Cola, a staple that isn’t ever really all that great. Sure, FlavourArt Cola remembers that vanilla and caramel is a thing and that’s cool. Liquid Barn’s Cola Freeze also has some some HFCS type stickiness. But a cola that has everything? Fizziness, tartness, sweetness, spice, vanilla, caramel, and a beverage body? Unpossible, apparently. Vape Train Cola is a new contender but falls down in some familiar ways.
I’d call this primarily a cola spice flavor. This is pretty heavy on the spicy bite part of a cola. It’s not as intense as TPA Cola Fizz, but they both have that in common. The “Cola” flavor is still a bit of a black box for me, but it usually involves some cinnamon, and the cinnamon here seems maybe a bit aggressive overall. It’s not enough to really drastically change the profile or anything, but the cinnamon feels fairly aggressive here. The citrus components seems mostly on point, but there is a heavier reliance of an almost bitter lemony flavor. It doesn’t go full Pledge, but it could use a bit of a sweeter citrus backup.
But it is plenty tart. There’s a pronounced acidity here, and again, that isn’t a bad thing for a cola profile. I mean, phosphoric acid and all, but it comes across as a bit overbearing. In something like Coke the acidity is balanced out with a heavy caramel and vanilla sweetness that I’m missing here. I’d say it’s more of a pepsi take, but it’s even tarter than that. The overall effect is more of a cola gummy flavor than an actual glass of coke, still recognizably cola but not really all the way there.
Texturally, the mouthfeel seems a bit dry overall. That aggressive spice has an almost astringent drying effect and the tartness doesn’t really help. It’s a bit throaty, and it doesn’t really have a beverage mouthfeel. Some extra sweetness would help, but I’m missing some of the carbonation that Vape Train has working in their Lemonade and Fizzy Sherbet.
This is going to work better as an accent flavor than primary cola. It needs a thinner, watery base from somewhere, whether it’s from another cola or a cocktail base. Would work fairly well on top of LB Cola Freeze, or alternatively a good, solid rum base. This was bordering on brutal at 8% and probably a bit too much at 4%. If you wanted a fairly heavy spice note, and you had the base to handle it, I don’t think 3% would be out of the question, but you may want to start a bit lower at something like 1% and work up.
So ultimately, what is the solution to Cola? I’m still thinking you’re not going to get there with one concentrate. The tartness here is nice, for sure, and the spice profile is pretty on point. But we need some nice sticky sweetness, an actual beverage mouthfeel, and healthy dollop of vanilla and caramel. You could roll with this as your spice and acidity, that seems like a good start. TPA Cola Fizz does largely the same thing, but much more aggressively, and this may end up being more workable. I’m still leaning towards LB Cola Freeze as the sticky and appropriately beverage-esque base. And vanilla and caramel, well that part I’m still trying to figure out that out. It’s never easy, is it?
Setup: Recoil w/ flavor barrel, Dual 12 wrap 24g 3.5mm SS316 @.32 ohms. 60w power, 450F temp limit. Full Cotton Wicks.
Testing: Vape Train Cola, 1, 4 and 8%, 60/40 VG/PG base, Steeped 8 days.
Profile: Spice heavy cola, with a fairly heavy cinnamon and lemony acidic tartness.
Off-Flavors: Vapes a bit dry and astringent. Not enough caramel or vanilla for a solo cola flavor.
Throat Hit: Fairly harsh solo. That tart acidity is pretty rough on the throat.
Percentage Recommendation: Better as an accent at 2-3%. Too aggressive for a primary flavor.
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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 Vape Train or its employees.