Single Flavor Testing of VSO Flavors
Thanks out to Shane as VSO for getting this shipped out ASAP, and throwing in a free sample of his NEW Huckleberry. Have never used VSO flavors before, so this is all brand new for me. All mixed at the % below, and steeped for 1 week+, 70v/30p, 3mg. All tested in a SteamCrave RDTA v.1 with single wire, 7 wrap kanthal coils, w./ fresh cotton inbetween all tests. Typically tested @ 65 watts.
Just mixing these all up as of now. After a short wait, will start posting notes. FYI, I also picked up some of Shane’s One Shots, and will run a separate thread for them. Stay tuned …
**Banana (VSO) 5% (8-29-20)** -- Long and hard, is the road to a great banana. Seems like there's really only 3 choices. Runts, green, or over ripened. VSO's banana was actually rather hard to identify/quantify. It was NOT a runt or candied, and didn't present as an overly green banana, so that left ripened. It tasted fresh, but did have some ripened qualities to it. It was much fuller than I'd expected, with much more body, and maybe it was some browning banana ?? Not sure, but was NOT overripe at all. Actually quite tasty, and I could see if being heavily used in many nana breads, cereals, even coffees. Not fatiguing, or off putting, and the below mid level sweetness kept it fresh tasting. Continued vaping revealed more of the same, and despite having tried numerous nanas, I cannot think of a close comparison, which pushes it into the "unique" category. Now let's be honest, sometimes, things can be "unique" and that's NOT a good thing, but in this case, it's a great thing. Shane did an interesting job with this one, and even at 5% (some mixers have gone lower), it didn't feel like it was hitting the ceiling. It might not be present enough to carry ALL of the nana freight, but that in no way detracts from it. For a very unique banana, that has fresh, ripe, and maybe some peel elements in it, this might make it's way onto your shelf. **8.75/10**.
Blackberry (VSO) 5% (8-29-20) – Despite @fidalgo_vapes / @fiddy 's 2-3% ranging, I decided to go ALL IN at 5% across the board. As soon as I opened the bottle to fill the beloved SteamCrave RDTA v.1 I KNEW, something, was about to happen. This just didn’t smell like a “regular” blackberry, and it wasn’t. This presented as a very unique (I know, unique again) Blackberry. It’s almost as if it was a different “shade” of Blackberry. It had all the telltale notes, but there were others in there swirling around, creating QUITE a hard time for me to try and verbalize. Complex would suit this one’s description, and it could be that there were multiple darker berries in there, but couldn’t be sure. I dropped the 5% down to 3.75% just to make sure there were no critical differences and there weren’t. On the initial pull you get the deep, rich blackberry (medley ?) with a tick above mid level sweetness, but on the exhale the sweetness rapidly dissipates, so you’re not left with an overly sweet finish. What ?? How’d Shane do that ?? At both 3.75, and 5% the vape was great, mysterious, and had the reduced sweet finish, with almost a hint of bitter. Wow, for one flavor, there’s a LOT going on here, and all of it good. Nothing off putting, nothing artificial, just a great darker blackberry with probable other dark berry elements thrown in. Had a slight tartness, which worked great. Overall, (I know, I know), having a hard time knocking this one down. Perhaps the almost imperceivable bitter finish might be it. All in, if you are thinking of only buying a few VSO flavors, this one should also be on your list. Very mysterious, dark blackberry, that shifts a bit while vaping, with a slight tartness, that is hard to find a comparison to, is what this one is. 9.5/10.
**Blueberry (VSO) 5% (8-28-20)** -- Alright, alright, ALRIGHT, let's kick this OFF !!! First one on deck from Shane over at VSO. Brand new MFG for me, and not seeing a ton of info on them, felt it was right to look into them. Huge Medicine Flower fan, so when I saw natural extracts, I signed up. OUT of the gate, the very FIRST impression I got was it was very similar TO MF. No surprise right, natural extracts, right ? It wasn't a MF BB clone, but a VERY good Blueberry. At 5% it felt pretty good, even, and strong, and it presented as a fairly COMPLEX BB. Absent were any off putting musky notes that some BB's have, and it did a good job of capturing the ENTIRE BB experience, top to bottom. It had low notes, plenty of mid notes, and just enough of the high end, which included some bright punch, that you could almost get from the skin. Wow, let's vape some more of this one... Yeah, that's a good one. It's complex in so much that every time you vape it, it presents just a bit different, which makes it a great vape, even solo. It didn't seem to ride ONE line, i.e. pure natural, candied, jammed, etc. but had elements of all, which again, added to the complexity of it. Sweetness was about mid level, and despite CHAIN vaping this one, I just couldn't find any take offs. An interesting thing I noticed, was when vaping, the initial vape leaned sweeter, but as you continued and exhaled, the tart picked up a smidge. For my FIRST VSO flavor, color me impressed. For a beautiful well rounded BB, that is fairly complex with just the right amount of sweetness, and tart, you might just be surprised with this one, and glad you picked it up. Finishing the tester on this one. Due to my complete inability to find anything I didn't like with this one, placing it at **10/10**.
Coconut (VSO) 5% (8-28-20) – After having many issues with most of the Coconut flavors, including off notes, greasy notes, etc., was curious to see how VSO’s would fare. Pleased to say that I had NO issues with this one. Nothing greasy, artificial tasting, or off putting could be found here. Whew !!! My current Coconut fav would have to be Delosi, for comparison. This one presented as a nice, full bodied coconut @ 5%, and tasted plenty rich, with a mid level sweetness. It carried mostly low and mid notes, with a smidge of top end notes. The fullness of it at this weight really worked well to round out a great solo vape, and it actually tasted better than another natural extract flavor. All in, this carried everything you need in a coconut with no greasy notes, right to the vape. Accurate, and natural tasting, and although mid sweet, wasn’t candied, and had flesh notes and milk notes all in the mix. Second VSO flavor where I was having a hard time finding take offs. Solid @ 9/10.
**Huckleberry (VSO) 5% (8-31-20)** -- OK everyone, LAST single flavor test ON DECK. I did save this one for last, despite torturing @SwaggyShane over it, hehe. OK, what the HELL is a Huckleberry. If you look it up, you may get quite a few different answers. Can look LIKE Blueberries, but they ain't !!! Alright, now that the dust has settled on that, let's see what's what here, for science and stuff (yes, I said STUFF, I have to post this on multiple sites). When Shane said he threw an extra one in the basket, I didn't know what to expect. I know you guys are probably get sick of hearing it, but dammit, this one is UNIQUE !!! My initial reaction (beyond WOW), was it was like riding a Blueberry sled, down a hill full of Blackberries !!!! Yes, you read that right. OK, seriously though, this has elements of both Blueberry and Blackberry in a ONE, TWO assault on your senses. Despite more chain vaping, the melding of those two main elements could not be shaken. As with many other of Shane's creations, this one as well, was fairly complex, in so much that it really kept you guessing, with different elements peeking out at you from time to time while vaping it. At 5%, if seemed all but perfect, rich, full, and just IYF (In Your Face) delicious. Sweetness might be a tick above mid sweet, but it suits this flavor. Nothing off putting, artificial, except for the undying desire to KEEP on vaping it !!!! I think this is a NEW release from VSO, and it's very worthy OF being released. I think simply saying Blueberry and Blackberry doesn't really come close, but it'll have to do. This flavor vapes great, and finishes with a tart kicker, that really drives this one home. If you are in the market for a DIFFERENT blueberry-ish, blackberry-ish, darker berry-ish vape, this one SHOULD be on your must have list. Handily closing out this series, with a **10.1/10**. I have to give this a + 0.1, because it's just too damned good, not to.
**Peach (VSO) 5% (8-29-20)** -- Very often when flavor testing, and after the FIRST vape, you get a take-away that is not only accurate, but never changes throughout the entire test. That was the case here. Juicy, yellow peaches in syrup !!!! Review over. OK, maybe a bit more. Although that was my first impression, the peach was not candied or syrupy per se, and the sweetness was actually right at the mid level, and never swayed from a natural peach. Def. getting a yellow peach from this, and a very good one at that. It seemed to be missing some of the high end punch that would really drive it home, and screamed to have a dash of FA Apricot to push it over that last little bit. Very smooth was another aspect that continued throughout the test. I think we have a Peach winner here. For a great yellow, mid-sweet Peach, you can't go wrong with this. Although tested at 5%, you could probably reduce to 3-4%. The only take off was a slight lack of high end punch, but could easily be fixed with a smidge of Apricot. All in, solid at **8.5/10**.
**Pear (VSO) 5% (8-29-20)** -- While admittedly almost always using Pears as enhancers, and not main flavor profiles, it was interesting to be able to dive into one here. Compared to my previous VSO tests, this one was more delicate, and even at 5% was somewhat laid back. Got plenty of Pear, but clearly it could be overpowered in a mix, if not used correctly. It might benefit from some boosting. The profile was indeed that of a fresh, juicy pear. I didn't get any "sugar sand" effect, but that is really more of a feel, than a taste. Sweetness was again, about mid level, and it presented as mostly the body with a hint of the skin. There were some green apple-ish notes in there floating around, but it could have been the tart elements. Had just enough tart punch on the top to keep it interesting. Although lighter, this is a great Pear flavor. Minor take offs for presence, not flavor. **7.5/10**.
**Red Raspberry (VSO) 5% (8-28-20)** -- Red, red raspberry, how do I love thee ?? Plenty, as long as you're NOT floral !!!! Nothing floral about VSO's RRB and that started it off good. With my go to being MF's Wild Raspberry, any RB has a hill to climb. This one actually DID convey "red" pretty well, and it felt nice at this testing weight. As expected with a natural extract, it was very natural tasting, not candied, and full enough without being overbearing. Sweetness was below mid level, and without getting any seeds from it, it covered the flavor spectrum well. A little tartness added to the authenticity, and kept the solo vape interesting. From the beginning to the end of the vape it did shift just a little bit which was interesting. It wasn't lacking, but not 100% sure it would carry the entire freight, and might need a little boost. Throughout the entire tester, I kept fighting the urge to toss it into one of my Custard bases, but I fought the urge. Nothing to take off for, but could use just a small boost, as it felt about 75% there. With that said, a great Red Raspberry, and felt really good at **7.5/10**.
**Strawberry (VSO) 5% (8-30-20)** -- Was holding OFF on this one, because do we really need ANOTHER Strawberry ?? !!!! Maybe so. Read on, and see if you agree. Nearing the end of my first VSO run here, I started to notice a trend with how Shane puts a UNIQUE touch/spin on his fruit flavors. This Strawberry is no different, and despite chain vaping the hell out of it, I couldn't really pair it with a "it's kinda like .........". Nope, can't do it. It was nice and full at this weight, and did present as somewhat complex (again with the complex). Complex in that it didn't seem to taste like a cut and dry Sweet, Juicy, Jammed, Candied, etc., but kind of wandered around while vaping it. Hard to nail down, and that makes for an interesting vape. It had a fullness that many other SB's lacked. It wasn't a bright SB like FLV's Alpine, and not a Ripe per se, but seemed to be a natural tasting SB with some sweetness, juiciness, and just the right amount of tart on the top end. Not jammed, and not overly sweet, but the fullness of the main body is what kept interesting me. I guess you could say, it had more mid notes with some low notes, that I don't typically get from Strawberries. It's a harder one to quantify. Because of it's unique, multiple qualities, I could see this being used a LOT, as it could fit the bill in many types of mixes. I actually finished the entire bottle before writing this, as I was struggling to "nail it down". It's a GREAT SB, and if you are making a VSO must have, you can add this one to it. Could not find anything to take off on this one. For a really good natural Strawberry that has surprising body, is very unique, and could fit in almost any mix, this one might be for you. I'm glad I have a 30ml of it, let's just say that. **10/10**.
**Watermelon (VSO) 5% (8-28-20)** -- Here is ANOTHER VSO flavor that out of the gate had me immediately comparing to Medicine Flower. Not identical, but at least in the same ballpark. Tested this at 5% so it is a non-ultra, but, it was damned good at this weight. VERY smooth watermelon throughout the vape, with mid level sweetness, The more I vaped it, the more perfect the sweetness level seemed. Had plenty of red, with some white, and maybe a touch of rind, but only a touch. Very natural tasting (DUH), and best part was, NO SEEDS. Just to see what's what, I may try it in my Watermelon Explosion just to see what's what. This WM had almost some honey/honeydew notes to it (but NO, not Honey, honey), and it worked to really fatten it out. Even though it's not an ultra, it is damned good, and should be on your short VSO list. Handily a **9.8/10**.
**SERIES II (11-22-21)**
**Disclaimer** -- I originally ordered 8 flavors to test, and @ShaggyShane threw in 8 more for good measure. As always, what I taste, you'll know about. Period.*
All were tested at 3% (regular flavors), and 0.3% (raw flavors), on my trusty SteamCrave RDTA v.1, with dual 24ga. Kanthal vertical coils, with dry burning, and fresh cotton. If you are new to Shane's "Raw" flavors, they are SUPER Concentrated, uncut, and need to be used VERY low.
**Apple Cider (VSO) 3% (11-22-21)** -- It seemed fitting to start out with this one with the onset of Fall/Winter upon us, and an Apple Cider was just what the doctor ordered. At 3% this one was present, but somewhat relaxed, and it rapidly became obvious that this WAS a great cider. Now here's the thing, it wasn't spiked in ANY form, meaning, no spices or any alterations, just a simply clean, authentic Apple Cider. You could (and probably should) start to spike it up with whatever you desired, and it screamed for some Cinnamon, Clove, etc. Now, even in it's unadulterated state, it was very accurate, with some punchy apple notes, and some sediment. Wait, what ?? Learning about the difference between Apple Juice and Apple Cider will help explain that. The "sediment" as I"m terming it, adds to a darker texture, and pulls it from a clear Apple Juice into the cider that it is. Not really fermented, but just a nice, darker cider is really the only way to describe this. I may have to mix up another with some FLV Rich Cinnamon, a hint of Cream, maybe a few others JUST to see. As it stood, it was very good, and clean, accurate, and blank slate kept coming to mind, and that's a real plus for us. If you want it straight, use it straight, if you want cinnamon, other spices, you can do that as you see fit. First one in Series II, was a surprising wow-zer. Nicely done Shane, and placing it at a **9.2/10**.**
**Apple Raw (VSO) 0.3% (11-24-21)** -- *Be advised, these "Raw" flavors are Ultra concentrated, with no dilution, and should be used VERY low.* Starting out my FIRST ever VSO "Raw" flavor test, with Shane's Apple. As stated, mixed this very low at 0.3% and it tasted really good at this weight, and MIGHT even be able to be increased to 0.5% depending. At 0.3% it was slightly subdued, but very tasty and accurate. After just having tested the Apple Cider, this one was similar, but without the darker, sedimentary notes found in the cider. NOT an Apple Juice, so it wasn't spiked with sweetener, and was actually lower than mid-level sweet. Not a Fuji for sure, but was maybe a mix of Red and Golden delicious, but even that, was a guess. It was very unique in the apple realm for me, and couldn't really think of a direct comparison for it. Very natural, smooth, accurate, and a very good, somewhat lighter apple experience. Because it was so accurate, and clean, could see this one getting a lot of uses, depending on your needs. No seeds, no stems, just a very clean apple here folks, no other way to put it. If time permits, I might mix it up @ +0.20% to 0.50% just to see what happens, hehe. As billed, it is a definite Apple, and a really good one at that, that straddled just maybe, a Red and Golden delicious paring. A delicate flavor, but still very good. Solidly leaving this @ **9.5/10**.
**Blueberry Raw (VSO) 0.3% (11-25-21)** -- Just in case you missed it, I was VERY smitten with Shane's Original Blueberry ......
**Blueberry (VSO) 5% (8-28-20)** – Alright, alright, ALRIGHT, let’s kick this OFF !!! First one on deck from Shane over at VSO. Brand new MFG for me, and not seeing a ton of info on them, felt it was right to look into them. Huge Medicine Flower fan, so when I saw natural extracts, I signed up. OUT of the gate, the very FIRST impression I got was it was very similar TO MF. No surprise right, natural extracts, right ? It wasn’t a MF BB clone, but a VERY good Blueberry. At 5% it felt pretty good, even, and strong, and it presented as a fairly COMPLEX BB. Absent were any off putting musky notes that some BB’s have, and it did a good job of capturing the ENTIRE BB experience, top to bottom. It had low notes, plenty of mid notes, and just enough of the high end, which included some bright punch, that you could almost get from the skin. Wow, let’s vape some more of this one… Yeah, that’s a good one. It’s complex in so much that every time you vape it, it presents just a bit different, which makes it a great vape, even solo. It didn’t seem to ride ONE line, i.e. pure natural, candied, jammed, etc. but had elements of all, which again, added to the complexity of it. Sweetness was about mid level, and despite CHAIN vaping this one, I just couldn’t find any take offs. An interesting thing I noticed, was when vaping, the initial vape leaned sweeter, but as you continued and exhaled, the tart picked up a smidge. For my FIRST VSO flavor, color me impressed. For a beautiful well rounded BB, that is fairly complex with just the right amount of sweetness, and tart, you might just be surprised with this one, and glad you picked it up. Finishing the tester on this one. Due to my complete inability to find anything I didn’t like with this one, placing it at **10/10** .
.........and this one just continued that trend, almost identically, except at 0.3% it was more relaxed than the aforementioned. I think I might re-try this one at 0.5% as well, just to see. Literally almost verbatim to the Blueberry, with a very enveloping Blueberry experience from top to bottom of a very natural, clean, accurate blueberry. No musk, no fuss, nothing off-putting. If you've never tasted a really clean, natural (extract) blueberry and have been using artificial ones, you really need to try one, and probably this one, because the experience you get with a great natural one, blows away any/every artificial one away. Sweetness was below mid-level, and the room note on this one, was utterly stupid, as an added bonus. As with the Blueberry, couldn't find any takeoffs, but at 0.3% it felt like it was lacking a little presence, which could probably easily be solved by pushing to 0.5%. As it stood at this testing weight, would place it nicely at **9.5/10**.
**Corn (VSO) 3% (11-25-21)** -- Right out of the gate, I knew what this was. It wasn't popped corn, creamy corn, canned corn, corn on the cob, it was s delicious KERNEL of corn. Wow, that was a surprise. Often times we are insulted with an AP "corny" solution, but since @SwaggyShane uses natural extracts, maybe this shouldn't have been AS surprising. Clean, accurate, and somewhat light at 3%, and with nothing out of place to be found. A few clicks below mid level sweet, this one was a very clean corn. Half way through the test, I was kicking myself for having NOT picked up VSO's Cornmeal at the same time. Because it was somewhat light at this percentage, I think you could bump it up maybe 1% just to see how it bloomed, but even still, at this weight, you knew what you had. Having a VERY small list of corns to compare to, this one was at, or near the top. If corn is what you want, and AP is not, this one will work wonders for you. If I get a chance to score the Cornmeal I will update this thread, and I encourage anyone else who does, to post it up as well. All in, a smartly done, clean corn kernel flavor from Shane. Nicely done. **9.65/10**.
**Eggnog (VSO) 3% (11-28-21)** -- A number 1 nutmeg. YES, Nutmeg people. I know what you're thinking, but it's JUST the primary note here, and it's delicious. This one is a deliciously crafted Nutmeg driven Eggnog. After the initial nutmeg rush, there are other secondary spice notes, all completely encased in a nice creamy eggnog finish. What's interesting here is the leveled balancing OF the different notes. Mouthfeel, and creamy-ness were there, but not overwhelmingly so, spices were there as well, but again, not in an overwhelming manner. Sweetness was about mid level, and it really felt perfect here, and at 3% it wasn't overppowered, and might even be able to be smidged up, maybe 0.5-1.0%. At times I almost got a slight effervescence, almost soda like, but as soon as it peeked out, it was gone. I'm thinking that was probably a booze-y note. All in, this was a PERFECT flavor for the holidays, and craftily done at that. If you are looking for a very unique approach to an Eggnog, that (as most other VSO flavors) is clean, accurate, and not overbearing, this one should end up in your cart. Two testers down, non-fatiguing, nothing off-putting, and hard to fault. Don't fear the Nutmeg, embrace it !!! Squarely placing this at **9.85/10**.
**Fig (VSO) 3% (11-27-21)** -- Figgy McFig, how do I love thee ? A HELL of a lot !!! We have a fig tree in the yard, to ANY fig flavor, is going to have a tough go of it here, for sure. I've found it very hard to find an accurate Fig, that was clean and natural. First things first (as expected) this one was very natural tasting, somewhat relaxed @ 3%, and very tasty. Nice and centered around the fleshy body, without any skin, which just worked. Sweetness was almost mid level and there were no off-putting notes to be found, which left you with plenty of figgy body to enjoy. Like a few other VSO's in this second series, this one was somewhat relaxed in a SFT at 3%, and it might benefit from maybe a 0.5-1.0% bump, just to add to the experience. It's too bad it's Winter, or I'd run out and grab one, just to compare the two. If you've been let down by other fig-ish fig flavors, and need a natural one, this one should be on your list. Easily a **9.3/10**.
**Grape Raw (VSO) 0.3% (11-28-21)** -- First thoughts, "Damn, ........... that's good". End of review !!!! I have a Grape Soda, that I move a lot of, but it relies heavily on FW's Gape Soda, which is a coil gunker, so I'm always on the lookout for something I can use to boost, or replace that in that recipe. Now, this one wasn't a soda-er, but damn, it was a DAMN fine Grape. I'll tell you what, if you love grapes, and you buy this, and you CAN put it down, LET me know. Not candied, jammed, or sickly sweetened, this one presented as an almost medley of a white and concord grape. Not either, but not neither. :) I think that will greatly increase it's usefulness as it's right smack dab in the middle. @ 0.3% it was about two ticks above mid-level sweet, but that didn't slow it down. It so enveloped you IN the grape experience, I kept checking to make sure it wasn't purple (it's not, it's clear). Since I mentioned my Grape Soda mix, the question becomes, what grape soda, might this one favor ? I would have to say a Fanta Grape, as that would be RIGHT up this one's alley. Nothing off-putting, nothing out of place, and a solid grape brick, RIGHT to the face. I cannot go lower than **10/10** on this one.
Oatmeal (VSO) 4%
Pumpkin (VSO) 3%
Raisin (VSO) 3%
*Strawberry Raw (VSO) 0.3%