this is a shortened juice battle this week, and because I’ve been away for the larger part of the last 2 months, I will give you a rundown on exactly what I’ve been vaping during that time.

Devices

Since June, I’ve really only been using a small handful of actual electronic cigarette devices.  I really like mechanical mods, but they are such a pain in the ass to fumble with all the time, I find myself more often than not gravitating towards APVs. Especially now that there is such a great selection that is available for reasonable prices.

So here are the devices I’ve been using almost exclusively for the last 2 months:

Vaporshark DNA30 - This is really one of my favorite devices of all time. However, I haven’t reviewed it here yet because I still haven’t completely gotten a feel for it. I actually started out with a fresh Vaporshark DNA20 at the beginning of this year, and I managed to burn it out in about 6 weeks. As it turns out, it was mostly my fault as some juice had flowed out of the atomizer airhole and managed to seep its way into the guts of the device, messing up the DNA chip.

When I sent it back, they basically said I would have to buy a refurbished one for $100 because the one I had couldn’t be fixed. As luck would have it a guy from VaporShark contacted me around that time looking for me to review some of their juices. I explained what was going on to him and he agreed to send me a brand new DNA30 for $75, so I went that route.

I have been using the device pretty heavily since then. The main thing with it is that the battery has been a little iffy for the past couple of months now. It will take a full charge, but then about halfway through it will start showing as empty at some times, and show at various levels, so it’s tough to say exactly what is up with it.

I’m pretty sure it is a battery issue and I intend to send it back to have the battery replaced, which only costs $25 if I remember correctly. Once all that happens I will give it a full review.

Until then, I will say this – there is no other device I have which has this kind of power and is as portable as the VaporShark. It’s crazy how small and convenient this device is. I love it for taking out on the go, and I have found a ton of great rebuildable atomizers that look really cool on it.

Cana DNA30 -  I actually have other DNA 30 devices, but since the Cana is probably one of the most talked about e-cigs this year, I decided to really put this one to the test, and I have used it more than any other e-cig since the beginning of June.

The model I have is from Cloupour and it is really well made. I had an authentic Hana DNA20 back at the beginning of the year, and this device gets close to the real thing.

It also has a closed off top – on the Fasttech DNA 20, the removable piece went all the way up to the top of the device where the atomizer sits, leaving a seam for juice to seep through. This one has a sealed off top so that you don’t have to worry about juice flowing into the guts. This is a pretty big issue.

I did a full review on the Cana already so I won’t get too in-depth on this one. Basically it is a NEAR perfect DNA30 device. Performance-wise and appearance-wise, you’re not going to miss a thing. I have been comfortably using this for a couple months now and it works great with all kinds of different atomizer and coil setups. For around $60, I don’t think there is a better deal out there right now, and this is what I would recommend if you want full power on a budget.

The one big issue I have with the Cana is that unlike authentic DNA30 devices, you have to “wake it up” before you can fire it. I’m the type of vaper who takes a puff here and there, so pretty much every time I want to take a hit, I have to hit the button first to wake it up, then proceed to taking a hit off it.

It doesn’t sound like much, and I have read other reviews of people who claim they easily got used to it. Personally, I have never gotten used to it, and it is a pain in my ass every single time I have to do it.

So overall I think this is a good device, and it has really served me well but just based on the “wake up” issue alone, I wouldn’t have this one in my arsenal if I wasn’t testing it.

The Duke - I’ve had my Duke for quite a while now. These are the OKR/T-10 devices that are most commonly purchased from Reddit. They are interesting because they almost function more like a mechanical mod, however they are a full powered APV.

The Duke is capable of handling builds up to 50 watts, however there aren’t any LCD readouts so you never really know what you have it set at, and what your atomizer is firing at – you have to use your head on that one.

I really like this device a lot because it is compact enough, at least for a dual battery device, it’s great for full power vaping, and it has really nice battery life. I run a couple Orbtronics in here and I usually only recharge them about once a week.

The thing about the Duke is that it’s a little finicky. The contact in the 510 connection is always slipping out of place and I have to pretty much adjust it any time I change an atomizer.

As a result, I don’t really change atomizers in the Duke that often. I get a good setup going on it and run with it for a long time.

I end up using this one a lot because it’s super dependable and a good one to take on the go. The battery life is great and it can kick out some serious power.

Atomizers

I have such a stupid amount of atomizers, it’s hard to even decide what to try out next. Really, I’ve only been using a small handful of them over the last couple of months.

Stillare - I love the stillare for a lot of reasons. In fact I get a lot more in-depth on them in my full review. The appearance of it is neutral enough that I can run it on all kinds of different devices and it always looks good. I think the airflow is just about the best I have seen on any RDA. I can run a single high ohm coil, or a crazy twisted kanthal dual coil setup and it’s easy to dial in the perfect airflow for either. I love that about it. It also looks great with just about any drip tip, and it’s built well so it still looks as good as it did the first day I used it. Overall this is one of, if not my favorite RDA right now and by far the one I have used the most.

Aqua - I have really had quite a bit of success with my Aqua lately. This is another one you can get a lot more specific info on from my full review. I like the aqua for a few reasons. One, it is all stainless, so I don’t have to worry about plastic cracking or glass shattering. It has a really clean look and feel and is not nearly as bulky as the Kayfun. While I don’t normally prefer dual coil setups, it seems to suit the Aqua perfectly. I can build a nice 1.5 ohm dual coil setup on the aqua and run tons of tanks through it at around 17 watts without ever having to worry about dry hits. If you want to put it into a bag or your pocket, you can screw down the tank over the airholes to seal them off, making it perfect for taking on the go. It’s also super easy to fill from the top, so even though the tank is smaller, it’s much less of a pain in the ass to deal with than some other tanks. This is really a great piece and pretty much one of the only tanks I’ve been using.

Crown RDA - I used the crown more on the front end of the last 2 months. I really particularly like the crown for pairing with mechanical mods. The reason is simple – the steel, brass and copper interchangeable sleeves I have for it make it stupid easy to customize for whatever mech I’m putting it on. It also has excellent adjustable airflow and is VERY easy to build on. This one is really an RDA I like more for appearance than actual function. The function is fine – it’s actually pretty similar to what you get with most other RDAs, but the ability to customize the metal sleeve makes a world of difference, and I haven’t met a mech mod yet that this thing doesn’t look great on.

Coils

This one is really interesting. Based on the tutorials you see on the site, you might think I’m a coil snob and only using the latest and greatest coil builds out there. It couldn’t be farther from the truth. First and foremost, I’m a single coil guy. I have never had a setup where I felt that having the multiple coils made THAT much of a difference in performance – and then you have to deal with the dramatic drop in battery life over running a single coil. So usually unless I’m testing something or using a device like the Aqua that requires dual coils, I’m probably running a single microcoil.

Now, what’s more interesting is that I read a thread on reddit about a month an a half ago where this guy was just ranting about why people are stupid from sub-ohming and you can get just as good results from running higher ohm coils with thinner gauge wire. As luck might have it, I have a couple rolls of 32 gauge kanthal collecting dust here, so I decided to put it to the test myself. I was really shocked by how well the 32 gauge coils performed – so much so that it is almost strictly what I have been using as of late.

So right now a typical coil for me looks like about 10 -15 wraps of 32 gauge wire around a 1/16 drill bit. Stupid simple, and the performance is stellar. I get amazing flavor, throat hit, vapor, the whole 9 yards.

This is just kind of a feeling I have, but it seems like I have also had far fewer problems with dry burning since I switched to thinner kanthal. I think that it is just easier on the cotton wick overall and frankly I only really have to change out wicks when I’m changing juices. Not that it was a huge problem before, but it seems even better now. Additionally, I have been LOVING 32 gauge in tanks, and at this point I wouldn’t really even consider using anything else in a Kayfun style device or pretty much any other kind of tank, unless I was testing something.

So primarily I have been using single 32 gauge microcoils between 1.5 and 2.5 ohms on higher wattage devices.

Besides that about the only other thing I have used is my pretty standard 0.8 ohm single microcoil with 28 gauge kanthal. This is the setup I use on most mechs and it also works on APVs as well. Nothing special here, but you can’t really go wrong with a nice 0.8 ohm coil.

Last, but not least, I did spend quite a bit of time using a .6 ohm twisted kanthal coil on my VaporShark, however I have a feeling that running this super low ohm coil for like 3 months straight on the VaporShark may have contributed to my battery issue so I switched it out for a nice 1.9 ohm 32 gauge coil that I run at full power and it’s been working amazing.

Juices

One of my reasons for not reviewing any juice for a while is because I had some I had already reviewed that I really wanted to vape some more. So I spent quite a bit of time going back through my stuff and vaping some of my favorites. Here are a few of them:

Boba’s Bounty - Kind of a no-brainer, but still after trying over 300 juices, I can say this one is clearly my favorite juice so far. I happily polished off the last bit of it I had, and I even ordered some more – something I rarely ever do.

Ahlusion – Berry Shangri-La Tea - I really loved this juice when I first reviewed it. It has amazing succulent fruity flavor, and a slight grassy edge to it from the tea. This is probably my favorite fruit vape of all time, and I vaped a TON of this stuff.

Ahlusion – Boba Tea - Not to be confused with Boba’s Bounty, this is a totally different vape. It’s light, creamy and kind of has a coconut taste to it even though it’s not a coconut flavor. This is an amazing all-day-vape style of juice, and I slaughtered a 30ml bottle of it with no problems at all. Another one of my all-time-favs.

Smokcignals – Salty Malty - Man this is such a good juice. The flavor is hard to pin down, but it has kind of a caramel corn style taste to it. The taste on this one is just out of this world, and even for a relatively mild flavor palate, I was constantly getting different notes from it. This one is a must try.

Strix Elixers – Butter Shot - This one is also similar to Salty Malty. I thought it tasted just like a Werther’s Original. If you’re into rich, buttery vapes, this one is really fantastic.

Of course there were many more than that, but those were the most memorable of the bunch.

Until next week!

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