Vanilla proudly holds the title of the worlds most popular flavour, and there’s little doubt It’s one of the most commonly used when it comes to DIY. It’s also one of the most versatile flavours to have on hand, so it’s highly unlikely you can get away with just one or two.

Introduction to Vanilla Concentrates

I’ve never thought of it a stand alone flavour, but it’s a perfect fit for so many profiles and recipes. I use vanilla’s extensively in tobaccos, fruits, bakery, desserts and beverages, not to mention fusions which cover most of the spectrum.

Like all flavours, choosing a vanilla really comes down to trial and error, however, some may prove more suitable for specific applications. A plain vanilla may best suite for a DIY smoothie drink, or to add some extra vanilla to an ice cream profile. Vanilla bean and or Vanillin, may work best when creating a cake or other bakery recipe, they are also commonly used as an additive, in low percentages. There are no rules, it’s all about personal preference and experimentation. 

I classify vanillas under four categories –

Vanillin
Vanilla Bean
General Vanilla Flavours
Vanilla Fusions

Flavour fusions come in all forms such as creams, ice creams, puddings, custards, cakes-cupcakes, candy and even tobaccos. 

Vanillin

Vanillin is a Phenolic aldehyde, an organic compound that’s the primary component of the vanilla bean.  Although it’s utilised in the DIY community, it’s extremely strong, very sweet, and has a tendency to dominate everything in the mix. 

If you choose to utilise vanillin, you should consider low percentages and or making a lighter base blended with one of the vanilla flavours we’ll look at below. You could also incorporate some cream/s.

Vanilla Bean

In terms of using vanilla bean, either straight or blended with other vanillas, it can at times be preferable over general vanilla concentrates; this is largely due to its distinct characteristics, authenticity and potency.  When it comes to DIY concentrates, other than vanilla bean ice creams, there’s not a lot of straight vanilla bean choices. I’m only aware of Flavorah and Juice Factory and have only used Flavorah, which happens to be fabulous.

Vanilla Flavours

Regular vanilla concentrates vary to some degree, as some tend to be richer like French vanilla,  while others push the boundaries and lean more toward a cream, icing or soft serve ice cream.  Whilst I can’t possibly discuss every vanilla, l have selected a few stand-outs that should cover everyone’s needs. 

Vanillas are a perfect example of a flavour that can be used as either a general layered flavour or an additive-enhancer. Being such a popular ingredient of e-liquids, it pays to have a least a couple of varieties on hand.

Vanilla Uses

Much like creams, the uses for vanilla are virtually endless, depending on what your aim is of course. Desserts and bakery are perhaps the most common, with custard or pudding being an absolute must try profile. However, mixes from all of the flavour groups can often welcome a touch of vanilla.

They’re wonderful to blend with tobaccos, liquors and coffee is an absolute must, as vanilla not only flavours but can tone down, smooth or mellow.  Fruits such as strawberry, orange or banana are common and they make for an easy mix.  

Vanilla Fusions or Blends

I won’t be discussing fusions or blends here. Most fusions will be covered under their various profiles – such as Vanilla Cakes-Cupcakes, Vanilla Ice Cream or Vanilla Custards. Fusions, such as a Vanilla Cupcake, can be quite useful as they incorporate two distinct, often well balanced profiles in a single bottle of flavouring. 

Much like One-Shot concentrates, these flavour types can be particularly useful for DIY newcomers, as they provide some inspiration and direction in terms of recipe development.  

Pairing Suggestions

Explore

Given that Vanilla and Cream flavours are often cross compatible, please visit the Cream Flavour Post for info and pairings. When it comes to Vanilla, as with virtually all concentrates, one’s options for pairing are limitless. Having said that, below are some fairly common, and a few uncommon pairing ideas that you may wish to explore. Some of my favourite pairings when using Vanilla are – 

Flavorah – Cream, Blueberry Muffin, Sweet Coconut, Apple Filling, Pink Guava, Smoked Butterscotch, Vanilla Custard, many of their Tobaccos.
FlavourArt – Butterscotch, Caramel, Jamaican Rum (special), Dark Bean, Marshmallow, UP.
Juice Factory – Passionfruit Mix, Pineapple, Mango, Banana Ripe, Espresso.
TFA – TPA – Butter, VBIC, Vanilla Custard, Kentucky Bourbon, Kahlua and Cream, Pear, Western Tobacco,
Medicine Flower – Banana, Caramel.
Flavor West – VBIC, Butterscotch Ripple, Butter Rum, Hazelnut.
LorAnn – Banana Cream Clear, Butter Rum.
Purilum – Marshmallow, Caramel Coffee With Sweet Milk.
Vape Train – Bourbon, Light Rum, Coffee Liqueur, English Toffee, Honeycomb, Toffee Ice Cream.

Recommended Concentrates

Favourites

TFA Vanilla Swirl
Probably the most popular vanilla concentrate worldwide. An excellent flavour which tastes like a blend of vanilla and whipped cream with a hint of vanilla bean. Add this one to your inventory, and if you only wish to buy one, this is it!
TFA-TPA Website – Description
SDS-MSDS 
eliquid-recipes Website – Mixers insights, reviews and usage.

Capella French Vanilla
An artificial and dominating full bodied vanilla that tastes a bit like coffee creamer. Slightly dry, with a caramelised type sweetness. Not my favourite of the bunch but hugely popular, so I added it. Useful IMHO for bolder profiles like tobacco and coffees.
Capella Website – Description
SDS-MSDS 
eliquid-recipes Website – Mixers insights, reviews and usage.

TFA French Vanilla Deluxe

A super rich, very, very buttery and creamy custard styled somewhat darker vanilla. There’s a caramel-butterscotch note from the Ethyl maltol and some inherent vanilla bean spice. Thankfully there’s no eggy notes. If you’re wanting a heavier, buttery vanilla, this is it. Contains Acetoin and Acetyl Propionyl (2,3-Pentanedione). 
TFA-TPA Website – Description
SDS-MSDS 
eliquid-recipes Website – Mixers insights, reviews and usage.

FlavourArt Vanilla Bourbon

Not a bourbon flavour, but the name for a vanilla grown in Madagascar and other islands in the Indian Ocean. An excellent flavour with distinct woody, earthy and spice notes. Somewhat thin without much body, but this can be an advantage. I find it best for tobaccos and coffee.
FlavourArt Website – Description (No real info)
SDS-MSDS 
eliquid-recipes Website – Mixers insights, reviews and usage.

Inawera Shisha Vanilla

A fairly dense mouthfeel with some decent body, offering a semi-rich, earthy, yet creamy vanilla with just the right amount of sweetness. Best used up to 1% only. Possibly the most versatile of the bunch so grab this one.
Inawera Website – Description
No SDS-MSDS Located 
eliquid-recipes Website – Mixers insights, reviews and usage.

Flavorah Vanilla Bean

A straight-up light in body-mouthfeel vanilla bean with some soft cream and inherent spice. Perfect additive and or enhancer for other vanillas. Not best as a single vanilla flavour, more so as a supporting element to add authentic vanilla notes and richness.
Flavorah Website – Description
SDS-MSDS
GCMS 
eliquid-recipes Website – Mixers insights, reviews and usage.

Tips for testing flavours

Thoughts & Tips on using Vanilla

I’ll say it again-you’re going to want more than one vanilla. TFA’s Vanilla Swirl is so commonly used in recipes, those fairly new to mixing should have this one. Those more seasoned that don’t have it, where have you been?

In terms of getting to know vanilla flavours, I would suggest experimenting with some creams and ice creams in a side by side comparison, as so many have very close properties. Often I find myself blending these together, which can be especially beneficial when wanting to make various vanilla bases.

  • Don’t base your assessment of vanilla as a whole if you’ve only tried 1 or 2 vanilla flavours. True, some are rather similar, but when you test vanilla bourbon for example, against vanilla swirl, a whole new world of possibilities open up.
  • A number of vanillas contain ethyl alcohol which will blend and mellow slightly when steeped. 
  • If making a vanilla base, pick two vanillas and or a vanilla bean, and experiment working in some creams such as FA Fresh Cream or Flavorah’s Cream. Use 5 ml batches and let them steep for at least a week.
  • Coconut is a great pairing for vanilla, and works exceptionally well with tobaccos and fruits.
  • FlavourArt or Purilum’s Marshmallow can add a nice touch to vanillas. Marshmallow also adds some extra body and mouthfeel and can complement a wide variety of flavours. Start out low with percentages from 0.25-0.5%.
  • Butter, be it TFA’s or FA, adds a nice dairy richness that compliments vanilla, and is great with tobaccos, bakery and dessert vapes. It can be heavy and overpowering so start with 0.25-0.5%
  • Sweet Cream by Capella or Flavorah is an obvious companion to vanilla. Although I love to blend vanilla with cream, be cautious, as many vanillas already contain cream, albeit that they may contain small traces. Experiment, but generally you can go as high as 1%, depending on intentions.

There are many ways to experiment with vanilla’s – Making a base, adding additional richness, blending it with complementary flavours, or utilising contrasting flavours such as tobacco, coffees or alcohols. For something along the lines of a base, look at blending flavours like creams, milk, non eggy custards, marshmallow, coconut, marzipan and even a dash of alcohol or eucalyptus – Molinberry Eucalyptus and Mint is certainly worth a try. If you have a favourite pairing let us know.

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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