The Life of an E-Liquid Flavor Chemist by Jeffrey Osorio
Making flavors for e-liquid is something I never would have considered for a career. It all began when I started working for an e-liquid manufacturer and was given the unexpected opportunity to use my creative side. The very first flavor that I attempted to make was a peanut butter banana. Sounds good, right? Wrong. It was terrible! Through this mistake and more, I learned that accepting failure is the first step towards accomplishment.
After multiple failed attempts at making a decent e-liquid flavor, it happened. Success! A rich strawberry infused with vanilla and butterscotch, better known today as ‘Chimpo.’ This creation sparked a drive in me to keep going, crafting, and mixing. I worked to develop or perfect a new flavor each day, always testing different blends. Over time, I developed a craving for more complex flavors. I wanted more depth to my flavors, so I began a very long but eventually rewarding process. I began to test every single base flavor that I came across to get better acquainted with each component in its purest form. And yes, I came across some horrible flavors that I could describe for you, but I’ll save that for another blog.
Testing each individual flavor definitely paid off in the long run. Through that process, I gained the ability to combine elements to represent a taste, a sensation, and even a texture. The possibilities became endless. After gaining this insight, I began creating more impressive flavors at a quicker rate. Currently, my top seller is Chameleon. This flavor alone evolved from countless failed attempts. It took approximately four months to perfect Chameleon, but it was worth every day. I now have 33 flavors in distribution with Jvapes E-Liquid, and more awaiting release. Not every flavor I make will be for everyone’s palate. My only hope is that of the flavors I have released, at least one has helped someone somewhere make that life-altering transition to vaping.
This is simply my story. A story about one employee who found their passion working at one company who gave them an opportunity. Think of all the e-liquid companies out there and how many similar stories there must be. I am thankful that I was able to give up a dangerous lifelong habit and discover an interest that can help others. Making flavors for e-liquid may not be for everyone, but it was in that process that I found confidence. The practice of making e-liquid is a delicate matter and as with all crafts, you must have patience.
Creating the Perfect E-Liquid Flavor
To create a flavor, you must first start with an idea. These can emerge from nearly anywhere – whether rooted in a memory, a delicious aroma you’ve recently experienced, or even just out of curiosity. Next, you need to build on that idea until you have clearer concept of what you want to taste. It can be helpful to categorize the taste, this can lead to further explorations with combinations. After the idea begins to take form, you need to consider the strength, various pairings, complements and contrasts. Do you want to taste a burst of fruits? Do you want to focus the taste of a single fruit, adding subtleties only to emphasize? Do you want to create a taste that invokes baked goods from the oven? These are only a few examples of the questions you have to ask yourself along the path to progress on your journey to successful flavor making.
The next step is, in my opinion, perhaps the most enjoyable part of the process; testing your flavors! My first piece of advice at this point is, disregard the smell. Good or bad, the taste does not always match the smell. In the case of e-liquid, keep in mind that the strength of each flavor note changes when they are heated and even then can vary with the degree of heat exposed to. The best advice I can give here is to not get your hopes up that your first test will be perfect. In my experience, there have only been a few flavors that performed exactly as I had hoped on the first run. Multiple revisions and further testing happen more often, but once you get that perfect flavor, it’s worth all of the effort. My flavor Coconut Macaroon took two months of trial and error and I found that the most difficult part of the process was trying to get that fresh out of the oven taste. Be patient, you’ll get it!
I have thoroughly enjoyed crafting e-liquid flavors over these past three years with Jvapes. Looking back, I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. The best part about making a flavor is after its release when you see a customer try it, and it turns out to be exactly what they were looking for. It is so satisfying to see watch a customer gain a smile over a flavor that you have spent countless hours perfecting and then go on to buy the biggest bottle they can. I always try to create the broadest variety of flavors that I possibly can to appeal to as many different types of people as possible. My Midnight Joyride and Pursuit of Madness tobacco flavors have been widely accepted, and honestly those are two flavors I never would have imagined that I’d create in a million years.
With the impending FDA regulations, I will not be able to make any new flavors after August 8th, 2016. Making flavors has become the most cherished part of my job and I am sure that this rings true for many other Flavor Chemists in the E-Liquid industry. The only thing that remains for me and my fellow Flavor Chemists to accomplish for the vape world is to hold our heads up high, buckle down, and release as many new flavors to the market as we possibly can before the cutoff date. Making flavored e-liquid has been the most inspirational and positive experience I have had to date, and I would recommend to anyone that might be interested to give it a go! My only question for you is, what flavor are you going to make?