The first thing I needed to do was to separate out my nic for preservation and mix up some of my crystals.

I moved the 250ml of nic into amber bottles. Opening it up, I took a quick whiff to see if there was any sort of off scent. Nothing at all; no pepper, no fish, no sweat, all of which can indicate too-strong or off nicotine. I got no smell at all.

Moving the nic with a syringe was very slow, so I went and got the metal funnel to pour. I did lose a little bit to spillage when I vapor-locked on one bottle, but I wiped down the sides of the bottles and rinsed off my gloves right away. No skin contact, no ill effects. I finished off the bottling with 4 full bottles and one bottle with a little bit of solution. Labeled all the bottles, put the 4 full ones in the freezer, and washed down the work area and tossed the gloves.

The ethyl maltol was in granular form, but the menthol was in long crystals. Stupidly I hadn’t bought a chemical mortar. I mixed up a 10% solution of ethyl maltol crystals in propylene glycol in one of the little 8ml vials and shook the hell out of it. Ethyl maltol dissolves very slowly, so I set it aside. In an hour the solution cleared.

I decided to do up 2 test mixes of my favorite (so far) flavors: an absinthe mix and a banana nut bread. I decided to use the Remedy Black recipe for the absinthe, although in the future I’m going to have to play with clove notes to get closer to 503 Raven. The banana nut bread I had to make up, since there don’t seem to be any TFA-exclusive banana nut bread recipes aside from, "10% flavoring and go." I went with 8mg strength on both mixes since I think my nic dependency is dropping rapidly and I’d like to be able to sleep at night.

Mix 1: Remedy Black (Absinthe), 50-50, 8mg

6% TFA Absinthe

8% TFA Horehound

2% TFA Smooth

I tried to mix a 5ml test batch of this and aerate it with a milk frother in a widemouth glass. I lost about 20% of the mix to flying droplets as measured out when I decanted with a syringe. I did another 5ml and again lost a full ml. Threw it all into an 8ml vial to steep. It smells about right, though it’s light, like the Mount Baker absinthe. I’ll have to steep/shake it for a while.

Mix 2: Banana Nut Bread, 50-50, 8mg

10% TFA Banana Nut Bread

5% TFA Ripe Banana

1% Ethyl Maltol PG Solution (10%)

1% TFA Acetyl Pyrazine (5%)

The ratios on EM and AP may be slightly high, and nobody can agree on how much Ripe Banana is appropriate, with suggested ranges between 0.05% and 12%. One thing is for sure: TFA Ripe Banana reacts strongly to the rubber in luer lok plastic syringes, and I had to toss one of my 1ml syringes. I’ll have to get a glass measuring syringe for the future.

This time I mixed up 10ml, thinking that I would get less splash. It worked. I decanted a full 10ml from the mixing glass, filling one 8ml test vial and a little of another. It smelled great right off the bat. After an hour I poured the extra 2ml into my tank and vaped it. I could tell it was not quite settled, and I got a strong cinnamon note from the mixture, either from the excess Acetyl Pyrazine or from the bare banana nut bread flavoring. My wife tried it and though it was good, but it was harsh and made her cough a bit because it was not matured. She commented that the banana was very strong, something I didn’t get, but I’ve been using Banana Nut Bread as an ADV for quite a while and might have decreased sensitivity to isoamyl acetate.

I gave both vials another shake and put them away in my steeping drawer. Lots more experiments to do before those can be tested again.

Mix 3: Banana Nut Bread No-Frills, 50-50, 8mg

10% TFA Banana Nut Bread

Always possible I don’t need all those extra flavors. Especially ones that kill soft plastics.

Mix 4: Tiramisu Flavor Reference, 50-50, 8mg

3% TFA Tiramisu

Oh my God, this smells like death. There is a warning about this flavor that it smells pretty damn strong and to not judge it based on its smell and let it steep. I can vouch for the first part. Like a burn ward for failed desserts. My plan is to let this steep for at least two weeks and test it on something I won’t care about throwing away. I washed everything involved with mixing like 10 times after I managed to put the cap on this vial.

Mix 5: Clove RY4, 50-50, 8mg

3% TFA Clove

8% RY4 Asian

I don’t know if this will even be close to a clove cig, but many people seem to like it combined with the more caramelish Asian RY4 flavor. I may mix up a bunch of straight TFA clove, which is pretty much nothing but Eugenol suspension, for a second sample. A friend of ours likes cloves and was asking about a good clove blend, so I figured I’d give it a shot.

One last shake for all of them, into a ziplock with the air sucked out, into a pickle jar with hot water, and into the closet.

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