January 09, 2014

Strix Elixirs eLiquid Review

Strix Elixirs eLiquid Review A Spinfuel eLiquid Team Review – John Manzione & Julia Hartley-Barnes It would be disingenuous for us not to mention that Strix Elixir’s is owned and operated by two of the three founders of Vape Dudes. As you’re probably aware, Vape Dudes was one of the hottest eLiquid brands in 2012 and half way through last year, and it was one of the first eLiquid brands we reviewed. Strangely, we haven’t reviewed anything from them in a very long time. Jennifer and Andy, the two of the three founders of Vape Dudes mentioned above are out on their own now with Strix Elixirs. Although it is a new company, they bring with them both old and new eLiquid recipes, and a mature, expert level of mixing skills and creativity. And boy did we ever have fun reviewing these terrific flavors. Strix Elixirs offers thirteen (13) eLiquid flavors and one unflavored eLiquid that cover the gamut of the most popular flavors with Vapers today. From an oldie but a goodie like Blue Honey, to the new and delicious Hazelnut Cookie, you’ll find something for everyone, even the most hard to please Vaper. Strix Elixirs sent the 13 flavors in 30ML bottles, all with 18mg nicotine. Because it was just the two of us we had the choice of vaping the 13 flavors in 72-96 hours, the usual time we spend exclusively vaping a brands eJuice, or to vape them until they were all vaped up. We chose the latter and vaped all 13, except for one, until there wasn’t a drop left. Here’s the list of the 13 flavors we are reviewing for you today: 1. Applegasm 2. Banana Slam 3. Black Honey Cream 4. Blue Honey 5. Eggnog 6. Espresso Dream 7. Frozen Tundra 8. Hazelnut Cookie 9. Lychee Delight 10. Pixie Dust 11. StrawZilla 12. The Bogart 13. Vanilla Ice Cream Strix Elixirs Particulars Bottles – Strix Elixir comes in 10ML and 30ML plastic (food grade) bottles with long, thin, needle tips that make it easy to fill any cartomizer, clearomizer, or tank. Using a Texas Tuff Tank we purchased last year we were able to fill the tank in less than 3 seconds, the tip fit the drilled hole on the side of tank perfectly. The bottles are easily squeezable, but not so easy that you’ll wind up squeezing too hard and making a mess. To prevent tampering and to maintain freshness Strix Elixirs utilizes a plastic snap-band around the neck. You cannot open the bottle without breaking the plastic band that’s actually a part of the bottle cap. Labels - The full color labels wrap nearly around the entire bottle, and along with the logo and custom graphics that identifies the flavor, it includes the standard warning verbiage, a “made in the US” logo, the size of the bottle and the strength of the nicotine. Unfortunately there is no ingredients list, D.O.B. or batch number on the bottle. While we would have liked to see them on the label we didn’t discount it that much, the use of the plastic snap band around the neck made up for most of it, though a date of birth is a glaring omission these days. Having said that, there might be a perfectly good reason for it, which we’ll get to shortly. Cost – Unlike most brands we encounter Strix Elixirs has opted for a 10ML bottle as their “small”, instead of the usual 15ML, so the price of their 10ML bottle is just $5.00. That’s 50 cents per ML, which places them in the lower/middle of the pricing range. It’s certainly better than some others that charge upwards of 88 cents per ML (cough* Potion Vape *cough) for a 15ML bottle, but we would have rather seen a 15ML bottle offered by Strix Elixirs instead…10ML just goes too fast, although as a sampler bottle it’s a good choice. The 30ML bottle, which sells for $14 is a very good price for the quality you get. 46 cents per ML with the 30ML size makes it affordable for most any Vapers’ budget. Nicotine – The American-sourced nicotine is offered in the following strengths: 6mg, 12mg, 18mg, and 24mg. Naturally, all their eLiquids are also offered in nicotine-free versions. Spinfuel eMagazine staff always vapes in the18mg-24mg range. The eJuice submitted for review were all 18mg. PG/VG – At this time all Strix Elixir recipes are 60% Propylene Glycol and 40% Vegetable Glycerin, usually stated as 60/40. We found 60/40 to be more than acceptable. Propylene Glycol is responsible for ‘flavor carrying’ and ‘throat hit’, while Vegetable Glycerin is the main indicator of the vapor production. That’s a simplified explanation of course, but for this review it serves its purpose. Strix Elixirs offers plenty of flavor, good throat hits (also helped by the 18mg nicotine strength) and they all deliver vapor production you won’t complain about. Some produce more vapor than others, as you’ll see, but vapor production overall was satisfying. Pre-Steeped – Offering ‘pre-steeped’ eLiquid is kind of new for eLiquid brands, and we were very interested in learning about it. All eLiquids need to ‘steep’ or rather they need time for the ingredients to ‘marry’, to mingle together and form a product ‘sum’ that is better than its parts. That said some eLiquids need more time than others, so you really can’t say that any eLiquid after X number of days is at its peak flavor. Strix Elixirs understands this, so their ‘pre-steeped’ eLiquids are custom steeped. Custom steeped simply means that Flavor A needs X number of days to steep, Flavor B needs X number of days, and that time is spent there, at Strix Elixirs, before they are shipped to you. Strix Elixirs tells its customers that their eJuice is ready to vape straight from the mailbox. In our case that was certainly true. Strix Elixir customers will no doubt love this aspect of buying eLiquids since we’ve all suffered the disappointment of vaping too early, and the anticipation of trying it again after it has sat in our closets for a week or more. That has now been taken out of the equation. Shipping – Lastly, we come to shipping. The reason we are brining it up is because of what we’ve written above. Just because your eLiquids from Strix Elixirs will come to you pre-steeped it doesn’t mean you’ll place your order and then wait for a couple of weeks while they steep it there and then send it to you. That’s not how it works. Depending on a particular days orders Strix Elixirs tells us that orders go out either the same day you place you order (yay!) or the next day, if the order volume was particularly heavy. That is certainly welcome news for anyone that had been buying their eLiquids from Vape Dudes and had to suffer through two or more weeks until their order shipped. Strix Elixirs promises to be much, much faster. Hopefully they will be able to maintain that shipping time even after their number of flavors doubles or triples down the road. Our Review Hardware and Methods We set up several clearomizers, cartomizers, and tanks the day before our official review began so that we would be able to switch between flavors whenever we wanted to without losing too much time. We decided to extend our time with their eLiquids only after the initial 72 hours had lapsed. Each of the flavors was vaped with all three devices, but more than likely not evenly. Some flavors saw more clearomizers than cartomizers, some the opposite, but all flavors saw all three types. The only method we did not use was drip atomizers or other RBA’s. Each flavor also saw different ‘ohms’ used throughout the review period. Most of the time we vaped with coils that were 1.8-2.4ohms, only on a few occasions did we go lower, or higher. Unless we state otherwise you can expect that any particular flavor was reviewed using 2.1-2.4 ohm coils in clearomizers. Batteries ran the gamut as well. ProVape ProVari, Innokin iTaste SVD’s, iTaste 134, and MVP Rev 2. Also ZMAX, Halo Triton, Vision Spinners, and a Cool Fire 2 were used. Most of time it was evenly divided between ZMAX, ProVari and Halo Tritons. As far as an eLiquid review goes the battery used is the least important when it comes to knowing whether or not the eLiquid is bad, good or great. And now, let’s talk some eJuice flavors… 1. Applegasm – Strix says: “A vape that makes you weak at the knees” Julia: Before I could even register the flavor of Applegasm I was blown away by the amount of vapor produced with my first pull from my ZMAX/SMOK DCTank. Applegasm’s flavor does appear on the inhale, but it’s the exhale where it really comes alive. The incredible amount of vapor produced was impressive, really impressive, and then to follow that up with a blast of sweet green apple makes this one a prime all-day vape for Vapers that love apple-based eLiquids. The only downside to Applegasm is that if you’re looking for a big throat hit you won’t find one. But for many, including myself, I can forego the throat hit if the flavor and vapor make up for it, and Applegasm certainly does. If you’re a fan of green apple eJuice you need to give Applegasm a try, I’m betting you’ll be a fan. 4.50 Stars John: When I saw that there was an apple flavor in the lineup I wasn’t all that thrilled about it. Apple is the one flavor I usually don’t bother with. I do enjoy the sweet red apple flavors, but still, I haven’t purchased any for personal use. When it came time for me to do some quality vaping with Applegasm I had planned on the minimum amount; about six hours. Then I forgot about the time and wound up vaping Applegasm all day. I really enjoyed the sweet apple flavor and the huge clouds of vapor it produced. As it turns out I learned that my issues with apple-flavored juice is the individual juice, not the flavor. A characteristic of all Strix Elixirs is the excellent production of vapor the 60/40 PG/VG ratio is capable of. Some flavors are better at producing thick vapor than others, though they all get an A+ in my book. Applegasm is one of the higher vapor producers, with an almost scary amount of vapor coming from the juice in a X.Jet clearomizer (1.8ohms). If you’ve been looking for a smooth, sweet green apple eLiquid that you can vape all day and not wind up with a raspy throat or taste buds that fail to work at the end of day Applegasm should be your next apple flavored juice. I decided to add this one to my rotation, the first apple that has made it. 5 Stars 2. Banana Slam – Strix says: “Our proprietary banana cream is a slam dunk!” A Spinfuel Choice Award winner! Julia: When I think about what a ‘Banana Slam’ should taste like I imagine a hard-hitting banana flavor, with a secondary flavor added to deliver a knockout punch. Makes sense, right? But then Strix adds the description and you see that it is a banana cream flavor, and ‘slam’ and ‘cream’ just don’t go together. There is nothing slamming about cream. So, what is Banana Slam and what can you expect if you try it out? Banana Slam is a truly delicious banana cream pie flavor that delivers a tremendously deep taste of sweet bananas with luscious cream pie flavor notes. Once I started vaping it I did not want to stop. I do believe this is the first banana-flavored eJuice I would call an all-day vape. If you can imagine the flavor of a perfectly ripe banana wrapped in a blanket made of the creamiest of piecrusts you would be imagining Banana Slam. A delightful throat hit… big, but not harsh, and vapor clouds thicker and bigger than any other in this review, makes this eJuice an award-winning recipe. 5 Stars John: I had about a half-hour break from Espresso Dream before I began my several hour vape of Banana Slam. The first thing I noticed was how crazy the vapor production was. I was sitting at my computer, about 2 feet from the screen and I let out my first inhalation from a long and strong pull. The vapor that was released was so thick and so abundant that my screen disappeared for a couple of second; I was actually alarmed by it. For just a second my ‘fight or flight’ instinct kicked in because I couldn’t see anything other than vapor. I had pushed the vapor out slowly, which looking back I almost wished I hadn’t, and the vapor kept coming long after I thought it wouldn’t. The flavor is that of a banana at its peak moment of ripeness, not overly ripe, but rather that short period of time where it will never be this good again. (I enjoy a banana every morning for the potassium, and because I like them). Banana Slam is sweet, luscious, and warm…with creamy notes of banana cream pie …without the crust. The throat hit was pleasant, but not strong…more like a thump than a punch, and the vapor seems to be made for cloud chasing in a small, tight surrounding. This one is an all-day vape that won’t lose the banana flavor no matter how many hours you vape it. On the second day I started vaping with Banana Slam and it was a glorious beginning of a wonderful day of vaping. 5 Stars 3. Black Honey Cream Strix says: “Blackberries, honey, and ice cream” A 2014 Spinfuel Choice Award Winner Julia: It is difficult to tell you how much I enjoyed this flavor. Black Honey Cream is instantly identifiable as blackberries with authentic honey notes that are laid down perfectly. The two blend together so well that it’s like they become a new magical flavor, as though a blackberry was grown inside a bee’s nest. Then, this creamy and smooth ‘vanilla’ ice cream flavor melts in your mouth and out pours a delicious and heavy vapor. There is one thing about the ice cream flavor that needs to be mentioned. I say ‘vanilla’ only because I think its vanilla. The actual taste is indescribable, other than to say that the ice cream flavor is the flavor of ice cream. Too weird? Maybe, but it’s the best I have. The ice cream tastes like ice cream needs to taste. Other than that, Black Honey Cream has a beautiful throat hit and the vapor production is huge. It is now a big new flavor in my rotation. 5 Stars John: Black Honey Cream was the first eLiquid I vaped in this selection of flavors. It set the tone for me and that tone was to expect big things from Strix Elixirs. The blackberry flavor was deep and delicious, the honey was subtle, but definitely there, and surrounding the entire affair was this creamy flavor that wrapped it all up and returned a very satisfying vape. Easily an all-day vape for Vapers that do not vape tobacco flavors every day. The honey and ice cream prevent me from classifying this one as a fruity vape; it’s more of a creamy vape than fruity, but with sweet hints of dark fruity notes. I will keep this one in my rotation for some time. Very satisfying throat hit and more vapor than you expect. 5 Stars 4. Blue Honey: Strix says: “Give one of our best selling flavors a try.” (Strix isn’t very big on fancy descriptions) Julia: I think the most important thing I can say about Blue Honey is that you should not expect this to be a variation on Black Honey Cream, where you substitute blueberry for blackberry and leave out the creaminess. Blue Honey is very, very different. Blueberries, sweet, soft, gentle blueberries intermingling with a hint, or a whisper of sweet honey gives Blue Honey a truly original vape. This isn’t a fruity kind of blueberry; not really, it’s more subdued than that… sweet, a bit darker, but just as flavorful as any blueberry flavor. I expected a bigger throat hit if only because of the 18mg, but what it lacked in throat hit it made up for in vapor… enough for cloud chasing and more than enough for an all-day vape. If you like blueberry even just a little bit, this is one you simply have to try. 5 Stars John: I agree with Julia 100% that Blue Honey makes for one terrific all-day vape, if you like blueberry as a flavor anyway. Yes, it is a sweet vape, but make no mistake, it is very much a blueberry sweet vape. Tons of clouds here too, but less throat hit. It is still a mostly satisfying vape for blueberry enthusiasts. 4 Stars Eggnog (Limited Edition) – Strix says: “Creamy espresso - a dream come true” Julia: The first time I vaped Eggnog, the limited edition flavor from Strix I jerked my head back and said to Keira, “This is eggnog?? This is NOT Eggnog.” … Instead of eggnog I got this great tasting, extra spicy creamy flavor, and although I enjoyed it immensely I just couldn’t believe this was supposed to be eggnog… When I got around to reading the brief description I knew exactly why it tasted the way it did…because it’s a creamy espresso, not eggnog. But I’ll call it eggnog because Strix does. No, not really. The description under Eggnog is identical to the one under Espresso Dream, so I have a feeling they haven’t yet put their description in place. Anywayyy… Eggnog has a great spicy flavor, a kind of a latte foamy character. That powdery cinnamon spice that is sprinkled over espresso (and eggnog actually) gives it a lot of kick, energy, sparks. The throat hit is wonderful, the vapor amazing. I haven’t tasted the Espresso Dream yet, but I’m really looking forward to comparing the two. I don’t expect there to be much of a similarity, but who knows? 4.5 Stars John: Limited Edition Eggnog includes a special cinnamon spice that they have nailed down. There is also a nice big flavor of cream, loads of vapor and a great throat hit. As an eggnog fan I can honestly say that there is tiny hints of eggnog in this recipe, but most of it is a combination of cream and cinnamon spice. Not the sugar cinnamon, but real cinnamon, the spice. I enjoyed it a lot, but not enough to make it something I would add to my rotation. 4.5 Stars Espresso Dream – Strix says: “Creamy espresso - a dream come true” A Spinfuel Choice Award Winner Julia: Now THIS is espresso! Like I thought above, the description for eggnog is mistake or was overlooked. There is no comparison at all. Espresso Dream is ALL espresso, dark, delicious, strong, and a kick in the butt. Not an all-day vape in any fashion (at least not for me), but wow what a vape after an Italian dinner! Of all the true espresso eLiquids I’ve tried in the past this one comes closet to the real thing. An amazingly accurate espresso vape, and if you like espresso you will love this. 5 Stars John: There was a time not too long ago when I would enjoy a real espresso every morning. It would be served to me in one of those tiny little Italian cups (demi-tasse?), and it was just a wonderful experience, a real wake-me-up. Strix has duplicated that flavor here in Espresso Dream; right down to the espresso-breath you get afterward (well, okay, maybe not that…). I’ve had espresso eJuices before, many of them were quite good but none of them got it down 100%. This one does. I’m shocked at how accurate and authentic the taste is. Espresso Dream has a great throat hit, but in the vapor department it falls down just a little. Don’t get me wrong, there is plenty of vapor, but with the intense espresso flavor and the awesome throat hit I half-expected it to have the same level of vapor production… but it doesn’t. Still, without a doubt, this is 5 Stars Frozen Tundra – Strix says: “Spiked with mints and menthol” Julia: Thanks to some very good cool/menthol/minty type eLiquids that we’ve reviewed over the past year many of us have become fans of this type of eLiquid, something we thought was impossible. Instead of shying away from Frozen Tundra I was eagerly looking forward to trying it out. It appeared about halfway through this review and by then I knew enough about Strix that I had a feeling they would do it right, that it wouldn’t be a cough-syrupy flavor, or strictly a icy menthol. I knew there would be some depth to it, and I was right. Frozen Tundra is a wicked icy flavor that many menthol smokers who are looking for a menthol equivalent won’t like it. This is extreme cold, almost mentholated but not quite, though it does do a number on your sinuses. But there is more to it… there is a certain amount of sweetness to Frozen Tundra, and a bit of mint as well. When you add to it a wicked throat hit and good vapor you got something that people who want icy cold vapes will adore. Admittedly its too cold for me to use daily, but there will be times when I’ll pull it down from the shelf and fill a clearomizer, sit back, and enjoy the icy freshness that is Frozen Tundra. 4 Stars John: My first mistake with Frozen Tundra was when I was blowing out some excess liquid from the clearomizer I was using to review this flavor. A mere drop of Tundra touched my lower lip and froze it instantly. My second mistake was to take a huge pull from the clearomizer and deeply inhale the vapor. I think I cleared my sinuses in record time and blasted my brain through the top of my head. There is a certain number of Vapers that love this type of eLiquid, the colder the better. I’ve never understood the appeal, and I still don’t. But I’ll tell you this; if you are one of those Vapers this is a eJuice you have to try. In addition to the pure ice you’ll get a big throat hit and lots of vapor. I recommend this one only to the Vapers that want an icy blast, which unfortunately, is too much for me. For expertise alone I’m giving this 4.5 Stars Hazelnut Cookie – Strix says: “Hazelnut cookie with chocolate and toasted marshmallow” A Spinfuel Choice Award Winner Julia: Hazelnut is one of those base flavors that you see in a lot of eLiquids, and its ‘taste’ can be manipulated and twisted in inventive ways. Some eLiquid flavors use hazelnut and you’d never know it, especially if chocolate is used as well. In Hazelnut Cookie however, you taste real hazelnut, a kind of nutty flavor with a mild flavor to it. With a subtle cookie flavor, or whatever you want to call it, this becomes a very enjoyable and delicious vape. I liked it in a big way, even more than I thought I would. 5.0 Stars John: Hazelnut is hard to describe because real hazelnuts can be chopped, roasted, ground up, mixed with other flavors, and so one… it’s different than many other flavors. It’s malleable. I suspect that chameleon-like flavor is why it is used in so many eLiquid recipes. Hazelnut Cookie has an earthy, nutty taste with definite cookie dough flavor. This one is in my top 5 of Strix flavors, but where in that top 5 depends on the time of day, or my appetite or a dozen other things. Sometimes during the review period it was a 5 Star juice, at other times it was 3. I did like the throat hit and the vapor production, both of which were deep, lusty like. Some Vapers are going to want to see this as an award winner; others will not. I wouldn’t want this every day, but there are times when I would crave it, so for that reason I will add this to my rotation, and I am rating it 5.0 Stars Lychee Delight – Strix says: “Light, sweet and creamy” Julia: This is not our first Lychee-based eLiquid, so we’re pretty familiar with its delicate taste of pear and grape. Strix pretty much nails it here. Lychee Delight has a stronger Lychee flavor than many that I’ve tried before. It is described as light, sweet and creamy. I taste more sweet than creamy; it’s a bold taste in the sense that the flavor Lychee is big, yet still delicate. Maybe I was expecting the same type of creaminess that other flavors in this review have. Lychee Delight is a must-try for any Lychee fans out there because the flavor is bigger than ever. In fact, if you don’t enjoy Lychee now you won’t enjoy this one, but if you want to taste something different, an almost strange tasting fruit, then Lychee Delight is a great choice. I liked it. Strong Throat Hit, big clouds of vapor, and very much an authentic Lychee taste, this one is going to have its legion of fans. Not for everybody, but those that like it will embrace it. 4.5 Stars John: Lychee has a very different flavor profile than most any other fruit. Julia is right about the grape and pear combination though, with that intense grape flavor and that unusual pear essence. Don’t expect a sugary sweetness or a cream creaminess; Lychee is different in that its sweetness is organic, not artificial tasting. The creaminess escapes me though; instead of creaminess I would describe it as straight up, no nonsense Lychee. I think Lychee Delight will appeal to fruit loving Vapers looking for a different kind of fruit, something bigger than blueberries and strawberries, Lychee is “powerfully fruity”. Lychee Delight delivers a strong throat hit and tons of vapor, making it one of the biggest fruity flavors around. I recommend it to anyone looking for something very different from the normal flavors they may use today. If you like fruit vapes you’ll like this one, unless you want your fruity flavors to be more traditional. 4.75 Stars Pixie Dust – Strix says: “Really hits your sweet spot!” Julia: I found the description to Pixie Dust hard to believe. This one doesn’t hit my sweet spot at all, it is one of the most tart flavors I’ve had in a long while. It reminds me of what I learned long ago about people that taste sweet when others taste tart, and vice versa of course. Pixie Dust tastes like “sweet tarts” from my adolescence. Not much of a throat hit, but tons and tons of vapor. What has me confused is this; do I tell you that it is much more tart than it is sweet, or do I tell you that the mixologist says its sweet, so maybe it is? I just don’t taste that sweetness; I taste a big ‘sweet tart’ flavor. 3.75 Stars John: Pixie Dust is a sweet and sour eLiquid with leanings toward the sour rather than the sweet. It is definitely a reminder of the Sweet Tarts of yesteryear. What I found unique about this flavor over the others in this review is that I could almost taste that sort of dry, powdery dust that you would find in the bag of the sweet and sour candies with names similar to this. It’s okay, but not something I would vape. Of course there are Vapers that absolutely love flavors like this and if you are one of them I think you going to love Pixie Dust. This one just isn’t my kind of eJuice. 4.25 Stars StrawZilla – Strix says: “The sleeping StrawZilla has been awakened!” A Spinfuel Choice Award Winner Julia: StrawZilla is an amazing strawberry vape; I’m going to get that out of the way right now. It is a 5 Star flavor, without a doubt. What makes StrawZilla something special is that the strawberry flavor is creamy, almost buttery, and buttery is not what I would expect from a strawberry eJuice. It tastes like a strawberry milkshake made with cream instead of milk, or strawberry ice cream made with cream and butter. Add a good throat hit and huge amounts of vapor, even from a lowly cartomizer, and it’s just unbelievably good. If you like strawberry flavors you will love this one, and it can work as an all-day vape anytime. 5 Stars John: When I vaping the Black Honey Cream I thought it was a sort of non-fruity blackberry, and with StrawZilla I would have to say the same thing; a non-fruity strawberry, and way better than any ordinary strawberry eLiquid. The strawberry flavor is there in abundance, but it is delivered on a plate of thick cream, with a luscious sweetness that comes from every pore. (? –Ed.) If you’ve ever liked strawberry eLiquids this is one you have to try. Before today there wasn’t a single strawberry in my rotation, now there is. StrawZilla is fantastic. Smooth and creamy, sweet and delicious, and all the other kudos I could throw its way, StrawZilla is something else. A great throat hit, and tons of vapor, you won’t want to miss this one. 5 Stars The Bogart – Strix says: “Strix Elixirs' signature tobacco flavor” Julia: There’s no way to tell, yet, if Strix Elixirs will become a great tobacco house or not. With only one tobacco blend, The Bogart, they certainly show signs of talent not just of mixologists for eLiquids, but also tobacco eLiquids. The Bogart is a good, semi-sweet, semi-dry tobacco blend with a powerful tobacco character, a strong throat hit, and massive vapor clouds. It will please most tobacco aficionados, but not all tobacco connoisseurs. It has genuine tobacco notes, but what it lacks is a bit of finesse. It certainly qualifies as an all-day tobacco leaf vape, and it’s a tobacco I personally will add to my own rotation. It will take a bit of time before we know if this is a one-off tobacco flavor or if Strix plans many more. All in all this eJuice is 5.0 Stars John: This is an eLiquid Julia and I differ on. Not only do I see a lot of potential for more tobacco flavors from Strix, I see The Bogart of one heck of a tobacco flavor by itself. Real tobacco flavor, a flavor that is not so sweet and not so dry, but with a robust one all the same. One of the best throat hits, if not the best, in this review, with huge clouds of vapor that cloud chasers will run after till the sun goes down. I spent an entire day with The Bogart and vaped through 8ML of juice, and at the end of the day I felt completely satisfied and content. No sore throat, no headache, and no raspy voice. 5 Stars Vanilla Ice Cream – Strix says: “Tastes like it was made on your grandma's front porch” Julia: This must be the flavoring that Strix is using in their StrawZilla and Black Honey Cream recipes. It has the same buttery/creamy/vanilla/lusty flavor; only it’s all alone, in all its glory. I loved vaping it, and can see this as an all-day vape for a lot of Vapers. That said, while I would add this to my rotation if I didn’t already have two other vanilla-based flavors in it, it does lack a certain excitement. I don’t mean that as a criticism, I just mean that I’m not sure if by itself it can be an award-winning flavor. Then again, perhaps it’s not meant to be one; perhaps this is best used as a mixer, one where you can add it to your favorite Strix flavor. If I had had enough of it I would have mixed it with Black Honey Cream or Blue Honey. The throat hit was a bit mild, but the vapor more than made up for that. I recommend Vanilla Ice Cream to anyone looking for a very creamy vanilla where the ‘creamy’ is more pronounced than the ‘vanilla’. 4.5 Stars John: Vanilla Ice Cream needs to be seen as an ice cream flavor more than a vanilla flavor. While you can certainly taste some vanilla flavoring the more powerful element is the taste of ice cream itself. Julia mentioned this ice cream element in her review of Black Honey Cream, and here I think its even better way of describing it. I liked vaping Vanilla Ice Cream more than I thought I would after the first drag. What hit me early one was how Strix had been able to capture the character of ice cream rather than any ice cream flavor. That’s something I’ve never encountered before, its original and unique. There is a throat hit but it is somewhat mild, not bad, just milder than I’d want. The vapor production on the other hand was outstanding. Recommended to Vapers looking for something new in vanilla arena, or someone looking for a subdued creaminess where the texture is more important than being hit with big flavor. 4.75 Stars Conclusion As can you see, there is a lot of character to these eLiquids. Some delivered enormous flavors and others were more subdued. Some offered huge throat hits while others were mild. Lastly, most of them really delivered in the vapor production department with just a few that didn’t have that massive cloud-chasing element. Character, experience, and talent that have seen years of mixing result in flavors that are mature, grownup, yet still instill a bit of fun. These are eLiquids, for the most part, that evolved to their logical conclusion. The biggest, most impressive flavors included The Bogart, StrawZilla, Black Honey Cream, and Espresso Dream. These were the best of the best, while Pixie Dust and Eggnog didn’t fare so well. I think the biggest takeaway from this review is that Strix Elixirs talent and maturity in this area of the marketplace are easy to see. While we may not have loved every flavor, each one was a fully realized eLiquid, there are no signs of “I mixed this by accident” going on. Every Vaper will find several flavors they will want to add to their own rotations. Buying Advice Buying advice is easy; go with your gut on this one. The spectrum of flavors is wide, so if you like espresso you’ll be hard pressed to find a better one than Espresso Dream. The same can be said about all the other flavors, each will find a home. A question I wished I had pursued in the interview would be why choose a 10ML bottle over the standard 15ML. Another great brand offers the same thing, and I don’t know why they do it either. 10ML, to me (and John) is simply too small, it would take less than 2 days to go through 10ML. But the price, $5.00 is great. The savings you get when you go to 30ML ($14) isn’t huge but it is definitely worth buying your choices in 30ML bottles. Final Words Since Strix Elixirs is a new kid on the block here at Spinfuel eMagazine, this is our first time sampling their wares. You can bet that at the very least the 5 Spinfuel Choice Award winners will be stocked here. It is great to see both Andy and Jennifer back in the saddle, and we wish Strix Elixirs the best. Can’t wait to see what new flavors are on their roadmap. Don’t forget to check out the Interview with Andy and Jennifer! Julia Hartley-Barnes, lead writer, and John Manzione
Strix Elixirs eLiquid Review
Spinfuel eLiquid Review Team – Strix Elixirs John Manzione & Julia Hartley-Barnes

Husband and wife team of Andy Schuelein and Jennifer Zeares, two of the three founders of Vape Dudes, are out on their own as the owners and mixologists of   Strix Elixirs. It is a new company, having opened for business in October of this year, and they bring with them some new and enticing eLiquid recipes plus mature, expert level mixing skills and a lot of creativity. And boy did we ever have fun reviewing these terrific flavors.

Strix Elixirs offers thirteen (13) eLiquid flavors plus one unflavored that cover the gamut of the most popular flavors of Vapers today. From the original Blue Honey, an eLiquid that helped put Vape Dudes on the map three years ago, (created by Andy, who still owns the recipe) , to the new and delicious flavors like Hazelnut Cookie, Espresso Dream, and Banana Slam.

Strix Elixirs sent all 13 flavors in 30ML bottles, all with 18mg nicotine. Because it was just the two of us we had the choice of vaping the 13 flavors in 72-96 hours, the usual time we spend exclusively vaping a brands eJuice, or to vape them until they were all vaped up. We chose the latter and vaped all 13, except for one, until there wasn’t a drop left.

Here’s the list of the 13 flavors we are reviewing for you today:
  1. Applegasm
  2. Banana Slam
  3. Black Honey Cream
  4. Blue Honey
  5. Eggnog
  6. Espresso Dream
  7. Frozen Tundra
  8. Hazelnut Cookie
  9. Lychee Delight
  10. Pixie Dust
  11. StrawZilla
  12. The Bogart
  13. Vanilla Ice Cream

Strix Elixirs Particulars

Bottles – Strix Elixir comes in 10ML and 30ML plastic (food grade) bottles with long, thin, needle tips that make it easy to fill any cartomizer, clearomizer, or tank. Using a Texas Tuff Tank we purchased last year we were able to fill the tank in less than 3 seconds, the tip fit the drilled hole on the side of tank perfectly. The bottles are easily squeezable, but not so easy that you’ll wind up squeezing too hard and making a mess. To prevent tampering and to maintain freshness Strix Elixirs utilizes a plastic snap-band around the neck. You cannot open the bottle without breaking the plastic band that’s actually a part of the bottle cap.

Labels – The full color labels wrap nearly around the entire bottle, and along with the logo and custom graphics that identifies the flavor, it includes the standard warning verbiage, a “made in the US” logo, the size of the bottle and the strength of the nicotine. Unfortunately there is no ingredients list, D.O.B. or batch number on the bottle. While we would have liked to see them on the label we didn’t discount it that much, the use of the plastic snap band around the neck made up for most of it, though a date of birth is a glaring omission these days. Having said that, there might be a perfectly good reason for it, which we’ll get to shortly.

Cost – Unlike most brands we encounter Strix Elixirs has opted for a 10ML bottle as their “small”, instead of the usual 15ML, so the price of their 10ML bottle is just $5.00. That’s 50 cents per ML, which places them in the lower/middle of the pricing range. It’s certainly better than some others that charge upwards of 88 cents per ML (cough* Potion Vape *cough) for a 15ML bottle, but we would have rather seen a 15ML bottle offered by Strix Elixirs instead…10ML just goes too fast, although as a sampler bottle it’s a good choice.

The 30ML bottle, which sells for $14 is a very good price for the quality you get. 46 cents per ML with the 30ML size makes it affordable for most any Vapers’ budget.

Nicotine – The American-sourced nicotine is offered in the following strengths: 6mg, 12mg, 18mg, and 24mg. Naturally, all their eLiquids are also offered in nicotine-free versions. Spinfuel eMagazine staff always vapes in the18mg-24mg range. The eJuice submitted for review were all 18mg.

PG/VG – At this time all Strix Elixir recipes are 60% Propylene Glycol and 40% Vegetable Glycerin, usually stated as 60/40. We found 60/40 to be more than acceptable. Propylene Glycol is responsible for ‘flavor carrying’ and ‘throat hit’, while Vegetable Glycerin is the main indicator of the vapor production. That’s a simplified explanation of course, but for this review it serves its purpose. Strix Elixirs offers plenty of flavor, good throat hits (also helped by the 18mg nicotine strength) and they all deliver vapor production you won’t complain about. Some produce more vapor than others, as you’ll see, but vapor production overall was satisfying.

Pre-Steeped – Offering ‘pre-steeped’ eLiquid is kind of new for eLiquid brands, and we were very interested in learning about it. All eLiquids need to ‘steep’ or rather they need time for the ingredients to ‘marry’, to mingle together and form a product ‘sum’ that is better than its parts. That said some eLiquids need more time than others, so you really can’t say that any eLiquid after X number of days is at its peak flavor. Strix Elixirs understands this, so their ‘pre-steeped’ eLiquids are custom steeped. Custom steeped simply means that Flavor A needs X number of days to steep, Flavor B needs X number of days, and that time is spent there, at Strix Elixirs, before they are shipped to you.

Strix Elixirs tells its customers that their eJuice is ready to vape straight from the mailbox. In our case that was certainly true. Strix Elixir customers will no doubt love this aspect of buying eLiquids since we’ve all suffered the disappointment of vaping too early, and the anticipation of trying it again after it has sat in our closets for a week or more. That has now been taken out of the equation.

Shipping – Lastly, we come to shipping. The reason we are brining it up is because of what we’ve written above. Just because your eLiquids from Strix Elixirs will come to you pre-steeped it doesn’t mean you’ll place your order and then wait for a couple of weeks while they steep it there and then send it to you. That’s not how it works. Depending on a particular days orders Strix Elixirs tells us that orders go out either the same day you place you order (yay!) or the next day, if the order volume was particularly heavy. That is certainly welcome news for anyone that had been buying their eLiquids from Vape Dudes and had to suffer through two or more weeks until their order shipped. Strix Elixirs promises to be much, much faster. Hopefully they will be able to maintain that shipping time even after their number of flavors doubles or triples down the road.

Our Review Hardware and Methods

We set up several clearomizers, cartomizers, and tanks the day before our official review began so that we would be able to switch between flavors whenever we wanted to without losing too much time. We decided to extend our time with their eLiquids only after the initial 72 hours had lapsed. Each of the flavors was vaped with all three devices, but more than likely not evenly. Some flavors saw more clearomizers than cartomizers, some the opposite, but all flavors saw all three types. The only method we did not use was drip atomizers or other RBA’s.

Each flavor also saw different ‘ohms’ used throughout the review period. Most of the time we vaped with coils that were 1.8-2.4ohms, only on a few occasions did we go lower, or higher. Unless we state otherwise you can expect that any particular flavor was reviewed using 2.1-2.4 ohm coils in clearomizers.

Batteries ran the gamut as well. ProVape ProVari, Innokin iTaste SVD’s, iTaste 134, and MVP Rev 2. Also ZMAX, Halo Triton, Vision Spinners, and a Cool Fire 2 were used. Most of time it was evenly divided between ZMAX, ProVari and Halo Tritons. As far as an eLiquid review goes the battery used is the least important when it comes to knowing whether or not the eLiquid is bad, good or great.

And now, let’s talk some eJuice flavors…

Applegasm

Strix says: “A vape that makes you weak at the knees”

Julia: Before I could even register the flavor of Applegasm I was blown away by the amount of vapor produced with my first pull from my ZMAX/SMOK DCTank. Applegasm’s flavor does appear on the inhale, but it’s the exhale where it really comes alive. The incredible amount of vapor produced was impressive, really impressive, and then to follow that up with a blast of sweet green apple makes this one a prime all-day vape for Vapers that love apple-based eLiquids. The only downside to Applegasm is that if you’re looking for a big throat hit you won’t find one. But for many, including myself, I can forego the throat hit if the flavor and vapor make up for it, and Applegasm certainly does. If you’re a fan of green apple eJuice you need to give Applegasm a try, I’m betting you’ll be a fan. 4.50 Stars

John:  When I saw that there was an apple flavor in the lineup I wasn’t all that thrilled about it. Apple is the one flavor I usually don’t bother with. I do enjoy the sweet red apple flavors, but still, I haven’t purchased any for personal use. When it came time for me to do some quality vaping with Applegasm I had planned on the minimum amount; about six hours. Then I forgot about the time and wound up vaping Applegasm all day. I really enjoyed the sweet apple flavor and the huge clouds of vapor it produced. As it turns out I learned that my issues with apple-flavored juice is the individual juice, not the flavor.

A characteristic of all Strix Elixirs is the excellent production of vapor the 60/40 PG/VG ratio is capable of. Some flavors are better at producing thick vapor than others, though they all get an A+ in my book. Applegasm is one of the higher vapor producers, with an almost scary amount of vapor coming from the juice in a X.Jet clearomizer (1.8ohms).

If you’ve been looking for a smooth, sweet green apple eLiquid that you can vape all day and not wind up with a raspy throat or taste buds that fail to work at the end of day Applegasm should be your next apple flavored juice. I decided to add this one to my rotation, the first apple that has made it. 5 Stars

Banana Slam

Strix says: “Our proprietary banana cream is a slam dunk!”

A Spinfuel Choice Award winner!

Julia: When I think about what a ‘Banana Slam’ should taste like I imagine a hard-hitting banana flavor, with a secondary flavor added to deliver a knockout punch. Makes sense, right? But then Strix adds the description and you see that it is a banana cream flavor, and ‘slam’ and ‘cream’ just don’t go together. There is nothing slamming about cream. So, what is Banana Slam and what can you expect if you try it out?

Banana Slam is a truly delicious banana cream pie flavor that delivers a tremendously deep taste of sweet bananas with luscious cream pie flavor notes. Once I started vaping it I did not want to stop.


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