Closer to mandarin, but bright and sweet with a thinner body.
This is a repost of legacy review, originally posted on the DIY_eJuice subreddit.
Setup: Recoil w/ flavor barrel, Dual 12 wrap 24g 3.5mm SS316 @.31 ohms. 60w power, 450F temp limit. Full Cotton Wicks.
Testing: Flavor Express Sweet Orange, 1% and 3%, 60/40 VG/PG base, Steeped 25 days.
Flavor Description: I’d probably call this a mandarin type flavor, but it does add some more orange-like complexity. I get some slightly bitter pithy notes that seem more like an orange, but it’s not enough to really drag it into underripe or dry. There’s some relatively minor orange peel oil kind of sharpness, but it avoids getting too harsh. The body of the flavor is all mandarin though, with a relatively smooth and intensely sweet body. Overall effect isn’t quite realistic to an actual fruit, but comes closer to an oversweetened juice realism.
I’m not getting much body of this. Feels relatively top heavy, with a brighter citrus in top notes but not a whole lot in the base besides a relatively heavy mandarin sweetness. Accurately named on the “sweet” part. Sweeter than the tangerines I’m used to, but it’s a pretty neutral sugar type of sweetness with no chalkiness or darker caramel notes. Both the sweetness and lack of that heavier orange juice mouthfeel lean towards something like a light syrup body. I get just a really light waxiness out of this, but it’s not nearly as waxy and dense as something like FA Mandarin. It really only starts to get noticeable on dryer wicks after the bright citrus stuff has already been atomized.
I’ve had some issue with brighter citrus super-concentrate type flavors fading over time, but for the most part this one has actually held up pretty well. I’m almost a month out and I’m not noticing a huge difference between a freshly mixed sample and the steeped version. I’m missing some of the distinctly orange pithy bitterness in the steeped sample so it’s even closer to a mandarin. Reads a bit like mandarin segments in syrup. I’d say it’s also lost maybe a half-step in vibrancy but there’s a bit more of a waxy body.
Closest direct competition to this would Super Concentrates Mandarin, but that basically comes across as straight Tang down to the slightly chalky texture. Flavor Express Sweet Orange tastes fuller and less dry to me, and I’m getting a more realistic citrus out of it. This is less waxy and heavy than FA Mandarin and feels a bit brighter and tarter. Conversely though, It feels a bit more solid and less harsh than FW Tangerine. Less tart than FLV Tangerine, but this is definitely sweeter and has less of an aggressive peel note.
Off-flavors: More mandarin than orange, and probably a bit sweet for actual fruit.
Throat Hit: Moderate, but really manageable for a bright citrus flavor.
Percentage testing: At 1% this feels tart and thin. Seems a bit undersweet to carry those more aggressive citrus notes solo. Doesn’t feel quite fleshed out.
At 3% this sweeter, and while still not heavy it has a fuller body. Doesn’t feel much more tart or aggressive than 1%. Starting to go mandarins in syrup and picking up just a bit of wax.
Just based on these tests, I’d be using this around 3-4% as a primary flavor with the caveat that it might have a bit of a throat hit without something to smooth it out. I’d be down around 1.5% as an accent flavor.
Uses & Pairings: Good mandarin/tangerine for fruit mixes. Not waxy enough to be distracting, and not too harsh to use without a ton of smoothing that dulls out your other fruit.
Bright enough to stand up to creams.
Could also work fairly well with a heavier candy base.
Could be used as an accent to make oranges a bit more vivid and sweet without completely turning them candied. Could also be a missing link into turning an orange flavor with enough thickness to carry orange juice into something sweeter and more vibrant.
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This concentrate was provided to me by the manufacturer with no additional compensation. There was no editorial influence. I have no ongoing business relationships with ECX or its employees.