Naturally Extracted Tobacco vs. Artificial Flavoring in E-Juice
All e-juice flavors are not created equal, a fact that especially holds true when it comes to tobacco liquids. True, most tobacco ejuice is going to contain propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin, along with the tobacco flavoring. But how it gets its flavor is where the big difference lies.
Flavoring can come from naturally-extracted methods or artificial means – and there’s a massive difference between the two.
Naturally Extracted Tobacco (NET) Flavor
Ever have a strawberry milkshake that contained actual strawberries? The result is a treat that actually tastes like the original fruit, with the sweet and flavorful tang for which strawberries are known.
That’s the same deal you get with naturally extracted tobacco (NET) e-liquid. The flavor preparation starts with leaves from a real-life tobacco plant, which are chopped and steeped in PG and VG to extract the flavor. The steeping process is known as maceration. You can add heat to the mixture to speed up the steeping, or use the slower cold maceration method that preserves more of the flavor’s nuance and complexity.
With cold maceration especially, the end result is a flavor that captures the taste and essence of fresh tobacco – the good stuff before it’s hindered by the multitude of chemicals that come from combustion. Not only does NET eliquid capture the overall fresh tobacco taste, but it can capture the specific character of the tobacco variety that’s used.
Artificial Tobacco Flavor
Ever have a strawberry-flavored lollipop or cereal that tastes nothing at all like an actual strawberry? Even the color is usually off, with strawberry lollipops featuring a sickly red hue and the cereal an even more sickly pink.
That’s the same kind of results you often find with artificial tobacco liquid. The flavor prep in this case still involves PG and VG, but it has absolutely nothing to do with a real-life tobacco leaf. Rather than slowly steeping flavor out of natural tobacco, artificial tobacco flavorings rely on chemicals to mimic a tobacco taste.
Artificial flavors in general are meant to reproduce natural flavors by reproducing the natural chemical compounds that occur. Scientists can attempt this by combining any number of natural or manmade chemicals that yield the desired results.
The desired results are to make an exact molecular match with the chemical compounds found in nature. But the taste you get from artificial e-liquids can vary from very good to “a chemical compound gone wrong.”
While one reviewer noted that artificial tobacco flavors frequently manage to snag at least some element of true tobacco taste, it’s generally “a sort of musty, sweaty feet type flavor.” Yum.
Since most vape juice companies don’t list the actual ingredients used in the artificial flavorings, you’re never sure what else you may be getting. The chemical diacetyl is already getting a really bad reputation in e-juice use, with studies linking inhalation of the buttery-tasting food flavoring to an ailment known as “popcorn lung.”
Artificial e juice ingredients can also include other harmful chemicals like acetamide, ethylene glycol, diethylene glycol, acrolein, acetoin, coumarin and acetyl propionyl. You may run across additional synthetic ingredients, additives and dyes.
The best e juice in general is one that’s up-front about all its ingredients, even those used in its flavorings. And the best e juice for an authentic tobacco taste is definitely one that takes the time to naturally extract the genuine flavor from a genuine tobacco leaf – and doesn’t taste like sweaty feet.
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