Mixed live for Fresh's 6/9 show. The design brief was "Not a Dessert" and someone named dropped a Tobacco Leaf and Coffee Custard. This is an attempt at that profile.
The custard base is straight stolen from the beautiful @EdibleMalfunction. His S&V custard base is pretty tight, yo. No need to reinvent the wheel when you can just plagiarize?
And the tobacco/coffee. You know what's a non-awful coffee flavor? Half of FLV Connecticut Shade. Plus, it has some cool cigar wrapper type of cocoa notes. Strong stuff, and a bit hard to use as the only tobacco in a recipe. It's filled out with some FLV Cured, because it's one of the leafier straight ahead FLV Tobaccos.
My hot take: This is pretty solid. Since it's a S&V custard base with FLV Tobaccos it actually works surprisingly well off a shake. I'm digging this. Should follow the same general rule as other FLV tobaccos though, so it'll probably die down after 3 days and come back in a couple weeks.
A pile of smashed up chocolate covered raspberries with a whiskey chaser, AKA Sad Valentines Day v2. A rework of a previous recipe, "Beat The Champ.
Same profile as beat the champ, but bigger, and bolder.
I just went with an old friend, FW Razzleberry. The original recipe used some FLV Cranberry and FA Raspberry for something raspberry-ish. This is a little complicated, a little punchier, and for some reason FW Razzleberry works really well with chocolate too, so bonus. And the raspberry here is reinforced by the berry notes in the TPA Ruby Chocolate.
Hey, TPA Ruby Chocolate. This is newer. I dig it. I dig the semi-sweet chocolate thing, and the red berry hints are pretty darn nice. The Cereal 27 is just bringing in some AP and seems a bit weird, but settles into boosting up the chocolate. And FW White Chocolate because why not back up that chocolate and add some richness. Also TPA tastes like black pepper. Fite Me.
Not really a straight bourbon. I'm playilng around here a bit. FA Whisky is a scotch, but like a fruity scotch. It works pretty well with red berries in general and I love it. The red oak is there for some char and some tannic mouthfeel. And I have no idea why the Lemon Grass works here, but it does. I promise, the lemon grass is worth it.
So, let this steep for about a week. It calms down, smoothes out, and the AP from the Cereal 27 vanishes into the chocolate.
A hopped apple cider pudding.
This started out as a riff on Mill's "Soursop Pudding." I loved that recipe. The pudding base was on point, and I dug how he used hops as an accent to soursop. I took the basic idea and ran with it.
FLV Vanilla Pudding is the base of the recipe, bringing a smooth texture and some body to the table. The FLV Coconut is in here mostly to accentuate the richness of that pudding base. The errant bits of coconut flavor actually work pretty well, but I'm mostly after the buttery richness of that flavor.
I really wanted an excuse to try to make apple and hops work together. For some reason, I had never tryed it out, but I really dig how the hops plays with the boozy notes of FLV Apple Cider and the Apple Pop is there to really punch in the apple profile.
The cinnamon was the final addition to temper some of the clash between the boozy notes of the cider and the rich pudding. Plus, the warm spice makes this feel even more comforting and like a vaguely macho dessert you'd get at some boutique hunter's lodge. Shoutout to LimeDrive for testing an earlier version of this via Mixer's Club and suggesting cinnamon. Turns out, it ties the whole thing together.
The city light is too bright to save me or be seen. Welcome to Deer Lodge.
A dry, heavily aromatic sandalwood tobacco with grapefruit and vanilla accents. It's sharp, distinct, and fairly well balanced for dealing with an aggressive and distinct sandalwood. This works okay subohm but that sandalwood can be a whole lot to deal with. I prefer it mixed 50/50 in a MTL tank, preferably with a heavy dose of nicotine salts. It helps me from strangling people while I try to find my inner peace. This settles down a bit on a 2 week steep and is probably essential for a subohm type of application, but honestly I've done this after 3 days in a MTL tank without any real ill effect.
This recipe ties together a lot of preoccupations for me.
It was originally conceived as a way to use FLV Wood Spice. It's a really accurate take on sandalwood, but a bit outside of the normal spectrum of flavors in vaping. Trying to figure out a way to use it, I ended up staring at aromatherapy pairings. Turns out lt's used with citrus a lot, including grapefruit.
FLV Pink Guava is another obsession of mine. It's a bit unhealthy. It has some sweeter, fruitier body but the top notes taste a whole lot like Cascade hops with a distinct kind of grapefruit thing going on. And vanilla, why not? I like vanilla with grapefruit and it actually works really well against woody flavors. I was struggling with other vanillas, Vanillin was too bland, and most of the other vanillas bring a lot of cream baggage. But then Flavorah dropped their vanillas. FLV Vanilla Bean is like a darker version of vanillin. Still dry, but darker and more robust than straight vanillin.
I basically had an aromatherapy pairing going on. But it didn't vape all that well. It needed some more dry body. So... why not use tobacco as a base? FLV Cured had some light sandalwood notes going already but was a pretty strait-laced not particularly aromatic tobacco. It was also an opportunity to make an aromatic tobacco that wasn't a big damp mess.
Shoutout to mixers club and cokecan for suffering through earlier versions of this. The input I got was invaluable. I kept on tweaking. The original percentages on cured and pink guava were a bit too delicate and the vanilla wasn't coming through as strong as I had I hoped. Enter FLV Smooth Vanilla. It's a pretty staggering price point, but it's a nice, smooth vanilla with a good body thats also ridiculously concentrated. And I had it. So I threw caution to the wind, added it, and ended up here.
And I picked "The Prayer" for a name because I'm insufferable. This also tastes a lot like incense (in a good way I hope, but the comparison is definitely there.) I've just been praying I could get these flavors to work together.
The holiday dessert that nobody actually likes, now in hot vapor form (TM). This recipe started out as a tobacco spice cookie (that's a thing right?) but after sending it in to the brave, brave crash test dummies of the Mixer's Club, they said it tasted like a fruitcake. Let's just run with that.
It's nutty, fruity, spicy, and dark. Although there is some tobacco in here, I feel like it blends into the spice note pretty well.
The fig, orange cream, and apple pop bring the fruit. You've got syrupy and sweet from the fig and apple pop, with a bit of citrus from the orange cream.
The almond goes nutty, and the the cavendish actually backs it up a bit while picking up the spice notes from the shisha punch.
The FA Cookie and the CAP Sugar Cookie were an attempt to blend a decent cookie note. With everything else going on it went sort of cake-ish. GOOD ENOUGH.
The Marshmallow is the secret weapon. All the cool kids have moved on indiscriminate marshmallow additions, and with good reason. This stuff mutes the hell out of your recipe. Without the marshmallow this is a sharp, jagged mess. The marshmallow softens it up considerably and starts to cram all these weird, intense flavors together.
Steeping is going to pretty vital to this one. You've got to give the marshmallow time to start working on the ammonia notes from the fig and cavendish, the sharp orange from the orange cream, and the harshness and dryness of FLV Apple Pop. I'd give it two weeks. This stuff needs to mellow.
This is the worst possible way to approach a seasonal recipe release, enjoy.
A dark, bready tobacco with a fruity fig finish. Something like eating a sleeve of fig netwtons and a freshly opened pack of cigarettes at the same time, but at least moderately more pleasant than that. It's a bit obnoxious, really. But obnoxious can be fun, and sometimes I need a tobacco that doesn't screw around.
This recipe has a long and tortured genesis. The original base for the recipe was a recipe called "Gravity" from a MixLife grudge match between myself and the mighty ID10-T. The original parameters of the mixoff were five flavors, all flavorah. I came up with a fig newton after messing around some of the darker, bolder flavors from the flavorah line. I eked out a win (shoutout to making stupid, risky choices) with this recipe:
.25% FLV Apple Pop
.25% FLV Cookie
2% FLV Ginger Snap
.25% FLV Raisin Rum
.75% FLV Sweet Fig (Subbed out for .5% FLV Fig, as the judges didn't actually have sweet fig.)
It was good enough to win, but it was overall just a bit too dark and intense for a fig newton cookie.
But hey, Ckemist suggested turning into a tobacco, so that's what we did. Lean into the darkness.
Not a ton has changed from the original gravity recipe here. I've cut the FLV Ginger Snap in half, just because that tobacco is already pretty darn dark and I didn't need everything going too bitter and burnt. I've also just embraced the sub for FLV Fig as opposed to FLV Sweet Fig. There isn't much of a difference, and the straight Fig is quite a bit more popular.
I don't really have a solid enough grasp with tobaccos to start throwing 4 at a time in here, so I just settled for one of my favorite non-aromatic tobaccos at the basic bitch percentage of 2%. Messing around with the tobacco here is a good idea. Make it work for you. I'd generally stay away from anything aromatic. If there's anything too close to an ammonia flavor in there it's going to push that FLV Fig into some weirder off notes. This also doesn't seem to work particulary well with oriental/turkish/herbalish tobaccos. You just want something solid for all the newton to bounce off of. Kentucky worked for me here. Cured felt a little lighter but it was a'ight as well.
I'm a bit of masochist, but adding .5% FA Black Fire adds a really interesting sweet smoke to this... I thinks it's a bit too dark to really work well with INW DNB or FLV Classic Cigarette for anything too overtly ashy. This also benefits quite a bit from .25% FA MTS if it's coming across as too harsh for you.
Steep time here is mostly going to be dictated by the Tobacco. This works pretty well after an overnight, and starts to fade out a bit on day 3. That tobacco should come back in about 2 weeks though, so maybe forget about it for a while, okay? I find it works best as a high nic mtl banger but do whatever you want.
Grilled Peaches, Mascarpone, and Honey.
The FA Perique Black here is measured as a 10% Dilution. Use .025% Perique Black, or .25% of a 10% dilution. It will not go well if you don't use the dilution.
This recipe originally was forced into will by ID10-T, because we bet on PerennialPhilosopher's sensitivity to clove flavors and I lost. This was a punishment. I destroyed it.
This goes out to the circlejerk of pretentious untalented mixers with trash palates. It's a 10 ingredient recipe, using 5 different brands of flavorings. You don't have all of these flavors, and I guarantee you won't find another use for at least the Perique. Buying the smallest available bottles of all of these ingredients would cost you $33.47 on Bull City Flavors. It requires a dilution, and has 6 ingredients used at .5% or less.
This will never be your "ADV." It will taste like hot garbage if you're used to vaping CANDY KINGZ BANGING BLUE SOUR BELTZ. Do not add sweetener to this, it will not go well.
It's okay though, because 99% of people don't actually mix recipes. This is purpose-built to fuel a self-indulgent mental chess match between the people who somehow think they're too talented to answer your questions about where to buy VG in rural Pennsylvania because your mom might learn you vape if you order online.
About 10 revisions went into developing this recipe.
I started out with the grilled peach, because fuck if I was going to try to adjust all the components of this at the same time. I figured I needed a warmer, fleshy peach flavor to try to capture what happens when a peach softens up and sweetens when you cook it. I still go back and forth about where a peach and mango flavor truly intersect, but I figured I'd have much better luck trying to get a juicy warm peach if I just used mango for the base. The FLV mango was always going to be my cooked peach base. I hate CAP Sweet Mango, and that's only been deepening. I didn't want to have those vegetal, overripe notes interacting with the grilling. I figured the FLV Mango was going to give me a heavy, pulpy base and it's essentially lacking strong top notes so peaches just slide right on top of it. I think I initially had it at 1% and it just wasn't juicy and heavy enough. It got bumped up pretty quickly to 2% and stayed there.
The White Peach was basically an attempt to avoid going peach rings or canned peaches with this. I had initially started with JF Honey Peach at around 3% but it was steeping out really candied. I wasn't mad at the sweetness, and was hoping for a two-fer with the honey there... but it was basically peach rings against all the "grilling." I changed it out to FLV Peach by the time I was finalizing the grilled peach component and it was working substantially better. It all went to hell though on the last couple versions when I started fucking around with adding the honey and mascarpone. Not sure if it was the contrast from the mascarpone or the added sweetness from the honey but it was going slightly peach rings on me again. FA White Peach was my attempt at drier, less candied peach top note to pull that mango into a full peach. Seems to have worked okay, and with as much going on here and the added heat and smoke the throat hit didn't seem like much of an issue.
Grilling the damn thing actually wasn't too bad. Black Fire seemed like an obvious thing and it's been at .5% since the first version of the recipe. The liquid amber also seemed obvious to break down some of the peach pectins and get everything all sticky and warm. I want to say this another one that got thrown in at .5% in the first version and hasn't changed. The rest of the grilled note had some help from Kopel. I was bitching about the profile to him before or after a Mixlife show and he suggested Perique and Brown Sugar. The brown sugar thing is a good idea, but pretty inside the box. I threw some in at .25% on like the 4th version of the grilled peach and it helped further cook the entire thing so I kept it there. The perique was fucking genius. It has a pretty strong charred vegetable note to it solo, and it helped add a sharpness and realism to that black fire. 3 versions of this were just dialing back that stuff, it's crazy strong. I initially started at .1% and it was a nightmare. Charred green bell peppers all the way. I made a dilution and then cut the overall percentage back by half to .05%. Better, but still too fucking strong. Finally ended up at .025%, and honestly seems like it might be a bit better dialed back to .02% or maybe even .015%. But it really gives a char to the grilling. It takes the entire thing away from smoked peaches to grilled peaches. The FLV Heat was sort of a last minute addition on the second to last test after the previous version had some issues with separation with everything mixed together. The low percentage of FLV Heat helped to perk those grilled notes back up quite a bit. The grilled note is probably the thing out of the recipe that I'm most excited for. I'm pretty sure it should be applicable to any juicier, thicker fruit. Pineapple seems like a no-brainer, but I'm pysched to give it a shot with plum too. My best experience with a grilled pineapple has been keeping the mango, dropping the peach, and adding 1.5% FLV Pineapple. This grilled base tends to make things taste candied next to it, so I've got some fine tuning to do.
I think it was about 7 versions of just a grilled peach, the mascarpone thing came in later, and it was mostly just trying to not go too cheesy and also not fuck the texture of the vape up entirely. Again, I was bitching about the profile and Shyndo actually came in with the Italian Cream thing. I was already pushing CAP Sweet Cream up too high aiming for that cheesy off note it gets, but it needed more punch to it. Boom Italian Cream. Potent, pretty much perfect mascarpone note. I kept some sweet cream in there for texture and to smooth the vape out, but most of the mascarpone flavor is coming straight from the Italian Cream. I Initially also had some CAP Butter Cream in there in the hopes that the waxiness would kind of stick to the cheese note and provide some separation, but that waxiness was getting too weird so I dropped it.
And the honey. The honey is the part of this that I put the least amount of effort into. I think it was Shyndo that dropped me a link for that Big papaya recipe by Manson where he said it worked like a honey drizzle. Good enough for me, because I wasn't about to add another complex variable to this mix and I didn't have the time to try to re balance it all if I tried to get cute. The second to last version of this had it at .25%. Seemed like it could be stronger, so I cranked it up to .35%. Seems to work about as well I can hope for without digging back into the bones of the recipe and trying to figure out another point of separation for a more discrete honey note.
A Pina Colada with a strong coconut balanced by bright acidity from lime and pineapple, and a light floral touch finish from hibiscus. Sticky sweet and full-flavored.
FA Coconut, TPA Coconut Candy, TPA Coconut Extra
When in doubt, steal from the best and then ruin it. Originally this combination was wholesale lifted from ID10-T's If You Like Pina Coladas, but i've pushed the artificial coconut note up quite a bit. The goal was a strong, assertive coconut that toed the line on straight sunscreen. It's an aggressive coconut note, but I feel like it's balanced well by everything else going on here.
The floral part of the recipe. CAP's hibiscus reminds me of a floral take on the top notes of a pineapple, so I just kind of went with it. 1.5% is enough to make a noticeable difference, but not dominate any of the other flavors in play.
CAP Golden Pineapple, TPA Jackfruit
I wanted a juicier, instead of sharp or realistic take on a pineapple so I went with these two. For all of the canned weirdness, CAP Golden Pineapple is hella juicy, and TPA Jackfruit helps to fill that in further and sweeten the pineapple note up a bit.
A twist of citrus to brighten everything up. I went with INW Lime because it is the best ever for everything. But seriously, I like how sweet and bright it is for beverage type vapes.
FA Oba Oba
Subtle vanilla, cream soda kind of flavor that fits really with the creamy coconut and juicy pineapple. Also helps to give the mix more texture and cut some of the syrupy sweetness.
The cream, as far I'm concerned. Nice and thick but not too sweet or dense. Also helps to tone down some of the acidic brightness from the pineapple and lime.
The inspiration, a work of short fiction:
Her voice cuts through your overfed nap, startling you awake on your plastic poolside lounger.
"Are we doing okay over here?"
Her white hospitality uniform comes into focus against a rich blue sky. She's pretty, but she looks impatient. Her hips are slung to one side, and the pen she's holding in her right hand looks poised to drive itself clear through the notepad she's holding in the left.
Annoyed by your obvious disorientation, she repeats herself subtly slowing down and enunciating each syllable like you may actually be stupid instead of suffering from a mild form of sunstroke and an overzealous attack on the continental breakfast.
"Are we doing okay over here? Can I get you something to drink?"
Her eyes catch yours and, for a second, it doesn't seem to matter that you're here with your family. You manage to stammer out that you'd like a Pina Colada, a decision you instantly regret. You could swear you see a glimmer of derision in her hazel eyes, like she expected more from the overweight, sunburned Adonis sprawled out under a languid tropical sky.
Forcing a smile, she assures you that your drink will be right up as she pivots on her heels and unhurriedly walks back to the budget resort's version of a tiki hut. She looks like a goddess from here, her chestnut hair kicked up by a sweet floral breeze, leaving the smell of hibiscus and suntan lotion in her wake.
She smells like you imagined those girls on the Hawaiian Tropic posters smelled, all sweet flowers and thick coconut. Those posters got you through high school, sulking about whatever JV level heartache laid on you that week by another sweet girl with the good sense to stay away from insecure teenage dickheads.
She's laughing now, with the handsome dirtbag pouring drinks behind the bar. He's graceful, but it's all wasted effort. He grabs the Pina Colada mix in one hand, and the opaque sludge seeps artlessly between the ice filling the blender carafe. The rum comes after that, studiously measured out to the drop in an almost comically small shot glass. A short burst from a blender, a sad looking lime wedge and she's got your drink in hand and walking towards you.
She looks tired. She looks like she's trying to talk herself into coyly smilingly and performing the same disheartening song and dance she does for every middle aged guy beached poolside.
You are just another flabby source of tips, one of the thousands that will appraise her solely as a source of amusement in a comfortably mediocre life.
She gets paid to do this, and she gets tipped extra to offer the escapism of a potential tropical fling to reassert whatever primal masculinity these guys are convinced their 2.3 kids and demanding wives are somehow subverting.
She gets tipped to make you forget about the way you cried when your wife finally accepted your marriage proposal, when you felt like all of that loneliness from years of chasing women who only tolerated you was blasted away by your wife's kind eyes and honest enthusiasm for spending her life with you.
She gets tipped to make your forget about that day in the hospital when your first daughter was born, and the wonderment of how someone so grievously flawed, petty, and small could help produce something so heartbreakingly beautiful.
It's the service industry. It's escapism.
It's a transaction, and now she wants to conclude it.
She wants your room number, but it's just somewhere to charge the drink.
You tip the three bucks you have left in your wallet, hidden under a wadded white towel at the side of your increasingly uncomfortable plastic recliner. The transaction ends, she turns to go, and you take a sip while you luxuriate in the scent of her suntan lotion and the hibiscus carried on the gentle breeze. It's not a great drink, but you can't beat the view.