Flavours & Additives for Tobacco & Cigarette Recipes

Flavours & Additives for Tobacco & Cigarette Mixes

Exploring Ingredients for DIY Tobacco Recipes

For some vapers and those transitioning from smoking, tobacco mixes may be sufficiently satisfying with only 3 or 4 ingredients. Some PG and VG, a few splashes of nicotine, a decent tobacco concentrate or two, and off it goes to steepville. However, if you’re looking for some extra nuance, or wish to get a little closer to mirroring the smoking experience, we need to utilise similar inherent ingredients – Flavours and Additives. 

Due to much of what combustion offers, replicating a cigar, pipe or cigarette flavour is impossible with e-liquids. What we can do though is to mirror the flavours of a tobacco, and offer an acceptable alternative to smoke, ash and or char. We can also introduce a variety of concentrates that elevate the level of satisfaction, and for most, exceed that of which we derived from smoking.  

Step 1

Tobacco Base

The first step is choosing the right tobacco base flavour, and this may end up being two or more concentrates. Given that there are hundreds of options and taste being subjective, it always comes down to trial and error.

Notwithstanding this, there are a few that excel at providing a solid foundation for a tobacco or cigarette flavour, and more times than not, blending 2 or more at various percentages will return the best results.

In terms of domestically available artificial concentrates, (not NET’s) the companies that IMHO do the best job are Flavorah, Inawera, Juice factory and Juice Whore. Here are some excellent examples –

DIY tobacco additives

Kentucky Blend, Cured Tobacco, Red Burley, Virginia, Classic Cigarette, Arabian, Connecticut Shade, Oriental and Tatanka
Tobacco Cavendish, Tobacco Smoke & Prunes, Vanilla for Pipe, Black Cherry for Pipe, Dark for Pipe and Captain Jack for Pipe
Juice Factory
Tobacco Absolute, Parliament, Black and Mild, Cigar and French Pipe
Juice Whore
JW Signature Tobacco Blend
Cuban Supreme (This is FA’s best imho)

Step 2

Smoke, Ash, Wood & Char

The next step is to include something that offers a smokey, ashy, dirt or wood char component, to substitute for combustion. 

These additive types can play a huge role in replicating the smoking experience. They should be added directly after your tobacco base. 

tobacco and smoke

This stage is vitally important, as there is no way to simulate anything close to smoking and combustion without it. I would strongly suggest you spend extra time experimenting with some of these concentrates, as it will bring you as close as possible to mirroring the flavours of burning tobacco. 

FlavourArt Black Fire
A woody, smoked, campfire like flavour with subtle hints of caramel. No ash or dirt like DNB. This is a must try additive, and one of the most commonly used in tobaccos. If you only pick one, this is it.
Flavorah Bourbon
Not a straight bourbon flavour per se. Primarily a strong, smokey, chard oak flavour with excellent bourbon notes. One of my favourite tobacco additives, and works extremely well alongside TFA Kentucky Bourbon.
Flavorah Smoked Butterscotch
A sweet smoked butterscotch with no ash, char or dirt. Perfect for tobacco recipes.
Inawera DNB – Dirty Neutral Base
This is pretty much straight ash and dirt without any smoke or char. Works well for cigarette mixes.
TFA Hickory Smoke
Very strong hickory with smoke. Not well liked but..can be blended at 0.15% with other smoke based additives.  
TFA Red Oak
An aromatic, slight spice, woody flavour with rich smokey notes. 

You don’t require all of these, but try at least a couple. Test at really low percentages, say 0.15% and up to 0.25% to begin with. My favourites out of these are all but the Hickory Smoke, given today’s better alternatives.    

Step 3


Generally I’ll add this next. A dash or two of booze can help with throat hit, sweetness and flavour, and it’s also a universal ingredient in commercial cigarettes. 

As with additives, alcohols should be used at low percentages unless you’re after a distinct booze flavour.

Whilst I feel alcohol is important, you can choose to omit it. However, these alcohol flavours make it very easy to turn a tobacco into a satisfying vape experience, without the need for too much else.

DIY Tobacco and Alcohol

Bourbon or Rum are my favourite and work extremely well. Generally I’ll aim for around 0.25 to 0.5%, but if I want a more distinct booze vape I’ll bump it up to around 1 % or higher. I’ve had fairly limited exposure to booze concentrates, but here are the ones I use.

FlavourArt Jamaican Special – Rum
This is the king of rum flavours. A sweet, boozy rum with caramel notes. Excellent with coconut and tobaccos.
TFA Jamaican Rum
A fairly authentic rich, strong rum. No real sweetness like FA’s, which is superior imho.
Flavorah Raisin Rum
Slightly sweet light rum with a distinct baked raisin flavour. Needs 2 weeks to develop. Great with coconut and tobacco.
TFA Kentucky Bourbon
A strong, somewhat sweet, almost malty, sugary bourbon-whisky. Excellent with Flavorah’s Bourbon in tobacco.
Molinberry JD Whiskey
A dark authentic semi-sweet Jack Daniels styled whisky, with slight sugary caramel notes.

Step 4


Tobacco aficionados may be content without any additional flavours, but for many, and those new to DIY, these are likely to prove worthwhile or even necessary.

Don’t neglect using flavours as you would with additives, at very low percentages, it just depends on the profile you’re aiming for. More is often less. Start from 0.15 to 0.25% depending on the level of subtlety desired. 

All of these flavour types are commonly used in the production of either tobaccos or cigarettes.

flavours for diy tobacco

Both coffee and nut flavors work exceptionally well with tobacco concentrates, often leading to a more authentic representation. Caramels, chocolate, dairy and bakery flavours are wonderful too, but if you’re aiming for a plain cigarette type flavour, again, start out at low percentages. You want subtle nuances, perhaps even barely noticeable.

Coffees – Espresso
FlavourArt Dark Bean Espresso, Juice Factory Espresso
Nuts – Coconut
FlavourArt Nut Mix, Flavorah Sweet Coconut, FlavourArt Coconut
Caramel & Butterscotch
FlavourArt Caramel, Flavorah Caramel, Flavor West Butterscotch Ripple, Flavorah Butterscotch
Molinberry Glamour Chocolate, FlavourArt Chocolate & Cocoa
Ice Cream, Butter, Creams
Flavor West Vanilla Bean Ice Cream, FlavourArt & TFA Butter, Flavorah Cream
Cookie, Biscuit
FlavourArt Cookie, Flavor West Sugar Cookie, Capella Sugar Cookie, Inawera Biscuit 
Apple, Mango, Pear, Cactus, Pink Guava
FlavourArt Fuji Apple, Purilum Country Apple, Juice Factory Mango, FlavourArt Pear, Flavorah Pink Guava

“Put the Lime in the Coconut”
One of the easiest, satisfying combinations is lime and coconut. But keep the lime really low or it overpowers. Start at 0.15%. I use Inawera Lime.

Generally I reach for an espresso coffee first, and nuts are commonly used too. Whilst any selection from above is frequently on the cards, it’s easy to take this too far. Steering away from a solid tobacco base is easy to do, although the majority of mixers tend to do so. Fusions are not only easier to mix, but tend to be more pleasing to the majority of vapers.

Our Flavour Page
I’ve started a Flavour section, separate to DIY. Many of my favourite quality concentrates will be added there, along with flavour notes, pairings, uses and tips. I don’t anticipate this being close to comprehensive until mid February 2019.  Flavour Page

Step 5


There are a number of traditional additives and enhancers available, such as FlavourArt’s MTS Vape Wizard and AAA Magic Mask. Explore these if you wish, but I prefer not to use rescue or fix it type ingredients for my mixes. Also, given the quality of today’s concentrates, I really don’t see a need. 

However, below are a few you should explore, along with some flavours that are best used as additives. Start at around 0.25% and go from there. 

DIY Tobacco Additives

TFA Ethyl Maltol or EM
Often used as a sweetener although it’s actually not one. It’s intent is to smooth rough edges and add some body whilst enhancing something that has inherent sweetness. EM has a caramelised burnt sugar flavour, but it can mute flavours over 1%. One of the most commonly used additives and frequently used in tobacco recipes.
TFA Acetyl Pyrazine
An excellent additive offering toasted, nutty, bready and yeasty popcorn type notes. Good for bakery nuances. Another popular additive that works well in many profiles, including tobacco and tobacco fusions. A must have.
Capella Cereal 27
Essentially an alternative to AP (above) with cereal and some berry notes. Excellent for a tobacco with subtle fruit elements.
FlavourArt Oak Wood
Fairly mild, dry oak wood flavour with no smoke, ash or char. Great with tobaccos.
Purilum – TFA – FA Marshmallow
Can be used as a mild sweetener or for flavour and mouth-feel. Perhaps the most popular additive – flavour for tobaccos and most other profiles. A must have concentrate.
Flavorah Lovage Root
Adds a slight sweet vegetal note, bringing some moisture to drier tobaccos. Very useful.
Flavorah Caramel
This is essentially an alternative to sweeteners with a strong brown sugar note. Excellent for tobacco.
Flavorah Beer Nuts
Good for salt with a touch of peanuts. Excellent for tobaccos.
Flavorah Wood Spice
Just starting to experiment with this. Very unique, odd, and limited in terms of usage. It’s a strong & moist sandal wood made for tobacco.
Flavorah Sweetness
A Stevia based sweetener. An alternative to traditional sweeteners which are Sucralose based. I don’t use sweeteners but they’re commonly used so I’ve listed this one as it’s preferable to sucralose.

Step 6


Think of spice as you would with additives, starting out at low percentages, around 0.15%. Tobacco and commercial cigarettes have numerous spices but many mixers don’t bother with them. From time to time I use clove and or cinnamon, but that’s about all. 

Spice is not always needed or desired, and the decision is generally based on the choice of tobacco concentrate, and to some extent, additional ingredients.

Spices for diy tobacco

Flavorah Cinnamon Crunch
An excellent cinnamon toasty cereal flavour, and one of Flavorah’s best.
FlavourArt Cinnamon Ceylon
An authentic solid baked cinnamon flavour, although I prefer Flavorah’s crunch.
FA Anise
A sweet authentic Anise, with that liquorice flavour that can work well in tobaccos at low percentages.
FA Cardamom
A fairly sweet cardamom flavour, which is much like ginger. Works well in tobacco fruit flavours.
Juice Factory SC Clove
A strong and solid representation. Works well in low percentages.

Overview and Tips

The top two sections are the primary focus and should provide a solid tobacco or cigarette-like base to build on. Whilst the additional sections should not be overlooked, and help most vapers in providing a satisfying vape, always put aside a bottle or two of your basic base. 

Easy does it.. too many flavours (or too much flavour) can spoil the broth. It doesn’t take much to turn a solid straight tobacco base into a caramel coffee, with only subtle traces of tobacco.


The quality and or type of nicotine, can play a role in the satisfaction we gain from e-liquids. Firstly, I always recommend a 100% PG based nicotine. Free Base nicotine is fine, although unflavoured nicotine salts can offer advantages. Higher quality nicotine is generally smoother with less peppery flavour. Where to buy nicotine.


One of the most important aspects of experimenting with recipes is steeping. This is where much patience is needed and where many find themselves compromising. Always make an extra bottle of your base, which is the first 2 or 3 sections, and steep it for at least a week. Now compare the steeped batch with a freshly made batch. 

Repeat this process through all stages, not forgetting to make notes. If changes are needed, do so, but gradually.

  • Be aware that when using low percentages of flavours or additives, steeping becomes even more important. Many may not be very noticeable as a shake and vape, and just like wine or a matured cheese, good things come to those who wait.
See our page on Steeping and Storage

Mixing with strong Additives
Many additives-flavours are quite concentrated, and in some cases may be too strong, even when using a single drop in a 10 ml bottle. In order to overcome this, one needs to dilute the solution in a PG base. After much experimenting, I’ve found that a 20 % diluted solution is about perfect for many ingredients. I use 10 ml bottles but only have 5 ml total in fluid.

  1. Pour 4 mls of PG into the bottle
  2. Add 1 ml = 20 drops of Additive / Flavour
  3. Label the bottle

Adding Flavours

I’ve found coffee to be one of the most useful elements for a good tobacco base. Given they share similar characteristics I would start there. Even if you dislike coffee, give it a whirl, about 0.15 to 0.25% works well. Nuts can be important too but in very low percentages. Around 0.15 to 0.25 max is a good guide, especially for FA’s Mixed Nuts.

coffee beans
Determining what direction to go in has a lot to do with the tobacco concentrate/s you choose. Some are more pipe based, some have spice, and some are just a mild generic tobacco. Bolder and spicier concentrates are best respected for what they are, so it’s often a good idea to minimise the number of additional ingredients. 

Flavorah Tobaccos
Some of these are perfect for shake and vape testing and therefore require no steeping. Even though some require time to fully develop, they can still be used to gauge suitability. 

They also happen to be superior to many in terms of authenticity. These are up there with the best tobaccos you can buy, and widely used by mixers worldwide.

Cured tobacco
Native Tobacco
Red Burley

Classic Cigarette – 3-4 weeks to fully develop
Kentucky Blend – 
2 weeks to fully develop

I’ll be adding some recipes soon.

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2 thoughts on “Flavours and Additives for DIY Tobacco Recipes”

  1. Thanks, very comprehensive and illuminating list for begginers. I’ll try mixing some of these following the recommendations and will comment on the results, I hope them to be good.

    • Hi Victor,

      Thanks for your comment, I’ll most likely be updating this post with more content next month; I have some new ones I wish to add.
      Take care,

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