VSO Single Flavor Tests Part II by SessionDrummer

Having tested most of Shane’s outstanding natural fruit flavors, I kept seeing mention of his newer creams, bakeries, etc., and couldn’t NOT get into them. I placed an order on the site, and Shane hit me back, and said he was going to throw in some new ones as well !!! Looks like this one’s gonna be a big one, with 19 flavors to test.

Having tested most of Shane’s outstanding natural fruit flavors, I kept seeing mention of his newer creams, bakeries, etc., and couldn’t NOT get into them. I placed an order on the site, and Shane hit me back, and said he was going to throw in some new ones as well !!! Looks like this one’s gonna be a big one, with 19 flavors to test.

Disclaimer – After placing my original order Shane, threw in a couple of free extras

All testing done at the listed percentages below, on my SteamCrave RDTA v.1 with dual vertical Kanthal 24ga. 7 wrap coils, at 65 watts. All flavors steeped 2 weeks +.

Check out my original VSO Single Flavor and Blends tests here

Having not been on the VSO Flavors site in a bit, I was blown away by Shane’s new(er) offerings, and now we’ll help bring them all into the limelight.

Steep times, and testing percentages are being finalized now, so STAY TUNED !!!

Barbarian Cream (VSO) 3% (5-26-22) – Let’s start this “Part II” off with a BANG !!! OK, I will admit to being somewhat fascinated by the “Barbarian” in the name, and I don’t know if Shane was making a play on a “Bavarian” or not. Needless to say, I don’t think I got any Barbarian, OR Bavarian from this one, BUT, I did get an utterly deliciously smooth desert cream, blanketed in a light, and creamy vanilla. First things first, this one is VERY unique, and unlike any other MFG’s creams, so that may ALREADY put it on your list, and on your racks. I think I got some of this flavor in another One-Shot/Blend from VSO, but that was the ONLY time I have tasted this before. VERY creamy, and smooth, and not really in a Custard or Pudding profile. More pudding LIKE, but not a pudding by any stretch. Barely (if any) eggy notes, in the flavor left it far more of a desert creamery than anything else. The utter, and complete silky smoothness of the cream and vanilla notes could not be overstated, AND, at 3% it did it easily, and all day long. Trying to find a “similar” flavor was almost impossible, BUT, FA Custard did have SOME similarities, but they were still fairly worlds apart. What was interesting was how fresh it tasted, WHILE at the same time exuding a velvety smooth and creamy main body, and again, just wrapped in a light, yet fulfilling vanilla blanket. I could see LOTS of uses for this in Custards, Puddings, and anything else, where you needed a clean, creamy vanilla. It was very full at 3%, but not overpowering, and I could find nothing off-putting, or anything that I could even remotely nit-pick on. Taste is subjective, and as always, everyone’s tastes are different, but this one was a hit for me, and a great way to start off this series. I can think of no better way to sum this one up, than a velvety smooth desert cream, with great vanilla notes, and a very light (if any) egg-ness. Very unique, and hard to put down, and YES, it’s a tester tank finisher for sure. 9.8/10.

Black Licorice (VSO) 2.5% (5-27-22) – I was reluctant to test this one, as I am NOT a fan of Black Licorice, probably due to “issues” arising from Jagermeister, and NyQuil, BUT, the tests MUST go on. Without delving into the many NOT quite Black Licorice flavors and candies that rely on Anise, and Fennel, this one WAS very accurate. It was somewhat relaxed @ 2.5%, and could probably be pushed higher, maybe 0.5-1.0% if you needed, and please remember, this is coming from a non BL user. Nothing bitter or out of place, and sweetness was a few ticks below mid level. All in, it was a VERY accurate flavor, and if you are in need for a natural Black Licorice, this one WILL work for you. No real take offs except for a somewhat relaxed nature, which could probably be overcome by increasing the usage rate. Easily a 9.1/10.

Butter (VSO) 2.5% (5-27-22) – I know, I know. Who tests JUST Butter ? LOL, I do it for YOU guys. O.k. I’m going to have to go through my database, as I think I’ve only solo’d ONE Butter before. It can be hard to quantify, off-putting, even disturbing, depending on the flavor. Butters are very often used, but seldom solo tested. I was QUITE surprised on this one, as it did NOT blow my face off, and was actually a delicious flavor solo’d. It presented as a clean, natural (wait for it…) slightly sweetened, unsalted, sweet cream butter. Try saying THAT five times fast. Yes, that’s what it presented as, and that pushed it right into the fairly unique category. No harsh artificial “Movie Theater” butter here, and honestly no artificial notes to be found either. To better understand, you need to know what Sweet Cream Butter is. That in and of itself doesn’t mean “sweet”, but this one was slightly sweetened. About half way to mid-level sweet, and that worked out nicely. Despite looking for it, I couldn’t pick up on any salt, or “salted” to it, and that really helped push the “Sweet Creamery”-ness. Fresh, clean, non-greasy, and tasty were terms that kept coming to mind while testing this one. If you are looking for an artifical “Butter Brick” to the face, this isn’t the one for you. If you want a cleaner, more accurate Sweet Creamery Butter, then this one IS the one for you. I didn’t detect any ceiling smashing at 2.5%, and you could probably push it up 0.5% or more depending on your needs. Going into this, I was hesitant, but after finishing, I was glad I tested it, as I HAD been prepared for a heavy handed butter, but was surprised to find how much I liked this cleaner, more natural, creamery butter. Get your clean creamery on with this one, 9.2/10.

Cake (VSO) 4% (5-27-22) – Now who doesn’t love cake ?? !!! I love my cakes, and was super psyched to get into this one. I have to give credit to Shane (@VSOflavors) as he used the PERFECT picture on the …

Product Page

… which was a perfect representation of this one. It presented as a very clean (repeating), light cake. Nothing more, nothing less. Not exactly a white, or yellow cake, but as a neutral cake. No real icing to speak of, no perceivable vanilla, just a simple cake. Overall it was a lighter flavor, and that was even testing it @ 4%, so it won’t run your mix sideways. It had an underlying convincing bakery element that rode JUST below the cake note(s), and worked to further authenticate it. As a lighter cake flavor, it wasn’t overly rich or buttery, but still convincing, and satisfying. Just below mid-level sweet, and I could almost swear I got a pinch of baking soda at times, but just barely. I think a clean, nondescript cake best sums this one up. Nothing off-putting, and still a bit light and airy @ 4%. Felt good @ 8.9/10.

Caramel (VSO) 3.5% / 5.0% (5-28-22) – You may THINK you know what Caramel is, but you might be wrong. Good thing is that Shane knows what a Caramel is, and that is EXACTLY what you get with this VSO flavor. I started the test out at 3.5% and it was good, but it felt a little thin. I could tell by the smell and taste is WAS a kickin’ Caramel, so I upped it to approx. 5%, and WOW, it took on a NEW form. Many people expect there to be heavy butter undertones in Caramel, but typically it is just Caramelized Sugar, that’s it. Wow, because this one is hard to put down long enough to write a review of it. Ultra clean, and accurate were two things that persisted throughout this entire review. The higher percentage (and you might be able to smidge it up even higher if needed), really worked here, and truly opened up this flavor. Because of the lack of heavier buttery notes, the flavor was still relaxed, but it almost had a richness to it anyway. Above mid-level sweet by a few ticks, and truly enveloped you in a Caramel experience. Not a burnt sugar, but just darkened a bit to give it a darker overall taste, with no bitterness, or off-notes. If you are in need of a super clean Caramel, this one should do it for you. Don’t be afraid to push this one a bit, because you’ll be glad you did. Another tester finisher here people, and leaving it deliciously @ 9.8/10.

Cheesecake (VSO) 3% (5-28-22) – Only for @Ken_O_Where do I do this. We ALL know the real DANGERS when using Cheesecakes, as there have been a few that made me throw the tester across the room, screaming, “No” !!!. Luckily, hehe, this was NOT one of them. As Shane already mentioned, there is NO GRAHAM in this Cheesecake, SO, you are free to add it at will, AND, at the rate YOU want. I love that, because no MFG ever gets it right. Creamy cheesecake goodness here folks, and with no socks anywhere. No BA (Butyric Acid), no puke, no curdled milk, or sourness. It’s a Cheesecake Lover’s Party, ALL day long. At 3% it was nicely full, present, and believable, with an astonishing amount of creamy richness that I hadn’t expected. Clean, natural, and (repeating), convincingly real taste. I am always hesitant when tossing a new Cheesecake into the tester, as some were just God awful, but this one really showed how RIGHT you could make one. No coconut notes, no crust, just a bold, rich, creamy cheesecake that you could crust up, and add toppings to, and call it a day. If you are a “sour” cheesecaker, this one may not be for you, but for the rest of us, this’ll work. I couldn’t find anything to nit-pick with this one, and I WAS looking. I could almost get the crumbly feel that you get when you cut into a well made Cheesecake, but only almost. Very nicely done by Shane, very nicely indeed, and as a blank canvas Cheesecake i.e. no crust, or topping flavor notes, you could go crazy with this one. Felt great at 3%, and you could probably push it a smidge higher as the main Cheesecake in a mix if you had to. As it stood, I wouldn’t change a thing. 10/10.

Cherry (BETA) (VSO) 2.5% / 5.0% / 8.5% – I think we all have a bit of fear when testing new Cherry flavors, or at least I do. So many bad ones, medicinal, floral, or just plain soapy, and because of that I typically start VERY low. I started this one @ 2.5% and while good, was fairly light, doubled it (yes, doubled) up to 5.0% and it improved, but still felt it was a tad light. I contacted Shane, and he said you could push most of his flavors up to 10% without them getting squirrel-y. What ?? !!! Well I took this up to about 8.5% and it still stayed true. This is a BETA flavor, so you guys are RIGHT on the cutting edge with me on this one. While Shane dials in the strength of this one for sales, I can say that it increased when moving up in strength, but not fully linear. Shane may adjust but for this BETA, it felt like 6.5%-7.0% was the sweet spot before diminishing gains. OK, what WAS it ?? I was indeed a delicious Cherry. Not a red, not a mara, not a black, but rather almost like a fine cherry wine, WITHOUT the wine. It did lean to the delicate side, but it was soo good, it didn’t really take away from it. Below mid level sweet, and you could really almost taste the flesh, and skin of a just ripened cherry, with NO pits hehe. Clean, and crisp kept coming to mind throughout the SIX testers on this one. Yes, I know, I NEVER do this, right ?? Well, I did it this time, and mostly, to try and help Shane out with some relative percentages. I don’t think I’ve EVER doubled, then increased AGAIN, a Cherry, without blowing my face off, and this speaks to the skilled extraction technique that was used on this, and many of the other VSO flavors. Granted, I did start to push into reducing gains when cranking this one up, BUT, it never got squirrel-y, floral, perfumy, or flat. Pretty impressive. Now, with it’s very clean, natural, and somewhat relaxed nature, how it would hold it’s own in mixes will have to be determined, but as a solo, it was one of the most, if not the, most natural Cherries I think I have tried. Don’t be afraid to push this one, and you’ll have to UN-learn what you know about Cherries thus far. Please remember, this was a BETA, and Shane may tweak this, but the profile was spot on, so probably only saturation levels would need to be adjusted, if anything. Squarely placing this one at 9.2/10.

Chocolate (VSO) 2.75% / 4.0% (5-30-22) – Let me tell you about some of the aspects of BAD Chocolates that I’ve had. Bitter, coil gunking, band aids, and Tootsie Rolls. Great news is, there are NONE of those here !!! The first thing that I always check for with choco’s is how dark they are, and in prep for the coil gunk. This one had barely any color, and was almost clear. I tested this one at 2.75% and 4.0% to see what shifted, if anything. At both weights I got a good chocolate, that was somewhere in between a milk choco, and a mid-dark choco. Increasing to 4% it darkened up a tick or two, and got slightly fuller. Satisfying, with no bitterness at either weight, and it had an almost touch of a bakery note, almost like TPA Graham Cracker Clear, but ever so slightly. I tasted that throughout all of the testers, and it actually just plain worked. After I tasted that note, I immediately wanted to rush ahead to Shane’s Graham Cracker, as I can already see THIS chocolate in my next S’mores. This was a great chocolate, and one that you could shift, by using at different rates to get more of a lighter chocolate at lower rates, and a mid-darker chocolate at higher rates. Sweetness was surprisingly lower than mid level, and at both testing weights, I couldn’t find any off notes, band aids, or tootsie rolls. It was interesting to see this one shift when moving from lower to higher mixing rates, and that will def. open up it’s uses. Easily a 9.5/10.

Custard (VSO) 4% (5-31-22) – Having sampled a few of VSO’s “creams”, and knowing the similarities between them, was interested to see if the Custard broke out of that, or not. It wasn’t really a break away Custard, meaning, it shared many similarities between the Barbarian, Sabayon, and the Spork Puddings. This presented as a fairly non-descript neutral custard, with some light egg, no vanilla to speak of, and a nice creamy mouthfeel. The egg was tastefully done, as to be just present but not overbearing. The neutral-ness of this one, completely opened up it’s uses, and would allow you to use it in places other heavy handed custards might not work out. This, like a few others I’ve tried thus far, had a velvety smoothness to it, that was starting to look like was fairly unique to VSO creams. I don’t know about the DAAP status of this one, but will check in with Shane on that. @4% it felt pretty good, with some headroom left to push higher if needed, and the below mid-level sweetness was a nice surprise. All in, this was a clean, neutral Custard that was light on the egg, and with a creamy, silky mouthfeel. Unique-ly placing this at a 9/10.

English Toffee (VSO) 4% / 8% (6-3-22) – Being a huge fan of traditional English Toffee, of course I was waiting to get into this one. Most times English Toffee is simply Butter, Sugar, Chocolate, and Pecans. I decided to test this one at both 4% and 8%, and it did increase with the doubling, but not linearly. At both weights, I got a very semi-rich buttery toffee with very little chocolate and/or nuts. Now that may or may not be a deal breaker for you, but you could easily supplement if needed. I started out at 4%, and decided to double it to see if either of the two were revealed better, but they stayed hidden even at the higher weight. The buttery-ness did increase when doubling, as did the richness and some of the mouthfeel. As a solo, I preferred it at the higher weight, and since the gains were not linear, 6% might be a good resting place for this one as a solo. The creamery buttery-ness of this one was really the star of the show, and, as it turns out, was quite addicting. Smooth, buttery, and delicious were my three big take-aways on this one, that stayed true throughout the test. Sweetness was about mid level, maybe a tick higher, which was fine for a toffee candy, and there were no off-notes to be had. Now there ARE plenty off Toffee’s out there without the choco and pecans, so again, your uses/needs may vary, and even in the absence of those two profiles, it didn’t feel lacking, as the buttery toffee by itself was quite something to behold. When increasing from 4% to 8% although it didn’t increase linearly, nothing got strange, and it stayed just as clean as it had at the lower weight, which seems to be a “thing” from Shane and VSO, which MANY artificial flavors CANNOT do, or do well. Clean, almost crisp, buttery, smooth, and tasty is what you got with this one. It was good enough to ALMOST be a One-Shot. Easily a 9/10.

Graham Cracker (VSO) 3.5% (6-4-22) – In my opinion, Graham Cracker is one of the harder flavors to get right, and a very FEW do. I feel like they fall into 3 camps. RFSC is my current go to with a very realistic GC, then CAP which has a punchy cinnamon note, TPA GCC which is almost more of a bakery, and the rest like FW and FLV that have an almost acrid and/or coconut note. I’ve actually MADE Graham Crackers, so I know a thing or two about them. Getting the graham flour, brown sugar, molasses, and cinnamon to balance correctly IS a challenge. Wait, Graham Flour ? YES, Graham Flour, is a MUST for Graham Crackers. Now that I’ve bored you to death with my GC obsession, how DID Shane do with this one ? Pretty damned good. I didn’t get an overt cinnamon, but it could have been murking around, lower in the mix, which was great, because an overpowered/ing cinna can limit your usage. There was a VERY convincing main mid medley of Graham Flour, Molasses, and Brown Sugar, and that just checked off three very BIG boxes for me. There were also subtle buttery undertones, that worked to pull the whole thing together into a cohesive, believable GC. Sweetness was about mid level, and it felt very full at 3.5%, and had little to no off-notes, except for a minor “twang” on the finish, but just barely, and NO coconut in this one people. :slight_smile: I can tell you that I’ve been WAITING to get into this one, as when I previously tested VSO’s Chocolate, I got a slight almost bakery/GC note from it, and was dying to see if this one would pair with it, and I think it WILL. I’ll report back on that, as one can NEVER have too many S’mores recipes. Bakery, buttery, and convincingly Graham, is what this one was. Very clean, like all of the VSO flavors I’ve tested so far, and as a whole, it worked, and worked well. The only minor takeoff would be for the slight twang on the finish, but again, it was minor at best. Easily, a 9.5/10.

Hazelnut (VSO) 2.75% (6-5-22) – My typical usage of Hazelnut(s) was very limited, to FW Hazelnut, and mostly in boosting milks/creams, typically in cereal recipes. It seemed like every time I tried to love the Hazelnut, it didn’t love me back, with heavy handed earthy-ness, and bitterness. Luckily for us, Shane seems to have solved that problem with this one. This flavor presented with all of the delicious creamy notes, just enough earthy tones, and only a PINCH of bitterness. A pinch ? Yes, just a pinch, to keep it realistic. The melding of the nutty undertones, and a creamy overtone worked perfectly here, and tasted almost perfectly balanced to my tastes, and finished with a slight HINT of bitterness on the way out. I’m not sure this could be improved upon. @ 2.75% it was very full, but not ceiling smashing, a tick above mid-level sweet, this nutty, just earthy enough, creamy masterpiece could stand on it’s own, if needed. If you are looking for a cleaner, more natural Hazelnut, that has JUST right right amounts of earthy, creamy, and nutty, you’ll be glad you picked this one up. No take-offs, no off-notes, just creamy goodness. 9.9/10.

Lemon Raw ** (VSO) 0.3% / 0.6% (6-5-22) – Having tested a few of Shane’s “Raw” flavors, which are completely undiluted, I knew to start low, very low. I started testing this one at 0.3%, and decided to double it to 0.6%, and will review it at that weight. When starting out this test at the lower weight, it felt like it needed a little more, and pushing it up a bit, helped to open up the flavor. Clean, citrus-y, and punchy were the adjectives I kept coming back to on this one. All make obvious sense since VSO fruits are natural extracts, and this one was a shining example of that. Full spectrum Lemon here, with some mid body notes, and plenty of sparkly high end, bright notes. At 0.6% it was very nicely full, and punchy, with almost mid-level sweet. Not a lemonade, but a somewhat sweetened lemon. Very natural tasting, clean, and accurate were what this one delivered on. Not bitter, not candied, nor a candy, but simply, sweetened JUST enough. Obviously with the sub 1% usage rates, this, and the other “raw” flavors are Ultra concentrated, and should be used as such. I could see this one working perfectly in Lemonades, Lemon Tarts, Lemon Custards/Cheesecakes, etc. Very clean, and accurately placing this one @ 9.75/10.

Lime Raw ** (VSO) 0.3% / 0.6% (6-10-22) – Directly on the heels of the Lemon Raw, I was pleased to see this one, carried on with the same tradition. With this one being a “raw” as well, I started low, at 0.3%, and also tested 0.6% and again, it seemed to open up a bit more at the higher rate, with no ill effects. This one presented as a very natural, clean, and crisp Lime, hands down, end of story. Not overpowering, and it did seem to cover the full spectrum of the lime, without any bitterness. Slightly tart-ish, about mid level sweet, and missing nothing as far as I could tell. Without delaying the rest of this series, I did have the urge to toss this in with the Lemon Raw, but I’ll hold off until the end. Hands down, a great lime, that will work for most, if not all of your Lime-y needs. Handily a 9.4/10.

Maraschino Cherry (VSO) 2.5% / 5.0% (6-11-22) – Sharing a somewhat relaxed profile like VSO’s Cherry, I decided to double this one up to 5.0%. At 2.5% the delicious Maraschino didn’t feel like it was fully being fleshed out, and at the doubled rate of 5.0% it was far more present. At this higher rate, it was a deliciously clean, and accurate MC. Very natural tasting as expected, and NO off notes, florals, medicinals or anything off-putting that is VERY common with artificial Cherries. I wouldn’t call it a “bright red” MC, but still very mara none the less. It actually hard some darker tones, and while not a black cherry, worked to fill this one out with both darker/lower, and some brighter/higher notes. I really think that pushing this one, opened it up, and allowed you to better enjoy it. No pits, BUT, I did get a hint of “skin” from time to time. Accurate, clean, with some full bodied / darker nuances is what this one delivered on. About mid-level sweet, and slightly tart on the finish, this one could really help you out, in your cherry quest. It’s possible it could have been pushed higher, but it felt unneeded, as at 5.0% it was very full. Sweet, with just enough tartness, and all natural tasting this one was hard to fault. Again, not a bright red mara, but that was supplemented with some darker tones. Nicely placing this one at 9/10.

Milk (VSO) 3% (6-11-22) – As previously stated, testing Milks (and creams) can sometimes be a challenge, because solo’d they don’t always reveal themselves, and/or how they will impact a recipe. This one proved to be a clean, somewhat dariy-ish flavor with a nice mouthfeel, and a sweetened creamy finish. It was veyr clean, with no overt malted, or powdered notes like many other “milks”. Because of this, it was harder to quantify, and with Shane’s billing as,

" Fresh, clean and crisp with a hint of creamy mouthfeel. Perfect for your next cereal recipe!"

, I could see this working out perfectly in that regard. Many people use Milks not for a milky taste, but more of a blender, softener, and / or creamy enhancer. Because this was did have some sweetness, and just below mid-level sweet, I think a cereal milk is EXACTLY where it will shine. No off notes, no strange aftertastes, just a clean, simple milk, with an almost creamy mouthfelt finish to it. Cleanly done, and it felt perfect @ 9.2/10.

Vanilla Cream (VSO) 3% (6-12-22) – I actually finished off the ENTIRE tester, trying to answer ONE question. Was it Vanilla in Cream, or Cream in Vanilla !!! What a FLAVORFUL, complete, and TOTAL waste of time, because, … I still can’t figure it out !!! Had ya for a second, right ?? OK, this one, like EVERY single other cream/creamy flavor from VSO has Shane’s trademark velvety smooth-ness. I honestly couldn’t figure out if it leaned more heavily towards the V, or the C, but let’s call it an even split. It’s a fascinating one to taste, as the on rush of vanilla, with a creamy feel on the front end, sets the tone for the duration. Swirling vanilla intertwined with a velvety smooth cream that is/are/was perfectly paired. Now I struggled to really identify exactly WHICH Vanilla was in here, and at first I leaned towards a Madagascar, but then later, leaned towards a blend. Either way, it is a delicious co-star of this show. The creamy mouthfeel, and (repeating) velvety smooth aspect of the cream, makes it similar to a few of Shane’s other offerings, but very unlike any other MFG’s. This of course places it right onto the top of the unique pile. At 3% not only could I find NO faults, off-notes, or artificial-ness, but it felt perfectly situated. The perfect pairing (IMO) left this one WIDE OPEN for a multitude of uses, because it didn’t lean harshly to either a smidge of Vanilla with a Pound of cream, or vice versa. Wow, Puddings, Custards, Icings, Milkshakes, etc., the list goes on and on with what you could use this one with, AND, dare I say, use it SOLO !!! Velvety smooth, perfectly paired Vanilla and Cream(s), with about mid-level sweetness await you with this one. When you pick it up, you TOO, may be stuck solo’ing it, like I did, because it’s JUST that good. 10/10.

Waffle (VSO) 3% / 6% (6-16-22) – I decided to spend some EXTRA time on this one, as it was somewhat of a mystery to me. At the initial testing weight of 3%, I got a very, very light waffle flavor, but just really light to my tastes. I decided to double it to 6%, and although it increased, it did not double in strength, so your Single Flavor rates, will probably land somewhere in the 4.0-4.5% give or take. I think what was confusing me, was my OWN expectations, or my typical results when testing Waffles, always seemed to have a somewhat heavy butter, or syrup baked in, and because Shane specifically billed this one as a “Naked Waffle”, now I get it.

This waffle is straight to the point. No crispy edges, no syrup, no butter. A waffle straight from the iron, ready for you to add your own personal touches. Need some inspiration? Try adding some VSO Maple to it, and you are well on your way!

Maybe I should have read the product page LOL. OK, In the absence of butter or syrup, this flavor presented lighter than expected, and I did prefer it at the higher rate. Not whole wheat, but more of a lighter, Belgian waffle. There were not any darker, or toasted elements, and it was a very “clean” waffle". Even at the higher 6% rate, nothing got squirrel-y, out of place, and there were no off-notes. Because it presented fairly light, I think it would be best served with some butter and/or syrup, and you could boost it with another waffle, IF needed. As it stood, it was a very clean, relaxed, Belgian waffle with no extras, which left you completely able to shape it in any way you needed. Blank slate breakfast. Because I had become very used to heavier waffle flavors, most with butter and syrup, this one was hard to judge, as it was much more of a blank slate waffle, waiting to be molded/pushed/pulled. After numerous testers, I finally decided to place it at a 8,75/10.

White Chocolate (VSO) 3% (6-19-22) – Because this one was the LAST of the NEW VSO flavors for me, I was not exactly RUSHING to get it done, as this last batch of newer flavors were REALLY good, and many squarely unique to VSO. While admittedly never being a huge White Choco fan, it might just make me the one TO review one. White Chocolate has a pretty interesting past, and very often is the same as our beloved Chocolates without the Cocoa Nibs. Wait a minute, NIBS ?? Yes, nibs. Lately there have been some MFG’s that have cut corners, and replaced the cocoa butter with oils, so beware, and check the label. With that out of the way, this one presented as a clean, almost rich, natural White Chocolate, through and through. Not only have I had some terrible chocolates, but I’ve had some not so great white chocolates as well, so clearly, it’s not easy getting it right. Shane seems to have done just that here however. It was actually surprisingly rich @ 3%, with a nice mouthfeel along for the ride. The one thing that was consistently great with this one was the cocoa butter, and I got it every time. About mid level sweet, and most importantly, it was convincing to it’s namesake. It had an almost little “twang” on the finish, and I’m convinced that it just made it all the more realistic. Smooth, creamy, and convincing were the three things that I kept going back to when taking my notes. What more could you ask for ?? Not much. Easily a 9.75/10.

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Barbarian Cream (VSO) 3% (5-26-22) – Let’s start this “Part II” off with a BANG !!! OK, I will admit to being somewhat fascinated by the “Barbarian” in the name, and I don’t know if Shane was making a play on a “Bavarian” or not. Needless to say, I don’t think I got any Barbarian, OR Bavarian from this one, BUT, I did get an utterly deliciously smooth desert cream, blanketed in a light, and creamy vanilla. First things first, this one is VERY unique, and unlike any other MFG’s creams, so that may ALREADY put it on your list, and on your racks. I think I got some of this flavor in another One-Shot/Blend from VSO, but that was the ONLY time I have tasted this before. VERY creamy, and smooth, and not really in a Custard or Pudding profile. More pudding LIKE, but not a pudding by any stretch. Barely (if any) eggy notes, in the flavor left it far more of a desert creamery than anything else. The utter, and complete silky smoothness of the cream and vanilla notes could not be overstated, AND, at 3% it did it easily, and all day long. Trying to find a “similar” flavor was almost impossible, BUT, FA Custard did have SOME similarities, but they were still fairly worlds apart. What was interesting was how fresh it tasted, WHILE at the same time exuding a velvety smooth and creamy main body, and again, just wrapped in a light, yet fulfilling vanilla blanket. I could see LOTS of uses for this in Custards, Puddings, and anything else, where you needed a clean, creamy vanilla. It was very full at 3%, but not overpowering, and I could find nothing off-putting, or anything that I could even remotely nit-pick on. Taste is subjective, and as always, everyone’s tastes are different, but this one was a hit for me, and a great way to start off this series. I can think of no better way to sum this one up, than a velvety smooth desert cream, with great vanilla notes, and a very light (if any) egg-ness. Very unique, and hard to put down, and YES, it’s a tester tank finisher for sure. 9.8/10.

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Black Licorice (VSO) 2.5% (5-27-22) – I was reluctant to test this one, as I am NOT a fan of Black Licorice, probably due to “issues” arising from Jagermeister, and NyQuil, BUT, the tests MUST go on. Without delving into the many NOT quite Black Licorice flavors and candies that rely on Anise, and Fennel, this one WAS very accurate. It was somewhat relaxed @ 2.5%, and could probably be pushed higher, maybe 0.5-1.0% if you needed, and please remember, this is coming from a non BL user. Nothing bitter or out of place, and sweetness was a few ticks below mid level. All in, it was a VERY accurate flavor, and if you are in need for a natural Black Licorice, this one WILL work for you. No real take offs except for a somewhat relaxed nature, which could probably be overcome by increasing the usage rate. Easily a 9.1/10.

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Butter (VSO) 2.5% (5-27-22) – I know, I know. Who tests JUST Butter ? LOL, I do it for YOU guys. O.k. I’m going to have to go through my database, as I think I’ve only solo’d ONE Butter before. It can be hard to quantify, off-putting, even disturbing, depending on the flavor. Butters are very often used, but seldom solo tested. I was QUITE surprised on this one, as it did NOT blow my face off, and was actually a delicious flavor solo’d. It presented as a clean, natural (wait for it…) slightly sweetened, unsalted, sweet cream butter. Try saying THAT five times fast. Yes, that’s what it presented as, and that pushed it right into the fairly unique category. No harsh artificial “Movie Theater” butter here, and honestly no artificial notes to be found either. To better understand, you need to know what Sweet Cream Butter is. That in and of itself doesn’t mean “sweet”, but this one was slightly sweetened. About half way to mid-level sweet, and that worked out nicely. Despite looking for it, I couldn’t pick up on any salt, or “salted” to it, and that really helped push the “Sweet Creamery”-ness. Fresh, clean, non-greasy, and tasty were terms that kept coming to mind while testing this one. If you are looking for an artifical “Butter Brick” to the face, this isn’t the one for you. If you want a cleaner, more accurate Sweet Creamery Butter, then this one IS the one for you. I didn’t detect any ceiling smashing at 2.5%, and you could probably push it up 0.5% or more depending on your needs. Going into this, I was hesitant, but after finishing, I was glad I tested it, as I HAD been prepared for a heavy handed butter, but was surprised to find how much I liked this cleaner, more natural, creamery butter. Get your clean creamery on with this one, 9.2/10.

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Cake (VSO) 4% (5-27-22) – Now who doesn’t love cake ?? !!! I love my cakes, and was super psyched to get into this one. I have to give credit to Shane (@VSOflavors) as he used the PERFECT picture on the …

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… which was a perfect representation of this one. It presented as a very clean (repeating), light cake. Nothing more, nothing less. Not exactly a white, or yellow cake, but as a neutral cake. No real icing to speak of, no perceivable vanilla, just a simple cake. Overall it was a lighter flavor, and that was even testing it @ 4%, so it won’t run your mix sideways. It had an underlying convincing bakery element that rode JUST below the cake note(s), and worked to further authenticate it. As a lighter cake flavor, it wasn’t overly rich or buttery, but still convincing, and satisfying. Just below mid-level sweet, and I could almost swear I got a pinch of baking soda at times, but just barely. I think a clean, nondescript cake best sums this one up. Nothing off-putting, and still a bit light and airy @ 4%. Felt good @ 8.9/10.

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Caramel (VSO) 3.5% / 5.0% (5-28-22) – You may THINK you know what Caramel is, but you might be wrong. Good thing is that Shane knows what a Caramel is, and that is EXACTLY what you get with this VSO flavor. I started the test out at 3.5% and it was good, but it felt a little thin. I could tell by the smell and taste is WAS a kickin’ Caramel, so I upped it to approx. 5%, and WOW, it took on a NEW form. Many people expect there to be heavy butter undertones in Caramel, but typically it is just Caramelized Sugar, that’s it. Wow, because this one is hard to put down long enough to write a review of it. Ultra clean, and accurate were two things that persisted throughout this entire review. The higher percentage (and you might be able to smidge it up even higher if needed), really worked here, and truly opened up this flavor. Because of the lack of heavier buttery notes, the flavor was still relaxed, but it almost had a richness to it anyway. Above mid-level sweet by a few ticks, and truly enveloped you in a Caramel experience. Not a burnt sugar, but just darkened a bit to give it a darker overall taste, with no bitterness, or off-notes. If you are in need of a super clean Caramel, this one should do it for you. Don’t be afraid to push this one a bit, because you’ll be glad you did. Another tester finisher here people, and leaving it deliciously @ 9.8/10.

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Cheesecake (VSO) 3% (5-28-22) – Only for @Ken_O_Where do I do this. We ALL know the real DANGERS when using Cheesecakes, as there have been a few that made me throw the tester across the room, screaming, “No” !!!. Luckily, hehe, this was NOT one of them. As Shane already mentioned, there is NO GRAHAM in this Cheesecake, SO, you are free to add it at will, AND, at the rate YOU want. I love that, because no MFG ever gets it right. Creamy cheesecake goodness here folks, and with no socks anywhere. No BA (Butyric Acid), no puke, no curdled milk, or sourness. It’s a Cheesecake Lover’s Party, ALL day long. At 3% it was nicely full, present, and believable, with an astonishing amount of creamy richness that I hadn’t expected. Clean, natural, and (repeating), convincingly real taste. I am always hesitant when tossing a new Cheesecake into the tester, as some were just God awful, but this one really showed how RIGHT you could make one. No coconut notes, no crust, just a bold, rich, creamy cheesecake that you could crust up, and add toppings to, and call it a day. If you are a “sour” cheesecaker, this one may not be for you, but for the rest of us, this’ll work. I couldn’t find anything to nit-pick with this one, and I WAS looking. I could almost get the crumbly feel that you get when you cut into a well made Cheesecake, but only almost. Very nicely done by Shane, very nicely indeed, and as a blank canvas Cheesecake i.e. no crust, or topping flavor notes, you could go crazy with this one. Felt great at 3%, and you could probably push it a smidge higher as the main Cheesecake in a mix if you had to. As it stood, I wouldn’t change a thing. 10/10.

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SessionDrummer: Dude! Do you have a room to rent? LOL
On the plus side, you would definitely have access to the 1600 plus flavor concentrates that I have, and you’re welcome to use either of my battery chargers!

Drawbacks might possibly include my ADHD and frequent use of the GC Homogenizer to spin up something that I saw and had to try from the net at some unGodly hours!

My OCD makes me a complete neat freak at times, and I’m really excellent in the kitchen, being a foodie!

Let me know!

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@Tmease hehe, let me talk to the wife.

:slight_smile:

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Well that’s a let down. I thought for sure you’d be a good wingman. We could head out and you could play wingman well I fill my social calendar and eventually replace my deceased wife: Joan!
Maybe, as long as we had a mission in mind, the missus would be fine with us hitting the social scenes? I’m not getting any younger out here!

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Cherry (BETA) (VSO) 2.5% / 5.0% / 8.5% – I think we all have a bit of fear when testing new Cherry flavors, or at least I do. So many bad ones, medicinal, floral, or just plain soapy, and because of that I typically start VERY low. I started this one @ 2.5% and while good, was fairly light, doubled it (yes, doubled) up to 5.0% and it improved, but still felt it was a tad light. I contacted Shane, and he said you could push most of his flavors up to 10% without them getting squirrel-y. What ?? !!! Well I took this up to about 8.5% and it still stayed true. This is a BETA flavor, so you guys are RIGHT on the cutting edge with me on this one. While Shane dials in the strength of this one for sales, I can say that it increased when moving up in strength, but not fully linear. Shane may adjust but for this BETA, it felt like 6.5%-7.0% was the sweet spot before diminishing gains. OK, what WAS it ?? I was indeed a delicious Cherry. Not a red, not a mara, not a black, but rather almost like a fine cherry wine, WITHOUT the wine. It did lean to the delicate side, but it was soo good, it didn’t really take away from it. Below mid level sweet, and you could really almost taste the flesh, and skin of a just ripened cherry, with NO pits hehe. Clean, and crisp kept coming to mind throughout the SIX testers on this one. Yes, I know, I NEVER do this, right ?? Well, I did it this time, and mostly, to try and help Shane out with some relative percentages. I don’t think I’ve EVER doubled, then increased AGAIN, a Cherry, without blowing my face off, and this speaks to the skilled extraction technique that was used on this, and many of the other VSO flavors. Granted, I did start to push into reducing gains when cranking this one up, BUT, it never got squirrel-y, floral, perfumy, or flat. Pretty impressive. Now, with it’s very clean, natural, and somewhat relaxed nature, how it would hold it’s own in mixes will have to be determined, but as a solo, it was one of the most, if not the, most natural Cherries I think I have tried. Don’t be afraid to push this one, and you’ll have to UN-learn what you know about Cherries thus far. Please remember, this was a BETA, and Shane may tweak this, but the profile was spot on, so probably only saturation levels would need to be adjusted, if anything. Squarely placing this one at 9.2/10.

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Chocolate (VSO) 2.75% / 4.0% (5-30-22) – Let me tell you about some of the aspects of BAD Chocolates that I’ve had. Bitter, coil gunking, band aids, and Tootsie Rolls. Great news is, there are NONE of those here !!! The first thing that I always check for with choco’s is how dark they are, and in prep for the coil gunk. This one had barely any color, and was almost clear. I tested this one at 2.75% and 4.0% to see what shifted, if anything. At both weights I got a good chocolate, that was somewhere in between a milk choco, and a mid-dark choco. Increasing to 4% it darkened up a tick or two, and got slightly fuller. Satisfying, with no bitterness at either weight, and it had an almost touch of a bakery note, almost like TPA Graham Cracker Clear, but ever so slightly. I tasted that throughout all of the testers, and it actually just plain worked. After I tasted that note, I immediately wanted to rush ahead to Shane’s Graham Cracker, as I can already see THIS chocolate in my next S’mores. This was a great chocolate, and one that you could shift, by using at different rates to get more of a lighter chocolate at lower rates, and a mid-darker chocolate at higher rates. Sweetness was surprisingly lower than mid level, and at both testing weights, I couldn’t find any off notes, band aids, or tootsie rolls. It was interesting to see this one shift when moving from lower to higher mixing rates, and that will def. open up it’s uses. Easily a 9.5/10.

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Custard (VSO) 4% (5-31-22) – Having sampled a few of VSO’s “creams”, and knowing the similarities between them, was interested to see if the Custard broke out of that, or not. It wasn’t really a break away Custard, meaning, it shared many similarities between the Barbarian, Sabayon, and the Spork Puddings. This presented as a fairly non-descript neutral custard, with some light egg, no vanilla to speak of, and a nice creamy mouthfeel. The egg was tastefully done, as to be just present but not overbearing. The neutral-ness of this one, completely opened up it’s uses, and would allow you to use it in places other heavy handed custards might not work out. This, like a few others I’ve tried thus far, had a velvety smoothness to it, that was starting to look like was fairly unique to VSO creams. I don’t know about the DAAP status of this one, but will check in with Shane on that. @4% it felt pretty good, with some headroom left to push higher if needed, and the below mid-level sweetness was a nice surprise. All in, this was a clean, neutral Custard that was light on the egg, and with a creamy, silky mouthfeel. Unique-ly placing this at a 9/10.

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English Toffee (VSO) 4% / 8% (6-3-22) – Being a huge fan of traditional English Toffee, of course I was waiting to get into this one. Most times English Toffee is simply Butter, Sugar, Chocolate, and Pecans. I decided to test this one at both 4% and 8%, and it did increase with the doubling, but not linearly. At both weights, I got a very semi-rich buttery toffee with very little chocolate and/or nuts. Now that may or may not be a deal breaker for you, but you could easily supplement if needed. I started out at 4%, and decided to double it to see if either of the two were revealed better, but they stayed hidden even at the higher weight. The buttery-ness did increase when doubling, as did the richness and some of the mouthfeel. As a solo, I preferred it at the higher weight, and since the gains were not linear, 6% might be a good resting place for this one as a solo. The creamery buttery-ness of this one was really the star of the show, and, as it turns out, was quite addicting. Smooth, buttery, and delicious were my three big take-aways on this one, that stayed true throughout the test. Sweetness was about mid level, maybe a tick higher, which was fine for a toffee candy, and there were no off-notes to be had. Now there ARE plenty off Toffee’s out there without the choco and pecans, so again, your uses/needs may vary, and even in the absence of those two profiles, it didn’t feel lacking, as the buttery toffee by itself was quite something to behold. When increasing from 4% to 8% although it didn’t increase linearly, nothing got strange, and it stayed just as clean as it had at the lower weight, which seems to be a “thing” from Shane and VSO, which MANY artificial flavors CANNOT do, or do well. Clean, almost crisp, buttery, smooth, and tasty is what you got with this one. It was good enough to ALMOST be a One-Shot. Easily a 9/10.

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Graham Cracker (VSO) 3.5% (6-4-22) – In my opinion, Graham Cracker is one of the harder flavors to get right, and a very FEW do. I feel like they fall into 3 camps. RFSC is my current go to with a very realistic GC, then CAP which has a punchy cinnamon note, TPA GCC which is almost more of a bakery, and the rest like FW and FLV that have an almost acrid and/or coconut note. I’ve actually MADE Graham Crackers, so I know a thing or two about them. Getting the graham flour, brown sugar, molasses, and cinnamon to balance correctly IS a challenge. Wait, Graham Flour ? YES, Graham Flour, is a MUST for Graham Crackers. Now that I’ve bored you to death with my GC obsession, how DID Shane do with this one ? Pretty damned good. I didn’t get an overt cinnamon, but it could have been murking around, lower in the mix, which was great, because an overpowered/ing cinna can limit your usage. There was a VERY convincing main mid medley of Graham Flour, Molasses, and Brown Sugar, and that just checked off three very BIG boxes for me. There were also subtle buttery undertones, that worked to pull the whole thing together into a cohesive, believable GC. Sweetness was about mid level, and it felt very full at 3.5%, and had little to no off-notes, except for a minor “twang” on the finish, but just barely, and NO coconut in this one people. :slight_smile: I can tell you that I’ve been WAITING to get into this one, as when I previously tested VSO’s Chocolate, I got a slight almost bakery/GC note from it, and was dying to see if this one would pair with it, and I think it WILL. I’ll report back on that, as one can NEVER have too many S’mores recipes. Bakery, buttery, and convincingly Graham, is what this one was. Very clean, like all of the VSO flavors I’ve tested so far, and as a whole, it worked, and worked well. The only minor takeoff would be for the slight twang on the finish, but again, it was minor at best. Easily, a 9.5/10.

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Nice work @SessionDrummer but dam no good to me in the uk any ideas how we get them please pretty please :pleading_face:

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Ok I’m needy

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@LEED I know Shane does ship internationally, but I do not know the cost.

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Yep cheers found that $27 for shipping I’ll get the chance one day when a company over here finally get them in,until then we will have to substitute. If it taste good vape it

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Hazelnut (VSO) 2.75% (6-5-22) – My typical usage of Hazelnut(s) was very limited, to FW Hazelnut, and mostly in boosting milks/creams, typically in cereal recipes. It seemed like every time I tried to love the Hazelnut, it didn’t love me back, with heavy handed earthy-ness, and bitterness. Luckily for us, Shane seems to have solved that problem with this one. This flavor presented with all of the delicious creamy notes, just enough earthy tones, and only a PINCH of bitterness. A pinch ? Yes, just a pinch, to keep it realistic. The melding of the nutty undertones, and a creamy overtone worked perfectly here, and tasted almost perfectly balanced to my tastes, and finished with a slight HINT of bitterness on the way out. I’m not sure this could be improved upon. @ 2.75% it was very full, but not ceiling smashing, a tick above mid-level sweet, this nutty, just earthy enough, creamy masterpiece could stand on it’s own, if needed. If you are looking for a cleaner, more natural Hazelnut, that has JUST right right amounts of earthy, creamy, and nutty, you’ll be glad you picked this one up. No take-offs, no off-notes, just creamy goodness. 9.9/10.

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