Flavo[u]r Muting

I think that everyone who begins mixing has been warned of flavor muting by using too high of a percentage. I think that while it does happen it’s become a catch all explanation for what can be caused for a variety of reasons.

I’m not a chemist nor do I want to become one. I just want to mix at strengths that suit me. I like things pretty strong. Compared to many recipes I am likely a little on the high side % wise though definitely not into the category of the old mouth to lung recipes that are out there. Concerning muting I think there are basically 2 causes:

(A) the use or abundance of chemicals that actually mask, change, and/or weaken the flavor ingredients. I include chemical additives that act on your sensory receptors in this category.

(B) the use of flavorings at %'s that cause flavor fatigue or vapors tongue. By that I mean when your sensory receptors become fatigued i.e. can’t taste or smell but when they recover you can taste the flavorings.

I think two others that get called “muting” are caused by, (a) attempting to vape a mix that has not penetrated the VG or developed or (b) has had the flavoring sent out of the mix by techniques such as “breathing” “frothing” using a mag stirrer set at speeds creating a strong vortex that sends flavorings out into room air. My thoughts on this are beat to death- evaporation and muting are not the same.

@Grubby gave a perfect example of using strawberry with a high % of EM in the mix - aaand it’s gone. But I think that there is a vast difference between using flavor concentrates that are diluted to the point that you have to use high percentages and using super concentrates.

From the FlavourArt video I have droned on and on about we can see that the flavor ingredients are approximately 100 times the strength of when they are diluted with PG and “water” and “other ingredients” and become the final concentrate we purchase.

So, by volume, a strawberry mix that winds up with a high percentage of EM or others(say 8 or 10%) is vastly different than going from 1% to 2% in flavoring. The volume of the “other ingredients” can not be the same while the actual flavoring intensity is. This is why I reject the notion that doubling the % of a SC could cause muting. Examining the actual volumes of chemicals known to cause undesirable effects is vastly different.

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So, let’s say someone were to mix an SC at 1%. They follow best practices to minimize the evaporation, and the SC is not one of those with high EM concentrations. After the maturation process, they detect it is not necessarily ‘muted’, but just weak in flavor. So they bump it up from 1% to 4% for a second try. Same best practices employed… that mixer can expect a sizable improvement in strength of flavor without ‘muting’?

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Yes. I believe that is the case. Also the reviews that @woftam referenced confirm the usages of higher percentages without any negative effects. I’ve done it myself. If it was me, I would try the candy stick at 4 to 6% for a standalone. If there is EM the volume of it is not enough to mute.

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Great, and leads my thoughts to another potential “myth” that is muting-theory related… I’d like your thoughts on this too.

How about ‘diminishing returns’. Another of the Ten Commandments I have always been told and do not know about is that there is a high point for any concentrate, where once you pass it, there is no longer a discernible difference in flavor strength. No matter how high you go above that max saturation point, there is no further intensity of flavor because that’s the most intense it will ever taste, and anything above it is just wasting money, and in fact the flavor intensity drops off due to muting in some cases.

I wonder about it, because after all, “100%” is off the charts potent. Why would there be no difference after say 10%, when an unmixed concentrate is all but unvapably strong?

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Doesn’t make sense does it? If a concentrate is 1% actual flavor ingredients and the rest is made up of PG, water, and other additives used as an emulsifier etc. to facilitate mixing with other chemicals and VG, then I believe the volume of the additives is what causes this claimed maximum strength and/or muting.

Edit: Except in the case of TFA Ripe Strawberry combined with other EM containing flavors I have never experienced muting. Early on while using a vape pen I pushed %'s way high. There is a lady on VU that mixes Shisha Strawberry at fucking huge % and just tells everyone to GFY.
She makes her Strawberry mix @ over 20% and it doesn’t mute.

I finger test my finished mixes but never finger or knuckle test a raw concentrate. It won’t be the same after being mixed with others and VG.

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I thought of another. I like Root Beer and tried Cap. I like the taste but it’s piss weak. Looking at recipes on ELR I found one where a guy pushed it to 22% to get the flavor he wanted. His notes apologize for the high percentage but he says that’s what it took. If it works, why apologize?

I tried it. I thought it was pretty good but also decided that if it was that piss weak, why bother.
I found the same with Cap Orange Creamsicle. Good, but piss weak. Why bother. I pushed it high but never got it to the point I wanted. Why fuck with shitty products.

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This is why I start wanting to fudge up above what ‘everyone’ considers the correct thing to do. Even those that insist on a strict rule set for everyone still concede that palates are highly subjective, because it’s just true.

It goes back to the Cardinal Rule regardless of your methodology and beliefs- know your concentrates. This is why I am not afraid to push candy stick up well above the ‘norm’. Maybe it will work for me.

And another thing- maybe a mixer tried a concentrate at a crazy high %. And maybe that was a disaster. Well, a disaster of one concentrate does not mean that result can be applied globally; not only to that mixer’s stash, but the entire DIY community as well. That’s what I’ve come to think about it these days.

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The more I actually focus on methodology (thanks to your education about The Myth of Steeping), the more pissed I get really. So many times I have read again and again about these phantom truths that I didn’t even question it. How many great vapes have I missed out on because I didn’t like the flavor within the accepted % norms, and never dared tried thinking outside the bottle. I am now going to re-visit some losers at vastly different %'s and see how my palate like them. Surely some will still be stinkers, but I may make a nice discovery, too.

It is hard to assign blame for a handed down group think. I’ve parroted some of these very myths myself over the years. But if I can assign blame, it would be to the ones who stubbornly resist change in the face of facts and data. Dismissing it, deriding it, discrediting those who dare to speak up. That just keeps the myths alive and well in perpetuity, and that’s a damn shame.

I even feel that the whole MTL to DL strengths bullshit is a myth too. I’ve never mixed differently whether I was vaping 12w or 120w.

It even calls into the question the validity of shared recipes in some ways. Palate is so subjective, it’s hard to imagine an unchanged recipe works perfectly for a large, diverse group of people. It tends to make me think that lot of fans are very new mixers and even very new vapers. Flavor is an amazing discovery when one first converts from analogs to vaping. I expect that a lot of folks who swore by recipes long ago have changed their stance now, and just never bothered to revisit it. If that makes sense. I view recipes more as ideas for starting points, needing to be tailored to individual’s needs. I know commercial shops do very well with specific recipes, so I know there are some that have wide appeal. But it’s hard for me to fathom that I can create a recipe that is universally loved, unchanged.

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I don’t mean to derail or throw another wrench into the works, but I feel as though this somehow relates with what I call the “additive effect”. I use fw yellow cake as my example because it’s mostly well known even though some people won’t vape it, but fw yellow cake downright sucks as a single flavor in my opinion, and you have to take it high to get a rich cake flavor and it still never really shows up.

The weird thing with yellow cake is that you can add it to a mix at 1-2% and it works magic, especially in custard recipes, providing a mouthfeel and a support flavor that is very noticeable, much more noticeable than trying to use it as a primary flavor in a recipe I think.

The point I’m getting at is that there are probably many flavors out there that really need to be paired with something to let them shine, and if a flavor doesn’t perform as an sft the first thing we question is if the percentage is right, and if it’s too weak or too high causing “muting”, but it is possible that something like candy stick could really benefit from a small flavor addition like marshmallow or one of the other candy base type flavors to help it pop, idk I’m just spitballing here lol

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I don’t disagree with that at all. And no worries about derailing as this topic of ‘muting’ is a broad term that encompasses a lot. All discussion is valid.

About your point… the thing that makes it frustrating for me is, if adding a bit of marshmallow makes it perfect, why the hell didn’t the manufacturer make it that way??? :sunglasses: I would really like a SINGLE flavor recipe that checks all the boxes for the intended profile, dammit!!:laughing:

I have a confession. Well, maybe more of a sad tale. I know that TFA Egg Nog is not a complete or perfect Egg Nog flavor. When I first got it, I mixed it at 15%. I liked it. Again, not a creammy noggity all-star, but a good flavor. Then I got to reading about it and saw everyone was mixing it MUCH lower. So, I started mixing it much lower, not wanting to look stupid. It was the same profile, but weaker, and I didn’t really like it as much. But because everyone was mixing it low, I kept doing it. I got used to it. See how damned crazy and dangerous that group think is? Because everyone said it was for low %, I literally changed what I preferred to suit the group. Looking back, that is really dumb. And shows a clear fault with the group think mentality re: DIY mixing. DIY means Do It Yourself, for shit’s sake. I became a sheep and just accepted it. Bah. Embarrassing to admit.

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That should not be embarrassing though, all of us probably did the same thing to some degree, what makes it even more confusing is that sometimes those people are right. I think you should be proud of where you have landed, a smart person takes the advise of more experienced people until they have the experience to form their own opinions.

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Then why are you going around dispensing advice? Ah, sorry, too easy. :grimacing: You’re aces.

They are ‘right’ when it happens to work out that way, yet mostly their overall philosophy is incorrect since they then apply it to everything globally without doing the actual work needed. It’s not just personal preference that comes into play, but literally every single concentrate has its’ own comfort zone that your palate needs to find, and no notes will cover everything for you personally. Certainly, notes from others are helpful and can be useful guidelines, but nowhere have I seen a note etched in stone that has a copyright, legal binding, and a stamp of approval from the Flavor Interpretation Agency.

This is the number one aggravation and obstacle to fully successful DIY mixing. There is simply so much information that must be learned, and this leads to group-think myths and teachings being accepted as fact- because who the heck really wants to learn it all for themselves. I get nauseous at the thought of testing 250 concentrates 10 different ways, then after that beginning to develop recipes containing multiple ingredients and the further testing that comes with it.

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Ya got me lol

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Muting so much to say about muting will try to keep on topic and relatively brief (FAIL :laughing: ).

Firstly an article and a little test.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/0/22941835

The chart at the bottom is very interesting.

I have a particular mango mix that is very popular and I can pretty much tell what type of taster people are from this single mix
supertasters get a floral note.
normal tasters get a full ripe juicy mango with a coconut hint.
non-tasters get a weak mango.

Mangled Sorbet (FINAL)

Ingredient %
Golden Eye (Nicotine River) 0.60
Mango Juice (VTA) 1.80
Natural citric acid (100mg/mL) 0.20
Natural malic acid (300mg/mL) 0.80
Natural Tartaric Acid (100mg/mL) 0.20
Tangerine (Flavorah) 0.50
Toasted Coconut Mango Sherbet (Purilum) 4.00

Flavor total: 8.1%

I have no plans to change it to suit - my theory is like it or don’t like it.

Flavour percentages are a personal thing and I find that they vary hugely country to country. I have shipped juice to France/Germany/USA/UK /New Zealand/All around Australia and the feedback from each place is markedly different. In broad strokes (this is my experience and by no means comprehensive).

France - want full flavour not super sweet but it has to be intense.
Germany - Similar to France.
UK - Again subtle is not wanted has to be in your face flavour or it is considered ‘muted’
USA - Sweet Sweet and a little more sweet (yes I know there are exceptions to every rule)
Australia/New Zealand - Subtle appears to be what is wanted here not overly sweet but sometimes a recipe that you have to search a little for the flavour tends to be fairly popular.

Now please don’t feel I am running anyone down or judging they are just a few observations I have made over time and then bundled together in sweeping generalizations.

I put these taste perceptions down to diet as preferences are formed differently as people will eat totally different dishes and as a result will have different expectations and different taste abilities.

The best advice ever - I dislike pulling anyone up on % used since I know they will taste it totally differently. I generally try to say it may be a little high but if it works for you then it works for you. If someone is tasting chemical notes/floral notes (that are not meant to be floral) on any flavour (even some of the shit ones) you can back it in that the % is too high for THEM. If people get a burst of flavour when they first vape it then get nothing you can back it in that the flavour is too high for THEM.

I am not a subscriber to the more pg the less flavour you have to use, for me it just means it has to be mixed better as it will take longer for the flavours to distribute throughout the mix if it is a high VG mix.

I am a subscriber to some chemicals will cause a lessening of some flavours - it not that they mute it is just that they may accentuate some aspects and take other aspects away. Take EM, for example, this additive was designed to take out harsh notes (not as a sweetener contrary to some people’s opinions) what it will do is take the high notes of a flavour and dial them back giving the appearance of muting.

Do MTL vapers really need more flavour? I don’t know I don’t MTL but I can imagine that less vapour = less flavour if it is the case I really have no clue.

I see this a little differently while I don’t think it will mute it can be too much for people to taste properly or be so intense that as mentioned the taste receptors get overwhelmed.

Sorry for my random meanderings - I do have a few other thoughts but this was turning into a novel. These thoughts are by no means complete (and barely coherent).

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Well, I’m not saying the following is a “hard and fast” rule (or an across the board rule)… But I’ve definitely had experiences where going too high led to getting a chemical taste, or other off-putting aspects. So I’m a firm believer that there is a “high point” for some flavors. I’ll leave it at that, as I don’t have enough data or experience (even now) to make any definite assumptions or assertions on the subject outside of the above.

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Probably because the chemist (in the truest technical sense) knew that it had other valid pairings where such a flavor (Marshmallow in this case) might be a limiting (or even detrimental) addition for the overall usage.
(As above, just positing ideas. No supporting source. Also, it could just be a simple preference on the part of the particular chemist. No idea, or way to know when we’re talking about preferences) :wink:

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Its good to see you join in. I wish you would more often but know that there are only so many hours in a day.

As to the article and chart it is interesting though I think a maximum oversimplification. Just being honest. Our olfactory senses are hugely complex and involve much more than taste buds. If I am stopped up nasally I can barely taste anything and I think exhaling vapor through our nose is common practice. Unfortunately for medical reasons I had to have my teeth pulled and wear dentures. I’ve never heard anyone discuss this but my senses are vastly different when the dentures are in or out. With that hunk o plastic covering the roof of my mouth I lose probably 25 % of my ability to taste. I hate the fuckers and while at home don’t use them much. When I want a good vape I take them out.

I agree that once flavoring has fully dispersed it does not matter what the % of PG is. However, I believe flavor separation from VG is very real, just as regardless of chemicals and additives emulsions have a time span and then they will separate. We don’t agree on the usage of PDO and others to replace PG. That’s cool, and I’d rather not go there.

As far as tastes varying wildly from culture to culture I have to agree but think that its habit rather than anything else. My genetic ancestry is 100% Russian but I can’t stand to eat a lot of their foods. We all have the same olfactory senses wherever we are.

I am puzzled by

I said the opposite. I don’t know what “tasting it properly” means. Yes, It could be too intense but I don;t think that is muting. But using “muting” broadly is probably bad. I tried to form 2 separate categories: one for chemical effect and one for flavor fatigue. Nonetheless, using chemical “A” in a concentrate at 3% is vastly different than using it in a concentrate that needs to be mixed at 8% to achieve the same flavor intensity,. The volume of that chemical in the whole mix is what I was trying to get at.

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Ya sorry my highlighting was bad - I support that using too much can cause a dullness in that flavour.

I think the term muting is wildly thrown about as are many terms in this mixing game for me muting is not a flavour settling down into the mix it is the irreversible change of the flavours in a mix (fine distinction I know).

As an example
If i add too much of x flavour and the flavour is barely present in the mix to me this is not muting because I can always dilute the mix and it will return.

If I add an additive like citric acid or E.M (lots of choices) to a mix at a higher % I have found that no matter how much dilution is done the muted flavour won’t return. I think the additives are fundamentally changing the properties of the flavours they interact with - like throwing a blanket over the mix.

I know this doesn’t make a lot of sense - I know what I mean I am just having trouble expressing it.

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That’s as good a definition of muting as I’ve ever seen. I respect your experience and knowledge, so when you’re able please join in more. As above, it is helpful to sort some of this stuff out. :smiley:

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I’ve always looked at a lot of vaping terms as ways to try to describe what the end user is experiencing. It reminds me of mixing music. I’ve had clients want to turn up the kick because it wasn’t prominent enough in the mix. Sometimes that will work. Other times it just creates too much bottom end in the mix and still no defined kick. These are symptoms of masking where two “voices” say kick and bass are blending into a new sound which is unwanted. In these cases some creative carving of frequencies is the only way to let a defined sound through. To me, were I to need a strict term, muting would be akin to masking. There are tools for mixing music that will show masking. Unfortunately, no such tools exist in e-juice creation beyond trial and error. I believe as per above that there are a lot of terms that originate with descriptions and become convoluted, over used, and deceptive. Stack on poor methodology in blending, mixing, dissolving, etc. a mix and you created something that on the surface defies being rectified short of sitting with the person mixing and evaluating step by step what the mixer is doing. Hence the phenomenon of the endless thread where many are trying to champion their favorite “fix”. Lastly, the assumption that the other person is looking to create what you perceive as a wanted result. OoooPs!! BooBoo!!! Now we are debating multiple targets as if they were one. It really is a daunting endeavor. It reminds me of an article I read where a couple of girls were discussing concert. The one insisted that on song was ruined because of the omission of a really cool “screeeeeach”. Turns out, that was a gouge in her vinyl record.

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