Given the vast array of flavour combinations today, tobaccos are less popular than they once were. However, I’ve long felt that tobacco can play an important role in DIY, even for those that have little interest in the profile. Many offer excellent accent notes such as- robust, earthy, woody, smokey, leather, spice, nutty, winey. These can be useful when used in a subtle manner, as we do with various additives. 

Introduction to Tobacco Flavours

There’s no doubt that tobacco concentrates have come a long way since the early days of vaping. No longer must we rely on one dimensional, often harsh, boring tobaccos, that offered little justice in representing the nuances of various tobacco strains. 

Whilst there were a few standouts, tobacco connoisseurs often looked toward NET’s – Naturally Extracted Tobaccos- and some still do today. However, many steer away from these due to the inclusion of real tobacco and their inherent ingredients.

Today, companies such as Flavorah, Inawera, FlavourArt and Juice Factory are offering up superb representations. Sure, there are some real gems across other flavour manufacturers, but these four offer some outstanding examples, plus they’re readily available domestically.

Another benefit with many of today’s tobaccos is that old school “Fix It” additives such as MTS Vape Wizard, Magic Mask and Smooth may not be required. The quality is such that straight from the bottle one can expect a fairly easy to mix, satisfying flavour.

Granted, there are still a number of additives and or additional flavours we can utilise to further satisfy our expectations.

Exploring Tobacco

The Basics

When it comes to most commercial tobacco e-liquids, the majority are fusions or blends – Tobaccos with various percentages of bakery, dessert, alcohol, fruit or candy elements. Even many so called straight tobaccos use one or more of these flavour or compound types, at least as subtle accents.

However, irrespective of one’s vision in terms of the desired recipe profile, one should explore a variety of tobacco types such as Burley, Virginia, Cavendish, Turkish, Latakia and Perique.  This is particularly important if wanting to experiment with suitable pairings, or make a tobacco base. BTW, more satisfying results are generally achieved when blending two or more concentrates.

Like all concentrates we use for vaping, tobaccos are a complex blend of artificial flavours, compounds and yes, those secret 11 herbs and spices. Some even include extractions from actual tobacco plants. In addition, numerous compound type additives are utilised in an effort to closely mirror the nuances of various tobacco strains, including cigarettes.

The majority of tobacco recipes, and or concentrates, benefit from a lengthy steep time. It’s not unusual to notice improvements or additional nuances when steeped for two weeks, a month or even longer. 

Non Tobacco Lovers – Certain tobaccos (generally lighter and or more generic in nature) can be utilised in low percentages of 0.25 to 1.5% to add some earthiness-boldness to profiles, often without a dominant or even noticeable tobacco taste – Coffees or alcohol coffees, Rums or Bourbons, custards-puddings, eggnog, fruits like blackberry, cherries or coconut. FlavourArt Cuban Supreme, Juice Factory RY4 and Inawera Vanilla for Pipe are suitable examples. Adding additional flavours only helps hide any traces of tobacco. For example-  Creams, ice creams, vanilla, caramels, nuts, cookie, biscuit, or various blended bakery or dessert flavours.

Flavours of the earth

A Closer Representation

A variety of earthy type flavours and additives are often utilised to get a closer representation of cigarette, cigar or pipe e-liquids. All should be experimented with as we do with additives- starting at low percentages. Flavours such as Coffee, smokey-woody-char, spices and nuts, alcohols, fruits and drupes- such as plums, cherries and coconut.

  • Coffee-Espresso is a must try with tobaccos since they share similar earthy type characteristics. Coffee fusions can also work.
  • Smokey-Char-Woody notes are almost vital to closely mirror various tobaccos, as well as the smoking experience.
  • Fruits & Drupes – Blackberry, Cherry, Coconut, Plum, Raisin, Pear, Apple, Mango and Pineapple are excellent in low percentages.
  • Alcohols such as Bourbon, Rum or Whiskey are excellent pairings, and can make easy, satisfying tobacco recipes.
  • Nuts are a wonderful addition to most tobaccos – Think Hazelnut, Almond, Pistachio or Pecan. Peanuts can work too.
  • Additional moisture, along with a vegetal-celery note can be added with FLV Lovage Root. Good for dryer tobaccos.
  • Leather is often a welcome flavour note for tobaccos, but I’ve only found it in tobacco concentrates, not as a flavour.
  • Spices can be found in numerous tobaccos, although in many cases they tend to be rather subtle. Additional spice can be added but start very low – 0.15%. E.g. Anise, cardamon, Cinnamon, Clove. 
  • Florals are commonly used in tobaccos, again, start in very low percentages of 0.15%. Examples are Hibiscus, Rose, Honeysuckle, Ylang Ylang, Jasmine and Lavender. BTW, various florals are used in the production of cigarettes.

When experimenting with additives, and or regular flavours utilised as additives (in small percentages) – Less is often more, especially when you’re looking to add nuance, as opposed to a full on flavour. I generally suggest starting at 0.25% and work up from there. Extra potent concentrates may require 0.15%, or a dilution.

A good rule of thumb when using low percentages of flavours or additives, is to remember the relationship between percentages and steep times. A shake and vape recipe may welcome a higher percentage, but may prove too strong once steeped for 2 to 3 weeks or more.

For more examples and details, see our postFlavours and Additives for DIY Tobacco

Dairy - Bakery - Sugars

Complimentry or mellowing

Flavours that we generally associate with dairy and baking are exceptional companions for tobacco mixes. However, start with one or two additional flavours only, or a well balanced suitable base.

As pictured – Butter, Marshmallow, Graham Cracker, Cookie, Custard, Pound Cake, Caramel-Butterscotch and Vanilla Bean Ice Cream are all excellent pairings. Also, Creams, Pudding, Sugar Cookie, Donuts and Cheesecake.

TFA Butter is wonderful with numerous tobaccos – for nuance or more distinction try 0.5-1.%. Graham Cracker with a touch of smoked butterscotch is great too, start with 1% of each and work from there.

RY4 tobacco concentrates, or a mix you make yourself, can work as a starting point for pairing dairy and or bakery, as they’re a blend of  tobacco, caramel and vanilla. However, I generally recommend experimenting with a straight tobacco, as this allows one to focus on the individual elements.

Irrespective of the balance-percentage of tobacco and dessert-bakery flavours you want, try experimenting with something like 3 to 5% tobacco/s and bring the total flavour percentage up to at least 7, no more than 10. Try around 4% (or less for nuance) custard or pudding, and or perhaps 1 to 2% only of Cookie, Biscuit or Graham Cracker. Smoked, salted or regular butterscotch are wonderful with tobaccos, as are caramels. Again, aim to add only 2 additional flavours to begin with.

fruits and Drupes

Simple Formulas

Fruits are frequently used in tobacco recipes, both commercially and in DIY- Either as a layer or subtle accent, to add some juiciness, or to sweeten. Generally I tend to stick to fairly common fruits and drupes when mixing with tobacco – Pineapple, Pear, Apple, Banana, Mango, Coconut and Blackberry.

If using a plain apple, either as an accent or distinctive layer, try adding a small percentage of FlavourArt or Molinberry pear, they blend perfectly! 

Coconut and Banana are a match made in heaven too, although I haven’t found the perfect plain banana flavour yet. Best bet IMHO is Molinberry Soft Banana or Wonder Flavors Banana Puree. I often add 0.25% of Juice Factory SC Banana ripe also.

The beauty of using fruit/s with tobacco is that they are so easy to work with, and one can easily make a satisfying vape from just a single flavour. My favourite pairing, at least this past month, has to be FLV Apple Filling.

Blackberry is a great pairing with tobacco, but if using FlavourArt, you may wish to make a 10-20% dilution or start at around 0.15% because it’s incredibly potent. Juice Factory’s SC Blackberry is easier to work with. Flavorah’s Blackberry Blossom is an interesting experiment for tobacco. This profile can work well with a dash of cream/s also. 

I prefer using a more generic type tobacco with fruits, or at least something lighter to middle of the road.

Pairing Suggestions

Explore

When it comes to tobacco we all have our opinions, and one’s options for pairing are far more than tobacco blends. Below are some fairly common, and a few uncommon pairing ideas that you may wish to explore. Some of my favourite concentrates for tobaccos are – 

Flavorah – Cream, Vanilla Bean, Sweet Coconut, Apple Filling, Apple Cider, Honey Bee, Granola, Blackberry Blossom, Pink Guava, Smoked Butterscotch, Butterscotch, Caramel, Vanilla Custard, Beer nuts, Pucker, Oak Barrel, Lovage, Eggnog, Bourbon. 
FlavourArt – Butterscotch, Caramel, Honey, Jamaican Rum, Dark Bean, Up, Marshmallow, Marzipan, Oba Oba, Fuji Apple, Fig, Apple Pie, Cookie, Black Fire, Oak Wood.
Juice Factory – Passionfruit Mix, Pineapple, Mango, Blackberry, Ripe Banana, Espresso
TFA – TPA – VBIC, Butter, Vanilla Custard 1 &2, Vanilla Swirl, French Vanilla Deluxe, Kentucky Bourbon, Kahlua and Cream, Pear, Blackberry, Banana Nut Bread, Graham Cracker Clear, Acetyl Pyrazine, Red Oak.
Medicine Flower – Banana, Caramel, Dark Chocolate.
Molinberry – Soft Banana, Shape Up Pear, JD Whisky.
Flavor West – Butterscotch Ripple, Butter Rum, Hazelnut, Graham Cracker.
LorAnn – Banana Cream Clear, Butter Rum.
Jungle Flavors – Biscuit, Yellow Cake.
Capella – Fuji Apple, Golden Pineapple, VBIC, Sweet Cream, Graham Cracker, Sugar Cookie, Licorice.
Purilum – Country Apple, Marshmallow, Caramel Coffee With Sweet Milk.
Inawera – Pineapple, Shisha Vanilla, Biscuit, Custard, Marzipan, Dirty Neutral Base, Smoked Plum.
Vape Train – Bourbon, Light Rum, Coffee Liqueur, English Toffee, Honeycomb, Toffee Ice Cream, Banana Custard, Shisha Mango

Recommended Concentrates

Favourites

 Below are some of my favourite tobacco concentrates, all being available domestically. These flavours are capable of providing excellent results, although as a rule, blending 2 or more together in various percentages, generally provides more satisfying results. This is particularly true if wanting more nuance, a bolder type tobacco, or to customise your tobacco vape.

Whilst there are a few tobacco flavour brands I use frequently, Flavorah are the standout for me. Many of their flavours excel at showcasing the various nuances that are inherent or desired in tobacco strains – Spice, Winey, Fruity, Grassy-Hay, Vegetal, Earthy, Woody, Char, Smokey and leathery. Obviously, not all their tobaccos contain all of these notes together.

In addition, some are even suitable as a ready to vape (RTV) – Thus no steeping required. However, a few have what is known as the “Boomerang Effect”- They slightly fade after a week or so but return two weeks or so later with a little more nuance. I also respect a company that openly provides SDS (MSDS) sheets that list any traces of diketones – custard notes.

Flavorah Red Burley
Without a doubt one of the most beloved tobacco concentrates from Flavorah, and certainly way up there irrespective of the tobacco blend or brand. if you only buy a few, this must be on your list! 

A darkish, fairly dry earthy tobacco with a lot going on. There are various nuts although not strong, leather, some wood and possibly bark, definite cocoa-chocolate, subtle spice and medium ash. Also a subtle back note of a sweet fruit like pear and or apple. A pipe style burley and IMHO, the best burley on the market.
Flavorah Website – Description
SDS-MSDS 
eliquid-recipes Website – Mixers insights, reviews and usage.

Flavorah Kentucky Blend
A dark, full-bodied Kentucky fire-cured tobacco. It’s a fusion of a pipe and cigar blend, providing a medium level of ash, which is useful as a primary or secondary layer for a cigarette styled e-liquid. Additional notes are caramel and nuts, some mild cocoa, (perhaps both coffee and chocolate)  a touch of leather and some earthy elements, albeit fairly subtle. I also detected something along the lines of apple or similar, only to discover through the SDS that it contains a compound that offers a pear-like note.

There are very pleasant aromatics with this flavour, and I would consider it among Flavorah’s best tobaccos.  
Flavorah Website – Description
SDS- MSDS
eliquid-recipes Website – Mixers insights, reviews and usage.

Flavorah Cured
This is a perfect ready to vape tobacco, somewhat generic semi-sweet pipe tobacco. There are some nutty notes (some say Pecan) a nice balance of woods- cedar-like and maybe oak too, slight ash with a subtle smokiness. I also detect some winey notes with a touch of alcohol (not necessarily the same). Good earthy notes here, along with a smooth lighter smokiness. No grass or hay which I like.

The only downside to this is that it generally fades after 2 weeks but can maintain some of its inherent nuances when blended with other tobaccos. Irrespective, a superb all-round tobacco. Off the shake, this can taste a bit like butter and nuts. A superb and versatile flavour as a layer or for a tobacco base.
Flavorah Website – Description
CGMS
SDS-MSDS
eliquid-recipes Website – Mixers insights, reviews and usage.

Flavorah Native
A fairly deep, earthier tobacco type, with a light to medium level of ash and spice. This is akin to a roll your own blend, offering a full-bodied, mild sweetness, with additional notes of nuts, leather and mild honey. There is also some moisture to the vape. An excellent representation and blends well with other tobaccos, not just Flavorah. 

Many have suggested (and I did not think of this) that this tastes like fresh lightly aromatic tobacco smells.
Flavorah Website – Description
SDS-MSDS
GCMS
eliquid-recipes Website – Mixers insights, reviews and usage.

Inawera Black for Pipe
One of the most popular Inawera tobaccos, and considered to be one of the finest and most realistic tobaccos on the market. However, for my tastes, it’s a bit on the bold side, and when I do use it, it’s always alongside other tobaccos and or flavours that can tone it down or slightly mask it.

This is a dark, dry, very rich smokey fired-cured virginia type tobacco, and it is a close representation to NET’s. On testing varying percentages, I’ve sensed some fruit element, albeit subtle. Research, as well as SDS sheets (often hard to get with Inawera) tell us that many of the “For Pipe” tobaccos contain a Hickory-Smoke compound, along with a Tobacco Absolute. These alone, should signal at least part of the profile.
Vapoureyes Website (AU) – Description
eliquid-recipes Website – Mixers insights, reviews and usage.
Reddit Website – More Insights-reviews
Unable to locate SDS-MSDS

FlavourArt Cuban Supreme
A fairly dry, complex, somewhat darker woody vanilla type neutral tobacco. I also detect some slight dark cocoa notes. There’s no ash or grass-hay elements like some virginia blends. Can work as a stand-alone but I prefer to use as a blender for a more mild nuanced tobacco, or tobacco fusion mix. One of the better more useful tobaccos from FlavourArt.
FlavourArt Website – Description
SDS-MSDS
eliquid-recipes Website – Mixers insights, reviews and usage.

FlavourArt SOHO
In my opinion, one of the top three from FlavourArt (FA). This is a fairly sweet, smooth and rich burley type blend with perhaps some virginia or generic tobacco. There are numerous elements including -Nuts and bakery, toasted, a very subtle sour compound, caramel-maltol, cocoa and additional AP.  Some mixers have suggested that this contain NET-Naturally Extracted Tobacco – I’m unsure.

Many use this as a stand-alone flavor, although it pairs very well with Glory. It can also be successfully used in an RY4 type base or e-liquid mix.
FlavourArt Website – Description
SDS-MSDS
eliquid-recipes Website – Mixers insights, reviews and usage.

FlavourArt Glory
A complex 555 type blend that was made to satisfy stand-alone single flavour tobacco vapers, as well as NET lovers. This is a strong nutty, malty tobacco, peanuts and hazelnut topped with sugars comes to mind. Notes of vanilla, caramel, maltol with no spice, grass-hay, dirt or ash. I think they added Nutella too. Certainly in the top 3 of FA’s tobaccos and extremely useful as both a stand-alone and a blender.
FlavourArt Website – Description (Only says Tobacco Nuttiness)
SDS-MSDS
eliquid-recipes Website – Mixers insights, reviews and usage.

TFA-TPA Western
A fairly dark leaf generic tobacco blend that is similar to cigarette tobacco. with complex wood, rum or whiskey notes. Slight ash, spice and very balanced after a steep. IMHO, the best TFA tobacco, great at 3-4% single. Mix over 1% because can get too weak. It’s a fairly dark and dry blend with a subtle touch of ash. I would consider this a complex blend, as I detect numerous nuances such as – slightly musty, cedar-like woody, leather, very subtle nuts, berry like citrus notes, alcohols and vegetal. This concentrate was once called Cowboy, and it’s extremely useful.
TFA_TFA Website – Description
SDS-MSDS
eliquid-recipes Website – Mixers insights, reviews and usage.

Jungle Flavors RY4 Double
Although TFA’s version is the most commonly used and recognised, Jungle Flavors version is preferred by most seasoned mixers. This is a fairly earthy yet smooth dessert tobacco with strong caramel-butterscotch notes-hence the brown sugar element that is present. The tobacco part is pretty mild, yet, it works well for this profile. I also detect some darker fruit, along with grape. 
eliquid-recipes Website – Mixers insights, reviews and usage.
Reddit Website – More Insights-reviews
No Website (Now distributed via vendors) No SDS.

Tips for testing flavours

Thoughts & Tips on using Tobaccos

Tobacco recipes can take a long time to steep or mature, with some needing a month or more to best reveal all of their characteristics. However, even off the shake (a freshly made mix), most tobacco concentrates provide enough nuance to know exactly what we’re vaping.

There are many ways to experiment with tobaccos, other than making a straight tobacco or base. Although I enjoy straight tobacco mixes, more times than not, I add varying degrees of alcohol like a Bourbon or Rum, and often with a small percentage of espresso and or nuts – Did I mention Flavorah Sweet Coconut yet? Best darn coconut this side of Vanuatu.

From time to time I enjoy bakery and or dessert type tobacco mixes, however, I tend to utilise these flavours as we do with additives, or wanting some subtle characteristics. Generally, I like to keep my blends a little more on on the earthy or natural side – I feel this best supports and respects the tobacco.   

I feel tobaccos are best with 50% PG. I often use 55- 60% PG, especially with milder blends and low nicotine (3mg) – or no nicotine. Whilst a higher PG ratio can deliver slightly more flavour intensity, I have found that more PG helps to reduce the long steeping process inherent to tobacco recipes. 

Focus on the Tobacco Base first. Rather than jumping in and turning a tobacco recipe into a tobacco-dessert-bakery or other type blend, I find it best to concentrate on making a satisfying tobacco only base first- A satisfying tobacco blend to build on if need be. This generally requires at least two different concentrates, sometimes more. It always helps to flavour test your concentrates. From here, you can start to add some subtle nuance, such as espresso, rum, bourbon or perhaps a dairy or bakery element.

Coffee is one of the best flavours to pair with tobacco, especially espresso. The earthy bold characteristics can either compliment, or take a milder tobacco toward a more nuanced coffee. I like Juice Factory SC Espresso best. Start at around 1% and work up to 2.5%. Vape Train Coffee Liqueur is an excellent pairing for a more dessert based tobacco, as this has strong chocolate notes in it. Start at around 3%. Seriously, you really should explore adding coffees and espressos.

Vanillin is one of the most useful and commonly used additives, for DIYers and commercial e-juice. A strong, often sweet plain vanilla note, without any cream or richness. Often used as a sweetener or alongside traditional sweeteners. 

Using Additives – Much like regular flavours, additives can make or break a recipe – This is especially true when used at higher percentages. As a rule I test at 0.25, 0.5 and 1%. Some that appear very strong, at 0.15%. Numerous additives will mature when steeped (either on own or when mixed), and can offer more nuance, or reveal new notes previously hidden.

I strongly recommend flavour testing additives . Also, compare a freshly made batch to a 2-3 week steeped batched.

How I Test Flavours

Flavours are mixed in a 50-50 blend of PG & VG. Zero nicotine and generally steeped for 2 weeks. Three vape devices are used including an RDA.

How I Test Flavours

Flavours are mixed in a 50-50 blend of PG & VG. Zero nicotine and generally steeped for 2 weeks. Three vape devices are used including an RDA.

Testing flavours with e-cig
RDA for testing flavours

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